Ross University Blog

ALUMNI: Grad Reflects on Medical Relief Work

September 30, 2015

Since graduating from Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) in 2002, Faiz Hussain, MD, MPH, has made medical relief work his personal mission. Upon completing his residency in Internal Medicine from Loma Linda University in 2005, he served as director of a clinic site in the relief efforts for Hurricane Katrina. Subsequently, he made multiple trips to Pakistan, Kashmir, and Haiti as a medical member of disaster response teams, including the South Asian Earthquake in 2005, Haiti Earthquake in 2010, and the Pakistan floods in 2010.  He also led a medical delegation to the Philippines in 2013 in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. “Though I certainly wish these disasters had never occurred in the first place, I am deeply grateful to have been in a position to put what knowledge and skills I had to good use,” he says. For the past five years and more, Hussain has served as Clinical Director of the Department of Compensation and Pension with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Long Beach, Calif.  Previously, he was Medical Director of an Occupational Medicine group in Orange County, Calif.


RUSM: Tell us about your current position at the VA.

Hussain: I perform forensic evaluations of medical claims filed against the federal government. Although I feel more like an attorney than a physician, I could not perform this job without a solid medical background. What I enjoy most in this position is serving the veteran population - those who served our country. Secondly, I'm intrigued by the challenge of reviewing and presenting medical evidence as concisely and articulately as possible.

RUSM: What led you to pursue a career in medicine?

Hussain: I’ve always had a fondness for travel and I sought a career that would blend this passion along with my passion to serve others. Medicine has helped me accomplish exactly that. It is such a portable skill; you could literally be dropped off anywhere in the world at any time and have an immediate and measurable impact upon those around you. 

RUSM: What led you to choose RUSM and how well do you feel it prepared you for what you are doing now? 

Hussain: Education has always been at the core of my professional goals.  I had exceptional clinical training both during my 3rd and 4th year clerkships as well as during residency at the University of Utah and Loma Linda University Schools of Medicine. I vividly recall how a single attending physician could make all the difference in a clinical rotation experience. Someone who takes pride in imparting knowledge instills a greater thirst for knowledge in his or her students.  I’ve tried to embrace this spirit as a teaching attending for RUSM and Chamberlain College of Nursing students on international clinical electives in Kenya, where we set up mobile medical clinics in various pockets within Nairobi.  Living in Dominica and participating in community-based projects was also invaluable. It heightened my cultural sensitivity and fostered my commitment to the global application of medicine. 

RUSM: You are very active in the RUSM alumni network. What motivated this involvement and what do you tell prospective students? 

Hussain: Having had these amazing experiences, I wanted to share my passion with others. RUSM continues to forge relations with major academic institutions nationwide.  In this light, I’ve had the pleasure of serving as an alumni ambassador while liaising with undergraduate medical advisors on tours of our beautiful campus. Additionally, I’ve been invited to offer pearls of wisdom and advice while addressing the incoming 1st semester class during orientation week in Dominica to help assuage the anxieties and uncertainties commonly experienced by new students. For the last several years, I’ve also participated in RUSM information seminars to help illustrate the tangible successes one can achieve with a RUSM medical degree. To help fortify our basic sciences curriculum, I participated in the RUSM Education Summit in Dominica. I was also invited to represent RUSM on an alumni panel during Congressional meetings in Washington, D.C.  What I share with prospective students is that there is no obstacle that is so insurmountable it cannot be overcome. If medicine is your dream, it is something that can definitely be achieved. RUSM gave me that opportunity when few others would. For this reason, I continue to be grateful and see it as a pleasure to assist others who are in the same position now as I was in several years ago. 


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ALUMNI: From Chief Resident to Chief Medical Officer, Grad Has Rich Career

September 29, 2015

Dr. Panagiotis "Taki" Galanopoulos, MD, MSc, FAAFP (’07), is currently working as an outpatient physician at PrimeCare Medical Clinic in Metro Vancouver, British Columbia.

Meet Taki and chat with him one-on-one at our Vancouver Information Seminar Saturday, Oct. 15. Get details and sign up here.

