Ross University Blog

PROFILE: RUSM Clinical Student Gets Published on Major Healthcare Blog

June 25, 2015

Clinical student Marc Katz
RUSM clinical student Marc Katz recently had a post from his blog, MyKittyKatz, featured on KevinMD.

The first time Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student Marc Katz submitted a piece of his writing to KevinMD.com—a popular,  influential healthcare blog run by New Hampshire-based internal medicine physician Kevin Pho —he didn’t think much of it.

That was back in 2012. At the time, Katz’s blog—which he describes now as half motivational, half “things I wish I had known before I went to medical school”—was still in its infancy. In his first entry, written just days before his flight to the RUSM campus, Katz covers some of the anxieties he felt as the first day of medical school approached—anxieties that he thought would resonate with other prospective students.

He closed out that first post with some words of encouragement. “I had to take the MCAT twice, and applied to 28 medical schools, but all it took was one acceptance to make it all worthwhile,” he wrote. “If you have explored medicine and decided that it is the path for you, don’t let anyone discourage you from it. Own it and do whatever it takes to succeed. It is what I intend to do starting on my first day of class down in Dominica.”

The day after he submitted that blog post to KevinMD.com, he was surprised to see he had already gotten an email back saying his story was accepted.

His initial thought? “Well…I guess people are going to see this now,” he laughs.

Years later, Katz is still blogging, and his work is still getting recognized. In fact, one of Katz’s recent pieces—titled “Doctors: Now is the time to develop your style with patients” —just appeared on KevinMD on June 11 of this year.

His Blog’s Mission: To Motivate Other Medical School Students

To Katz, it’s far too easy for med school students, especially those attending international or Caribbean medical schools, to get discouraged before they even get started on becoming physicians. Part of the reason that Katz’s blog exists is to help other students shake off that discouragement.

“There are going to be tons of people when you apply to medical school or for residency who say that you shouldn’t do this because the industry’s changing, or that you just aren’t good enough,” Katz says. “I want to be one more person, on their side, to say that you are smart enough. That you can do this.”

That theme—the idea that for every person who tries to discourage someone from fulfilling their dream, there’s another person willing to offer encouragement—is something that really resonates with Katz, given the circumstances behind how he ultimately enrolled at RUSM.

“When I started applying to medical school, my philosophy going into it was that it only takes one yes for all of the nos to not matter,” he says. “I just needed one acceptance, and that acceptance was Ross. They gave me the opportunity that those other schools did not. They gave me the possibility of becoming a doctor.”

In addition to motivational entries, Katz’s blog covers tips and helpful practices for current and prospective medical school students—posts like “The Medical Student’s Guide to Clinical Rotations” or a story about Katz’s three favorite study aids for the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE).

RUSM clinical students Marc Katz and Roshan Asrani
RUSM clinical student Marc Katz (above, right, pictured with fellow student Roshan Asrani) recently had his writing featured on KevinMD.com, a popular physician-run blog.

Leveraging His Blog for Practice

It wasn’t until people—mainly students from RUSM and other Caribbean medical schools—started coming up to him and saying “Wait, you’re Marc Katz? I’ve read your writing!” that he really understood what a big deal it was that his post landed on KevinMD.

“What’s really amazing about being posted on Kevin’s blog is the reach,” says Katz, who is undergoing his core rotations at New York Methodist Hospital. “Doctors who’ve been practicing for years. Residents. Nurses. Physicians’ assistants. I’ve had all of these people, from all walks of life in healthcare, writing back and saying thanks, I needed this motivation today. Or keep it up.

Though Katz would like to publish a book at some point in his life (“maybe after residency,” he laughs—Katz is still in the middle of his clinical rotations, currently at New York Methodist Hospital), he’s busy thinking about how he can use his blog once he completes his clinical rotations, earns his medical degree, and enters residency.

“Being a fan of technology, I love the idea that I can potentially blog as a resident, or as a practicing physician,” he says. And he already has some ideas. For example, what if he was able to point one of his patients to his blog for supplemental medical advice?

“I always say When I’m a doctor, I’m going to strive to explain everything to my patients,” he says. “So if one of my future patients wants more information—on ways to get their weight under control, ways to control your glycemic index, whatever it may be—I could point them to my blog, where they’d get some additive content to help them maintain their health.”

RUSM clinical students Mahir Maruf and Marc Katz
Marc Katz (above, right, along with fellow student Mahir Maruf) is currently in his third year of clinicals. Right now, he's rotating at New York Methodist Hospital.

Keeping an Eye on the Prize: Residency in the US

Katz’s blog, coupled with his clinical rotations in New York, certainly keeps him busy.

