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Jungloobal

Best match for the IMG to Canada: US DO or Australia or Ireland

Where would you go?  

24 members have voted

  1. 1. Where would you go as an IMG back to Canada (and why)

    • Ireland
      3
    • Australia
      7
    • US DO
      14


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Hey guys, I'm at a cross-road for where to go if I want to continue the dream of getting into med school. I really goofed up my first couple years leading to an ~3.4 GPA after 6 years (5 years of BioSci and 1 year Psyc minor). The last 2-3 years were decent with a respective 3.6, 3.96, 3.8 GPA. Unfortunately I can't seem to get over the MCAT hump having written 3 times with a 500, 501, and 502 scores. The last one (502) had a 126 in CARS so I decided to apply to UofC and UofA being from Alberta (although definitely not holding my breath). I have very good ECs including fluency in 3 languages, lots of travel experience, and varsity soccer for what it's worth.

I've all but given up on the Canadian dream and deciding what my best shot is for med school with hopes of returning back after I'm done. The choice is between USDO, Australia, and Ireland and from the numerous threads I've read so far, it seems like Australia has the slight edge over the others due to the fact that they give MD degrees as well as residency if I am unable to match back to Canada. 

So I want to get some advice on what you have all found. I'm biased in that I don't want to travel a full day across the world to Australia especially if I'll need to make that commute several times for blocks in order to establish networks here for a possible return. 

This other thread made USDO sound equivalent to the Australia and Ireland IMG path but that sounds too good to be true. I feel there is bias against USDO degrees rather than USMD or degress from Ireland/Australia. I'd obviously love to stay within North America but I want to maximize my chances of matching. If it helps, I'm aiming for family medicine which is supposedly the least competitive anyways. 

TLDR: With a 3.4 cGPA and 502 MCAT, what would you do if you were me? USDO/AUS/IRE??? Thanks! :)

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I would go to Australia if you can afford it, living costs are expensive and so is tuition, but Australia is an absolutely beautiful country with great weather. Broadly, all these options are similar, if you just wanted to be a doctor in the US/Canada, US DO is going to be better, but lets be real. A lot of people grew up viewing Doctor = MD and the thought of being a DO for the rest of your life can feel uncomfortable, especially if you do end up practicing in a country like Canada where there is much less recognition for DO's. With the MBBS or MB ChB degrees you get in Ireland and some Aussie schools, you are allowed to call yourself an MD once you get licensed in the US at least. 

Before, when US DO's were considered CMGs, there was an argument in favour of US DO schools, but now, things are different. 

Australia and Ireland match much better to Canada than US DO's, i've yet to meet a US DO in real life but I have met a lot of Irish grads and a few Aussie ones. 

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I'm in more or less the same boat as OP but I just wanted to ask a follow up question here rather than start a new thread, to my understanding there are certain med schools in Ireland/Caribbean/Australia that set you up better to come back to Canada, whereas others make it nearly impossible to come back. @Edict , would you (or anyone else) happen to know which schools are more promising than others/where I can find this information? Thanks!

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USDOs have a higher overall match rate between canada and the US.  

You know yourself best, if you end up being below average in med school its much safer to be a USMD or USDO than other IMG.  USDO has a lot more room for error than Aussie etc for matching. Matching in Canada all around is difficult. US match is a near guarantee as a USDO even if you have a low step 1 as long as your flexible.

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Thanks for all the replies guys! Seems like USDO is gaining more support than previous years. I just bought a book by a former premed101 user who wrote about their journey through the USDO system and all the fake taboo that occurs regarding IMGs. 

 

Got until early summer to decide so I'll keep researching on all three choices. 

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3 hours ago, GrouchoMarx said:

give up and do something else

youll save money

 

That’s very discouraging of you and I admire this users dedication to get into medical school.  I don’t know much but I know 3 people who actually did a USDO program and returned and have their own practices here. I don’t know anyone from Australia personally, but I’m sure it’s been done. 

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1 hour ago, sympatheticsystem said:

That’s very discouraging of you and I admire this users dedication to get into medical school.  I don’t know much but I know 3 people who actually did a USDO program and returned and have their own practices here. I don’t know anyone from Australia personally, but I’m sure it’s been done. 

The odds are not good is what GrouchoMarx is saying, regardless how blunt it was. The IMG match rate is 22.6% in the 2018 R-1Match.

