Since starting operations in the island in February, 2012, the American University of Barbados School of Medicine has pumped US$1 million into the local economy every year after.
Founder and chief executive officer Dr Gary Brar made the disclosure today at the official opening of the new campus at Lands Down, Silver Sands, Christ Church.
He further disclosed that in keeping with a promise made to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and the people of Barbados, the university would establish a medical clinic.
“The clinic will offer diagnosis, treatment and medication to patients as stated before at no cost to the people of Barbados,” the university founder and CEO said.
Brar said the new campus was a manifestation of the directors’ declared intention to develop a modern school of medicine in Barbados.
He gave Barbadians and the wider world the assurance that its modern facilities and scope would make the medical facility and campus second to none in the Caribbean.
Pointing out that the facility satisfied a need for medical schools in the region, Brar said: “The need for this facility became more apparent as we not only had an inordinate number of applications and admissions, but also an increasing number of students who were transferring from existing Caribbean medical schools and from US medical schools.”
He said that the decision to more than quadruple the size of the facilities offered at the Wildey Estate campus was taken to develop a medical school which would make significant contributions to the education of students from Barbados, the Caribbean, the United States, Canada, Africa, India and other continents.
In a brief presentation, Dean of the Faculty of the School of Medicine, Professor Shabih Zaidi, a former lecturer at the University of Birmingham, announced that in August the school would host an international conference which is expected to attract 300 doctors. The delegates are expected to explore non-communicable diseases.
Zaidi also announced that in August the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh will be holding a workshop at the university for family physicians.
It is anticipated that the medical school, in collaboration with the World Health Organization and some universities in the UBritain, will be conducting epidemiological studies on preventable disabilities in the Latin America region.
Meanwhile, in his presentation, Minister of Health John Boyce who is also parliamentary representative for the constituency in which the new campus is located, welcomed the institution.
He pointed out that with the use of modern technology, doctors working at the American University of Barbados School of Medicine would be able to give second opinions on medical conditions to patients beyond the shores of Barbados
The university’s current student roll of 50 is expected to double once the hiccups currently experienced at the Immigration Department are ironed out.
The new campus provides its students and faculty with housing accommodation, spacious classrooms, up to date laboratories, an electronic and hard copy library, and student and faculty lounges.