“I feel like, every day during clinicals, I become slightly less useless,” he jokes. “When I first started my family medicine rotation, I was loaded up with all of this information for USMLE Step 1. Then you start ro tations, the doctor looks at you and says ‘Okay, this guy has asthma. How are you going to treat him?’ That’s a very basic question, one that any fourth-year student could readily answer…but as a fresh third year med student just starting clinical rotations it’s overwhelming because you know so much and yet you still know so little.”

Like Kevin Pho, Katz plans to practice internal medicine—an area that would allow him to study and treat a wide variety of diseases. “Internal medicine is an exciting specialty in and of itself,” he says. “You get to treat and learn and see everything—from cardiology to pulmonology, from nephrology to gastroenterology. You get to do everything.” He’s angling to stay in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area, where he has family.

For prospective med school students considering RUSM, Katz has one more piece of advice.

“Much like the actual practice of medicine, you have to take it upon yourself to go out and learn some things on your own,” he says. “But if you’re ready to be a doctor, and you want to start medical school right now—apply.”

Read More of Marc's Writing on His Blog
 

MyKittyKatz - Marc's BlogWant to read more of Marc Katz’s writing? Check out his blog, MyKatz, or follow him on Twitter at @MarcKittyKatz.



 

 

 

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Tags: Clinical Program , Students

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ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Make the Most of Your Summer

June 24, 2015

Get advice from Carey James, RUSM’s Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis, and Admissions, on how to stand out among medical school applicants.

 

According to Associate Dean James, there are some simple, yet meaningful, steps you can take this summer that can lead to the start of your medical education.

 

"Once you’ve identified your top choices for medical school, make strategic connections between the opportunities at those schools and your choice of summer activities," says James. "Pausing to map out a path to your specific target schools will make both your summer and year-round activities more strategic and goal-oriented."

 

Read the full story at PreMedLife.

Tags: Admissions

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ALUMNI: One Grad’s Path from Teacher, to Student, to Resident of the Year

June 17, 2015

 

 
Ray King, MD, RUSM alum named resident of the year
RUSM alumni Ray King, MD (above) was recently named Resident of the Year at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Georgia Regents University, Augusta.

Ray King, MD, PhD, a RUSM Class of 2010 graduate, was just named Resident of the Year at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Georgia Regents University, Augusta. Dr. King is the chief resident in surgery, and is just about to complete his training.

It goes without saying that we’re immensely proud of Dr. King’s accomplishment, but—given the caliber of our students and graduates—we also aren’t that surprised. What might surprise you, though, is the path he ultimately took to become a physician. Because it’s the opposite of what you’d expect.

A Guest Lecture Turns into a Job Offer

Some RUSM students come back to their alma mater to teach after they earn their medical degrees. For some of our grads, teaching simply becomes their passion. The opposite, though—a RUSM faculty member deciding to reverse course and become a medical school student—is far more rare. Yet that’s exactly what happened with Dr. King.

But how does someone go from a full-time faculty member to a medical school student?

 

RUSM Alumni In The News | Congratulations to Dr. Ray King ('10) who has been recognized as 2015 Resident of the Year at the Medical College of Georgia.

Posted by Ross University School of Medicine on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Before coming on board with RUSM to teach, Dr. King held faculty positions at several medical schools in the Boston area and abroad, including Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMass), and even such far-flung locations as Kathmandu University Medical School in Nepal, where he was assistant professor/course director of medical gross anatomy and histology. He’d earned his PhD in anatomy and neurobiology from Boston University School of Medicine, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in neural stem cell transplantation at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

While he was still on faculty teaching anatomy at UMass, Dr. King was invited to RUSM in Dominica as a guest lecturer. That lecture turned into a job offer – to be the course director of RUSM’s medical gross anatomy courses. He accepted and, in addition to his other responsibilities teaching, spearheaded an initiative to design and install the school’s fully integrated anatomy laboratory, which combined traditional cadaver dissections with high-tech, interactive digital learning stations.

The Medical School Professor Becomes the Student

But he wanted more—it felt like something was missing. “I was thinking about applying to medical school,” he said. “As a young faculty member, I was very fortunate to be given a tremendous amount of support from my department chair, Dr. [Sandy] Martin and [then-Dean Jorge Rios] to try many innovative projects at RUSM, and they apparently were happy with my work. Furthermore, they made an extremely generous offer for me to maintain my faculty position as well as to matriculate as a medical student.”

