Ross University Blog

CAMPUS: Please Read Updates Regarding Resumption of Classes

October 13, 2017

Dear RUSM Students,

In the context of a rapidly changing situation with the goal of returning you to class with as little disruption to your education as possible, I want to offer some fresh important updates. 

  1. Today, we were able to clarify a start date for classes that allows RUSM to offer the needed number of days of instruction to meet complex federal education requirements. The new target date to start classes is Monday, Oct. 23, and this semester is expected to run through the beginning of January 2018. A revised semester and holiday schedule is being finalized that reflects the newly obtained dates for classes.
  2. You will travel to St. Kitts via Miami on Wednesday, Oct. 18 – Friday, Oct. 20,  departing from the airport that serves your current residence. RUSM will cover the cost of a coach one-way plane ticket to Miami and then you will fly via charter to St. Kitts. You will be contacted via email by TSI to confirm your flight itineraries.
  3. The GNV Excellent ship is en route to St. Kitts and being reconfigured as an educational venue that meets our expectations for teaching, learning, lodging, dining, and recreation.
  4. RUSM will pay the expenses incurred if you evacuated Dominica using the US military. For additional info, please contact:
  5. The St. Kitts government has now provided us with their immigration requirements. Tomorrow, we will provide you with a listing of documents you will need to bring for entry into the country and visa processing.
  6. Substantial progress is being made to develop options for daycare and children's schooling. RUSM will subsidize your children's tuition to the same level as tuition at the Early Learning Center and Preparatory School in Dominica. The Principal of the Preparatory School in Dominica and at least one of her teachers will join you. Details continue to evolve and will be shared ASAP.

 Please remain vigilant for further updates that will be provided as matters are finalized.


William F. Owen, Jr., MD, FACP
Dean and Chancellor
Ross University School of Medicine

Tags: Campus , Weather , Classes

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ALERTS: Campus Status, Weather Updates and More

September 17, 2017

New FAQs Provide Pertinent Info to Help RUSM Students Transition Back to School

Published: 10/10/17 at 7:30 p.m.

We recognize your eagerness to recommence your studies and appreciate your full engagement as we work to resume the medical sciences course of instruction. RUSM has a significant number of colleagues dedicated to keeping you apprised of the many details and we will continually update this FAQ with additional information as we make progress.


Registration and Academics 

1. Will the curriculum classes still have their study blocks?
The current plan will retain study blocks, but they may be slightly modified. Additional details will be provided by the end of the coming week.

2. Students in semester 1 and 3 had exams the day before the hurricane. When should we expect to take those?
We have not determined the date yet, but commit that adequate notice will be provided for the make-up exams.

3. When will the semester end? What does this mean for COMP?
The scheduled end of the semester is between the end of December to possibly early January. Additional details will be provided by the end of the coming week.

4. Will there be a deferment option?
There is no deferment option. Students can apply for a leave of absence for the semester, which will be reflected on their transcript as a withdrawal. After the leave of absence, the student would restart their current semester’s classes beginning Spring 2018.

5. Will our transcript show that we completed a semester on a cruise-liner, or will there be no difference in how it's displayed?
There will be no difference in how transcripts are displayed.

6. For repeating students, if this semester turns out to be a failure, will we be at risk of dismissal?
The same promotion policies apply.

7. Will the two-track curriculum continue?
The two-track curriculum will continue. For example, if you were in a 3c semester at the beginning of the semester, you are still in a 3c semester. Additional details will be provided by the end of the coming week.

Academic Instruction and Support Resources

8. Is the COMP pass score going to be set lower?
No, it will remain the same for the semester’s COMP exam.

9. Is Panopto still available?
Panopto, used as a supplemental tool of learning, will be available.

10. How will lectures and study spaces be set up on the ship?
We are working to replicate the similar type of study spaces that were available in Dominica (e.g., quiet spaces, group spaces as well as carrels).

11. Will there still be Minimum Performance Levels (MPeLs)?
Is it possible to get rid of MPeLs all together for the semester? We will maintain Minimum Performance Level standards; the same grading system will be applied.

12. Will we have sim lab/Harvey equipment available and associated testing with this equipment?
The current plan includes access to this equipment.

13. How does the accreditation work in this emergency situation?
We are working to obtain the necessary regulatory and accreditor approvals to allow us to operate temporarily in St. Kitts.