2045664719_ScreenShot2019-01-11at17_24_29.thumb.png.4c95e3ac25acbd42e9dbf83abeffcf83.png

 

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@Jungloobal You should comb through the most recent match report: https://www.carms.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-carms-forum.pdf 

Just ctrl-F "IMG" and digest the information first-hand. It appears that Oceania (Australia/NZ) had the highest match rate at 53% in terms of region, then Europe at 41%. Of note, Ireland had a match rate of 54.1%; UK had a match rate of 39.3%. 

As with everything in life, caveat emptor. 

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On 1/9/2019 at 7:19 PM, Edict said:

I would go to Australia if you can afford it, living costs are expensive and so is tuition, but Australia is an absolutely beautiful country with great weather. Broadly, all these options are similar, if you just wanted to be a doctor in the US/Canada, US DO is going to be better, but lets be real. A lot of people grew up viewing Doctor = MD and the thought of being a DO for the rest of your life can feel uncomfortable, especially if you do end up practicing in a country like Canada where there is much less recognition for DO's. With the MBBS or MB ChB degrees you get in Ireland and some Aussie schools, you are allowed to call yourself an MD once you get licensed in the US at least. 

Before, when US DO's were considered CMGs, there was an argument in favour of US DO schools, but now, things are different. 

Australia and Ireland match much better to Canada than US DO's, i've yet to meet a US DO in real life but I have met a lot of Irish grads and a few Aussie ones. 

Cmon man... You're essentially telling someone to go blow 300k (400k?) and 4-5 years away.  

You're most likely not matching in Canada as an IMG. Even the best Canadian IMGs aim for the US match in parallel to CaRMS. And in the US match, a DO with mediocre/average scores blows away a great IMG with amazing scores. Just go see SDN and their excel file, Canadian IMGs with good scores barely have any invites (even after applying to hundreds of programs) whereas relatively weak DOs have dozens. Even US citizen IMGs reallyy struggle. 

And a US residency in FM is the only for sure way back to Canada for IMGs. Comparing the low odds of matching CaRMs for Australia versus wherever is nuts when you're putting all that money and time on the line. I mean you can call yourself an MD or MBBS or DO whatever, but what's the point when you aren't practicing after all that time/energy/money? The average person thinks doctors are phds.  

If it means anything, I know 4 DOs who tried CaRMS the last 2 years. They all matched to their #1 choice. What happens when you're in Australia or Ireland and the curriculum is in no way preparing you for the USMLEs? You're then rolling the IMG dice which is hoping to score something ridiculous on the MCCQE and the OSCE. 

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11 hours ago, medigeek said:

What happens when you're in Australia or Ireland and the curriculum is in no way preparing you for the USMLEs? You're then rolling the IMG dice which is hoping to score something ridiculous on the MCCQE and the OSCE. 

Likely less so for Australia given the distance, but I know there are quite a few schools in Ireland that have catered their graduate medicine curriculum to the USMLE (including ending classes in March of second year to allow time to study for step 1) to try and attract more North American students (because $$$). RCSI, UC Dublin and UC Cork for example.

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1 hour ago, xiphoid said:

Likely less so for Australia given the distance, but I know there are quite a few schools in Ireland that have catered their graduate medicine curriculum to the USMLE (including ending classes in March of second year to allow time to study for step 1) to try and attract more North American students (because $$$). RCSI, UC Dublin and UC Cork for example.

I think what bothers me is people pushing others to go ahead and mess up their life over insignificant prestige. 

These big loans are cosigned by family members, who are then on the hook once you don't get a residency (which you very likely will not as an IMG). And how rational is it to leave the US option for a far away continent? And even if you do manage to get a good usmle score (which everyone swears they will, but few actually do), you're fighting for the scraps against DOs who failed boards in the US match. 

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If it helps at all, I don't care about the title. If the process for a USDO is much more efficient than Australia albeit with a less prestigious title I will do that hands down. Like I said, the end goal is matching to family medicine in hopes of specializing further in sports medicine.

The only concern is whether USDO's are seen as inferior to MDs in the professional field. I don't want to be systematically restrained for having a different title if I choose the USDO path. 

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50 minutes ago, Jungloobal said:

If it helps at all, I don't care about the title. If the process for a USDO is much more efficient than Australia albeit with a less prestigious title I will do that hands down. Like I said, the end goal is matching to family medicine in hopes of specializing further in sports medicine.

The only concern is whether USDO's are seen as inferior to MDs in the professional field. I don't want to be systematically restrained for having a different title if I choose the USDO path. 

You won't be restrained. Its not like youre destined to be a Nobel prize winner anyways. No one cares in the real medicine world because everyone is to busy working and making money. If you want sports med, DO is even more impetus. The manual therapy hooplah is getting big in the physiotherapy world also and there are lots of sports med docs in the US that are DOs..because they spend more time actually learning MSK anatomy etc.

