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Letter: Medical residents from N.Y. need clinical clerkships, too

Medical residents from N.Y. need clinical clerkships, too

We do have a looming physician shortage in Buffalo (“Foreign students would ease doctor shortage,” April 21 Another Voice) but the writer’s solution to have “hospitals welcome all qualified students” into the clinical clerkships that are part of medical school training is impractical.

Hospitals have limited slots for clerkships, where medical students get hands-on experience. The writer argues that for-profit, offshore (mostly Caribbean-based) medical schools should be able to send unlimited numbers of their students to train at our hospitals. These for-profit schools already buy nearly 50 percent of the clerkship slots in the state, each slot one that’s no longer available to a New York student.

At the University at Buffalo, over 80 percent of students are New York State residents; they shouldn’t be displaced by international students. We never wanted to ban students from for-profit, offshore schools; we only want to guarantee that our students get the clerkships they need.

The right solution to the physician shortage is already being implemented: With state support, New York’s 16 medical schools have expanded class size significantly, educating more doctors than any state in the nation. UB’s new downtown medical school building will allow us to increase class size by 25 percent.

UB also is a leader in ensuring diversity in our physician workforce. Our post-baccalaureate program has graduated over 400 students from underrepresented backgrounds, many of whom provide vital patient care in New York.

We must ensure that more New York State students continue to get the best medical education in New York, and that our medical schools continue to graduate the doctors we need.

Michael E. Cain, M.D.

Vice President, Health Sciences

Dean, Jacobs School of Medicine

and Biomedical Sciences at UB