The University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences (MONA) was the first faculty established by the university in 1948. Located in Kingston, Jamaica, MONA has accreditation status by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). MONA's rich curriculum allows US-based students to pursue a medical degree in an immersive and diverse environment and prepares them for their future profession's rigors.
Students attending MONA must demonstrate academic proficiency and conduct that befits a future physician. As a result, MONA enforces a code of conduct and academic expectations that students must abide by to graduate on time. Those who violate the university's standards or who cannot maintain high academic performance face sanctions that range in severity from a reprimand to permanent dismissal. Since Caribbean medical schools have different standards and processes than US medical schools, those who face issues should consult with an advisor when they face sanctions.
Issues with Caribbean Medical Schools
Caribbean medical schools are the second-best choice for students unable to get into United States medical schools or who cannot register on time. The establishment of Caribbean medical schools results from the high competition and demanding standards of their U.S. counterparts. As private, for-profit institutions, these schools are often more expensive than those on the mainland. The expenses, however, are not the only issues that students face. Due to the relatively lax standards these medical schools may have, US institutions may reject their applications for employment or residencies due to reputation issues.
Although there are multiple Caribbean medical schools, not all have the proper accreditation status. This issue may not be a significant factor as students are studying, but it becomes a problem after graduation. The high expenses coupled with the quality of some of these schools place students under debt and with few opportunities to progress in their chosen profession.
Thankfully, MONA is accredited with CAAM-HP, but regardless, as a student at MONA working towards your goals, you can't worry about such potential issues. All you can do is study hard and deal with any medical school issues that lie ahead. With the time and effort you've already invested in medical school, you and your attorney-advisor must focus on protecting your future.
Code of Conduct and Academic Standards
According to the MONA student handbook, students must conduct themselves professionally and ethically both within and outside of campus. The Statement of Ethical Principles and Code of Conduct outlines the university's expectations regarding personal and professional responsibility and integrity standards for all students. Those who fail to comply with the rules may receive a “misconduct” or “serious misconduct” charge, leading to sanctions.
In addition to professional/ethical violations, students may also face sanctions if they have academic issues. Medical students must maintain good grades to progress to the next phase of their curriculum. Failure to do so may incur placement under “academic probation” and permanent dismissal if the issues continue without progress.
Students facing academic issues have a chance to improve their grades through remedial courses and examinations. Although remediation may incur additional time and stress for the student, it is often a necessary last resort option to remain enrolled at MONA. However, remediation is uncalled for in some cases, and the student may not need to take this additional time. It is in cases such as these where the help of an attorney-advisor is invaluable. An advisor understands when mistakes happen and works to help students avoid the additional time and effort to complete remediation.
Expulsion and Consequences
Permanent dismissal is the most severe sanction at MONA that has life-changing consequences for medical students and their families. Expulsion happens when a student cannot perform well academically and has chronic, unresolvable academic issues. It is also the result of multiple violations of professional conduct or ethical concerns. However, in some cases, administrations make mistakes that place a student's future in jeopardy. Some of the issues that students may face after expulsion include:
- Reputation damage that affects their prospects of getting into a new medical school
- A note of expulsion on their permanent record
- The inability to find placement in another medical school due to the expulsion charge
- Loss of time and effort over the course of months or years
- Loss of housing and privileges
- Having to pay off thousands of dollars in debts and student loans
- Having to travel back to the US if they cannot find another medical school
- Loss of morale leading the student to quit pursuing a medical degree altogether
Students have a chance to appeal severe sanctions such as temporary dismissal and expulsion. However, doing so alone and facing a panel with no help may not end well. With so much at stake, students need the expertise of a skilled advisor. A professional works to reverse the charges against students or minimize the impact of sanctions. Moreover, advisors help students fight for their right to stay enrolled and identifies errors that administrators commonly make.
Hiring an Attorney-Advisor
The path to becoming a physician is long and arduous, and it comes with many challenges. When medical students risk losing everything due to allegedly low academic performance or a lapse in judgment, they must do everything in their power to fight back. With the help of an advisor, facing a panel is less stressful and more likely to lead to a better case outcome.
Attorney-advisor Joseph D. Lento has years of experience working with medical students facing expulsion and other harsh sanctions at Caribbean medical schools. With his expertise and attention to detail, Attorney Lento works hard to help students overcome this stressful period of their lives.
Whether the issue is an infraction, administrative bias, or procedural error, the chance of adverse consequences, including permanent dismissal, greatly decrease when a dedicated professional is there to guide students as to the best course of action.
You work hard to actualize your dream – don't let a mistake, academic issues, or a lapse in judgment end your dream of becoming a doctor. If you or a loved one face challenges at The University of the West Indies Faculty of Medical Sciences, including sanctions or permanent discharge from MONA, and you need help, don't delay. Call attorney Joseph D. Lento and the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686 for a discreet and thorough conversation about your options.