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1 hour ago, Jungloobal said:

If it helps at all, I don't care about the title. If the process for a USDO is much more efficient than Australia albeit with a less prestigious title I will do that hands down. Like I said, the end goal is matching to family medicine in hopes of specializing further in sports medicine.

The only concern is whether USDO's are seen as inferior to MDs in the professional field. I don't want to be systematically restrained for having a different title if I choose the USDO path. 

Well you're not going to be chief of pediatric neurosurgery but hey I doubt most MDs would reach that point anyway. 

I don't understand why you think you would be restrained as a DO? If you go the ireland/carib/australia route, you most likely will never practice medicine. This is increasingly true year by year, and by the time 2024-2025 comes around, the situation will be immensely worse. 

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22 hours ago, medigeek said:

I think what bothers me is people pushing others to go ahead and mess up their life over insignificant prestige. 

These big loans are cosigned by family members, who are then on the hook once you don't get a residency (which you very likely will not as an IMG). And how rational is it to leave the US option for a far away continent? And even if you do manage to get a good usmle score (which everyone swears they will, but few actually do), you're fighting for the scraps against DOs who failed boards in the US match. 

Hey, I'm all for US DO over IMG - I just wanted to point out that the Irish medical curriculum itself will not be the reason someone is hindered or unsuccessful at matching into residency.

Given OP's GPA and MCAT though, I wonder if US DO is a realistic option however. I'm not familiar with the DO process, but based on the AACOM 2017 report, the average GPA and MCAT in 2016 of admitted applicants was 3.54 and 502, and I wouldn't be surprised if the requirements are higher for international applicants than US citizens/PRs.

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2 hours ago, xiphoid said:

Hey, I'm all for US DO over IMG - I just wanted to point out that the Irish medical curriculum itself will not be the reason someone is hindered or unsuccessful at matching into residency.

Given OP's GPA and MCAT though, I wonder if US DO is a realistic option however. I'm not familiar with the DO process, but based on the AACOM 2017 report, the average GPA and MCAT in 2016 of admitted applicants was 3.54 and 502, and I wouldn't be surprised if the requirements are higher for international applicants than US citizens/PRs.

Youre right OPs stats are bit less than desirable, that said upward trend is helpful in their GPA.  MCAT score is low, but seems like maybe its CARS holding them back and they have stronger scores in sciences, which is helpful in a sense.  If they have strong non-academics, they may be able to overcome. Varsity sport is helpful in the US too.  Worth a shot anyways. 

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On 1/11/2019 at 11:16 PM, medigeek said:

Cmon man... You're essentially telling someone to go blow 300k (400k?) and 4-5 years away.  

You're most likely not matching in Canada as an IMG. Even the best Canadian IMGs aim for the US match in parallel to CaRMS. And in the US match, a DO with mediocre/average scores blows away a great IMG with amazing scores. Just go see SDN and their excel file, Canadian IMGs with good scores barely have any invites (even after applying to hundreds of programs) whereas relatively weak DOs have dozens. Even US citizen IMGs reallyy struggle. 

And a US residency in FM is the only for sure way back to Canada for IMGs. Comparing the low odds of matching CaRMs for Australia versus wherever is nuts when you're putting all that money and time on the line. I mean you can call yourself an MD or MBBS or DO whatever, but what's the point when you aren't practicing after all that time/energy/money? The average person thinks doctors are phds.  

If it means anything, I know 4 DOs who tried CaRMS the last 2 years. They all matched to their #1 choice. What happens when you're in Australia or Ireland and the curriculum is in no way preparing you for the USMLEs? You're then rolling the IMG dice which is hoping to score something ridiculous on the MCCQE and the OSCE. 

The match rate from these Irish/Aussie schools is something around 50-60% to Canada. Another 20-30% are going to match to the US and most of the rest will find themselves getting trained in Australia, Ireland i'm not so sure, so unless they are EU they may find some trouble. 

All in all, its not a bad option, there are way more Canadians going to Ireland and Australia and the Caribbean and they have been for years. If you get into a US DO program then great. If your goal is NA doctor or bust, US DO is a better option. But if your goal is Canada or just a doctor somewhere in the world, then Aus/Ire may be better. 

I genuinely have never met a DO in training here, i'd say 30% Caribbean, 50% Irish/UK, 20% aussie approximately from the CSAs i've seen, this is anecdotal of course. 

