Graduates say they received positive reactions about selecting a non-traditional curriculum outside their home countries.

“Where” Doesn’t Matter

The decision to attend medical school is difficult. It requires a lot of due diligence. In reviewing their options, some OUM graduates admit they were initially concerned about their peers’ perceptions of international medical graduates (IMGs). They found they had nothing to worry about.

“Before clinical rotations, I thought I had to prepare answers to questions about the distance-learning program I chose and its location in Samoa. But no one ever looked at it the way I had expected.  No one really asked,” says Raj Mendiratta, MD, OUM Class of 2009, a board-certified internist licensed to practice in three US states.

Dr. Mendiratta explains that once you have your “foot in the door” during clinical rotations and especially during residency, no one cares where you went to school. He and his fellow OUM graduates say that by then, it’s just about how good you are as a physician.

Equal playing field

“Did it matter where you went to medical school by the time you are in residency? Not in the least,” says Jennifer Allen, MD, OUM Class of 2012, a board-certified family medicine physician near St. Louis, Missouri, USA. “By then, you are all on an equal playing field. Everyone worked hard to get there and that hard work became the universal equalizer. Especially as first year residents, you all have a lot to learn and each of you knows it.”

Dr. Allen goes on to say that some colleagues found the fact that she attended a medical school based in the South Pacific to be rather “mysterious and romantic.”

“And when they found out I did my OB rotation in Samoa where I was allowed to deliver babies and stand in on numerous C-sections, which is virtually impossible in many countries, they were even a bit envious,” she adds.