Ross University Blog

LOOKING BACK: End-of-Year Message from Dean Flaherty 2015

December 18, 2015

Sommerhalder and Veatch, RUSM alumni
Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, dean and chancellor of Ross University School of Medicine

As the year 2015 comes to a close my overarching thought is a resounding thank you to every one of our Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students, colleagues, faculty, administrators and sister schools for helping us through what might otherwise have been a most difficult year, because of Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica, and its aftermath, in August. The sense of mission and shared values was never more evident. With it came that strong feeling of kinship with all of us in Miramar, in Dominica, New Jersey and Chicago. I am particularly grateful to the Dominica colleagues and faculty who went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that classes began as scheduled.

A Look Back at Academic Success and Support

In other areas it was also a very successful year, for which I want to thank all of our dedicated colleagues. As of 2017, one hundred percent of all RUSM clinical students are now in tracks and are on schedule to complete their entire third year of medical school within 48 weeks. We have made dramatic improvement in reducing the attrition of our students and that means more and more of them will achieve their dream of becoming a physician. We are giving a pronounced look to at-risk students to see what resources they need to succeed. This support includes an increase in the use of the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), the implementation of a strong mandatory mentoring program, and required targeted remediation for students whose scores are unsatisfactory in particular disciplines. On a positive note we continue to see strong student outcomes, thanks to continued collaboration among colleagues in the Basic Sciences and Clinical programs.

New Student Center Opens, Becomes Hub for Student Community

One of the year’s highlights was the official opening of the new Student Center on the Dominica campus on May 14, marking a significant milestone in the campus’s development. The 50,000 square-foot facility represents an investment of $18 million. It is the largest building on campus and has quickly become the hub for the RUSM community as well as a welcoming facility for visitors. It houses the library, student study space, multipurpose rooms, the Center for Teaching and Learning, food facilities, including a large dining area and space for three vendors, space for a campus store and offices for the departments of Student Affairs and Student Services.

RUSM Students Volunteer to Support US Navy Medical Mission

Another highlight of 2015 was the opportunity for about 900 RUSM students to volunteer to join medical personnel from the US Navy’s hospital ship USNS COMFORT to provide health services to people in Dominica while the ship was docked there between July 28 and Aug. 6. The students were able to get early clinical exposure alongside practicing physicians, and exposure to patients in an underserved healthcare setting. These experiences will contribute to the continued development of important traits good physicians need, including empathy and a sense of service.

Making Clinicals Even More Productive for Our Students

I am very grateful to the colleagues in our clinical team for the careful reviews they have conducted at many clinical sites, and the feedback they have provided to the institutions to make them most productive for our students. They have outlined a week-by-week didactic series in each of the clinical clerkships. This is a tremendous achievement, and one that will greatly benefit our students.

A Record-Setting Year for Residencies

The most exciting news of the year is that RUSM has set another record in the number of residency appointments earned by our graduates, with 830 in 2015, the highest number in our school’s history, even though the last three years, from 2012 to 2014, have all been record-setters for us. This phenomenal trend of continually increasing numbers of successful RUSM graduates is what we work so hard to achieve. We look towards 2016 to face new challenges, ever vigilant for new opportunities.

I wish you all a good holiday season and a very happy New Year.

Tags: Leadership , Clinical Program , Student Services , Academics , USMLE , Residency

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