The American Global University School of Medicine (AGUSM) and sister school Washington University of Health and Science (WUHS) have been under public scrutiny for several weeks following allegations that AGUSM in particular is little more than a “ghost house” and a diploma mill. But today, the President of American Academic Services and AGU’s founder, Dr. Malik Soudah, hosted the media in Belize City aiming to set the record straight. The school has competition from Central American Health Sciences University (CAHSU) on the Burrell Boom Road and Dr. Soudah says this rivalry – though he does not really consider it one – is behind what he calls a “smear campaign” on the school.
Dr. Malik Soudah – AGU’s founder:
Let me tell you about the smear campaign against us. Let’s talk about that honestly. I mean, I’m giving you facts. OK? I giving you everything we do and write, from the day we started this medical school. We always had an operation. We always have staff. We always have students. We’ve taken the Summer to remodel the building. Someone started this smear campaign against the University. I don’t know why. I don’t understand the reason for that. [They’re] saying it’s a shell school, no-one is there, and all this stuff. That’s absolutely not true. Unfortunately some of these people were misled, misinformed. They’re misled and misinformed about the truth.
We will seek a response from CAHSU on the allegations later. Meanwhile, today we were also introduced to the first representatives of the schools other than Peggy Allen to speak on its behalf. WUHS Dean of the Basic Science program Dr. Eduardo Solorzano has at least two decades of Government and teaching experience, is a former president of the Belize Medical and Dental Association and spearheaded the coming of international medical education to Belize. He tells us why he chose to work with AGUSM/WUHS after leaving the public service.
Dr. Eduardo Solorzano – Dean of the Basic Science program
I got involved at American Global University, teaching at Epidemiology, teaching Bio-statistics. i was an associate professor at the beginning. Because of the years of experience I’ve moved on, and presently I am the Dean of the medical School. There are two schools, as doctor has already mentioned. We have one campus in San Pedro at the moment, which is Washington University of Health and Science, and when we got the charter the other medical school moved on to Belize City. There is a permit for the remodeling of the Medical School in Belize City. So they’re remodeling that building and our students continue to do their Clinical Sciences in the US, our AGU students, and we continue with the consortium of which I am the Dean of Basic Sciences in San Pedro.
Dr. Solorzano went on to list several Belizean professors, part time and full time, working on San Pedro. We have already told you about a Belizean student studying in Chicago under the AGUSM aegis. Today we met another, Texan Sarah Thompson who is president of student government at AGUSM. She tells us why she was attracted to the school and what she is doing to help it become well known.
Sarah Thompson – President of Student Government at AGUSM
I graduated with a Biology degree from Texas Lutheran University back in 2010. Whenever I decided that i wanted to go to medical school I looked into State Medical Schools in the United states. I looked at medical schools in Europe. I looked in Mexico and the Caribbean. I actually went to a different foreign medical school, and then chose to transfer here in January, because the program is so advanced and the facility is awesome. They actually teach their classes geared towards the US, which was what I wasn’t getting at a different university. So I’m really happy with it. I have friends in State’s schools. I have friends in Caribbean schools. A lot of them are actually looking into Belize, and they’re excited to maybe be a part of this program. We want to be a positive influence in the community. I’m the President of the Student Government Association, so we’ve got a lot of community activities planned. We’re actually trying to organize some beach cleaning. We’ve been working with the Humane Society. We’re trying to possibly get a Blood Drive going, which would be a first, I think, for San Pedro. We’re really excited to be here.
Dr. Soudah responded to multiple allegations made against the school and himself which he says are all baseless. He says his legal team is looking at those for defamation purposes. Throughout his spirited defense of his organization Dr. Soudah said he welcomed any investigation of AGUSM or WUHS locally and internationally.