RUSM: Please tell us about your career path.

Galanopoulos: I did my residency at the University of Louisville Department of Family and Geriatric Medicine and served as one of the chief residents in my last year. During my time there, I was also the U.S. resident representative on the board of North American Primary Care Research Group (NAPCRG), which allowed me to combine my interests in clinical and research medicine.

After completing my residency, three of my colleagues and I moved to the rural town of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, to start a hospital-owned clinic. It was a hybrid of a walk-in clinic and a primary care practice. At the same time, I participated in the primary care arm of a community mental health center, working alongside psychiatry colleagues in a team-based patient-centered health clinic. During my last year in Kentucky, I served as the Chief Medical Officer of a new federally-qualified health center. In November 2014, I participated in a consultation group that reviewed Ross' health center on campus. In January 2015, I returned to Dominica to work as the interim medical director on campus.

RUSM: What was it like to direct the campus health center at RUSM after having been a student, and what changes did you make?

Galanopoulos:  It was a fantastic feeling to come back to Dominica and serve the students and faculty. Student Health was just a little building in the back of campus when I was a student. Now, it has an emergency room and four exam rooms, and there is coordination between the campus team and behavioral health clinicians. The team does a great job of providing full-service healthcare for all of the campus community. It was also important for me to do outreach to the local doctors as well as the ones at Princess Margaret Hospital. This led to some successful meetings, which opened the lines of communication and streamlined processes for delivering healthcare to the campus community. We also started talks with the University Hospital of Martinique to aid in the medical evacuation of patients who require immediate assistance vs. patients who can be safely transported to Florida for care. (As a side note, I had to be evacuated myself in April for a kidney stone, so I experienced how smoothly the process works!)

Want a chance to ask Taki your questions about the Ross experience? Come meet him at our Vancouver Information Seminar Saturday, Oct. 15. Get details and sign up here.

RUSM: What is the most interesting or unusual experience you’ve had in Dominica?

Galanopoulos: It’s hard to choose just one. I’ve monitored outbreaks of dengue fever and chicken pox on the island, worked with the local and national health authorities on developing plans to renovate the local hospital ER, and sat in on Director meetings after being a student (which was surreal).

RUSM: Could you speak to your student experience at RUSM?

Galanopoulos: I really enjoyed my time on the island as a student as well as during clinical rotations. I felt a deep connection with the island and my classmates. It felt like we all were going through something very special and I now have great friends I can visit in almost any major city in the U.S. It was an amazing experience academically as well as culturally. There is no doubt in my mind that the education that I received was top-quality and the professors had our best interests as well as that of our future patients at heart. 

RUSM: What is your message for prospective students?

Galanopoulos: I urge all of them to take a serious look at why they want to become a physician and think hard about what they are willing to sacrifice to reach their goal. They should have no reservations once they commit to the idea of becoming a physician and have confidence in the fact that Ross will help them reach their potential. Along the way, they will make lifelong friendships and have a large network of alumni to help them.

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DEAN’S VIEWPOINT: How to Reverse the Declining Number of African-American Men in Medical School

September 28, 2015

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

A recent report from the Association of American Medical Colleges points out that since 1978, while the number of African-American men graduating from college has gone up, the number going on to medical school has dropped. This contradiction should serve as a wake-up call to educators and leaders across the country. Medical schools in particular need to look closely at what may be keeping away those African-American students who might otherwise aspire to become physicians.

An editorial co-authored by Joseph Flaherty, MD and Jorge Girotti, PhD—published in the Washington Post—seeks to address this issue. Flaherty, dean and chancellor of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), has had an interest in this issue since his days at the University of Illinois College of Medicine, where he served as dean prior to joining RUSM.

“This is an issue we feel very strongly about at RUSM. Opportunity is at the core of our mission, and we should ensure that that opportunity extends far and wide to give as many deserving and qualified students a chance as possible,” said Flaherty.

