Ross University Blog

Education Summit explores innovative ways to help medical students “think like doctors”

February 28, 2014

Physicians from hospitals throughout the U.S. that are clinical partners of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) travelled to the Dominica campus recently for a meeting of the minds at an Education Summit with faculty members on the island. The Summit’s aim was to explore ways to increase clinical correlations within the basic science education. The journey of RUSM students begins in Dominica, where they study the basic sciences, and then continues at various locations in the U.S. where they do their core clinical rotations and electives. They may also choose to do international interdisciplinary electives in several countries around the globe. The Summit, on Feb. 21-22, was an innovative approach to a process of continuous improvement. The goal is to integrate clinical knowledge and experience into the basic science curriculum. A future conference will look at ways to integrate basic science teaching into the clinical years. 

Plenary speaker shares his institute’s experience

“I really believe in this,” said plenary session speaker Mark Nadeau, MD, residency program director in the department of family and community medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. His topic was, “Increasing Clinical Correlations in the Basic Science Curriculum: Lessons Learned.” His institute had been put on probation by the LCME for a lack of such correlation, but after developing a new structure and new curriculum, the probation has been lifted.

 
“Sometimes students know all the anatomy, but not the clinically significant anatomy,” explained Nadeau. “For example, they may know all the ligaments, but may not know which one you might injure when you twist an ankle. Now we do training in team-based learning and in small groups. The collaboration between the basic science faculty and the clinical faculty is ag success story.”


One of Dr. Nadeau’s residents, RUSM graduate Dr. Teny Phillip said, “It’s great that a first-year medical student is encouraged to start thinking like a clinician.”

Collaboration at the event

At the Education Summit basic science faculty hosted visiting clinical faculty and worked together in small groups on various topics. These sessions were followed by a debriefing for all of the event’s participants, with lively discussions ensuing. Leading a workshop on “Pain Management through Pharmacology” was the team of RUSM associate professor Vicki Coffin, PhD and Scott Ippolito, MD, FAAFP, chair of family medicine and clerkship director at South Nassau Hospital in N.Y. and RUSM’s associate dean for clinical sciences. “It’s also important to address pain management through non-pharmacological methods,” stated Dr. Ippolito. “We don’t want students to think that the only treatment is pharmacological.” Dr. Ippolito is also an RUSM alumnus (’86). “We cover a broad range of treatment,” noted Dr. Coffin.

 
RUSM professor Alan Bateson, PhD asked, “Where in our curriculum are the things you’re talking about; the clinical bit we can integrate with? How can we put our basic science material in a clinical context?” Dr. Bateson suggested that curriculum mapping is required.


Several Summit attendees were visiting Dominica for the first time, including Kelly Rich, MD, medical director of the Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine Clinic, where she is the student coordinator. “I have a lot of respect for medical students who would leave the country to study. It takes drive.” Dr. Rich was glad to travel to the Summit because, she said, “I’m really excited about the fact that they want to get clinical and basic sciences faculty together to brainstorm. That is a really good thing. The result is that students would be better clinicians.” 

Call to action for medical school faculty

RUSM’s Senior Associate Dean for Education Alison Dobbie, MD, FACS, who organized the event, commented, “This is a living example of what happens when you put smart people in a room and let them get on with things.” Working with her on the event were RUSM’s James Grogan, PhD, assistant dean for curriculum and professor, department of biochemistry and genetics, and Stanley White, PhD, associate dean, Center for Teaching and Learning and professor of physiology, together with a team of faculty and staff members.


Senior Associate Dean, Dominica Campus, Wm Lynn Weaver, MD, said, “At RUSM we are here at the right time and place in history for taking the next step. This conference, this collaboration, is a set up for that.”
A six-point call-to-action was presented by Dean Joseph Flaherty, enumerating ways to achieve the goals discussed at the Summit. “I think it’s a great start. This is an ongoing process,” he said. “We have great momentum.”

Tags: Faculty

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Residency Fair Brings Medical Students Face-to-Face with Residency Directors

February 28, 2014

“Speaking to an actual residency program director is better than getting information off the Internet,” said David Contreras, 24, a third semester student at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) who attended the Residency Fair held on the Dominica campus on Feb. 22. Contreras, a graduate of California State University at Stanislaus, wants to become a pediatrician. “It was very helpful speaking with Dr. Lavani. Now I know my priorities and what I need to do.” Romeen Lavani, MD is the clinical associate of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medicine Comer Children's Hospital in Chicago, and RUSM chair of pediatrics.

About 200 RUSM students took the opportunity to meet with residency program directors from hospitals throughout the U.S. who were in Dominica for a two-day event called the Education Summit. “Questions specific to me were answered,” said fourth semester student Rebecca Skilbred, who was engaged in a discussion with Kelly Rich, MD, medical director of the Atlanta Medical Center Family Medicine Clinic, where she is the student coordinator.

Srilakshmi Maguluri, MD, an ophthalmologist, is the director of medical education at Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago, overseeing students, as well as faculty. She, too, was at the Residency Fair to offer guidance and answer questions. “We have RUSM students in all core rotations and in electives,” she said.


