Ross University Blog

HUFFINGTON POST: RUSM Could Be Part of the Answer to the Physician Shortage

November 25, 2014

The American healthcare system faces a shortage of over 45,000 primary care physicians by 2020, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Unchecked, that number is predicted to rise above 65,000 by 2025. The AAMC, AARP, and other US organizations have sounded the alarm. Medical schools like Ross University School of Medicine, writes Huffington Post contributor Paul Alexander, could be part of the solution needed to address the shortage.


Caribbean Medical Schools Producing Much Needed Doctors 

“As American medical schools struggle to keep up with demand, one source of new doctors that can help fill the shortfall is Caribbean medical schools,” writes Alexander. He points out that historically, these schools have been “stigmatized,” but cites RUSM as one of the “good schools” that can be a new answer to the physician shortage. Lest anyone worry about the quality of practicing physicians from Caribbean medical schools, Alexander writes, “Any medical school graduate, no matter what institution he attended, either domestic or foreign, must pass the same board exams administered by the American Board of Medical Specialties in order to practice in the United States. This prevents unqualified doctors from going into practice.”

RUSM Leads All Medical Schools in Producing New Residents

More than 800 RUSM graduates earned residencies in 2014, more than every other medical school in the world, and more than two-thirds of those placements were in primary care programs. If past surveys of RUSM alumni hold true for the future, then half of RUSM graduates who entered primary care will stay there for the majority of their careers, potentially helping to curb or solve the impending shortage in primary care.

Are RUSM’s graduates part of the solution to the primary care physician shortage? Perhaps only time will tell—but based on the numbers above, it sure looks that way.

Read the original Huffington Post article here.

Tags: Residency

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SAFETY AND SECURITY NEWS: Four Emergency Call Boxes Installed on Campus

November 25, 2014

Safety and Security - Emergency Call Boxes

Four fully-functional emergency call boxes have been installed on the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Dominica Campus in a continuing effort to improve security, announced Director of Security and Emergency Management Dennis Gordon.

The tall, blue metal emergency call boxes have a blue light on the top which is clearly visible during the day and at night, and the word “EMERGENCY” in capital letters written vertically along the structure. The call boxes are located on the northeast side of Jenner Hall, near the Ross University Housing (RUH) pool, between the lower sea-side deck and the basketball court, and near the Small Learning Lab. There is a plan for additional emergency call boxes to be placed in strategic locations throughout the Picard community. 

The easy instructions for using the call boxes are displayed on each of the units. In the event of an emergency, locate the nearest call box and push the red button, to be connected to a Security Department dispatcher, who will receive automatic notification of your location. Then, state your emergency. Assistance will be dispatched.


Members of the community are advised to be aware of RUSM emergency numbers should the need arise:

  • Security (emergency): 767-235-9111
  • Security Office: 767-255-6234
  • Health Clinic: 767-255-6501

These numbers are printed on the back of the RUSM IDs for ease of reference, Gordon noted, and should be saved on people’s phones.

Tags: Campus

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STUDENT SUCCESSES: RUSM Student's Clerkship Leads to Poster Presentation, Publication

November 24, 2014

RUSM clinical student Adam Hines
Adam Hines (above), RUSM
Clinical Student

An experience with a difficult patient during a psychiatry rotation became an opportunity for a Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student to publish and present new research based on the case. 

Adam Hines was completing a rotation at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, NY, when an 84-year-old woman was admitted. “She came in with irritability, depression and delusional behavior, but did not seem to have typical dementia,” he said. “She needed to get neuropsychological testing. She was very difficult to deal with, but I was able to build a rapport with her. The way I approached her was by trying to get to know her on a personal level.” A CT scan revealed that the patient had two calcified meningiomas (tumors). 

Hines drew on the experience as co-author of Meningioma and Psychiatric Symptoms: A Case Report and Review, a poster presented at the annual meeting of the Institute of Psychiatric Services of the American Psychiatric Association held in San Francisco in October. A paper on this topic has also been accepted for publication in The Annals of Clinical Psychiatry. “The poster presentation was a really great experience,” Hines said. “I was able to present to prestigious people and to discuss the case with them.”