14. Will 2018 IMF dates be adjusted accordingly to account for USMLE Step1/COMP studying?
Yes. We will make adjustments as necessary to the IMF schedule.

15. Will we still have the Clinical Skills this semester? Will we have hospital visits? Or, can this be deferred to IMF?
Although under development, we expect to offer a robust clinical skills program.

16. What about the Community Clinic and Service Learning requirements for upper semesters? Do we even have permission to enter local clinics/hospitals in St. Kitts?

We are not certain, but we are working towards this.

17. What do we do about the medical supplies that were lost? Do we need to replace them before coming?
Students should bring what is normally required for school. Please review the medical supply list.

18. What is the academic plan if a Hurricane hits or another catastrophic event takes place?
We will follow the school’s crisis management plan, as supplemented by the cruise ship specific weather related disaster plan, with our primary focus on the safety of our students and colleagues.

19. How will anatomy lab be conducted? Will we still be using human cadavers or will we be using some type of virtual software now?
There will be no dissections. Non-dissection based alternatives will be available via lectures as well as virtual software (Complete Anatomy) to meet curriculum standards.

20. Can students be sent a copy of the syllabus/exam schedule before making the decision to defer or continue with classes this semester?
As syllabi are still being finalized, you will receive once available.

21. Will there be support resources (i.e. ELLS/ working with questions/ small group etc.)?
The current plan includes this as an important part of our support services.

22. Are we expected to have weekend classes? If so, when will there be anticipated time for review, especially extra review for COMP/STEP?
The full semester will be taught, however weekend instruction may be required and hours of instruction may be different than they were.


23. Can I bring my pets on the cruise ship?
No, pets are not permitted except medical service animals (e.g., physical or sensory support animal). Emotional support animals, even with documentation, are not permitted due to housing regulations.

24. What will be provided to us and what do we need to bring (ex. scrubs, bed sheets, toiletries etc.)?
A list would be nice. Basic bedding will be provided by the cruise ship. Due to space limitations, students should not bring more than one suitcase and a small bag.

25. Are there any local grocery stores or will the boat have a common kitchen area?
There are no cooking facilities available to students on the ship. There are local grocery stores and restaurants available on St. Kitts.

26. Is faculty going to be on the boat?
Under the current plan, faculty is expected to be in land-based housing. There will be security and personnel residing on the ship.

27. Will we be living on the cruise ship or just taking classes?
Both, the current plan has the cruise ship meeting both residential and academic needs.

28. If we are living on the cruise ship, will we be rooming with other people? How many people per room?
Yes, students may have one or more roommates. Students will have the opportunity to take part in the roommate selection process.

29. Will food be provided on the cruise ship, or are there kitchen settings available? How much will it cost?
Three meals per day provided on the cruise ship. There will be no kitchens or cooking facilities available to students on the boat.

30. How will study space be arranged on the ship?
We are working to replicate the similar type of study spaces that were available in Dominica (e.g., quiet spaces, group spaces as well as carrels).

31. Is there an option of living on St. Kitts instead of the cruise ship for students with motion sickness and other health issues?
The cruise ship will be docked near shore. Students will be provided housing via ship. Only in extremely extraordinary circumstances will RUSM consider securing land-based housing options.

32. Will spouses be allowed to live on the ship, if so will married couples have to share a room with other students?
Families are welcome to live on the ship for a cost that is currently being determined.

33. What is the name of cruise ship? How many people does it take? Can we see pictures?
Can a virtual tour be made available?

The name of the ship is Excellent, which is operated by the Grandi Navi Veloci company.

34. Will we have access to printers to print our notes on the cruise ship?
The current plan provides limited printing options on the ship.

35. Will students need electrical converters on the ship?

The voltage on the cruise ship is the same as in Europe. RUSM will provide electrical converters.

36. How will students with medical needs be met here? Is there a functioning clinic?
Medical care will be available to students. More detail about facilities on the ship and land will be provided.

37. How will you decide what room students get (staterooms, rooms with Windows, suites)?
Students who have identified roommates will be prioritized. Additional assignments will consider students' semester status. Look for communication regarding the roommate request process soon.

