Varsity offers cost and time advantage for medical students

Varsity offers cost and time advantage for medical students

Recruitment for all nationals facilitated in Auckland 
Venkat Raman 
Auckland, September 29, 2019 

Taffy Gould (Picture Supplied)

Shortage of qualified medical doctors in many developed and emerging economies is a perennial problem which can be addressed by private medical colleges offering flexibility, coupled by closer monitoring of student’s progress, an expert has said. 

Miami (Florida, USA) based Oceania University of Medicine (OUM) Chairman Taffy Gould said that an effective solution to the problem is her own University. 

About the University 

OUM is a Samoan-Chartered Medical School, a public-private partnership between the Samoan and e-Medical Education, a Florida-based company.  

The OUM curriculum is divided into two phases, namely Preclinical and Clinical, offered respectively as Distance Learning and hands-on learning in a clinical setting at regional teaching hospitals. 

Because of its remote location and to encourage students from other parts of the world to pursue medicine, the University developed an online curriculum and began to receive applications from all over the world. 

A philanthropist, Ms Gould established OUM in 2002 to address primarily the problem of shortage of qualified medical professionals in the South Pacific and later extended it other countries where paucity of human capital eludes timely healthcare service delivery. 

Distance Learning in the field of medicine is yet a largely untested enterprise but Ms Gould has been able to evince the interests of doctors in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. 

Rigid entry criteria 

“In its 18 years of existence, OUM has a record of 150 medical graduates who are now rendering medical services around the world. There are no restrictions on the number of students that the University can take but we follow a strict entry procedure since we aim to ensure that doctors of high calibre and expertise go out to serve the world,” she said. 

The ability to manage and cater to varied time zones, the success of the graduation programme and the comparative cost advantage are factors that work in favour of OUM. 

Comparative benefits  

Dr Chellaraj Benjamin (INL File Photo)

Auckland based Radiation Oncologist and Auckland Medical Society President Dr Chellaraj Benjamin, who is the Dean of OUM for New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region, said that the total cost of the five-course course would be US$ 140,000, far less compared to the fees charged by Universities in Australia (about US$ 255,000). In the US, the cost per year for a non-resident student could be about US$ 150,000. 

He said that Science graduates would be eligible to apply for admission to OUM, which is a fully accredited Medical School worldwide.  

“It is recognised by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Indian Medical Council. Students from this University are eligible to take AMC Part I and II and NZREX examination after they complete their medical course,” Dr Benjamin said.   

Students interested in enrolment from India and any part of the world can email him at chelleraj.benjamin@oum.edu.ws 

Ms Gould was in Auckland as a part of her visit to the region facilitated by Dr Benjamin, who led a delegation of medical experts and those associated with the industry to a one-day Conference to Tonga on September 22, 2019. A related report on this event appears with pictures in this Section. 

Added responsibility 

The Concept of online learning to become a medical graduate came with the added responsibility of ensuring the progress of students. Ms Gould mentioned about the challenges she had to face from her own staff but they were genuine concerns over quality, supervision and other related matters. 

“There are regular, fortnightly meetings held online and every student has an academic supervisor, who closely monitors the progress of each student and although we have had no issues thus far, our system ensures strict adherence to quality standards and schedule. Any deviation from procedures or any suspicious behaviour will lead to dismissal,” Ms Gould said. 

The Curriculum  

She said that Preclinical Curriculum is delivered online through live, interactive lectures in virtual classrooms four days every week. 

The Distance Learning phase is held for two-and-half years . 

“Clinical rotations may take place in the home country of the student, India, the United States and in many other countries of the world. Full-time students may be able to complete the Programme in four-and-half years, while students who choose to continue working during the Pre-Clinical phase may be able to complete the Course in five years. Students have the flexibility advantage,” she said. 

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