Ross University Blog

LEADERSHIP VIEWS: Understanding Research Vital for Doctors in Providing High-Quality Patient Care

November 20, 2014

By Allison Dobbie, MB, ChB, MRCGP
RUSM Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education

While only a small percentage of physicians are actively engaged in research, it is vitally important for every doctor to be able to interpret and understand the basics, in order to be an evidence-based medical practitioner who maintains high standards of practice and is a life-long learner. Today, a comprehensive understanding of research is more important than ever because medical knowledge is increasing exponentially and the physician’s ability to access the literature and apply findings to populations of patients is absolutely vital in providing the best care.

At Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), our core mission is the teaching and mentoring of medical students. However, research is a core academic activity for our faculty and students that overlaps with that mission. They are active in publishing papers and presenting research findings at international conferences. We also organize Research Day symposia three times per year on our Dominica campus. We aim to increase the number of students involved in research activities and extend those activities to our clinical sites to enable greater participation.

So at a medical school that is focused completely on medical student success, how does research contribute? At RUSM, we support research activities to achieve three goals. 
 

1. Elevate Our Graduates’ Competitiveness 

Our primary goal is to prepare our graduates to be successful in securing a residency position and launching their career as a physician. This starts during our Foundations of Medicine curriculum. For example, in our Behavioral Science course led by Dr. Davendra Sharma, Dr. Robert Gee and Dr. Paul Ricketts, we are strengthening the teaching of research methods. The goal is to help prepare students for their United States Medical Licensing Examination®; Step 1 exam, as well as to teach them to better understand the research literature and to read it critically. This is very important for some competitive residencies.
 

2. Enhance Our Teaching Effectiveness  

Much of the research we conduct concerns teaching methodology. Our faculty are continually assessing their methods to understand better how medical students acquire knowledge and skills – and sharing their findings with their fellow educators. RUSM has conducted significant research on simulation-based teaching on our Dominica campus. And now Dr. Jyotsna Pandey is working to assemble a site-based research network at our affiliated hospitals, where students and clinical faculty can participate. 
 

3. Improve Faculty Engagement and Job Satisfaction  

Many of our faculty came to RUSM after long careers at universities where research was their primary focus, ahead of teaching. Many of them came to RUSM because they enjoyed teaching, but maintain an active interest in research. Supporting these activities among both our MD and PhD faculty helps them stay engaged with progress in their field and make them happier and more engaged faculty.

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