American University of the Caribbean
|Type||Private, Medical School|
|Dean||Heidi Chumley, MD|
|75 (on main campus)|
|Students||≈650 on main campus|
|Location||Sint Maarten, Kingdom of the Netherlands|
The American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) is an international, for-profit, U.S. curriculum-based medical school with a main basic science campus in Sint Maarten, and is based in Pembroke Pines, Florida. The school is owned by Adtalem Global Education, formerly DeVry Inc. since 2011, AUC is fully accredited by the Ireland-based Accreditation Commission of Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), meets the requirements of the federally guaranteed student loan program, and is therefore approved for participation in the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) and other federal financial aid programs. The United States Department of Education has determined that the commission’s accreditation standards are comparable to those applicable to U.S. medical schools.
Founded by American educator Dr. Paul Tien in 1978, the main campus of the American University of the Caribbean was originally located on the island of Montserrat, but was forced to move to its present location in Sint Maarten after the eruption of the previously dormant Soufriere Hills volcano.
While a medical campus was being constructed on Montserrat, AUC started conducting classes under its Montserrat charter in a rented space on the campus of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, Ohio. The first class, with 107 students, started on 14 August 1978.
The government of Montserrat granted AUC a 25-acre (100,000 m2) parcel of land near Plymouth, where a new campus of 17 buildings was built. AUC began conducting classes at its new campus in Montserrat in January 1980.
On 17 September 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the island, severely damaging the campus. Students and faculty were evacuated.
While the Montserrat campus was being rebuilt, AUC operated at a temporary location in Plainview, Texas on the campus of Wayland Baptist University. Ray Seidel, MD work with both AUC and the Board of Education (state of Texas) to help place AUC in their temporary Campus. Classes started again on 17 October 1989 for 3 semesters before returning to Montserrat.
The Montserrat campus was rebuilt and AUC reopened it for classes in September 1990. Long thought to be dormant, the Soufrière Hills volcano on Montserrat erupted on 18 July 1995, rendering much of the island uninhabitable, including the entire city of Plymouth. Students and faculty were evacuated, and the campus was buried under volcanic ash.
Belize and St. Maarten
AUC reopened its operations in September 1995. 250 students were sent to a temporary location in Belize and 280 students were sent to a temporary location in St. Maarten, at the time part of the Netherlands Antilles. However, on 5 September 1995, Hurricane Luis hit St. Maarten, destroyed much of its infrastructure, and delayed the opening of the St. Maarten operation by three weeks. In September 1996, AUC transferred all students and faculty in Belize to its temporary facilities on St. Maarten.
AUC purchased a parcel of land in the village of Cupecoy on the Dutch side of St. Martin and construction of a permanent campus began in July 1996. The new campus opened on 1 May 1998. AUC's new campus consists of teaching and learning facilities featuring classrooms and laboratories, an imaging anatomy lab, a microbiology lab, and a medical library.
Hurricane Irma struck Sint Maarten on September 5 and 6 2017 and the AUC campus, including the dormitories, suffered minor damage but classes had to be canceled and all students were evacuated off the island of Sint Maarten, as the island attempted to restore basic services. According to the AUC's official hurricane update page, students were sheltered in a building that was engineered and designed to withstand a category 5 hurricane (Building 2). Supplies were distributed to sheltered students, colleagues, and loved ones in the storm's aftermath.  Several residences where students were staying were "completely destroyed--and food and water is scarce", according to the CBC. The school arranged for students to start the next semester on September 29, 2017, having made an arrangements with a North West England university (University of Central Lancashire) to share their facilities until students were able to return to the Sint Maarten campus. Most students have resumed classes at the Sint Maarten campus but some fourth and fifth semester students will be finishing basic sciences in Preston, England.
After completing the initial 5 semesters (20 months) of study in the Medical Sciences portion on AUC's St. Maarten campus, students then conduct 4.5 semesters (18 months) of training in the Clinical Sciences portion (also known as the Clinical Years) at AUC's affiliated teaching hospitals, whereby the students may choose between teaching hospitals in the United States, The United Kingdom, or Ireland. Both the required core rotations (Internal Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, and Psychiatry) and elective rotations in any specialty may be taken at one or several different clinical sites. After a total of four years of training, students are awarded the degree of Doctor of Medicine (M.D.).
Accreditation and licensure
AUC is listed with the World Health Organisation's Avicenna directory and in the ECFMG IMED/FAIMER database of medical schools, which indicates the school is recognized by the appropriate local government agency.
AUC is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Colleges of Medicine (ACCM), an independent organization based in Ireland that accredits medical schools on behalf of several governments, including the governments of Sint Maarten and the Netherlands Antilles.[needs update]
Some states have their own approval processes for medical schools, all of which have approved AUC. These include California. In addition, New York and Florida have approved AUC to allow medical students to do clinical rotations in their states.
AUC graduates may apply to the General Medical Council of the United Kingdom for registration (residency training) in the UK without prejudice. The only stipulation associated with AUC graduates are for students who, "... transferred to the American University of the Caribbean following a period of study at another medical school."
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