The offer was one he couldn’t refuse – albeit very confusing for his medical school classmates to be in class with one of their professors, he said. But the university brought him more than the chance to go to medical school. It brought him the opportunity to meet his future wife, fellow student Jessica Van Beek, MD. When they registered for the couples’ match in 2010 – he in general surgery and she in otolaryngology/head & neck surgery – people told them there was no way it would happen. “I wasn’t going to let that discourage us,” he said. “Who were they to tell us it couldn’t be done?”

Turns out it could. The couple matched at MCG, where King has concurrently served as a clinical assistant professor of gross anatomy, teaching MCG students while he was a surgical resident.  After finishing residencies in June 2015, the couple will travel to Minneapolis and Chicago for one-year fellowships, he at the University of Minnesota in colorectal surgery and she at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago in pediatric otolaryngology.

After wrapping up his training, Dr. King has his eye on joining a practice at University Hospital in Augusta.

 

 
 

 

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Tags: Faculty , Alumni , Residency

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RUSM Graduates Poised to Begin Residency Programs

June 15, 2015

July 1 marks the start of residency programs for most recent medical school graduates in the United States, and more than 800 RUSM alumni are among the group. Following the recent RUSM commencement ceremony that took place days ago, newly minted physicians are anxiously poised to begin their new careers. Hear from a few alumni in their own words as they talk about matching into a residency program – many of them receiving their first choice residency in their hometowns.

 

Michelle Kelley

When asked about her overall experience at RUSM, Michelle Kelley said, “There were no setbacks. I was pretty focused.” The Texas-native is returning to her hometown to begin an Internal Medicine residency at the University of Texas Medical School – Houston. She’s interested in becoming a hospitalist and has considered pulmonary and critical care disciplines.

“I’m very, very proud of Michelle,” said Marilyn Rabkin, who is Kelley’s mother. “She worked really hard.” Rabkin was beaming as she discussed her children’s success – she has an older daughter who is an immigration attorney.

 

Jonathan Dominguez

Jonathan Dominguez is returning to his New Jersey roots and will begin a Family Medicine residency at Hoboken University Medical Center – just five minutes from his parents’ pharmacy. Originally from Cliffside Park, Dominguez hopes to someday open a private practice.

Dominguez’s journey in medicine began by attending a RUSM information seminar. “Immediately after, on the same day of the info seminar, I applied to RUSM,” said Dominguez. But there was a defining moment that he knew he was on the right path. “It was after I passed the first mini exam that I felt assured,” said Dominguez. “After that I studied and maintained good academic and social balance.”

 

Ugorji Okorie

“At 11:50 a.m. I started to twinge,” says Ugorji Okorie reflecting on the long 10 minutes before she learned whether she matched into a residency. “I began to think, what if…,” said Okorie. But at 12:01 p.m. Okorie was relieved to receive a congratulatory message by the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP) and then the tears began flowing at 12:27 p.m. when she realized that she had achieved her long awaited dream.


Okorie matched into an Internal Medicine residency program at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center – Shreveport. Okorie was hoping to get into the Baton Rouge campus to be a little closer to family, but is still satisfied with her second choice. “LSU-Shreveport has great academics – it’s the largest teaching hospital in the state with all the fellowships,” said Okorie.


When she reflected on her time at RUSM, Okorie shared, “I love Ross. I loved living in Dominica.” She went on to say that the solitude gave her the opportunity to self-reflect and learn a lot about herself.

 

Christina Bortz

Christina Bortz is bound for New York Methodist Hospital in Park Slope to begin a residency in Internal Medicine. Bortz recounts that she was invited to participate in 20 interviews but decided to only go on 12 visits. “I canceled the rest of the interviews because I was pretty confident I’d do well, that I’d match,” said Bortz. She matched into her first choice program and has her mind set on a career in gastroenterology.

Bortz is from Ridgefield, CT and her friends and family shared in her accomplishment by giving a surprise congratulatory party.

 

Rachana Choksi


According to Rachana Choksi it was “exciting and nerve-wracking” while waiting for the results of the NRMP match. However, she soon realized her fears were unfounded as she is set to begin a promising career in Pathology at Temple University Hospital.

Choksi is interested in specializing in forensic pathology. She doesn’t feel strongly about returning home to Jersey City, NJ, but would like to establish her career somewhere in the northeast – maybe Boston.


 

Tags: Residency , Graduation

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USMLE: RUSM’s First-Time Pass Rate on Step 1 Higher Than US, DO Schools

June 15, 2015

RUSM students earn 97% first-time pass rate on USMLE

For the fourth year in a row, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students collectively achieved a first-time pass rate on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) that is on par with US students who took the exam. RUSM students’ Step 1 first-time pass rate for calendar year 2014 is 97%, topping the rate of US/Canadian schools (96%) and osteopathic schools (93%). Click the chart on the right to zoom in and explore our Step 1 outcomes over the last five years.

