Ross University Blog

A Special Video Message from the Dean: Reflecting on 2014 Successes

December 19, 2014

As 2014 draws to a close, everyone at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is taking the time to reflect on our students’ and graduates’ accomplishments. This year, our institution placed more than 800 students into US residencies, more than any other medical school in the world. And, for the fourth year in a row, our students achieved the same first-time pass rate on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination as their US and Canadian peers (calendar year 2014).

In the video below, Dean Flaherty highlights these wins, as well as advancements in student support services, the redesign of our clinical skills curriculum, the addition of more high-quality clinical rotation opportunities, and other achievements.


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The Ethical Traveler: Dominica a Top Three Travel Destination

December 15, 2014

We think there’s a lot to love about Dominica, home of Ross University School of Medicine’s Foundations of Medicine curriculum. Many already travel here for the sights and experiences:  The country is home to rainforests, waterfalls, hot springs, and numerous diving spots, plus local flora and fauna that you can’t find anywhere else. 

There’s more to Dominica than just its beauty, though. CNN recently posted an article listing the Top Ten Ethical Travel Destinations, as selected by Ethical Traveler, a nonprofit organization.  Dominica landed in the third spot on the list.

Ethical Traveler looked at three criteria when creating this list—environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights. The nonprofit consulted databases from sources like Freedom House, UNICEF, and Reporters Without Borders, and reviewed detailed case research about each of the candidates.

"In Dominica, native species and forests are relative unspoiled in comparison to neighboring islands," writes Ethical Traveler. "Impressive efforts are underway to save endemic mountain chickens, which only inhabit two islands in the world. Other notable strides in Dominica include the expansion of solar power across the island, work to preserve native populations of frogs and iguanas, and a stated goal to become energy independent and carbon negative by 2020."

There’s more to making this list than doing well in the three categories above, though. “Each country selected as a Best Ethical Destination also offers the opportunity to experience unspoiled natural beauty, and to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way,” writes Ethical Traveler on its website.

Check out the CNN article here.

Tags: Dominica

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Prospective Students Learned Technology is Integrated throughout RUSM’s Curriculum

December 09, 2014

An attendee inserts her hands in robotic arms to mimic surgical incisions.

An attendee inserts her hands in robotic arms to mimic surgical incisions.

Strategic hospital affiliations give students a rich clinical experience


RUSM students gain clinical experience in their first semester. That fact appeared to be the most surprising and exciting information aspiring physicians learned during an interactive open house recently hosted at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) in Pontiac, MI. Nearly 70 attended the program, including five recently accepted students, to learn more about RUSM directly from the university’s faculty and alumni as well as from current students who are conducting clerkships at SJMO.

The program included a guided tour of the technologically-advanced simulation lab and hands-on demonstrations of innovative robotic equipment used during surgical procedures. Prospective students also had the opportunity to listen to a panel discussion and have questions answered about RUSM’s curriculum, campus life, student outcomes and more.

The SJMO simulation lab, “the most special tour feature” as commented by one attendee, provided realistic experiences for prospective students. Guests performed ultrasounds on the simulator, passed plastic blocks with laparoscopic instruments, maneuvered robotic surgical arms and evaluated SimMan® for an asthma attack.

Want to get an up-close look at SJMO's facilities and try out simulation technology? Join us for our Clinical Experience event at SJMO on Saturday, Oct. 8. Learn more and sign up here.
“The simulation part of the tour gave students insight into what kinds of technology they would encounter in their first two years of medical school and beyond,” said Dave Pederson, director of the Center for Excellence in Simulation Education at RUSM.

“The clinical experience at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is an example of what many RUSM students may undergo during their clerkships,” said Peter Goetz, vice dean of administration at RUSM.

SJMO is a RUSM-affiliate teaching hospital where a significant number of RUSM students conduct all of their core rotations (e.g., Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Surgery) during the third and fourth years of their medical school journey. One of the major reasons that RUSM established a relationship with SJMO is its similar focus on incorporating technology in medical education. 

Attendees were also able to experience what robotic surgery entails through the da Vinci® Surgical System. Prospective students manipulated mechanical hand controls to mimic precise incisions made during surgical procedures.

The event concluded with a reception where prospective students were able to get additional questions answered during individual discussions with RUSM faculty, administration, alumni and students.

Your Turn! Tour SJMO, Try Simulation Technology, and More Oct. 8

Get hands-on with SJMO's simulation technology and tour the facility at our Clinical Experience event on Saturday, Oct. 8. Learn more and sign up here.

Tags: Clinical Program , Admissions , Michigan

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DEAN’S VIEWPOINT: What’s the Physician/Customer Service Connection?

December 09, 2014

Ross University Dean Joseph A. Flaherty

By Joseph A. Flaherty, MD
Dean and Chancellor, Ross University School of Medicine

Parents of children who have an interest in pursuing a medical career have often asked me what their sons and daughters should do over the summer breaks in high school and college to help them prepare. Believe it or not, I tell them to have their kids work in a retail store, restaurant or grocery store, or in any type of job that requires customer understanding and service. I would encourage young people to do this type of work because of the valuable people skills it provides. You meet all kinds of people. Sometimes they’re ornery or antagonistic. Some are lonely and want to tell you their life story. If you’re a waiter, you have to get that order right. Patrons may give you kudos or be very angry; this is where you’re honing your skills in people-reading. Doctors need to be good at reading people and responding well, no matter how the patient behaves.

Words of Wisdom from “Big Al” 

There is an element of customer service and pragmatism that has long been a guiding principle and dynamic in my life. When I was a youngster I worked in a grocery store after school and I delivered groceries in a station wagon. Big Al, the store owner, used to say to me, “Don’t let those talkative older people hold you too long.” I had to learn how to be friendly, to chat for a while, but to keep moving, so I could get to my next customer. In a hospital, residents may see 40 patients in a day. They have to keep moving, yet at the same time, they have to make a connection with each person, and hear what the patients have to say.

The laudatory increase in technical sophistication in medicine has unfortunately carried with it a deleterious consequence—a decrease in the reliance on perceptive human skills in assessing patients. The physician may be more likely to get the diagnosis right, but less likely to show empathy, and to make sure the patient understands what is happening and will cooperate with treatment.

The Human Side of Medicine 

Often, our students select a path to medical school so early in their lives that they are spared from doing jobs where they could learn customer-service skills, and could learn to recognize social cues from people, and then use these with patients, to identify feelings like dread, anxiety, and anger. There’s a wide range of capacity to read affect. How well we do in that range, reading it well or poorly, is a result of how much practice we’ve had. I think we’re missing that in the premature crystallization of identity that keeps a youngster who wants to be a doctor in a kind of a bubble, with limited opportunity to talk to a lot of people and try to ascertain how they feel. I am not devaluing shadowing of doctors or working in a research lab, but making the case for the doctors to be immersing themselves in experience with people.

I encourage the admissions department at RUSM to look for well-rounded applicants, especially those who have spent time in a role that trains a person how to be good at customer service — which is essentially how to connect to humankind. 


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