38. Will our security deposits and rent already paid on island be counted toward any living costs here?
RUH Residents: Anyone who secured housing through RUH will receive a refund for rent paid beyond the first month. The refunds will be credited to students' accounts. RUSM will not provide refunds for housing secured outside of RUH.

All other students: Contact your landlord directly and copy with any questions related to you rent. RUH staff is available to help advise as needed.

39. How will we do laundry in the ship?

There will be limited laundry facilities on the ship.

40. Is there an option to not have a roommate?
Due to space limitations on the cruise ship, the current plan is for all students to have at least one roommate.

41. Will there be WIFI on the ship?

Limited wireless WIFI will be available on board the ship and is restricted to education use only. Students are required to attend lectures and the plan is for MediaSite, to be used as a supplemental teaching tool.

42. Will we have a fridge and/or a microwave in our cabins?
No refrigerators or microwaves are permitted in the cabins.

43. Is there going to be a place to buy emergency toiletries/supplies on the cruise ship?
There is no commissary on the ship, but there are local stores in St. Kitts to purchase personal items, food and supplies.

44. What if students have health and dietary restrictions? How are you going to accommodate for the needs of students with health problems?
There will be a limited menu offered on the ship. When docked students may take advantage of local grocery stores and restaurants.

45. Will we be able to mail/ship things to the cruise ship?
The current plan includes the ability to ship and mail things, the address and details are forthcoming.


46. How will financial aid be affected?
We are working with the Department of Education to help maintain eligibility for federal aid.

47. If there is a deferment option and we chose it, will our tuition roll over to next semester?
There is no deferment option. If a student is granted an approved leave of absence, then their tuition is prorated and the credit will be applied to the next semester.

48. What other financial costs will I incur? (Do I have to pay more tuition? Why can't the only things on the island important to us be shipped?)
We are looking into an option to determine how to ship luggage that was left behind on campus. At this time, it is not possible to ship the luggage to St. Kitts due to limited space.

49. Will I have to give back (financial aid) money if I choose not to return?
If you would like to take a leave of absence, the tuition credit will be applied to the next semester. Financial aid will be prorated and any unearned funds will be returned to the lender. Any specific questions can be directed to to review your individual situation.

50. Will housing costs be covered by RUSM whether on the cruise ship, on the island of St. Kitts or elsewhere?
Currently, there will not be an additional cost for housing if you reside on the ship. Depending on room size, students may have more than one roommate.

51. If students paid rent for the entire semester, is there a way to recover that money?
Anyone who secured housing through RUH will receive a refund for rent paid beyond the first month. The refunds will be credited to students' accounts. If housing was secured outside of RUH, please contact your landlord. RUH is available for assistance once you make contact Ross with your landlord.

52. Will financial aid provide more money for us? Some of us had planned for the whole semester and lost everything with the hurricane. What are the options for more funding available?
We are working with the Department of Education to determine the continued eligibility of financial aid. Students can apply for an emergency loan from the school. The application will be available on the website at .

53. I know the email said "RUSM will assume flight costs" Does this mean we pay for the flights to Miami and they will reimburse it? Or, are we responsible for the flight costs to Miami and then we board a chartered plane to St Kitts?

For this semester aboard the cruise ship, RUSM will cover the cost of a coach one-way plane ticket (via the most direct route) from the airport located in your home town to campus.

54. Will I have to repay for my semester if I indicated I plan to attend, but then choose not to go?
If you do not plan to complete the semester, then you may request a leave of absence. When you resume your studies at RUSM, a credit will be applied to your tuition. Please note a leave of absence is reflected on your transcript as a withdrawal. If you should choose to withdraw or take a leave from RUSM, financial aid will be prorated and any unearned funds will be returned to the lender. The withdrawal is also reflected on your transcript.

55. If I withdraw for the semester, do I get to retain my merit-based scholarship?
Scholarships are only available for the semester for which they were awarded.

56. Where will we transfer our Dominica Bank money?
We are working with the Dominican banks to try to arrange for students to wire transfer their money to personal accounts via banks on shore in St. Kitts.

57. What about students who already accepted their loans? Should we return it and have it redistributed?
We are working with the Department of Education on continued eligibility.

58. How much will the semester tuition be prorated since we have lost at a minimum four weeks?
There will not be a reduced tuition. Students will receive a full semester of instruction.