A graduate of West Virginia University, Hines enrolled in RUSM in January 2012, after working for two years in a senior position at a home health agency. “I made a lot of sacrifices to go to medical school,” he said. “I gave up a good job. I was married, and I initially moved away from my wife. It was a culture shock to arrive in Dominica, an unfamiliar place. But once orientation started, it was game time, and I hit the ground running.” His wife later joined him, and became involved in the RUSM Spouses Organization. 

Institutional leadership, including RUSM's dean, had kind words for Hines. "We heartily congratulate Adam Hines on his remarkable achievement at this stage of his medical career," said Joseph A. Flaherty, Dean and Chancellor.

"We're glad that Adam's education at St. John's Episcopal has resulted in this poster presentation and the article being accepted for publication," added Gary Belotzerkovsky, Senior Director for Clinical Student Affairs. "These will be great additions to his CV when the time approaches for the Residency Match."

Tags: Clinical Program , Research

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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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Aspiring Medical School Students Head to RUSM in Miramar for a Look at the Clinical Experience

November 19, 2014

RUSM Clinical Experience
RUSM's Jon Bolaski, EdD, NCC, Graduate
Admissions Advisor and Associate Professor
of Behavioral Sciences (left) speaks with
Stefan Kuster de Souza, 24. Stefan will be attending
RUSM as part of the January 2015 class.

In early November, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) gave hundreds of prospective students and guests the opportunity to really get an inside look at what it’s like to be a medical school student. For the first time ever, RUSM opened its Miramar location up to the general public at the first RUSM Clinical Experience Open House. Guests toured patient exam facilities, explored the highly advanced simulation technology used throughout much of RUSM’s curriculum, and engaged alumni, deans, and other colleagues in one-on-one and group discussions about the institution’s history and graduate outcomes.

Generally, only current students are allowed access to RUSM’s Miramar location. RUSM students come to Miramar midway through their medical education for six weeks of clinical training in Internal Medicine Foundations after completing their studies in Dominica, as they transition to the clinical years and go on to complete rotations at hospital affiliates in the US.

Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, RUSM dean and chancellor, was on hand at the event for opening remarks. Carey M. James, MBA, RUSM’s associate dean of operations, analysis, and admissions, presented an overview of the school and facilitated a Q&A session with a panel of RUSM colleagues and alumni.

Stefan Kuster de Souza, 24—a native of Brazil and a graduate of Florida International University who will be attending RUSM in January 2015—attended the Open House specifically because he wanted a sneak preview of the simulation technology in play at RUSM. “I’ve wanted to be a doctor since I was a child—I used to play with a little medical kit,” he said. “I still have it.”

Also in attendance were people who are already working in healthcare professions. This included a registered nurse and a paramedic with a large metropolitan fire rescue department, both of who said they have always had a desire to be a doctor. Career-changers comprise a significant population of the students at RUSM.

An alumnus on the Q&A panel, Dr. Frederick Scott Ross (2010) is a hospitalist at Cleveland Clinic Florida, where he completed his residency. He described his experiences as a “non-traditional student” older than average, and with a wife and children whom he brought to Dominica. Alumna Dr. Cleopatra Gordon-Pusey (2004) owns a family practice in Pembroke Pines, FL. She talked about her economic challenges as a medical student, recalling days of “eating Ramen noodles on Dominica.”

“I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Gordon-Pusey said.

Tags: Clinical Program , Admissions

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RUSM Alumni in the News: Grads Making Big Career Strides

November 13, 2014

Given the recent observance of Veterans Day in the US, this week’s Alumni Roundup had an interesting twist: Two of our grads just popped up in the news this past week, and both of them have experience caring for patients at veterans hospitals. Their doctoral careers moved pretty quickly after they graduated from Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), so read on to see how they’re doing right now.

RUSM Grad Opens Specialty Sleep Disorders Clinic

Kenneth Drane, MD, Class of 2010, recently opened a sleep disorders specialty clinic for adult and pediatric patients in Natchez, Mississippi. An area native who made a career change from engineering to practicing medicine, Dr. Drane completed residency training in internal medicine at University of Louisville, Kentucky, from 2010 to 2013. He followed this up with a sleep medicine fellowship in 2014 at the Louisiana State University Health Science Center (LSU Health), Shreveport.