The 2014-15 RUSM student body is about 25 percent Asian, 11 percent black or African-American, and 9 percent Hispanic. For African-American men, the subject of the new AAMC report, RUSM enrolls at nearly double the level of U.S. schools on average: In the 2014-15 academic year, 4.8 percent of our enrollees were black males, compared to 2.5 percent in the AAMC statistics for U.S. schools.

“That level carries through to graduation,” said Flaherty, pointing out that in the last five years, RUSM’s 138 African-American male graduates have comprised about 5% of all RUSM graduates. Said Flaherty: “Outcomes like this show us all the way to get more African-American male physicians – welcome them as students and give them a fair opportunity to show they have what it takes to become physicians.”

Read the whole editorial here.

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LIST: RUSM Grads Earn Chief Resident Spots for 2015-2016 Residency Year

September 23, 2015

Hundreds of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduates started residency training just a few months ago, in July. In the meantime, many of our graduates who are already deep in their training have earned the distinction of being named chief residents for the 2015-2016 year. Chief residents are generally appointed by the program director of a given residency program, and they’re entrusted with developing clinical rotation schedules, performing administrative duties, and supervising junior residents, among other responsibilities.

Curious whether a friend or classmate of yours was appointed chief resident recently? Check out the list below.

Is your name missing from this list or does something need to be corrected? If so, please email and we'll make sure it's addressed as soon as possible.


Dipan Patel, MD: New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY

Emergency Medicine Chief Residents

Nicole Battaglioli, MD: WellSpan York Hospital, York, PA

Brian Kendall, MD: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

Daniel Kemple, MD: University of Toledo, OH

Ginny Lee, MD: Summa Akron City Hospital, Akron, OH

Eric Sanders, MD: WellSpan York Hospital, York, PA

Deepak Vatti, MD: SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY

Family Medicine Chief Residents

Reynald Lamarre, MD: The Medical Center of Central Georgia, Macon, GA

Bryce Moody, MD: University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, Chattanooga, TN

Justin Ossman, MD: University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine, Chattanooga, TN

Christine Pierre, MD: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

Grant Studebaker, MD: University of Tennessee Family Medicine Program, Jackson, TN

Brandy Tarap, MD: Rapid City Regional Hospital, Rapid City, SD

Lisa Torgersen, MD: Central Maine Medical Center, Lewiston, ME

Anna Wani, MD: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX

Philip Verel, MD: Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare

Emantavius Williams, MD: Southwest Georgia Family Residency, Albany, GA

Megan Yee, MD: Grand Rapids Medical Education Partners/Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, MI

General Surgery Chief Residents

Sola Fasusi, MD: Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA

Internal Medicine Chief Residents

Neil Bhalerao, MD: John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Chicago, IL

Paul Bradley Brasher, MD: Albany Medical College, Albany, NY

Jagman Chahal, MD: Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ

Saima Dean, MD: University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA

Shivtej Kaushal, MD: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI

Jonathan Preston, MD: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Marissa Sardinha, MD:  Wayne State University/Crittenton Hospital Medical Center Internal Medicine Residency Program

OB/GYN Chief Residents

Shelly Gibbs, MD: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine Chattanooga

Carson Kaeser, MD:The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine Chattanooga

Magda McKearin, MD: Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, NY

Sherifat Ope, MD: Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, NY

Nicole Waschak, MD: Central Michigan University, Saginaw, MI

Pathology Chief Residents

Jason Chen, MD: The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine

Pediatrics Chief Residents

Crystal Bass, MD: Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Dayton, OH

Mansi Desai: University of California San Francisco, Fresno, CA

Psychiatry Chief Residents

Jyotsna Kilani, MD: Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA

Justin Mortimer, MD: University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT

Sonia Riyaz, MD: Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA

Alyse Stolting, MD: University of Toledo, OH

Radiology Chief Residents

Chirag Dani, MD: Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

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ADMISSIONS: What to Expect at an RUSM Information Seminar (+Video)

September 23, 2015

Throughout the year, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) holds live information seminars across the US and Canada—recruitment events designed to give interested students a deeper look at how we prepare our students for challenging, rewarding careers in medicine—and how RUSM is here to support you from day one, from white coat to residency and practice.