59. The refund we received was supposed to last this semester and all the way through IMF. After recovering lost items and expenses the money we have left may not cover upcoming expenses. Will we have aid options available?
Please contact Financial Aid to apply for loans to cover additional expenses. An application is available online at


60. What is the name of the cruise line?
The name of the ship is Excellent, which is operated by the Grandi Navi Veloci company.

61. Do we have to pay for food on the ship?
RUSM students receive three meals per day, including water, iced tea and coffee. Soda and snacks are available for purchase.

62. How will we be getting our prescription medication?
Students are encouraged to secure all medication in advance of your travel to St. Kitts.

63. Will we be able to use Ross Vet location as a study space?
Due to space limitations, RUSVM study spaces cannot accommodate to RUSM students. The current plan includes study space to accommodate all RUSM students residing on the cruise ship.

64. How much are we allowed to bring with us (study supplies, shampoo, soap, food, etc.)?
Due to limited cabin space, all students are advised to bring one piece of luggage and one carry-on.

65. How often will we be allowed to travel from the cruise ship to the school?
We are working on maximum access from dock to land.

66. How long will the RUSM campus be located on a cruise ship?
We expect our temporary solution to maintain our campus on a cruise ship to continue through the end of the semester. More information about possible locations after this semester will be provided.

67. How will the university handle student insurance for those who need to defer due to health concerns yet require the university health insurance?

Students will continue to have their insurance for the remainder of the semester even if they take a leave of absence. Please contact Student Accounts for specific questions.

68. What access will RUSM students have to the RUSVM campus?
It will depend on the location and the situation. Parameters around access will be better defined in the near future.

69. Will we receive compensation for what we lost in Dominica (i.e. clothes, computers, medical equipment, etc.)?
There is no basis upon which RUSM would reimburse you for these funds, but please check with your homeowner's insurance policy for potential compensation. Students can apply for loans to pay for supplies needed to continue with school. 

70. How will we displace veterinary students?
RUSM will have adequate academic and housing space. RUSVM students will not be displaced.

71. When can we speak to actual people about our options?
Student Affairs will be reaching out to students beginning Monday, Oct. 9.

72. How can I get a replacement White Coat?
RUSM is looking into getting replacement White Coats. Timing to be determined.

73. Do we need to bring professional attire and scrubs?

74. Are loved ones allowed to visit? If so, will they be able to be on the ship? Or, will students be allowed to stay overnight at a hotel?
The ship is a closed campus community because of limited space. Visitors cannot be entertained on the ship and will have to secure lodging accommodations on land.

75. If I need a visa to enter and study at St. Kitts, how soon can you help me?
RUSM is working with the St. Kitts government to assist with immigration matters. RUSM will be providing further instruction for individuals once we have worked out a process with the St Kitts Government.

76. My passport is limited from the military evacuation. Am I even able to leave the country? The US Department of State is not giving me any information.
Adtalem is working with the Department of State to have your passport reissued. Please wait for clear instructions from the Department of State and Adtalem as to how to have this cleared up.

77. Can we reasonably and regularly find toiletries and other products on St. Kitts?
There are local stores to purchase groceries and personal items on St. Kitts.

78. Will there still be Semester 4 and 5 farewell banquet?
The banquet is a student-run function coordinated by the Student Government Association and they will determine their organization’s activities for the remainder of the semester. RUSM will continue to support its student leadership and organizations.

Tags: Weather

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STUDENTS: Melodie Sarebanha is Skating to Success in Family Medicine

August 08, 2017

Grace under pressure comes naturally to Melodie Sarebanha, an award-winning, competitive figure-skater and coach since childhood. Now the fourth-year Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student is devoting her lifetime of discipline and training on the ice to her pursuit of a career as a family physician. She continues to skate to success. 

CAFP Council Member

A recent noteworthy accomplishment is her selection to serve as a member of the California Association of Family Physicians (CAFP) Student-Resident Council. “I am so honored,” she said. Melodie has been a CAFP member and key contact since last year. “As a member, I am tasked with building a strong and ongoing relationship with legislators that have the power to put forth policies that may impact the Family Medicine community,” she explained. She is also an American Association of Family Physicians national conference scholarship winner. “The role of council members is to help coordinate statewide student-resident activities and to develop innovative ways to promote and advocate for family medicine in California. CAFP represents over 2500 student and resident members and serves as a resource hub for 12 medical schools and over 50 family medicine residency programs,” explained Pamela Mann, MPH, CAFP program manager.

