Lunch and Learn, USMLE, Cheating scandal, exam, medical education

LLP 357: More on the Nepal USMLE Cheating Scandal with Dr. Bryan Carmody

So, let’s talk about the recent scandal concerning the Nepal USMLE cheating ring…

For those of you who might not know, USMLE is a three-step licensing exam for physicians, residents, and aspirants alike who want to practice medicine in the United States. Here, applicants aspire to have the highest score possible, especially residents who want to attract the attention of residency program directors and get themselves onboard.

And just recently, the National Board of Medical Examiners announced that they’re invalidating the USMLE scores of a group of residency applicants and current residents due to validity concerns.

When I first saw it, I hate to say this but I wasn’t really shocked. I have always felt that the opportunity for an organized effort has always been there; however, I always assumed it would be difficult to bring it out.

But then this recent USMLE scandal happened, and not only were there people who had an advantage; now, there’s a systemic advantage with such a coordinated effort to make it happen.

This is such a big scandal that could and has already affected lots of people out there, and it’s something that we cannot afford not to discuss. That’s why in today’s episode, we’ll be learning from Dr. Bryan Carmody himself, a pediatric nephrologist and a medical school educator. He is known as the Sheriff of Sodium on social media, where he does commentaries on residency selection and medical education.

Sit back and relax as we discuss the USMLE cheating scandal on this week’s podcast!

Why you need to check this episode:

  • Learn what the USMLE is, and what happened that led to this scandal;
  • Discover how the cheating happened, the numbers that support the occurrence, and what USMLE did to interpret the scores after receiving multiple reports of cheating; and
  • Understand why this is such a big deal, and why there’s a need for USMLE to change the format of the exam

“Cheating begets cheating. The more cheating there is, the more cheating there is going to be because people feel ‘I got to cheat because how am I going to get looked at if all these people who are cheating are so much higher than me?’ So, the more of it you tolerate, the more you’re going to have to tolerate it.” – Dr. Bryan Carmody

Notable Quotes:

“It’s got so many zeroes before the number that any reasonable person would say that this is not a valid score.” – Dr. Bryan Carmody

“If you don’t understand this, you need to take your fingers out of your ears. You need to listen and think about this, because it’s beyond what anybody could reasonably expect and there’s just not a good explanation for it other than cheating.” – Dr. Bryan Carmody

“I don’t think anybody who has the acumen to become a physician would really think that a licensing authority would judge someone’s ability to practice medicine by their ability to recall questions from a 1000-paged document hidden inside a Telegram group.” – Dr. Bryan Carmody

“There are people sitting on the sidelines who want to be a resident or work as a physician and they don’t get the opportunity. For every one of these people [who cheats] who gets in, someone else is being kept out.” – Dr. Bryan Carmody

“Some of these residents are done, but I think some of them will probably land on their feet if they play their cards right.” – Dr. Bryan Carmody

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