Go here to see if we’re hosting an information seminar near you, and be sure to check out the video on the right, in which Eric Wilson, MD, RUSM Class of 2007—a California sports medicine physician practicing at Kaiser Permanente—gives you a sneak peek of what you can learn at one of our live events.

What can I expect at an information seminar?

RUSM seminars generally last about two hours. Here’s what you can expect in a nutshell:

  • Learn about our campus and a take a close look at our accelerated, organ systems-based, integrated Foundations of Medicine (basic sciences) curriculum—and how we weave clinical exposure into the curriculum starting as early as first semester.
  • Explore our clinical program in detail, and find out which United States hospitals you could be rotating through as an RUSM student.
  • Watch a select group of alumni speak, in person, about their experiences at RUSM—and learn about their lives in residency and medical practice.
  • Speak with admissions officers one-on-one to discuss your MCAT score, GPA, and other specifics related to your personal academic situation.
  • Find out more about financial aid, scholarships, and other ways you can fund your medical education.

What’s the typical schedule at a Ross information seminar?

For one of our standard information seminars, expect the following schedule:

  • Registration: Check in, chat with admissions advisors, and enjoy a spread of complimentary refreshments before the event begins. Generally takes place 10 to 15 minutes before the seminar begins.
  • Presentation: Watch an engaging presentation—incorporating photography, videos, and live speakers—and learn about the application process, arriving on campus, our curriculum, the US clinical experience, and our graduates’ residency/career successes. Typically, this segment lasts about an hour.
  • Panel/Q&A: Listen to our graduates’ stories, and then ask them your questions—about medical school, the RUSM experience and residency, and their professional careers after they earned their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees. All told, the panel and Q&A last about an hour.
  • Individual Q&A: After the event concludes, speak with our admissions officers about whether you’re a fit for RUSM, and what you should do next in the application process. If schedule permits, our alumni generally stay for some time after the event to answer students’ individual questions one on one.

How can I sign up for an RUSM information seminar near me?

Go here for the latest list of live events and signup forms. If you have other questions about our event, feel free to send them to

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THINK PINK: RUSM Joins American Cancer Society to Battle Breast Cancer

September 22, 2015

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is proud to join with the American Cancer Society as a corporate sponsor for the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Sunday, Oct. 25 at Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, NJ. The event will unite communities to honor breast cancer survivors, help people take steps to reduce breast cancer risk, and raise funds to support research.

Check in starts at 8:30 a.m. and the walk begins at 10 a.m.
RUSM's relationship with the American Cancer Society began earlier this year in support of College Relay for Life events and the medical school is exploring how to further join the fight against cancer through the following initiatives:

  • Community Engagement: Provide health education and screenings in underserved communities.
  • Colorectal Cancer Prevention: Support the American Cancer Society's national effort to increase the screening rate for colorectal cancer to 80 percent for adults ages 50 and older by 2018. The "80% by 2018" initiative is led by the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable, which is an alliance of more than 140 organizations that have made a commitment to eliminate colorectal cancer as a major public health problem. For more info, visit:
  • Extramural Research and Training: Pursue several opportunities for beginning investigators to apply for research and training via the American Cancer Society's Extramural Grants Program.

The American Cancer Society reports that breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, except for skin cancer, and there are more than 2.9 million breast cancer survivors in the United States today.  Many studies have shown that finding breast cancer early can help save lives and provide more treatment options. 
Call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit to learn more about breast cancer risk factors, early detection and treatment. 

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IN THE NEWS: RUSM Student, USNS Comfort Volunteer Featured in Chicago Paper

September 18, 2015

Sommerhalder and Veatch, RUSM alumni
RUSM student Brittany Singleton (second from left) was recently featured in a Chicago newspaper for her volunteer work on the US Navy's recent humanitarian mission to Dominica. She's pictured here with (from left) US Navy Lt. Commander Faith Underwood, CNM; fellow RUSM student Aurelie-Pamela Seka; and Mersedes Greene, HM3/E4, US Navy.