Volunteer Activities

While on campus in Dominica, Melodie volunteered to work with the USNS Comfort Continuing Promise Mission, the US navy ship that in the summer of 2015 brought health care services to the island by setting up clinics for one week. She was also a member of the Salybia Mission Project, the student-led group that brings health care to the indigenous Carib people in the Kalinago territory on the island.

Los Angeles Ice Theater

Melodie grew up in Los Angeles, California, and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Irvine, where her major was public health. Among the previous work experience she lists on her CV is the role of Captain of the Los Angeles Ice Theater, which gave her “the responsibility for leading more than 20 girls in competitions throughout the world, including the UK and France,” she said. She added that she had been a member of the Los Angeles Figure Skating club since the age of five, competing around the globe.

Becoming a Family Physician

Dr. Enrique Fernandez, RUSM’s Chair of Family Medicine, has been a mentor to Melodie and to the Family Medicine Interest Group at Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, California, of which Melodie was a founder, has been a member and served as president. At Kern she delivered several presentations, including one on schizophrenia, another on pediatric gastro-intestinal disorders, and one on asthma. She is well on her way to becoming a family physician.


Tags: Family Medicine , California

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STUDENTS: Two Ross Students Appointed to SNMA Board of Directors

August 01, 2017

Two outstanding RUSM students, Brittany Fields and Dantwan Smith, have been appointed to the Student National Medical Association’s (SNMA) Board of Directors as International Affairs Committee Co-Chairs.

The SNMA is the nation’s oldest and largest, independent, student-run organization focused on the needs and concerns of medical students of color.  Organized with chapters across the nation, the SNMA membership includes more than 7,000 medical students, pre-medical students and physicians.

In addition to being active in the SNMA, Ms. Fields is also a member of the SGA and the group White Coats for Black Lives. She is from Tampa, FL and is an alumna of The University of South Florida.

Mr. Smith, a native of Columbus, MS, is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., as well as an American Medical Student Association Health Equity Scholar.He aspires to be an anesthesiologist.


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Tags: Diversity , Students

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Ross Duo Voted Co-Chief Residents at Michigan State University Emergency Medicine Residency Program

July 24, 2017

Ross alumni Sarah Wolf, MD, and Aaron Tyagi, MD, recently were elected 2017-2018 Co-Chief Residents in Emergency Medicine at Michigan State University (MSU) and Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich.

According to Drs. Wolf and Tyagi, neither of them set out with a deliberate strategy to obtain a chief resident position. They simply wanted to maintain a standard that is worthy of the medical profession.

“Chief Resident is not something I think either of us truly considered or predicted when we started our residency,” says Dr. Tyagi.

“My intention for every shift is purely to show up with the expectation that my colleagues and I are going to provide the best care for each patient,” says Dr. Wolf.

For Dr. Wolf, the commitment to patient care is very personal. During her first year of residency, Dr. Wolf was a full-time caregiver for her mother who was battling stage four cancer.

“Throughout that difficult time, I realized the importance of the doctor-patient-family relationship,” says Dr. Wolf. “Medicine is about far more than just scientific knowledge.”

“From the first day, I wanted to take an active role not only in my resident education but in doing what I could to make residency better for all,” adds Dr. Tyagi when asked to pinpoint reasons why he was elected to the position.”

Dr. Tyagi’s contributions to the residency program include expanding the intern curriculum during his first year and, along with another colleague, beginning a low fidelity simulation program operated by residents. In addition, Dr. Tyagi is a representative of the Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association and is Chair for the Social Media Committee of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine’s Resident and Student Association.

The Emergency Medicine residency program at MSU has a two-tiered process to electing chief residents. First, leadership nominates qualified residents who have proven themselves as effective leaders throughout their residency. Once nominated, peer residents vote for the nominee(s) they believe possess the qualities to best represent the collective.

“Being Chief Resident is a great honor but also comes with a fair amount of responsibility that you really cannot appreciate until you are actively in the role,” says Dr. Tyagi.

“I’m excited to utilize this upcoming year to cultivate my leadership skills,” says Dr. Wolf.

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Tags: Residency , Emergency Medicine , Michigan

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