August 07, 2015
A number of Caribbean medical schools can claim a solid basic science program that prepares students to perform well on US licensing exams. That’s certainly important, but what about the clinical years? For students at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), their clinical training in the United States lasts longer than the time they spend in Dominica acquiring the basic science knowledge. Knowing that, and knowing the importance that a strong clinical education plays in making students competitive for residency, RUSM has made significant improvements to help ensure that their clinical experiences are more powerful, convenient, and engaging.
Read on to learn what’s coming up for our clinical students—and what’s already in place for those who are just about to wrap up the Foundations of Medicine (basic sciences) portion of their medical education.
An “Absolutely Fantastic” Clinical Experience for RUSM Students
Aside from our students, there may be no one more excited about the clinical strides we’ve made than Gary Belotzerkovsky, assistant dean for clinical student affairs.
“The clinical program at RUSM is looking absolutely fantastic,” said Belotzerkovsky. “We focus on three key components of a RUSM student’s clinical experience—the educational quality of the clinical site, convenience for our clinical students, and support services. I’m excited to say that we’re delivering on all fronts.”
If you’re currently a RUSM clinical student (or are about to become one), odds are you’ve at least heard of Belotzerkovsky—though his role generally revolves around strategically evolving RUSM’s clinical program to meet the needs of RUSM students, he also takes the time to personally help individual students as they’re planning or scheduling rotations. In one notable instance, a student was having trouble scheduling elective rotations with a hospital. Belotzerkovsky hopped on the phone with the student and hospital—the issue was resolved that day.
“I love my job, and love working with our students,” Belotzerkovsky says. “As we continue evolving the clinical program here at RUSM, one goal is for us to help make sure that students don’t have any problems while scheduling clinicals. But if they do, they can count on their dedicated team of advisors here at RUSM to help guide them through the process.”
A Dedicated Support Team That Follows You Through Clinicals
That team of advisors that Belotzerkovsky is referring to is part of the Rely on Students Services (ROSS) Model, an institutional initiative that sets every RUSM clinical student up with a dedicated team of support staff: a financial aid advisor, two clinical advisor(s), and other professionals who can support students during the clinical years.
“This team of advisors is with the student for the entirety of the last two years of medical school,” Belotzerkovsky says. “It’s our way of making sure that no matter where you are in the clinical program, you’ll have someone to help guide you every step of the way.”
Academic Homes for Our Clinical Students: All Students Now on Tracked Rotations
Perhaps most exciting to Belotzerkovsky is that now, all incoming RUSM clinical students are automatically placed on one of our new “clinical tracks”—a term that refers to teaching hospitals, ones affiliated with RUSM, that are all clustered around the same geographical area. For example, RUSM’s New York clinical track is made up of St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, and New York Methodist Hospital. A clinical student entering his or her third year of medical school can complete all third-year core rotations at one of these hospitals.
Years ago, RUSM clinical students had to move around during their third and fourth years. Those days are past.
The benefit of completing all of your core rotations at just one site? Students not only can focus on their clinical training without having to worry about moving from location to location, but this also gives them the opportunity to establish long-lasting relationships with residents, program directors, and other colleagues at the site.
“It creates true continuity for a third-year clinical student—they complete all of their cores at one site, rather than shuttling around from hospital to hospital,” Belotzerkovsky says. “Plus, with a tracked site, it means the clinical students there have a centralized location for studying for their licensure exams and working with fellow students on preparing for USMLE Step 2 CS.”
What’s Coming Up in RUSM’s Clinical Program?
Belotzerkovsky and his team are constantly making improvements to RUSM’s clinical program. For example, Belotzerkovsky and his team are continually working with hospitals to develop additional clinical tracks across the United States, with the goal of giving clinical students more regional options—and more locational convenience.Here’s a brief snapshot of what’s coming up in the near term.
- New NJ/NY clinical track. RUSM has partnered with several hospitals in the New York/New Jersey area to create the BQNJ (Brooklyn-Queens-New Jersey) Track. This partnership provides additional opportunities for a significant number of RUSM students, with a 48-week tracked curriculum across the six core disciplines at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center for internal medicine, surgery and pediatrics, Hoboken University Medical Center for family medicine, and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for OB/GYN and psychiatry. This track will be available in October 2015.
- For students looking for a New York-only experience, RUSM is pleased to announce a full track program with several hospitals in the New York area. Referred to as the JFK Track, this partnership provides additional opportunities for a significant number of RUSM students with a 48-week tracked curriculum across the six core disciplines at South Nassau Communities Hospital for surgery, pediatrics, OB/GYN and family medicine and St. John’s Episcopal Hospital for internal medicine and psychiatry. This track also will be available in October 2015.
- More convenience: Soon, thanks to an online clinical scheduling platform currently in development, third-year students will be able to log in to a sophisticated database to schedule their core rotations at RUSM clinical tracks. Fourth-year clinical students can also see what electives are available at RUSM affiliate sites using this system.
- Additional elective sites: The clinical team continues to explore additional elective-only affiliate sites—primarily ones accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) that offer both residency and fellowship programs.
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