RUSM student Brittany Singleton is featured in a recent edition of the Daily Southtown, a Chicago Tribune newspaper covering the Chicago Southland area. Brittany was one of 900 students who participated in the USNS Comfort hospital ship’s medical mission in Dominica.

The story highlights Brittany’s passion for learning the practice of medicine and her experience working with the US Navy on this humanitarian initiative.

Read the article* here, and see below for other coverage—both on our website and through other news media—of RUSM’s students. We’re excited that Brittany’s story is being told, and look forward to getting the word out about our students’ accomplishments even more in the future.

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ALUMNI ROUNDUP: Check Out the Jobs Some of Our Grads Are Getting

September 17, 2015

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduates are practicing around the United States in a wide variety of medical specialties and disciplines. Want a snapshot of what just some of our grads are up to in the career world? Check out our roundup below. 

To our graduates: Did you recently make a career move? If so, send us an email at and we’ll add you either to this post or a subsequent one.

  • Kamran Tasharofi, MD, Class of 2000, has been named senior medical director at Ascend Hospice, an in-home healthcare provided serving Massachusetts and New Jersey. Dr. Tasharofi, who is also president of Pioneer Health Group, medical director/president at Union County Health Care Associates, and an attending physician at several NJ hospitals, will facilitate health care for hospice patients in their own homes. He completed his residency at Seton Hall University in internal medicine.
  • Alain R. Elian, MD, Class of 2008, has joined Borgess Surgical Specialties, Kalamazoo, MI. A board-certified general surgeon who specializes in minimally invasive and bariatric surgery, Dr. Elian completed a fellowship in his specialty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and completed a surgery residency at the Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.
  • Lonnie E. Perryman, Jr., MD, Class of 2007, has joined Jackson County Memorial Hospital (JCMH), Atlus, OK, as a family practice physician. Dr. Perryman will staff JCMH’s medical clinic and offer care for children and adults of all ages. Special interests include working with patients to control diabetes and high blood pressure. Dr. Perryman completed his family practice residency at Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, College Station.
  • Seth Jelinek, MD, Class of 2012, has joined the Georgia Regents University/University of Georgia Medical Partnership and St. Mary’s Health Care System as the internal medicine residency program assistant director for ambulatory and outpatient education. Dr. Jelinek comes to Athens from the University of Texas Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin, where he recently completed his internal medicine residency.
  • Dr. Raul Raudales, Jr., Class of 2010, has joined Adena Bone and Joint Center, Ohio, and will specialize in sports medicine. Dr. Raudales completed his family medicine residency at Akron General Medical Center, and his primary care sports medicine fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
  • Shahzad Khan, MD, Class of 2012, has joined UMass Memorial Medical Group. Dr. Khan, who completed his residency training at Danbury Hospital in Connecticut, is specializing in hospital medicine at UMass Memorial Medical Center—University Campus, Worcester, MA.
  • Prince Philip, MD, Class of 2011, also has joined UMass Memorial Medical Group. Dr. Philip completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at UMass Memorial Medical Center. He is specializing in hospitalist medicine at Marlborough Hospital, MA.
  • Tiffany Kim, MD, Class of 2012, has joined the team of providers at Bothwell OB/GYN Associates, Missouri. Dr. Kim completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Central Michigan University College of Medicine in Saginaw, Michigan, and was an attending physician for Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Michigan, and a member of the obstetrics and gynecology faculty at Central Michigan University College of Medicine. Dr. Kim is a member of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
  • Michael Marchese, MD, Class of 2009, has joined Phelps Medical Associates, the primary and specialty care medical group of Phelps Memorial Hospital Center, NY. Dr. Marchese is board certified in internal medicine, and completed a residency in internal medicine at Stamford Hospital, CT, followed by a fellowship in endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at Albany Medical Center.
  • Jasmine M. Reese, MD, Class of 2009, has joined Physicians’ Primary Care of Southwest Florida as a pediatrician specializing in adolescent medicine. Dr. Reese completed her residency in pediatrics at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona and a fellowship in adolescent medicine at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. Dr. Reese is board certified in pediatrics and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine and the American College Health Association.
  • Joshua Alweiss, MD, Class of 2012, has joined Harris Pediatric Care, a pediatrics practice located at Harris Regional Hospital Medical Park in Alabama. Dr. Alweiss completed his pediatrics residency at the University of South Alabama Children’s and Women’s Hospital in Mobile.
  • Kunal Agarwal, MD, Class of 2011, has joined the Nanticoke Physician Network, DE. A family medicine/sleep medicine specialist, Dr. Agarwal completed a family medicine residency at Western Michigan University School of Medicine in Kalamazoo, Michigan and a fellowship in sleep medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Dr. Agarwal will also be serving as the Medical Director of the Sleep Disorder Center at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital. He is board-certified in family medicine and is a member of the American Academy of Family Medicine, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the American Medical Association and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

