Background: Studies of medical student outcome have been used to assist in medical manpower planning. There have been no published studies on medical graduates of The University of the West Indies (UWI). This study investigates the demographic characteristics, professional and social outcomes of the Class of 1982a, twenty-five years after qualification.
Method: Data on demographic characteristics at entry and academic performance during medical school were obtained from UWI administrative records. Data on specialty training, migration and current social status were obtained by interview. Statistical analysis was conducted using simple frequencies, chi-square and t-tests.
Results: There was an intake of 110 students with 108 completing the course. The mean age at entry was 21.8 ± 3.0 years; 74.0% were male. Some 80.6% of students were from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and Barbados. Only 15.7% were admitted directly from high school. A quarter of students were scholarship awardees, with the majority being from Eastern Caribbean countries (p < 0.001). Female students outperformed male students (p < 0.05). Just over 70% of graduates pursued postgraduate training, the majority in North America. Approximately two-thirds of graduates were practising in the Caribbean region. Almost all graduates (95.0%) trained in the Caribbean were practising in the region but less than a third of those trained elsewhere were (p < 0.001).
Conclusion: This study has provided important information on choice of specialty training, migration and the associated factors twenty-five years ago. The information provided can therefore be used as a base for examining the trends in medical education over time and the factors influencing these trends, allowing for better planning of the manpower needs of the region.