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#462481 - 04/16/13 05:47 AM International medical colleges in Belize  
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Belize Medical College bring benefits for Belize

This week, PLUS News takes an extensive look at the issue of international medical colleges in Belize. We begin with Central American Health Sciences University-Belize Medical College (CAHSU-BMC), established in 1996 and which is based on the Burrell Boom-Hattieville Road at the old Datapro compound. It’s executive director Dr. Murali Rudraraju gives us a history of the school.

Dr. Murali Rudraraju – Executive Director:
vlcsnap-2013-04-15-22h29m53s216Belize Medical College is part Central America Health Science University, chartered by the Government of Belize in 1996.  We offer a four year program, which is an MD program, which leads to the confirmation of Doctor of Medicine Degree on completion of the entire program.  Two years of that is basic sciences which is completed in Belize, and two years is clinical sciences which is done abroad in Mexico or US, UK, and in other countries.  On completion of the program students will receive their graduation degree from us.  And after that they have to their practice, depending on the country.  They either do a one year internship, get license from the country, like in Belize, or if they go to the US they directly go into a residency program, and based on their specialization and the number of years of training, they get specialized training and continue to practice medicine.
We were the first medical college that was granted a license to operate in Belize from the year 1996.  Subsequent to that other schools have come.  Some are gone.  Basically all the old ones in that arena are all gone.  Of course new ones are popping up here and there.  That’s about it.

According to Dr. Rudraraju, CAHSU has survived the ups and downs of being one of the few schools of its kind and attracting students here. He discusses the benefits schools like his bring to Belize.

Dr. Murali Rudraraju – Executive Director:
vlcsnap-2013-04-15-23h11m47s236Financially it has been ups and downs with several institutions like this coming, because once a reputation gets tarnished you have your bounces.  Financially it is very hard for us to maintain as we move forward, but as far as economic impact indirectly this gives to the country is humungous. right now, for example, there are 70 plus students in our campus. There are around 20 to 25 houses that are rented in Los Lagos.  Each house is like a thousand Belize dollars.  So straight away, income that is poured out just with that rental of houses is around 25 thousand dollars. Then you have the students who spend an average of about 500 dollars a month with the other things that they spend in the country.  So 500 times 70 is under 35 thousand. So on an average, just with students being at an institution, besides the salaries of staff, the professors, everyone who is local, you are looking at approximately 150 thousand to 200 thousand that is spent in Belize Dollars in Belize.  Now when you times it 12, it is almost 2,4 million which is indirect cost.

Direct costs paid to the country include immigration visas and school fees. So how can the Government help with decreasing costs and making schools like these viable? Dr. Rudraraju offers a few suggestions.

Dr. Murali Rudraraju – Executive Director:
vlcsnap-2013-04-15-22h29m38s51Government has a [role] to play along with the institution.  Both have to go hand in hand.  It is like a track, parallel to each other, each one has to do their part and both of them can successfully grow.  A good example of such an institution is St George’s in Grenada.  It brings high impact, but the Grenada Government also gives an equal level of cooperation and assistance to push it forward.  If the same level of assistance can be sought from the Government, obviously we are ready, and we have a track record because we have been successful so far.  That is our aim and goal for the last decade, and we continue with the same aim. There are two sides when you always think that you’re getting people from Nigeria here.  They try to abandon the ship.  We also at one time had some students who came, and immediately once we find out we had to tell the relevant authorities.  The authorities then have to be in a position to enforce.  It goes parallel.  As I said, the Government has to give assistance.  We have to do our part. And everyone can grow happily.
That is the nature of the business of the student environment and student culture all over the world.

That was part one of a special series concerning international medical colleges in Belize. Tomorrow, we probe deeper into one school that has proven to have a rather dodgy reputation. Stay tuned for that story.


#462558 - 04/17/13 05:58 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Pros and cons of medical schools in Belize – Part 2

Yesterday we began a special series having to do with international medical vlcsnap-2013-04-15-22h29m38s51colleges in Belize. We highlighted the work of the Central American Health Sciences University (CAHSU) in reaching doctoral candidates in countries far afield to achieve professional status. Another such college is the American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM), which got its start right here in Belmopan at the old Climate Change office on the Ring Road before moving to the old Immigration Building off Mountain View Road. agu-web-logoIt received its charter in 2007 but in nearly six years of operation it has moved to three different locations – twice in Belmopan, then to San Pedro Town on Ambergris Caye and finally to its current location on the Airport Road in Ladyville. A check of its website found the usual promises of an affordable, quality education for pennies on the dollar, but PLUS News has received documentation that tells of past students and prospective students’ complaints suggesting that the schools’ administrators, President Dr. Malik Soudah and Peggy Allen, may not have been forthright about the school’s capacity and issues. The Ministry of Education has, at last report, launched an investigation wuhs-logo3into why it was not officially told that the school would be moving from Belmopan to San Pedro and then Ladyville, all within the last few months. We understand that AGUSM’s owners have also received a charter to operate on San Pedro with a different name – Washington University of Health Sciences (WUHS). The schools share nearly the same address on the island and similar personnel. We contacted AGUSM’s Ladyville office today and were told to send an email to Peggy Allen in the U.S. for more information. Tomorrow we continue looking at the issue and find out what the local authorities are doing about it.


