Frequently Asked Questions
- Does St. Vincent get hurricanes?
- Is Trinity School of Medicine’s accreditation valid in the United States?
- Is Trinity approved in California?
- What's the difference between approval and accreditation?
- What clinical training does Trinity offer?
- What is student life like at Trinity?
- I’ve heard international medical school graduates have trouble with residency matches. Is this true with Trinity students?
- Can I practice medicine in Canada?
- What are the admission requirements?
- I have some grades in my past I’m not proud of. Will they affect my admission?
- Where does the stigma of Caribbean medical schools come from?
- Can I use my GI bill?
- What student loan options are available?
- Are there any grants or scholarships?
- Where is St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
- How do I get to campus?
- Is it safe?
- Are there research opportunities?
- What are the students like?
- There’s a lot of student volunteering on your blog. Is it mandatory?
- St. Vincent is relatively isolated, compared to many US and Canadian schools. Are there networking opportunities?
Does St. Vincent get hurricanes?
Generally speaking, no. While it has happened in the island's recorded meteorological history, the last major storm was Allen in 1960. This is because St. Vincent is between 150 and 400 miles away from the path of most hurricanes. As a southerly windward island, it's effectively outside of "hurricane alley."
Tropical storms that later become hurricanes do pass through The Grenadines, but these are immature and, while there is a lot of rain, they simply don't yet have the destructive winds associated with hurricane season.
Is Trinity School of Medicine’s accreditation valid in the United States?
Yes. Trinity School of Medicine carries multiple accreditations, national and international. Trinity School of Medicine is accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP), the legally constituted body established to accredit medical programs in the Caribbean. The standards used by the CAAM-HP are based on the United States medical school accreditation program as outlined by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). These standards are also recognized by the US Department of Education's NCFMEA. Trinity's current status is "Accredited with Conditions, 2016-2018." No school in the Caribbean currently holds a higher status with CAAM-HP, and there are only five schools, including Trinity, at that level.
Trinity has also been registered with the National Accreditation Board (NAB) of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines since 2008. Concurrently, the Government granted to Trinity School of Medicine a charter with exclusive rights to use of Milton Cato Memorial Hospital for its medical school and the Doctor of Medicine preparatory program. Trinity's accreditation is recognized by the Medical Council of India.
Trinity School of Medicine is also listed by the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER) in its World Directory of Medical Schools since September 19, 2008. This listing in FAIMER, and the assignment of a code, provides the sanction for Trinity students to register for and take the USMLE Steps 1, Step 2 and Step 3 examinations. Students who successfully complete Step 1 and Step 2 (CK) and (CS), and otherwise meet the requirements for graduation from Trinity, are then authorized by the ECFMG to register for and participate in the National Residency Match Program (NRMP), as well as the Canadian Resident Matching Matching Service (CaRMS).
Trinity is the only accredited medical school on St. Vincent under CAAM-HP.
Is Trinity approved in California?
As of January 1, 2020, graduates of Trinity School of Medicine can match into residencies and obtain medical licenses in California. To read more on the topic, click here.Back to Questions
What's the difference between accreditation and approval?
This is a common source of confusion for people considering a Caribbean medical school.
States don't actually offer accreditation. Nor does the United States accredit foreign medical schools.
There are, however, federally recognized international accreditation authorities. In that respect, Trinity's accreditation is valid in all 50 states.
However, in some states there is the matter of independent medical board approvals, (this list is shrinking as more and more states recognize ECFMG and NCFMEA decisions as sufficient standards of quality). It is still not a binary status, though. It is not just approved/disapproved, there is also "unevaluated." In most states, graduates from an unevaluated school can still obtain a license or match into a residency, the one exception being California, which is now effectively a non-issue for Trinity graduates.
We do a state-by-state rundown on this regularly updated blog post.
What clinical training does Trinity offer?
Trinity School of Medicine has an exceptionally high volume of clinical training. There are two main phases to Trinity’s formal clinical offering: The first is on St. Vincent, the second is in the United States. Trinity students spend their first five terms spending time in the classrooms and labs on campus, while also gaining practical experience at the Milton Cato Memorial, a 230 bed teaching hospital affiliated with the campus.