In addition to his operating his specialty clinic, which opened in October 2014, Dr. Drane also has admitting privileges at Natchez Community Hospital and runs a separate sleep disorders clinic for veterans at Overton Brooks VA Medical Center, Shreveport. >> read news story   

Class of 2007 Alum Named Medical Director of SAMC Psychiatry Program

Leona J. Graham, MD, Class of 2007, is now Medical Director for the AltaCare Outpatient Psychiatry and Counseling program at Southeast Alabama Medical Center, Dothan, Alabama. Previously a psychiatrist at Kansas City VA Medical Center, Dr. Graham completed dual residencies in internal medicine and psychiatry at University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC), Kansas City, from 2008 to 2013.  She then completed a fellowship in addictions in 2013, also at KUMC. read news story

Tags: Alumni

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New Leaders Named for RUSM Pharmacology, Anatomy Departments

November 12, 2014

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has named two faculty members as chairs of their respective departments.

Alan Bateson, PhD, has been appointed Chair of the RUSM Department of Pharmacology.  A professor of pharmacology who joined RUSM in 2011, Dr. Bateson teaches cardiovascular/renal pharmacology and neuropharmacology, is Chair of the Faculty Appointments and Promotions Committee, and is a member of both the Curriculum Committee and the Clinical Curriculum Subcommittee. Previously, he was interim chair of the Pharmacology Department at RUSM.

Dr. Bateson earned his PhD from the University of London (King’s College), UK, in biochemistry and molecular biology. He has held faculty appointments in the University of Alberta’s Department of Pharmacology—with adjunct positions in psychiatry and neuroscience—and, later, in the Faculty of Biological Sciences at the University of Leeds, UK. He has published numerous peer-reviewed papers as well as books and review chapters, primarily in the area of GABA-A receptor neuropharmacology and other channels important to cardiovascular functions. Multiple agencies, such as the Canadian Institute of Health Research, have funded Dr. Bateson’s research.

Sheila Nunn, PhD, has been appointed Chair of the RUSM Department of Anatomy. She previously served as interim chair of RUSM’s anatomy department, having joined RUSM full-time in September 2013. Dr. Nunn is a member of the Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the British Association of Clinical Anatomists, and the Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME).  She has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals in the fields of gastrointestinal anatomy and pathology and medical education.

She completed postgraduate study at The Queen’s University of Belfast, Ireland, where she earned a PhD in anatomy.  She spent two years at RUSM as an Assistant Professor of Anatomy before returning to the UK in 1995 to become a Lecturer in Anatomy at the University of Leeds, where she was primarily involved in the teaching and mentoring of medical students, in addition to carrying out research responsibilities.

In 2001, Dr. Nunn was recruited to set up the Department of Anatomy at the University of Durham, UK, an institution that was going to admit its first cohort of medical students that year.  She also served as a Senior Anatomy Lecturer, Deputy Chair of the Board of Examiners, and Director of the Clinical Skills Laboratory at Durham.  In 2006, she returned to the University of Leeds as a Senior Lecturer in Anatomy.  She was Program Leader for the Intercalated degree in Anatomy, and was responsible for all of the embryology and the majority of the histology teaching to medical and dental students, lectures in gross anatomy and lower limb, and all labs to medical, dental and science students.  

Tags: Faculty

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ALUMNI PROFILE: The Chillemi Brothers

November 07, 2014

When he was a child, Salvatore Chillemi hated going to the doctor. That was before he actually became one, of course.

"Once I got to high school, I realized I was really interested in helping people who are sick,” he remembers. “So I did rotations at a hospital early in my college education—and I loved it.” Now Salvatore, a 2007 Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate, is a practicing nephrologist at North Georgia Kidney Specialists in Marietta, Georgia.

There’s more: Salvatore isn’t the only Chilliemi who gravitated toward medicine and found success at RUSM. His younger brother Filippo Chillemi, MD, is a 2009 RUSM graduate and orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine at the prestigious Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, FL. “I chose Ross,” says Filippo, “because my brother was there. He was two years ahead of me and he’s such a great guy. I didn’t apply anywhere else.”  

“One of the Best Decisions of My Life”

And from the way Salvatore tells it, Filippo didn’t even have to. 