#462564 - 04/17/13 06:14 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Dec 2000
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lovey and thurston Offline
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Curious how Washington University of Health and Sciences chose their name and logo. My husband is a graduate of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. It is considered one of the top medical schools in the country. I seriously doubt the school in Ladyville quite lives up to that reputation. Are they perhaps deliberately misleading applicants?

R.B. Mernitz
#462600 - 04/18/13 04:50 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
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"Fawda" Protests Medical University In Ladyville

In the past three years, the American Global University School of Medicine has moved from Belmopan to San Pedro and now to Ladyville. The Ladyville move was made earlier this month – and professional one man protestor Phillip Fawda Henry was out on the Airport Road to welcome them today. Here’s what we found out.

Jules Vasquez reporting
Looking at the website of the AGUSM, it has every appearance of a legitimate operation and a going concern.

And the website even boasts of a new campus. Clicking through we saw pictures of the facility located close to the airport.

Phillip Fawda Henry - Protesting 'American Global' Medical University
"What is going on behind this is all a 'hocus-pocus' - a scheme. This American Global has been taking money from people and stating that they have the right resource in here to have these people who are coming into the country to study to be doctors and these people are not getting what they paid for. If you could see right next to me here that from when I've been here this morning two of them left immediately and chained this gate up. So I am asking the Prmie Minister to investigate on American Global. What is going on up here? If they would have been doing the right thing the gate wouldnt have been chained. Right or wrong? I am here to see that this country to get the right medical training facility in order for our country to move forward. American Global is not one of them. They have been moved from Belmopan to San Pedro and now up here in Ladyville. Why are they hiding? What do they have to hide? I come up here mulitple times Jules. This here is a building that is closed up and they are saying it is working to train people from students from abroad; it is not so. If you look behind me they don't even have people doing ground work here but they rushed out and chained this gate and left. Not a student was here. All the time I have been coming here there hasn't been any student here and now there is ghost in the buliding Jules. Be careful you might get haunted. The only person here is me and you camera people and in that building there are ghotsts. On the internet it's all fake and we need to get into this."

Jules Vasquez
"Why are you sweating fever Fawda? This isn't within your perview."

Phillip Fawda Henry
"Jules, I am saying my program is 'do the right thing' pedestrian crossing. Whatever is pertaining to this country then I am doing the right thing. This is a part of our country. If you will have an American Global coming to our country and have doctors from abroad and working here and students from abroad coming here and they are not doing the right thing; they are not part of us, they are not Belizean. Why are they here?"

We tried shouting and even banging on the gate, but there was nothing coming form within.

Except a man in a suit who jumped into this taxi van and kept running from us. Someone even called the police on us.

We even tried calling the local number on their website, but only got an answering machine – which cut off before we could even leave a message.

The university sent out a release today - but not to channel 7. From what we have been told, it says that its students are out on clinical rotations. They add that both campuses are being renovated.

It says “All current AGUSM Basic Science students are enrolled completing their fifth semester within our contracted U.S. teaching hospital in Orlando, Florida and the AGUSM Clinical Science students are completing six semesters of clinical rotations within our contracted teaching hospitals throughout the U.S. and the U.K.”

Channel 7

#462741 - 04/20/13 05:37 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Medical School in Grenada seeks to expand

In this latest installment of our series on international medical schools, we give you an example of what such an institution can do for its local government. St. George’s University, the Caribbean’s first private medical school, was established in Grenada in 1976 by an act of its parliament and in its history has produced over 10,000 physicians to work in the U.S., Canada and around the world. The college’s work is recognized by authorities in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Caribbean and offers degrees in general medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, and unrelated degrees in arts and sciences and graduate studies and nursing.

On its website the school claims that in the past three years it has put more of its doctors into first-year U.S. residency positions than any other medical school in the world. Grenadians only pay half as much as international students to get into the school’s programs and the school maintains an extensive scholarship program. SGU was the focus of the U.S. Government’s invasion of Grenada in 1983 in response to a coup that toppled the revolutionary government of Maurice Bishop over concerns for students’ safety. Recent reports were that the school was up for sale but its chancellor told Grenadian media that the school is simply looking for a partner for expansion.


#462988 - 04/24/13 05:08 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
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"Fawda" Ramps Up Campaign Against AGUSM

Today, Phillip “Fawda” Henry ramped up his campaign against AGUSM – the medical school that recently relocated from San Pedro to Ladyville. He had a press conference with all the bells and whistles. 7news was there.

Jules Vasquez reporting
Last week, Phillip Fawda Henry did a one man protest in front of the new headquarters of the American Global University of Science and Medicine on airport road.

But this week - he had a full press conference, a major production, standing room only, that told us the protest machinery was well oiled.

Actually, it was part press conference, part protest, with loud placards on prominent display and even a special banner printed for the event.

Even an attorney slash politician was in the mix - though we aren’t sure which capacity he was there in.

