Havana, Cuba -- A group of 20 U.S. students from across the country began their studies at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba this week. The group joins 104 students from the U.S. already enrolled in the school and thousands of students from around the world. The students will take preliminary Spanish and pre-med courses before beginning an intensive six-year program in medicine.
Each student receives a rigorous hands-on training in primary and preventative care, family medicine and all the standard medical specialties. These full scholarships cover tuition, room and board, plus textbooks in Spanish; the only condition of Cuba’s offer is that graduates return to their home countries to practice in underserved communities.
Graduates are well-versed in global health issues and fully bilingual upon completion of their studies. The Latin American School of Medicine has trained more than 24,000 doctors from 116 countries since its inception in 1999. Sixteen U.S. students graduated this past July; 68 U.S. students have graduated since Cuba began accepting students from this country in 2001.
The Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) has served as the administrator of this extraordinary scholarship program for U.S students since its inception in 2001.
“This program is yet another example of Cuba’s commitment to the health of not just its own people, but the world. While other countries send soldiers abroad, Cuba sends an army of doctors to help create sustainable health care systems in the poorest of nations. We are proud to see off this new group of committed students and to continue working with the our U.S. alumni to see that the are able to improve the health of their communities,” said IFCO Co-Director Gail Walker.