The last two years (or five terms) of Trinity School of Medicine's MD program consist of clinical clerkships conducted with in hospitals and medical facilities where students utilize what they've learned in the basic sciences courses and the Introduction to Clinical and Community Medicine courses. Under the supervision of faculty physicians, students participate in 48 weeks of required core clerkships and 27 weeks of elective clerkships. From the different clerkships, students obtain clinical expertise in the basic clinical disciplines in preparation for advanced training during their residencies. There are no waiting lists for core rotations at Trinity School of Medicine. No student is admitted to the school without us knowing there is a slot available for them when they start their rotations.
The 27 weeks of elective clerkships are strategically chosen on an individual basis to strengthen students’ skills and visibility within specialties or geographies of specific interest for their postgraduate education (residency).
What is student life like at Trinity?
As is the case with any medical school, the students are busy. There is a spirit of camaraderie. While the students are bright and competitive, the stereotype of the cutthroat medical student is largely absent at Trinity. This is by design. Trinity’s small class size and supportive atmosphere is cultivated to create a safe, distraction free environment where students can meet their full potential as future doctors.
That’s not to say there isn’t any opportunity to unwind, though. While St. Vincent isn’t a resort, it’s still a tropical island with beautiful ecotourism opportunities, black sand beaches, and wonderful, welcoming people.
For a full list of official student groups and activities, check here.
I’ve heard international medical school graduates have trouble with residency matches. Is this true with Trinity students?
No. Residency match is a complicated process. There are variables by which decisions are made, and location of a school can be a factor, but it is near the bottom of the criteria. Step 1 scores, on the other hand, are at the top. This is why Trinity is so focused on the educational environment and offers comprehensive Step exam preparation. And it works.
Put succinctly, the pass score of the USMLE Step 1 Exam is 192. Trinity’s students had a first time average passing score of 220, while the United States mean score is at 227.
While relatively speaking, Trinity is a “young” school, its faculty is comprised of veteran medical education leadership, it is fully accredited and has graduates in residency across the US, Canada, and the Caribbean.
You can read up on Trinity student success stories here.
Can I practice medicine in Canada?
Yes. Trinity has students in residency and/or practice in provinces across Canada including Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba.
Note that while residency matching in Canada is particularly competitive compared to the United States, it can be achieved and we have had successful matches for the past five years and counting. We encourage Canadian students to apply for residency match in both the US and Canada to expand their options for post-graduate education.
Read more on Canadian success here.
What are the admission requirements?
Prior to matriculation, Trinity's MD program requires:
90 credit hours (or equivalent) from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution
Verifiable score(s) on the MCAT exam
One year each of:
- Biology w/lab
- General chemistry w/lab
- Organic chemistry w/lab (one semester may be substituted with biochemistry)
- Physics (while not required it strongly recommended)
Back to Questions
I have some grades in my past that don't represent who I am today. Will they affect my admission?
Academic performance is obviously an important factor. That said, Trinity places a premium on student experience, character, leadership, communication skills, drive, and passion, recognizing that sometimes grades don’t paint the entire picture, especially grades far in the past. While GPA plays a major part in student selection criteria, we consider trajectory and consistency of grades and examine an applicant’s BCPM (Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Math) GPA independently of other course work. We are also open to explanations of context and a clear narrative of personal growth.
The reality is, the best doctors aren’t always the best university freshmen. We understand. We think of Trinity as an opportunity to show yourself, and the world, just how great you can be in a focused, supportive environment.Back to Questions
Where does the stigma of Caribbean medical schools come from?
In the past, Caribbean medical accreditation standards were admittedly lax, by US and Canada’s standards. This is no longer the case, at least when it comes to CAAM-HP accredited schools. CAAM-HP closely evaluated the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) guidelines and standards for US medical schools and applied them in the Caribbean to demonstrate a commitment to quality. It's worked so well that the US Department of Education recognizes CAAM-HP's accreditation standards as implemented in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.Back to Questions
Can I use my GI Bill™?