And it was also part day-care, with half a dozen babes in arms - because the organizers would have us believe, this quite esoteric, arcane issue is one that excites public outrage

Phillip "Fawda" Henry, Anti-Agusm Activist
"Well today I know Jules will not be asking me - 'only you in here?' Because the spirit of the Lord has spoken to Jules and I think that Jules will treat me differently now that the people have spoken."

Whether spoken or spoken for, today most of the talking was being done form the head table where Fawda Henry was joined by omni-activist Patrick Menzies. And while the lineup had expanded, the rhetoric was more or less the same

Phillip "Fawda" Henry
"And these people here in this picture behind me that run the American Global that live abroad take third world country for a 'nincompoop'. This university is just a ghost house. I am asking for a full investigation and now I know that the Prime Minister will have to take this serious because there is a medical school in our country that is not in existence. On the internet they are showing so many things and using the internet to take advantage of this country, Belize, which is a third world country. Now the good Lord has a whip for all of you and you are going to get whipped for what you are doing to my country and these peoples' country. Somebody has to answer and and answer quickly. Who gave these people license to perform in Belize?"

That license is from the ministry of education and Menzies says they need to investigate

Patrick Menzies, Anti-Agusm Activist
"According to Peggy Allen they graduated 200 MDs, 200 medical doctors. Where are they operating? I did a research on the web and guess what I found; I looked at their graduates, I Googled them and I couldn't find any of them. I was reading about the reports from them and according to the website it says 'Join us for the May 2013 class' but the reports that I got on the web said that they don't open again until September. So why does the website say that they are starting May 2013? I can show you the website right now - go to it for yourself. Something is wrong! Tell us where are the students of Basic Science? If the other guys are on rotation you can ask these folks here right now, where are the basic science?"

Menzies says it’s a diploma mill.

Patrick Menzies
"People are being exploited; taken advantage of and being ripped off"

Phillip "Fawda" Henry, Anti-Agusm Activist
"On the internet it is saying that they have students there but brother I want to know who is renting that building because there is no one in there. There are spirits and ghosts. Why was that guy running? Why did Jules have to chase this guy for over ten minutes? Why did he put his jacket over his head?"

We pressed the Ministry of Education for a comment but none was forthcoming.

AGUSM did send a release last week saying that AGUSM “is gearing up to open the new facility with the upcoming September 2013 semester.” It adds that “all current AGUSM Basic Science students are completing their fifth semester within our contracted U.S. teaching hospital in Orlando, Florida and the AGUSM Clinical Science students are completing six semesters of clinical rotations within our contracted teaching hospitals throughout the U.S. and the U.K.”

Channel 7

American Global University operates in San Pedro

News Five has done a number of stories since 2009 questioning the legitimacy of the American Global University School of Medicine which is again in the news. Today, we went back to the facility in Ladyville, but there was no sign that anybody was there, and no sign of any renovation being done to change the residence into a University. In fact, the only link to the university is this banner draped across the front of the house. That, and the fact that there is no sign that any student has ever visited that location, has fueled the belief that the medical facility is just a shell to perpetrate a scam. The University, we also note, has changed its address a number of times moving from Belmopan to San Pedro and now Ladyville. A fact sheet issued to our newsroom by the school states that all their students are currently in the U.S. completing their fifth semester of studies at a contracted hospital. The fact sheet also states that the facility in Ladyville, which is newly acquired, will undergo extensive renovation and open for an inaugural semester in September of 2013, but as we stated there is no sign of any renovation, massive or otherwise. News Five checked out the Washington University of Health and Science facility located on Sea Grape Drive in San Pedro Town, and confirmed that classes were in session at the building.

American Global University in spotlight again

Are the American Global University School of Medicine and the Washington University of Health and Science legitimate and accredited medical institutions of learning in Belize? Or are they just well-established and operated scams to milk money from potential students across the world? Those are the questions on everybody’s mind right now. Both institutions have been operating in Belize, American Global since November 2005 and Washington University since February, 2012. Both are licensed for operation by the Government of Belize. Both maintain elaborate websites glorifying their programs, enrollment and success. But that’s about all anybody knows about either of them. Community activist Phillip ‘Faada’ Henry has been on a one-man crusade to prove that the institutions are bogus, just shells to scam students who pre-pay big money to sign up for programs, and then come all the way to Belize to find out that what they signed up for was a penny-ante con operation. Today, Henry called a press conference to further his crusade. Freelance reporter Mike Rudon was there and has the story.

Phillip ‘Faada’ Henry

Phillip ‘Faada’ Henry, Community Activist

“We’re at the verge of sinking like titanic and I am saying to the Prime Minister of this nation last week when I brought this out that we have this medical school in Belize that people have been complaining that it is a ghost house and it is not effective for Belize at all, but it is giving Belize a bad name. No one takes me serious.”

Mike Rudon, Reporting

But people are taking notice, even if just because there have been questions asked about the legitimacy of American Global University in Belize for years, and there never seem to be any answers. Today that university supposedly operates out of this building in Ladyville, but there is never anybody there, and certainly no school in operation that anybody can see. Patrick Menzies is a lecturer at the University of Belize, and he maintains that medical schools are good for small countries.