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4 minutes ago, Edict said:

The match rate from these Irish/Aussie schools is something around 50-60% to Canada. Another 20-30% are going to match to the US and most of the rest will find themselves getting trained in Australia, Ireland i'm not so sure, so unless they are EU they may find some trouble. 

All in all, its not a bad option, there are way more Canadians going to Ireland and Australia and the Caribbean and they have been for years. If you get into a US DO program then great. If your goal is NA doctor or bust, US DO is a better option. But if your goal is Canada or just a doctor somewhere in the world, then Aus/Ire may be better. 

I genuinely have never met a DO in training here, i'd say 30% Caribbean, 50% Irish/UK, 20% aussie approximately from the CSAs i've seen, this is anecdotal of course. 

I think you're missing the bigpicture here. A DO has a >95% chance of practicing in Canada. An IMG from the best Irish/Aussie school has a much lower chance than that (50%, or your 50% + 20% for USA). All you have to do as a DO is pass boards in USA and you will match there --> make it back to Canada very easily after a USA residency. Should you pursue CaRMS, your odds are identical to the Ireland/Australia IMGs.

What you have to consider is the IMG selection process. Your school/country of grad is barely relevant. They take two exams and have to score absurdly high to be granted an interview. From there, as long as you have average communication skills - you match. The barrier to entry is the extremely high thresholds for the two exams. 

At the same time, what are the downsides to the DO route in this context? I can't think of a single one. The two in practice I know are more than okay. 

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14 minutes ago, medigeek said:

I think you're missing the bigpicture here. A DO has a >95% chance of practicing in Canada. An IMG from the best Irish/Aussie school has a much lower chance than that (50%, or your 50% + 20% for USA). All you have to do as a DO is pass boards in USA and you will match there --> make it back to Canada very easily after a USA residency. Should you pursue CaRMS, your odds are identical to the Ireland/Australia IMGs.

What you have to consider is the IMG selection process. Your school/country of grad is barely relevant. They take two exams and have to score absurdly high to be granted an interview. From there, as long as you have average communication skills - you match. The barrier to entry is the extremely high thresholds for the two exams. 

At the same time, what are the downsides to the DO route in this context? I can't think of a single one. The two in practice I know are more than okay. 

True, good point about the US DO + Residency then Canadian practice. It depends on what your goals are. If your goals are community practice in Canada no matter what, i'd agree, DO is the best. If you just want to practice in North America, DO is the best. There are DOs that have made it to the upper echelon's of academic medicine in the US. I still think there is a role for Ireland/Aussie etc. however, doing your residency in Canada does still help when it comes to getting more desirable jobs in Canada. 

 

Bottom line: if you go to a US DO school, you can rest assured u'll be a doctor somewhere in North America. You will have the potential of community to academic medicine and subspecialty as well in the US and definitely have the potential of community practice in Canada depending on the job market. The only negative i'd say is DO schools may not be in as desirable places to live and if you aren't too keen on the US, it may not be great. 

If you go to Australia, you'll probably be a doctor somewhere, Australia hasn't let anyone graduate and not let them stay so far, there have been crises where things became political but in the end things were resolved. Your chances of matching back to Canada are somewhere around 60%, the other 10-20% will probably get into the US. Or you can stay in Australia. CaRMS isn't a cakewalk, which means you will have to work hard, but neither is doing your USMLEs in the US. The benefits though would be you get to live in Australia for 4 years which is nice but expensive. 

 

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15 hours ago, Edict said:

I genuinely have never met a DO in training here, i'd say 30% Caribbean, 50% Irish/UK, 20% aussie approximately from the CSAs i've seen, this is anecdotal of course. 

I've also never met a DO in the many years I worked at the downtown Toronto hospitals. Part of me thinks that UofT perhaps is not the best representation, because jobs there even for CMGs, aren't the easiest to come by (certain surgery subspecialties in particular). There may be a lot more room for DOs in community hospitals and/or hospitals outside of Toronto/GTA.

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This is completely anecdotal, but the only IMG CSAs I’ve worked with (5 in total, out of a larger number of residents rotating through the centre where I worked prior to pursuing a PhD) have been Irish grads. I don’t know if that’s because the family medicine program here locally prefers Irish grads over other IMGs, or if there is some other reason. I am not in Toronto, but another Ontario city with a medical school.

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Also anecdotal - I'm an Aussie IMG, and there are several of us hoping to make our way back into Canada. From electives I've done at UWO, I have seen some AUS grads working here. As well, according to a Canadian McGill fellow working in a hospital in Australia, the examination material is quite similar to that of Monash (which is where I'm studying currently).

At the end of the day though, the situation is bleak - just look at the CARMS stats. It's important to be aware of that.

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