Relocation of Caribbean Medical Schools Impacted by Hurricane Irma

ECFMG is monitoring the impact of Hurricane Irma and its widespread and significant destruction throughout the Caribbean. Many international medical students, including U.S. citizens, study at medical schools located in the Caribbean, and some of these facilities are now no longer able to operate safely as a result of Hurricane Irma. Some impacted medical schools have temporarily relocated their educational activity to the United States to minimize disruption of their students’ medical education until they are safely able to return to their educational facilities in the Caribbean. ECFMG supports efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of international medical students impacted by these and other catastrophic events.

ECFMG defines an international medical school as a medical school or program chartered and operated under the authority of a country outside the United States and Canada whose graduates are eligible to practice medicine in that country upon graduation. Medical schools or programs operating in the United States, its territories or protectorates, and Canada, or that are accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), are not considered international medical schools for the purposes of ECFMG Certification. However, ECFMG recognizes the gravity of the impact that Hurricane Irma has had on some medical schools and their students in the Caribbean. ECFMG supports the effort of the officials of impacted medical schools to ensure the safety of medical students and staff by temporarily relocating educational facilities. If educational activities are temporarily relocated as a result of Hurricane Irma or any other catastrophic event, the temporary relocation should be approved by the applicable governmental authorities of the home country and by the accrediting authority, if any. Any school temporarily relocated to the United States that extends beyond the temporary period will not be considered to be an international medical school, and its students may no longer be eligible for ECFMG Certification, including registration for the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) as a step toward ECFMG Certification.

Schools that have relocated or plan to relocate their operations to the United States or elsewhere as a result of Hurricane Irma should provide ECFMG with: a) a formal notice to ECFMG that includes the address of where the school is temporarily located and the expected date of when the school will return to its home country, b) copies of approvals from the home country governmental authorities, and c) copies of approvals from the accrediting agency, if any. This information should be e-mailed to Medical Education Resources at, along with any questions or comments.

Finally, ECFMG expresses its sympathy and concern for everyone impacted by Hurricane Irma and hopes that medical schools are able to return to normal operations as quickly as possible.