Patrick Menzies

Patrick Menzies, Lecturer, University of Belize

“The effects of a legitimate law –abiding institution in the nation…well you are going to get Grenada; that’s the poster child for what an authentic, reputable, transparent institution can be. You look at the fact that the report was saying perhaps Grenada’s most unique feature is its medical school which has grown from a few hundred students thirty years ago, to some four thousand from over a hundred and forty countries. We believe in Belize; we exist on our number one income which is tourism. Well this can be a great way to raise money. As a matter of fact, under the leadership of its founder, Chancellor Charles Morika, St. George’s University has expanded to include four different schools; Medicine, Veterinary Medince, Arts and Science and a Graduate Student Program and it has a two hundred and fifty million dollar campus and they are the largest employer in the island. So I am saying this stuff works.”

But not if the schools in question are bogus, and Menzies has done extensive research which has convinced him that both American Global and Washington University are just that.

Patrick Menzies

“AGU are being candid. According to Peggy Allen, they graduated two hundred MDs, two hundred medical doctors. Okay. Where are they operating? I did a research on the web and guess what I found? I looked at their grads. I googled them; I couldn’t find any of them. Only one of them I found is a sister something—I forget her name now—that graduated and is now in the U.S. of all the folks they claim to have graduated, I can’t find them. Then I went to another school, CAHSU; that’s the Belize Medical School, they were in the media. And every single one of their grads that I googled, I found them operating in the U.S. as medical doctors. So we do have an institution here that actually works; that’s actually operating and I think it works. So we need to tell the government hey let’s do this thing; let’s do it right and let us support those that are legitimate. But let us get rid of those that are not.”

And there are other discrepancies and curiosities which suggest that all is not as is advertised with the schools, and both Menzies and Henry are calling on government to step in and do the right thing.

Patrick Menzies

“According to the website. You know I was reading about the reports from them and according to the website, it says that join us for the May 2013 Class. I’m sorry join us for the May 2013 class? But the reports that I read on the web said that they don’t open until September. So why does the website say they start in May 2013? I can show you the website right now. Go to it for yourself. Something is wrong. Tell us where are the students of basic science. If the other guys are on rotation, you should have some folks right here right now on basic science. Where are they at? Who are the members of staff? Where are they? Do they operate here? Who is the Dean that operates in Belize? Where are they at? These are questions in the education arena that are not being answered.”

Phillip ‘Faada’ Henry

“These people couldn’t come here and set up shop without somebody who are leading this nation. I am asking the Prime Minister. This flag behind me stands up. We are thirty years old, but it seems like thirty years is nothing. I don’t see you guys loving this nation.”

According to a release issued by American Medical Services, both American Global University and the Washington University are part of a medical university consortium operating under different accredited charters from the Government of Belize. Mike Rudon reporting for News Five.

Channel 5

#463042 - 04/25/13 05:20 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
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AGUSM Says It’s Moving, As In “Moving On Up”

The American Global University of Science and Medicine has been taking a public relations pounding for the past week – as social activist Phillip “Fawda” Henry has trained has trained his tasers on the Medical School. His main line of attack has been that the school is bogus, and manifestly so because it has moved into what appears to be an empty building on the Airport Road. Today a university spokespersons finally spoke up. Vice President Peggy Allen called media houses from the USA today where she said “Fawda” has got it all wrong; they have moved from San Pedro, but she says it is a move to expand operations:

Voice of Peggy Allen, V.P./Spokesperson, Agusm Via Telephone

"Some of these allegations have been put out there about our program and people don't understand truly what our program is. So I think that is where the confusion is and as for some of these reports that have come out have been totally misconstrued. We just finished our brand new campuses in San Pedro; we have been in San Pedro since January 2011. We just moved and when I say 'move' and you know sometimes that word 'move' has been miscontrued that we've moved and it is not a good thing. No, when we decide to relocate to a new location it is because of expansion purposes- there is a process as to renovating a building and to moving a campus and the first step and stage in this is to acquire the property and we just acquired this property and so that is stage 1 of the process that has been completed, the acquisiton of the property. We are just about finished with the planning and designs and I am assuming they're going to be done within the next week or two where we will begin to have construction crews coming into the campus and to begin the summmer renovations to the building. There is also enquiry as to why our webiste indicates that we are recruiting for May of 2013 when our campus is under revovations right now? Well to answer that question - is that we are continuously recruiting because we continue to have students coming into our program."

Rowland Parks - Reporter Newspaper
"Miss Allen can you say whether or not any Belizean has completed your course and program?"

Voice of Peggy Allen
"As a matter of fact we currently have a student in Chicago, Illinois right now and she is currently almost finished up with her second full semester for Clinical Science Program in Chcago, Illinois and I believe she will be probably one of the first students that actually complete the program."

Allen says the media will be invited to an event in July – and also said that we’ll be able to speak with the president of their student government.