RUSM Dean and Chancellor, Joseph Flaherty, MD, was on-hand to advise students about the field of psychiatry and Senior Associate Dean, Wm Lynn Weaver, MD, FACS, shared his expertise about surgery.


“I love kids and I love cardiology,” said Thomas Hill, 25, a fourth semester RUSM student who plans to combine these areas of medicine in his career by practicing pediatric cardiology. Hill, a graduate of Texas A & M University, came to the Residency Fair and got some advice from Dr. Lavani. “It was good information,” he said.

 

Tags: Residency , Campus

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Dr. Richard Mills joins emergency department at Jackson County Memorial Hospital in Oklahoma

February 25, 2014

Dr. Mills (RUSM ‘04) is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Physicians and specializes in Emergency Medicine. He joins the hospital after seven years providing emergency care in a four-hospital system in Greenville, South Carolina. Jackson County Memorial Hospital in Altus, Oklahoma, is a 99-licensed bed facility in the heart of southwest Oklahoma. Dr. Mills completed undergraduate studies at Clemson University in South Carolina. After receiving his medical degree from RUSM, he completed a residency in Family Medicine at the Greenville Hospital System-University Medical Center in Greenville, South Carolina, in 2007. “My desire is to become an integral part of Jackson County Memorial Hospital, to provide the greatest medical care possible and to provide superior customer service to my patients,” states Mills.

Tags: Alumni , Oklahoma

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Through Salybia Mission Project, Medical Students Bring Health Education to Youth

February 19, 2014

At the invitation of the Dominican Youth Development Division, members of the Ross University School of Medicine’s (RUSM) Salybia Mission Project, a student organization, visited the Kalinago territory to participate in an event to educate youth about sexually transmitted diseases. The RUSM students’ presentation, on Feb. 15, 2014, included information about the misconceptions concerning STDs, signs and symptoms, prevention, and treatment options available to those who become infected. The event was featured in Dominica News Online.

The Salybia Mission Project, according to its website, “is devoted to providing much needed medical care to the indigenous population of Dominica, the Carib Indians, also known as the Kalinago.”

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RUSM adds new international clinical rotations

February 14, 2014

RUSM offers a unique learning environment for its students, with high-tech simulation and medical imaging offered within a breathtaking tropical rain forest setting. International experience is a given for pre-clinical students, and many extend their learning to local clinics and hospitals in Dominica. RUSM has been offering electives to Nairobi, Kenya since 2011. Now RUSM is expanding international opportunities for clinical students by adding new elective rotations in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, India, Honduras and the Himalayas.

The new international electives, which will be available starting in April 2014, will allow students to participate in primary care for patients in an under-resourced setting. Students who have passed USMLE Step 1 and have completed at least one essential core rotation in a primary care specialty will be eligible.

Dr. Rhonda McIntyre, associate clinical professor, said that the new clinical electives were designed in response to the growing demand among students for practical, hands-on experience in under-developed regions. “Diseases that may be encountered include malaria, tuberculosis, fungal and skin infections, malnutrition and HIV, and a range of other conditions that are not as likely to be found in developed countries,” she said. “Participation in the international electives may also enhance our students’ match rate for residency.”

RUSM students have the opportunity to work alongside students from Chamberlain College of Nursing. Betheal Aschenaki, who participated in the Kenya elective, said, “I realized how much I knew as a student and I learned to value the impact we have as physicians. This is one of the reasons I want to go into family medicine.”

Tags: Clinical Program

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Dr. Greg Ackroyd, neurologist, joins Annadel Medical Group in Sonoma County, California

February 11, 2014

Dr. Ackroyd (RUSM ‘00) is board certified in neurology and sleep medicine. After earning his medical degree from RUSM, he completed his neurology residency at University of Texas Medical Branch, and completed his sleep medicine fellowship at University North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is currently the medical director at North Bay Sleep Medicine Institute and has maintained a private practice in Santa Rosa for the past seven years. Dr. Ackroyd earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Tags: Alumni , California

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Dr. Kara Dahl, emergency physician, joins South Dakota Hospital

February 07, 2014

Dr. Kara Dahl (RUSM ‘09) has joined Sanford Aberdeen Medical Center in South Dakota. Dr. Dahl specializes in emergency medicine and comes to Sanford Aberdeen from Sarasota Emergency Associates in Sarasota, Fla. She completed residency training in emergency medicine at Tampa General Hospital through the University of South Florida.

Tags: Alumni , South Dakota

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Medical Student Oncology Society Raises Funds to Support Cancer Center

February 06, 2014

The Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Oncology Society, one of the more than 40 student groups and organizations on campus, has been raising funds for a portable ultrasound device, which is an essential diagnostic tool for the new cancer center at Princess Margaret Hospital in Dominica. RUSM faculty member, Dr. Kamalendu Malaker, the group’s advisor, was instrumental in developing the cancer center.

The group was able to raise $25,000 EC ($9,259 US) last semester, with the help of RUSM students, spouses and faculty. They hope to continue this project and raise funds to cover the cost of chemotherapy for patients in need.

“This is another great example of how the commitment and determination of our students can make a difference in the community of Dominica,” said Dr. Stanley White, associate dean of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “All involved deserve our congratulations and admiration.”
 

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