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ADMISSIONS: Important 2016 MCAT Information

September 16, 2015

An important reminder for students thinking of applying to medical school: the American Association for Medical Colleges (AAMC) has released the list of MCAT test dates for 2016. Take a look here.

How does this affect my medical school application for the May 2016 class?

If you’re planning to apply for Ross University School of Medicine’s (RUSM) May 2016 class but have not taken the MCAT yet, these new 2016 MCAT test dates mean that you still have options. The MCAT will be offered on Friday, January 22, and Saturday, January 23. If you take the MCAT on one of these two test dates, you will have enough time to apply, send in your supporting documents, receive your MCAT score, and potentially secure an interview.

What about the September 2016 class? When should I take the MCAT?

The last day you can take the MCAT and qualify for our September 2016 class is Saturday, June 18. However, our admissions colleagues highly encourage applicants to take the MCAT sooner, not later.

“Students hoping to enroll in September 2016 are highly encouraged to take the MCAT as early as January,” says Carey James, associate director of operations, analytics, and admissions. “That way, if you decide to retake the exam to better your score, you’ll still have time to study, retake it, improve your score, and make it in time for September.”

Though taking the MCAT in June is still an option, there is a chance that the September 2016 class will be full by then, James notes.

You can register for the MCAT on the AAMC’s website.

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ADVICE CORNER: How Your Past Experience Can Boost Your Medical School Application

September 15, 2015

Recently, we sat down with Carey James, associate dean of admissions at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), to chat about one important piece of your medical school candidate profile: your past experiences. These can help an institution’s admissions officers look at more than just your MCAT score and grade point average to really understand who you are—both as a person and as a prospective physician.

“To us, that’s really interesting stuff,” says James. “It helps us see beyond the statistics and understand you better as a person who is  more than just numbers on an application.” In fact, in select cases, your past experience can actually outweigh how you performed during your undergraduate studies, he says.

Though he emphasizes that there are many options out there for a medical school student who wants to get some extra experience in the field, James pinpointed three main methods: Shadowing a physician, your work history in a medical field, and your volunteer history.

Why It’s Important: Shadow a Physician

Shadowing a physician is a common, generally safe way for you to get some experience in the medical arena without participating in direct patient care. Shadowing is all about observation: You’ll likely be following a physician over the course of a typical day at work, watching that person interact with patients, and gaining a greater understanding of the practice of medicine. Think of it as a test drive.

“It protects the student, and helps them gain empathy as to what it’s like to be a practicing physician,” James adds. “It helps them imagine being in that role, and broadens their understanding of the realities of daily life in practice.”

That’s an important point, says James: Shadowing a physician is less about  developing practical skills in medicine and more about seeing what it’s really like to be a practicing physician—and if being a doctor is really right for you.

“Before you apply to medical school, it’s important for you to ensure that the job is the right fit for you before you commit,” James says. Shadowing a physician can help you make that decision.

Action steps: If you know a physician, that’s one of the first places you should start on shadowing—just reach out and ask! The Association of American Medical Colleges suggests that you can also try asking your teachers, pre-med advisors, or professors about shadowing opportunities, as well as hospitals or practitioners in your area. When you do your research, think about finding a shadowing opportunity in a specialty that’s interesting to you. If you’re interested in children’s healthcare, for example, see if you can find a pediatrician to partner with.