Today, the Ministry of Education sent out a release saying that it will visit the school shortly. The Ministry of Health also plays a tangential role in this, and today CEO Peter Allen commented.

Dr. Peter Allen - CEO, Ministry of Health
" I am familiar with, I believe it's called a charter; the actual chartering falls under the Ministry of Education as you know but there is a medical school's accrediation committee and myself and other members of the Ministry of Health serve on the committee as well. I believe what these; I may be mistaken so forgive me if I am not perfectly correct on these, but I believe what the statuis is for these two institutions is a provisional charter where they basically made an application. They have been given a provisional charter based on a fee and a proposal document and then I think they have a twelve month period in which they are supposed to develop the full level of services that are required for a medical instituion in Belize. Certainly it looks as if they haven't acheived that but I am not familiar with the details, I'm afraid."

"There a lot of allegations out there; will the Ministry of Health be stepping in? People are saying these are just shells, this is scam to milk potential studens. Will the Ministry of Health be stepping in? Is the Ministry of Health concerned at this point?"

Dr. Peter Allen
Yes, of course, and as our capacity as members of the medical schools accreditation committee, really we are just trying to find out information in the same way as you are at the moment. It's been a little difficult to actually contact the principals, so we don't want to be premature in our actions but certainly it doesn't look good at the moment and we want to protect the good name of Belize and make sure that anybody who is doing business in our country does it according to international standards."

"If in your investigation you find that they are not credible institution, does the Ministry of Health have authority to close them down?"

Dr. Peter Allen
"Not the Ministry of Health, no , they are classed as educational institutions but the Ministry of Education through the medical schools accreditation committee, I assume, would look at the provisions of the charter documents and then enact the parts that would allow us to close down or to revoke the charter in the event that the conditions have not been met."

Channel 7

#463051 - 04/25/13 05:50 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
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Philip Henry and Patrick Menzies tell PLUS TV their concerns about Medical Schools in Belize

vlcsnap-2013-04-18-21h02m47s255Last week this station ran a series of stories detailing the phenomenon of medical schools in Belize. On Wednesday we featured local activist Philip “Fawda” Henry who has directed his ire at the American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM) in Ladyville for not being forthright about their credentials and past activities. Yesterday along with University of Belize professor Patrick Menzies, they hosted a press conference in Belize City to further outline their allegations against the school. The conference was well-attended by Henry’s supporters of his Do the Right Thing Pedestrian Crossing Program. The duo, appeared this morning in Rise and Shine where Henry says that he started following up on AGUSM after being contacted by some friends in the state of Ohio.

Philip “Fawda” Henry – Activist:
vlcsnap-2013-04-24-21h07m04s86These people contacted me and said that they came to this country, saw this website saying American Global in Belize.  They told me that first, when it was in some part of the country in Belmopan, they applied.  They saw these things on-line.  Now by they coming to this country here, trying to locate this area, and seeing all these things, they pay them money, and they don’t even find this American Global.  So it started to trigger me that, if American Global exists in Belize  and [is] taking people’s money, why are they hiding?  So I took up the initiative to start to do my investigation as “Do the right thing”. I went about finding out that they were in Belmopan from 2006, removed themselves  from there to San Pedro, like an express train, then left San Pedro to Ladyville.

Henry made allegations that the Vice President of AGUSM has been convicted of crimes in the states.

Philip “Fawda” Henry – Activist:
vlcsnap-2013-04-24-20h35m29s124Peggy Allen is one of them.  She was born in Ohio. She’s an American citizen, and has been given so much opportunity to destroy my Belize, our nation, every one of you in here.  It is so disgusting that I had to call in to the morning show, and somebody has paid a female to perform for maybe 10 or 20 dollars to say stupidness against her country. She has failed us miserably. But we have to know about this.  There are multiple charges against this woman, Peggy Allen, and the cases are still pending in the United States of America.  You have the world financial network who have also a civil lawsuit against us.  You have also the State of Ohio who have a lawsuit against Peggy Allen.

Dr Menzies says he was intrigued by Allen’s telephone interview with PLUS News in which she claimed that the school has graduated 200 medical doctors.

Patrick Menzies – UB Lecturer:
vlcsnap-2013-04-24-21h08m12s252AGU are being candid. According to Peggy Allen, they graduated two hundred MDs, two hundred medical doctors. Okay. Where are they operating? I did a research on the web and guess what I found? I looked at their grads. I Googled them; I couldn’t find any of them. Only one of them I found is a sister something—I forget her name now—that graduated and is now in the U.S. of all the folks they claim to have graduated, I can’t find them. Then I went to another school, CAHSU; that’s the Belize Medical School, they were in the media. And every single one of their grads that I Googled, I found them operating in the U.S. as medical doctors. So we do have an institution here that actually works; that’s actually operating and I think it works. So we need to tell the Government hey let’s do this thing; let’s do it right and let us support those that are legitimate. But let us get rid of those that are not.

Dr Menzies, who took his concerns to the Ministry of Education this week, says more can be done.