What’s Step 1 of the USMLE?

USMLE Step 1 is designed to test the knowledge acquired during the basic science years of medical school. Performance on this exam is an important indicator of a student's competitiveness for residency positions. Graduates of international medical schools must take and pass the USMLE if they want to practice in the United States. RUSM students' success on USMLE Step 1 attests to the university's strong curriculum, dedicated faculty and leadership, and academic support for students.

RUSM Students Perform Well Despite Changes to Test Scoring

It’s notable that for 2014, the USMLE’s administrators raised the minimum passing score for this test. We’re very proud that, despite this change to the test, our students continued to perform very well on this critical licensure exam.

Congratulations to all of our students who successfully completed Step 1, and we wish you well as you gear up for clinical rotations in the United States.

RUSM is currently accepting applications for all future semesters. Get started on your application.

 

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Tags: USMLE , Admissions

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WATCH: RUSM Graduation Ceremony Video Now Online

June 12, 2015

Ross University School of Medicine's 2015 Graduation Ceremony—held on May 30, 2015, at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida—was attended by about 700 of the more-than-1,000 men and women who were eligible to graduate this year, plus thousands of friends and family members. We captured the entire graduation ceremony on video, which we're now making available here for you.

The commencement address was delivered by two-time Pulitzer-Prize winner, New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s columns focus on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing world, and more.

Check out the video below.
 


2015 Accomplishments at RUSM to Date

We’re halfway through 2015, and it’s been a big year not just for RUSM’s latest group of graduates, but for the institution itself. Some highlights include:

  • Record-Breaking RUSM Match Year: RUSM again broke institutional records in this year’s residency match event, which saw more than 800  of our students earning coveted residencies in teaching hospitals across the United States. Our alumni earned residencies in competitive specialties—like ophthalmology, neurology, and surgery —while also obtaining placements in primary care programs, like internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. With our new residency total, we’ve broken institutional records for the second year in a row.
  • New Student Center Opens: Officially opened on May 14, RUSM’s brand-new Student Center is the largest building on campus and is intended to become the hub for the RUSM community and a welcoming facility for visitors. Designed to provide gathering spaces that promote collaboration among students and faculty, the Student Center contains the library, student study space, multipurpose rooms, the Center for Teaching and Learning, food facilities that include 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’s Step 1 Pass Rate Above US/Canadian Students: For the fourth year in a row, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students collectively achieved a first-time pass rate on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) that is on par with US students who took the exam. RUSM students’ Step 1 first-time pass rate for calendar year 2014 is 97%, topping the rate of US/Canadian schools (96%) and osteopathic schools (93%)

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MCAT2015: A Guide to the New Scoring System

June 12, 2015

The first batch of students who took the new, revamped 2015 MCAT in April received their scores today. If you’re wondering whether the AAMC has adjusted the way they score the exam—or just want to learn a little bit more about it—check out this handy fact sheet from the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the organization that administers the MCAT.

Want even more more information on the 2015 MCAT? Check out Ross University School of Medicine’s dedicated MCAT2015 section.
 


To our prospective students, don't forget: If you're taken the "old" version of the MCAT, our Admissions Committee will accept your scores for up to five years after you've taken the test. If you want to apply for our September 2015 class, you'll need to take the MCAT by Saturday, June 20, 2015.

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CURRICULUM: Basic Science and Clinical Leaders Collaborate at Education Summit

June 11, 2015

Dr. Scott Ippolito, chair of the Clinical Sciences Curriculum Subcommittee

Dr. Scott Ippolito, chair of the Clinical Sciences Curriculum Subcommittee

The Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Education Summit, held in Miami on May 28 and 29, brought together Basic Science deans and chairs, and clinical chairs and clerkship directors from throughout the United States. Dr. Dorian Shillingford, head of the Dominica Medical Board, also attended the event.
 

Much important work was done. The Clinical Sciences Curriculum Subcommittee meeting, chaired by Dr. Scott Ippolito, and comprised also of members from the Basic Sciences curriculum, was open to all attendees. There was good discussion and agreement on how to move forward. “The goal is to evaluate the clinical training at each core clerkship site,” Dr. Ippolito said. There will also be a process for providing feedback to our partners, he said, to ensure continual improvement for the benefit of our students. Curriculum revision and the integration of research into the curriculum were also topics of discussion, and initiatives into which our colleagues are putting tremendous effort.
 

“We are making great progress,” said RUSM Dean and Chancellor Joseph A. Flaherty, MD. “Still, challenges remain ahead of us. I’m perpetually optimistic. I know that we’re all committed to the mission of providing opportunity for our students and helping them succeed.”