Yes. As a veteran of the armed forces, students may be eligible for benefits that cover tuition, fees, housing, textbooks, and other supplies. However, Trinity is an international school, which means the benefit program may vary from schools stateside. For example, Trinity students do not qualify for the Yellow Ribbon program.Back to Questions
What student loan options are available?
Trinity has many student loan programs available including Sallie Mae's Dental and Medical School LoanTM, and iHelp's professional school loans. Trinity School of Medicine is not currently eligible for the FAFSA (US Federal Loan) program. Despite our NCFMEA recognition, we still feel that private loans are the best option for our students. You can read why here.Back to Questions
Are there any grants or scholarships?
Yes. Trinity offers merit scholarships, financial hardship grants, public service grants, among others. The list is available here.Back to Questions
Where is St. Vincent and the Grenadines?
Southeast of the British Virgin Islands, north of Grenada. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is in the Lesser Antilles Island arc, in the southern portion of the Windward Islands, which lie at the southern end of the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea where the latter meets the Atlantic Ocean.Back to Questions
How do I get to campus?
The airport is about fifteen minutes from campus. The Argyle International Airport is serviced by regional carriers including Liat and SVG Air as well as Caribbean Airlines and Air Canada. Air Canada flies direct weekly from Toronto, Caribbean flies direct from New York City. Other international flights are routed first through nearby Barbados before making a connection to St. Vincent.Back to Questions
Is it safe?
Yes! St. Vincent is a welcoming place that eagerly embraces the Trinity community as both a contributor to the local economy and a great opportunity for cultural exchange (as well as teaching its own future doctors). Beyond that, the campus has a fully staffed, on-site security team, as well as around the clock service for the school-sponsored off-campus housing facilities, just like any typical North American campus.Back to Questions
Are there research opportunities?
Trinity is primarily focused on student education. This, as a relatively unique circumstance, has led to a great opportunity: a developing partnership with the field of medical science pedagogy. Research at Trinity is, at the moment, focused on the practice, theory, and outcomes of science education. Students interested in research are encouraged to discuss this with faculty to see if there are any opportunities for sponsorship.Back to Questions
What are the students like?
Trinity’s students are diverse, passionate, and engaged. They come from a variety of backgrounds and academic histories, from rising pre-med stars to mature, career-changers pursuing an opportunity. They are eager and serious in the classroom and very supportive of each other. We like to think that Trinity is an environment focused entirely on preparation for the future, leaving the stereotype of the cutthroat medical school out of the equation. Or, put another way: you can feel comfortable saving that for when you’re in the job market. At Trinity, your priority is learning.Back to Questions
There’s a lot of student volunteering on your blog. Is it mandatory?
Not at all. While the admissions committee at Trinity has found, in their own experience as physicians, that people with an internal drive to contribute their time and energy to others do often make great doctors, it is not mandatory at all. The school has some official relationships with international healthcare organizations that do volunteer work, but participation is not required. Most of the service opportunities mentioned on the blog are entirely student driven. The faculty and staff understand, appreciate, and even expect that your top priority at Trinity is your education.Back to Questions
St. Vincent is relatively isolated, compared to many US and Canadian schools. Are there networking opportunities?
Trinity has a wide variety of student organizations, some chapters of Canadian, U.S., and international groups, some unique to Trinity, all of which lead to deep ties internally and to alums. Beyond that, Trinity’s guest lecturers, visiting faculty, full-time faculty all tend to take special interest in our students. Small class size allows for professional relationships to develop early on, offering both insight and a connection to the greater healthcare communities.
Additionally, Trinity’s relationship with the World Pediatric Project results in regular visits from like-minded physicians performing service work in the Grenadine islands, offering students additional clinical experience as well as further opportunities to get to know personally, and learn from, experts in their future field.
Finally, Trinity students spend their 3rd and 4th year in the U.S. (and may travel to Canada for electives) where relationships with program directors, hospital administrators and physicians will be built and nurtured.