Patrick Menzies -  UB Lecturer:
wuhs-logo3The reality is that pulling stuff out of the Ministry has been a little bit tough.  So we’re challenging the Ministry, let’s do it.  I spoke to a member, an individual, who actually is a part of that Board, and said “You know what?  This thing is not really operating”  I’m not going to give the persons name. A Senior Government Official said this thing is not working.  So basically, whoever is the one authorizing one charter for two medical universities, something smells funky.  Something isn’t right.

Government will strengthen monitoring of medical schools

Plus news has been doing a series of stories on Medical Schools who have been granted charters to operate in Belize. One which has taken up the interest of the Belizean public is American Global University School of Medicine. As we told you earlier Phillip “Fawda” Henry along with Patrick Menzies  of BelizeCAN has taken a strong stance against the school and is asking the Ministry of Education to respond to the matter. Well, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports (MoEYS) sent out a press release expressing it’s  concern of putting into context recent statements made to media by certain individuals regarding the situation of American Global University School of Medicine. The matter was discussed on Rise and Shine this morning where Minister of Education the Hon. Patrick Faber called in to explain some of the points listed in that release.

Hon Patrick Faber – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports:
vlcsnap-2013-04-24-20h57m41s139American Global University’s School of Medicine was given a charter to operate a medical school in Belize and this charter was issued in November of 2005. That is important in itself, because while I don’t want to get into a blame game and go back to what the previous administration did, I understand that the charter was issued in an error, where these six or seven other charters were issued for medical schools, most of which never materialized at all and were completely fraudulent. When I became Minister, I found a situation where there were a lot of scandals and a lot of complaints even to the Ministry. So we investigated all of them, including what was being said at the time – that this same American Global University has moved its campus. You will remember it was in Belmopan and then it moved to San Pedro and they were numerous complaints. 

Faber added that the charter was granted under the previous administration and that the Charter does not prohibit the school from changing its location within Belize nor does it require them to notify of changes in location.

Hon Patrick Faber – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports:
vlcsnap-2013-04-18-08h33m40s115While I appreciate any Belizean who is trying to champion the cause of Belize and trying to make sure, as I would do myself, trying to make sure that the name of Belize is not dragged through the mud. I also want them to be aware, if they aren’t already aware, that this school in fact has its own internal controversy and there are players locally and abroad who of course have been in a conflict back and forth – the two principals of American Global, the two people who the medical council engaged back then in 200; there have been lawsuits, there have been complaints made. There have been one party getting a lawyer and asking us to hand over the charter to this one and to that one. There is more than whatever controversial issues of nonexistent buildings or students, there is more going on in this entire story than that.

Faber expressed this morning that in late February, 2013, the President-CEO of the school wrote to inform of the proposed relocation to a site on the Phillip S. W. Goldson International Airport Road, Ladyville, Belize. The Minister says that he was a guest speaker at one of AGUSM graduation.

Hon Patrick Faber – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports:
agu-web-logoI will tell you that I have attended a graduation of American Global University. I have met with students who have shared their experiences with me and I have heard there students about the rotations that they have done in various parts of the world. I have heard their stories as they recount them about their time in Belize, so I don’t know what is the situation today, but I can tell you, whether or not something is going wrong now that in the past there have been students and I have met those students and I attended one of their graduations in Ohio and was their speaker. So it’s not fictitious certainly back then when I attended, which was probably in 2010. However it certainly was not a fictitious school then. Now under the charter that they signed and this is what the release says, back in 2005, they needed not report to the Ministry when they were moving the school. 

He also add that if there’s any deficiencies in operation or violations of their charter that is found. That matter will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of their charter which makes provisions for remedying breaches within a certain time frame or else face possible termination of their charter.

Hon Patrick Faber – Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports:
It is explained that students come from all over the world and all over the US there are students who I met from the US in particular and they were saying that to travel to a location in the US would have been easier for us than for all of those students and their families to come to Belize for the graduation ceremony. I attended that gradation in a hotel ball room and it was there that I spoke to the students who graduated. I believe there were probably about fifteen students on that occasion that graduated and they told me their stories about being in Belmopan and being in San Pedro. I am not vouching for them, I am simply saying that I have had that experience. Either that or it was a very good act that these students could tell me about their friends in Belize and about people they know in Belize. I am telling you, they had at least a graduation where I was their guest speaker. If something has gone terribly wrong since that time, that’s another issue and I am saying that we are not here to protect and shelter anyone. I am certainly not here to do that. If indeed they are in a violation of anything that is under their charter then we will deal with that to the full extent of the law.

The Minister also stated that the Ministry of Education Youth and Sports in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and the Medical Council of Belize through the Belize Medical Schools Registration Committee began a process to institute a more rigorous procedure for granting charters to prospective medical schools and to increase and strengthen the monitoring of such institutions to ensure that they remain in compliance with their charters.



Activists say yes, but Ministry of Education says no

Activist and president of the “Do the Right Thing” Pedestrian Crossing Program, Philip “Fawda” Henry, has been pressuring the Government of Belize to investigate the legitimacy of American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM) in Belize.

Henry claims that the medical school is a fraudulent institution that is not contributing in any way to the nation of Belize.

