Help U.S. graduates of medical school in Cuba prepare to serve needy communities at home


Graduation is only the first step! IFCO announces a new partnership to help graduates on the next steps of their journey

by Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO)

When graduates of the Latin America School of Medicine in Cuba (ELAM) come home to the U.S., they need help finding jobs, financial support while they study for their required exams and help finding training opportunities in the medical field.

With your help, IFCO is committed to aiding these young people until their journey is finished and they are finally providing medical care in medically underserved communities across the country.

We’re happy to announce that IFCO has begun a new partnership with Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., to help provide that needed assistance.

Over the past few months IFCO has begun working with Wyckoff Chair of Pediatrics and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Gustavo del Toro to develop opportunities that will help ELAM graduates as they transition into the U.S. medical and healthcare infrastructure.

Under the partnership, Wyckoff will hire ELAM graduates for several positions at the hospital’s Pediatric Emergency Department. While they are studying for their U.S. licensing exams, they will work and receive the training that will allow them to advance to the next step in their medical career.

Through the Patient Experience Navigator (PEN) project, the graduates will gain hands-on experience in patient care, working with patients from the moment they come into the hospital until they leave.

In addition to this exciting news, Wyckoff hopes to offer ELAM doctors the option of participating in a Fifth Pathway program – unpaid internships – that will provide a year of supervised clinical work and eligibility for entry to residency training.

With your help, IFCO is committed to aiding these young people until their journey is finished and they are finally providing medical care in medically underserved communities across the country.

We hope to replicate this kind of relationship in other communities across the country. Please let us know if you have any contacts with hospitals and medical centers that can be a source of employment and training for these newly graduated doctors – still struggling to leap the hurdles so they can practice medicine in the U.S.

To reach IFCO’s Medical School Program, use the contact form at, write to IFCO at 418 W. 145th St., New York, NY 10031, or call (212) 926-5757.

More new doctors coming

A group of 20 U.S. students from across the country have just begun their studies at the Latin American School of Medicine in Havana, Cuba. The group joins 104 students from the U.S. already enrolled in the school and thousands of students from around the world. The students will take preliminary Spanish and pre-med courses before beginning an intensive six-year program in medicine.

Each student receives rigorous hands-on training in primary and preventative care, family medicine and all the standard medical specialties. Their full scholarships – thanks to the Cuban government – cover tuition, room and board, plus textbooks in Spanish; the only condition of Cuba’s offer is that graduates return to their home countries to practice in underserved communities.

Graduates are well versed in global health issues and fully bilingual upon completion of their studies. The Latin American School of Medicine has trained more than 24,000 doctors from 116 countries since its inception in 1999. Sixteen U.S. students graduated this past July; 68 U.S. students have graduated since Cuba began accepting students from this country in 2001.

The Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO) has served as the administrator of this extraordinary scholarship program for U.S students since its inception in 2001.

“This program is yet another example of Cuba’s commitment to the health of not just its own people, but the world. While other countries send soldiers abroad, Cuba sends an army of doctors to help create sustainable health care systems in the poorest of nations. We are proud to see off this new group of committed students and to continue working with our U.S. alumni to see that they are able to improve the health of their communities,” said IFCO Co-Director Gail Walker.