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RECAP: RUSM Holds Commencement Exercises for Class of 2015

June 02, 2015

Some of the graduates walked across the stage slowly, with a dignified pace befitting the commencement ceremony of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Others strode quickly, purposefully, as if they were in a rush to begin their lives as physicians. One woman shared the experience with her baby, strapped in a carrier to her front. She cradled him as she shook the hand of Dean and Chancellor Joseph A. Flaherty, MD and accepted her degree. And as each name was called, the audience clapped and cheered enthusiastically.

RUSM held commencement exercises for the Class of 2015 on Saturday, May 30 at the BankUnited Center in Coral Gables, Florida.

 

 

Dean Asks: How Does One Succeed in Medical School?

“What does it take to succeed in medical school? To get in, to get through, and to get to a day like this,” Dean Flaherty began his remarks. “Looking out at you, and knowing what you went through to get here, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect embodiment of the concept of grit. You have faced and overcome obstacles, bounced back from setbacks, and worked harder, I’m sure, than you ever thought you were capable of.”

Dean Flaherty continued. “One of the things that attracted me to Ross was the attitude of students I met when I visited,” he said. “There was something about the way they talked about the opportunity they had and the work that was required of them. And not one of them had any doubt that they would make it through and go on to residency. That inspired me, and when I think back, and I look at you now, many of whom I have met and spoken with, I know that I was attracted to the grit that Ross students bring to this experience. The endurance. The resilience. And the commitment and drive–you wouldn’t be here without that.”

Pulitzer Prize Winner Delivers RUSM Commencement Speech

The commencement address was delivered by two-time Pulitzer-Prize winner, New York Times columnist and author Nicholas Kristof. Kristof’s columns focus on global health, poverty and gender issues in the developing world, and more. At the RUSM graduation, the theme of Kristof’s remarks was what he called the empathy gap.

“I remember at one point I was tempted to ditch journalism and go to medical school,” Kristof related. He told a story about his travels in Niger where, on a visit to a clinic, he saw a pregnant woman suffering from eclampsia who was about to lapse into a coma. The doctor would not perform a C-section because the husband couldn’t be found to give his permission. “But they didn’t want her to die in front of a New York Times journalist,” Kristof said.

So the doctor did the surgery and a healthy baby was delivered. Mother and child were fine.

“A Turning Point in Your Lives”

“One thing that I saw that day was that sometimes we still falter on access and empathy,” he told the graduates. “Today you reached a turning point in your lives. One of the dangers of success is that we risk becoming insulated from the needs of people… One of the things I admire about Ross is that so many of you end up in needy communities. You’ll be frustrated. You give patients advice and they won’t take it, about smoking, about unprotected sex. That’s when you need empathy.”

Kristof asked rhetorically, “Why don’t we take risks more often? It’s because of a sense that the problem is too vast. You’re going to see that in your profession. We’ve become numb. It seems like whatever we do is just a drop in the bucket. I’ve become a believer in drops in buckets.”

In closing, Kristof said to the graduates, “I hope you can use your learning and success to help others fill the empathy gap and fill buckets, one drop at a time.”

 

Jolynn on Twitter: "#RUSMG2015 #RossU @RossMedSchool Congratulations to our son Paul Sapia http://t.co/JDEld3Gh3y" http://ow.ly/NIDE2

Posted by Ross University School of Medicine on Monday, June 1, 2015

 

2015 Accomplishments at RUSM to Date

We’re halfway through 2015, and it’s been a big year not just for RUSM’s latest group of graduates, but for the institution itself. Some highlights include:

  • Record-Breaking RUSM Match Year: RUSM again broke institutional records in this year’s residency match event, which saw more than 800  of our students earning coveted residencies in teaching hospitals across the United States. Our alumni earned residencies in competitive specialties—like ophthalmology, neurology, and surgery —while also obtaining placements in primary care programs, like internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. With our new residency total, we’ve broken institutional records for the second year in a row.
  • New Student Center Opens: Officially opened on May 14, RUSM’s brand-new Student Center is the largest building on campus and is intended to become the hub for the RUSM community and a welcoming facility for visitors. Designed to provide gathering spaces that promote collaboration among students and faculty, the Student Center contains the library, student study space, multipurpose rooms, the Center for Teaching and Learning, food facilities that include 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’s Step 1 Pass Rate Above US/Canadian Students: For the fourth year in a row, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students collectively achieved a first-time pass rate on Step 1 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) that is on par with US students who took the exam. RUSM students’ Step 1 first-time pass rate for calendar year 2014 is 97%, topping the rate of US/Canadian schools (96%) and osteopathic schools (93%).

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