AGUSM vice-president, Peggy Allen, has spoken to the media in Belize and objected to all allegations Henry has made against the school.

Some of the allegations were that there aren’t any students enrolled at the institution because no one has ever seen anyone on the school grounds and the school has relocated several times because it’s constantly under investigation for the validity of its programs.

To those allegations, Allen said that students are currently not attending on-campus classes because they are enrolled in clinical rotations in contracted hospitals throughout the United States and the United Kingdom. For that reason, the students have no need to check in on-campus.

Allen said that the school has changed locations, but only to expand the campus. Both the current Ladyville campus and the former San Pedro campus are undergoing renovations at this time, she added. No one will be on-campus during renovations, other than the construction workers, she further explained.

A concern was also raised as to why the AGUSM website stated that the school is enrolling for their May 2013 class, despite the fact that no students are at the school.

Allen said that they are constantly enrolling students into their program but that doesn’t mean that the students will be on the campus after enrollment. She said that the medical program has two separate programs and the first part of the program is housed on their Belize campus, but every semester they have students who transfer into the programs.

Henry staged a one-man protest in front of the AGUSM campus in Ladyville last week. There, he told the media that no one has ever been seen on the school grounds, and when he arrived at the school that day, the only two persons who were on the school grounds left when he arrived.

On Tuesday, April 23, Henry was joined by the president of BelizeCan, Patrick Menzies, and a group of Ladyville residents at a press conference, where they voiced their concerns about the legitimacy of AGUSM.

Henry said he believes that the Government has not taken the situation or the people of Belize seriously.

“The American Global University that is in Belize has been doing some shady stuff,” he said. “People have been applying for medical schools in the Caribbean, like Belize. They come to this country in order to see that what they see on the Internet is true, or it’s all hocus-pocus. All these things they are paying their money for are not in existence,” said Henry.

Henry said that no students have been seen at the school, and that makes him, and members of the Ladyville community, believe that there aren’t any students enrolled at the medical school.

Menzies said that medical schools can be beneficial for Belize if they are properly instituted, but he does not believe that AGUSM is one of those schools. He said the school claims to have graduated 200 medical doctors, but he did not find any of those students in an online research he carried out.

He added that the Government needs to get involved in the situation and investigate the school.

“People are being exploited, taken advantage of, being ripped off,” he said. “We need to stop the madness.”

Menzies said that in the same way the Ministry of Education is pressing to legitimize the teachers of Belize, the Ministry should make sure that they legitimize the other institutions in the country.

There wasn’t much coming from the Government in response to the allegations about AGUSM until Tuesday, April 23, when a press release was issued by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports.

AGUSM was originally opened in Belmopan, but has since relocated to San Pedro, and now to Ladyville, said the release, which added that AGUSM was given a charter to operate a medical school in November 2005 under the previous administration, and the charter does not require the administration to notify the Government of changes in location.

The Ministry included in its release that an inspection of the new location had been planned, but wasn’t done because the move occurred at the end of the fiscal year and made it (the inspection) difficult to conduct. The visit is to happen shortly, the Ministry said.

The release stated that “Any deficiencies in operation or violations of their charter that is found will be dealt with in accordance with the provisions of their charter which makes provisions for remedying breaches within a certain time frame or else face possible termination of their charter.”

The president of AGUSM, Dr. Malik Soudah, has called a press conference to be held on Friday, April 26, to discuss the situation.


#463588 - 05/03/13 05:11 AM Re: International medical colleges in Belize [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Oct 1999
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AGUSM Bites Back, Says Smear Campaign Funded By Detractors

For the past two weeks, The American global University of Science and Medicine has been taking a pounding in the press – and the man driving the issue if Phillip Fawda Henry. He’s made all kinds of claims against the school, saying basically that it’s a sham operation. Well, today, after a press release and a phone interview, AGUSM came out swinging. The Medical school held a two hour media breakfast where there was a lively and illuminating exchange. Here’s a small portion of that:…

Dr. Malik Soudah - President - AGUSM
"All I want from you guys - the media is to give us a fair shot to defend ourselves and present our case and our side of the story."

Jules Vasquez reporting
And so, this morning Dr. Malik Suda and his assistant Dean, Belizean doctor Dr. Eduardo Giovanni Solarzano as well as the president of the student government, Sarah Thompson - held a media breakfast to make the point emphatically that the school with campuses in San Pedro and Ladyville is legitimate.

Dr. Eduardo Giovanni Solarzano - Dean, Basic Science
"We have one campus in San Pedro at the moment which is Washington University of Health and Science. When we got the charter the other medical school moved to Belize City."

He says they teach science in classrooms in Belize for 4 semesters and six semesters clinical training in the US.

Dr. Malik Soudah
"When someone finishes from here, we take them back to the Clinicals. Our US and Canadian students go back to the States to these accredited hospitals where we teach them there clinical years. They sit for the United States Medical License's Exam."