“I was studying in the library at the time of his interview,” says Salvatore, recalling the day of his brother’s interview. “I heard all the profs interviewing him, and they were just dying laughing. He walked out of the room and I said, ‘What just happened? You were in an interview, not a comedy show!’ All the professors came out as happy as can be, and the next thing you know, he’s class valedictorian and a successful orthopedic surgeon at Andrews. I’m very proud of him.” 

Salvatore chose Ross because his best friend and former undergrad roommate at Mercer University in Georgia, Dr. Shonak Patel, was attending RUSM at the time. “He knew I was a little bit down because I was waitlisted at a medical school in Georgia, so he suggested I look into it,” Salvatore says. "I applied, had my interview and the rest is history. It’s probably one of the best decisions of my life.”

A New Opportunity

Like Salvatore, Filippo discovered his interest in medicine in high school. “I was an All-American soccer player in high school,” says Filippo. "I was in the Top 20 in the country and played for the U.S. National Team. We represented the U.S. all over the world.”

On every journey, the boys were accompanied by an orthopedic surgeon. “When I was 15, I was on an airplane with 20 other kids but I’d talk to him and he introduced me to the operative side of sports medicine, which I really didn’t know existed.”

Filippo went to University of Notre Dame on a full athletic scholarship, dual-majoring in arts and letters and in economics, with a minor in pre-med studies. “My game plan at the time was that if I played professional soccer, after my career, I’d join the business world with my econ degree, and if for some reason I did not play soccer, I’d go to medical school. I got injured during my senior year and was no longer able to play, so Plan B took effect and I went to med school. There was a residency available in orthopedics so it seemed like a no brainer for me to pursue sports medicine.” 

Salvatore chose the medical rather than surgical route for two reasons. He half-jokingly says, “Reason number one: my brother is crazy to have to wake up so early in the morning! So it’s a quality of life issue for me. Reason number two: nephrology patients are your patients for life because most of them have chronic kidney disease as a result of diabetes or hypertension. So instead of a surgeon or critical care doctor who may see a patient once or twice and never again, I’m able to establish a rapport with my patients; a relationship and a friendship with them.” 

The Importance of Never Giving Up

Salvatore fondly remembers Dr. Calogero Tumminello of Wycoff Heights Medical Center, who mentored him during his clinicals and rotation. “He had the biggest impact on me. I related to him because he’s Italian American like me. We bonded as we discussed each patient and the findings. He really walked me through it and showed me the beauty behind medicine.”

“I learned the most from Dr. Laura Welke,” said Filippo. “She taught neuroanatomy, and she did it with so much enthusiasm. I had no interest in brain anatomy at all, but I still remember everything because of the way she taught it.”

In addition to his medical degree, Filippo left RUSM with a fiancé. “I met my wife the second day of med school. MaryLynn Epsten. We sat together for every lecture and we did every rotation together except for my two orthopedics. She’s a pediatrician.” They married during their residencies and have a young daughter and son, Eliana and Francesco. 

Salvatore and his wife Maria have a brand new baby boy, Luca. 

The brothers agree on the most important thing they learned at RUSM. “Sacrifice and perseverance,” says Salvatore. “In any field, you need to sacrifice. You need to study. And you need to learn to never give up, no matter what.” 

Tags: Alumni

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Poster Wins Prize for RUSM Clinical Affiliate at Cardiology Conference

November 07, 2014

Under the supervision of Reid Adams, Director of Simulation Operations at DeVry Institute for Research and Clinical Strategy, several residents from St. Joseph Mercy Oakland recently won a first-place award in a cardiology poster competition. St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical affiliate.

The poster, “Simulation Training Improves Echocardiography Skills in Cardiology Fellows”, won top marks in the Fellows in Training Poster Competition at the Michigan Chapter of the American College of Cardiology’s 26th Annual Conference. The event was held on Oct. 17-18, 2014.

Adams, who previously served on the technical/operations staff at RUSM’s accredited Simulation Institute, worked with the residents on writing the manuscript, crafting the study design, collecting data, and other elements of the project. Adams is currently working with St. Joseph’s officials on the hospital’s simulation lab.


Tags: Clinical Program

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