Sarah Thompson - President - AGUSM Student Government
"I actually went to a different Medical School and chose to transfer here in January because the program is so advanced and the facilities are so nice. They actually teach their classes geared towards the US which I wasn't getting in a different University. I'm really happy with it. I have friends in State schools, in Caribbean Schools and a lot of them are actually looking into Belize and they are excited to maybe be a part of this program."

And that Ladyville Campus acquired in March is just being remodeled for September – it is not abandoned, as has been suggested in what he calls a smear campaign.

Dr. Malik Soudah
"We're taking the Summer to remodel the building and someone started a 'Smear Campaign' against the University. I don't know why the reason for that. They are saying that it is a 'shell school' and that 'no one is there'. That is absolutely not true. Unfortunately some of these people were misled and misinformed about the truth and I am not sure who is behind this smear campaign. All this negative press about the school, I don't understand. I am going to be honest with you - there is another Medical School in Belize and I don't even consider them competition for us, there isn't any competition. I don't know who this guy Henry is - is he Medical authority? Can he talk about curriculum? Can he talk about Medical School? He goes and spread all these lies about the school - he must be someone paid by someone. Do you get my point? Suddenly someone shows up at the campus and started trashing us in the media and started spreading all this misguided information and someone has to be behind it."

Jules Vasquez

"But how would you respond to the most specific allegation that it is a 'Diploma Mill' that students do not have to meet minimum requirements and that in fact they just enter your school so that they get a degree? In 2010 - full disclosure - I collaborated with Central American Health Sciences University to expose your school and it didn't make it to the air because the story was tainted. A doctor, Sergio Mendez."

(interrupted by Dr. Malik Soudah)
"He works for who?"

Jules Vasquez continues
"He is a phantom - he doesn't exist."

Dr. Malik Soudah
"Okay he is a phantom and then what happened?"

Jules Vasquez
"He is just someone that I plucked out of my office and I sent to the school as Dr. Sergio Mendez. This is how his case progressed."

Dr. Malik Soudah
"Can I ask you a question? This idea came from you or did someone tell you 'Why don't you hire someone?'

Jules Vasquez
"Sir, I disclosed it at the start. This entire sting was set up by Central American Health Sciences University. Let me finish. This 'Phantom' wrote to your school and said that he had finished XYZ classes at Central American Health Sciences University. He didn't provide any official transcript and there wasn't a request for an official transcript and he didn't provide any identification. He paid some money around $1,500us - I'm not certain of the figures as this was May 2010. I sent an employee of mine with a hidden camera up to the school in Belmopan. He went in and still had not presented his ID and they told him that they were waiting for him. He then entered a class and took out his laptop and they gave him notes on a PDF, they asked him a question in the class. This person never presented any certified record that they had complete one class which he had not and this person didn't present an identification."

Dr. Malik Soudah
"First of all, we know this was a set up. They know the admission trick and that they were trying to set us up. Why? To show the American Global that they are fake and 'diploma mill' and other stuff. But what you don't know and they don't know is that we follow procedures. Let me tell you what happened with this story. This guy came and said that he wanted to join the school. We said sure - fill out an application. This person filled an application - that is number one. He didn't just walk in the door and started a class. He did fill an application. If you go to online and you see the applications - there are documents that have to be presented in the application. He came and submitted the application. The way you presented the story you did not mention that. Number two - we did ask him to provide transcript and his answer was that they didn't give him transcript because it was a lot of money. We told him that we could have given him a 'provisional acceptance' - meaning he will come but he has 30 or 60 days to provide official transcript for us."

Jules Vasquez
"But no identification was provided. No identification exists. This person is a phantom."

Dr. Malik Soudah
"You know we contacted this person three days after this. This isn't a part of your story. We contacted him and said 'Excuse me - how comes you are not in school'. We did a follow up on his application. We have to be nice and follow protocol with anybody that comes to the school. I can't assume these are bad people trying to set me up, I have to treat everybody equally. So if someone wants to come to the school - fill an application and we give you provisional acceptance and then we do our own investigations. In three days this guy did not answer his phone. Did we issue a degree for him? Did we make him a doctor? Is he practicing in a surgical room? It's a set up."

Jules Vasquez
"He said I got a C in Human Biology and I got a D in others."

Dr. Malik Soudah
"That's fine"

Jules Vasquez
"That's not fine sir. That's very irregular."

Dr. Malik Soudah
"This is why we followed up three days after by calling him and the guy disappeared. We're accused of a 'degree mill'. When someone tries to set you up - I take it as an insult when people try to do these kinds of tricks on us."

Dr. Eduardo Giovanni Solarzano "At the end of the day - you have to pass the exams. If you don't pass your board exams - then it doesn't matter which school you went to then you will never be able to practice. So let's keep this behind us. This is bogus information."

And so they are moving on and say their campus is open for scrutiny.

Dr. Eduardo Giovanni Solarzano
"If you want to come today then you are welcome to come to our campus in San Pedro and we are there. This issue about we're not there and no one is answering their telephone; we need to clarify that because we are there."

As noted earlier in the story, the session lasted two hours, and ended with the undertaking that the media, the Ministry and all who care to visit will be invited to the re-opening of the renovated San Pedro Campus on July 16th.

Channel 7

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