Why It’s Important: Medically Related Professional Experience

What if you’ve been working in an actual medical profession, though—like as a physician’s assistant, nurse, or emergency medical technician? That type of experience should absolutely go on your medical school application, says James. In fact, depending on how long you’ve been working in the medical field, this type of experience can even outweigh how you performed as undergraduate student.

“While a student may have been one type of person ten years ago as an undergraduate, they’ve had a decade—years, a large portion of their life—that they’ve spent out in practice, helping patients, gaining experience, and really developing an understanding of the responsibilities healthcare providers have for their patients,” James says. “That becomes their story, and it helps us understand who they are.”

Having this type of student at RUSM tends to elevate the work of everyone around him or her, James says.

“It’s fantastic what these types of students bring to the table,” says James. “They’re great people to have in your study groups, they’re great to have on campus, and they’re great in hospitals during clinical rotations because they already know the protocols. I consider those with past medical experience to be very mature and prepared students.”

Action steps: Having medical experience becomes very important with “nontraditional” medical school students who decided to pursue medicine later in life than most, but it’s just as important if you’re still working toward your undergraduate degree. If you’re still in college, check with your institution to see if they have their own ambulance service or medical program. If they do, see if you can participate.

Why It’s Important: Volunteer Experience and Non-Medical Experience

Volunteering at a healthcare facility is a little like shadowing: You probably won’t participate in much direct patient care. This makes sense, as volunteers are generally neither paid nor trained. However, unlike shadowing, many volunteers are encouraged to interact with patients, which can give medical students an edge when it comes to the patient-doctor relationship.

Don’t be afraid to pursue multiple volunteer opportunities—even non-medical opportunities. The AAMC points out that volunteer experiences of all kinds can make you a more well-rounded person, help you develop leadership abilities, and network with others who share your interests.

But what if you’ve volunteered for a cause that isn’t directly related to medicine? Put that on your application too, says James.  

“Volunteering for an organization—like Habitat for Humanity—isn’t strictly necessary for medical school, but that sort of experience is part of who you are,” James says. “If that’s how you spent your summers, doing something for other communities, and you got something out of it—if it made you feel good—then that says a lot about who you are as a person. And we pay attention to that.”

It’s important for admissions officers to see the whole picture of who you are, so even if your work experience isn’t directly related to medicine, include it.

“Sometimes, it takes a lot of prying for us to find out you’ve been spending 30 hours a week working at your family’s business,” James says. “But that actually becomes very important, because it tells us what you’ve been doing with your time. It helps us understand how you budget your free time, and what you choose to do with it—which becomes very important when you become a practicing physician.”

And don’t forget about the “fun stuff,” he adds.

“If you play on a pick-up soccer team or cricket team on the weekends, make mention of that,” James says. “It’s often really interesting stuff, and it helps us frame you as a real person, not just numbers on an application. Sometimes, it serves as a great icebreaker for the interview and helps us understand where your passions are.”

Action steps: Check with local hospitals to see if they accept volunteers. Some run free clinics or satellite offices that allow prospective medical school students to participate.

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RUSM Donates $100,000 EC to Dominica Red Cross Society

September 14, 2015

The leadership of DeVry Medical International and Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) have been partnering closely with the local government and authorities in Dominica on several aspects of the relief efforts in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Erika. On Tuesday, September 8, RUSM’s Dean and Chancellor Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, presented a donation of $100,000 EC ($37,037) to the Dominica Red Cross Society.

“All of us at RUSM and DeVry [Education Group] are moved by the losses suffered by the country and we are equally moved by the indomitable spirit of the people,” said Dr. Flaherty. “We know that Dominica is on the road to recovery, with the help of agencies like the Red Cross, well-known everywhere as a good and reliable organization that delivers services to people in need.” 

The president of the Dominica Red Cross Society, Philip White, accepted the check on behalf of the organization’s director general, board members, volunteers, and the people of Dominica. “At this point in time I think you have demonstrated your commitment to Dominica,” Mr. White said. “I want to say a big thank you to Ross for coming on board with the Red Cross with this timely gesture. This will go a long way in helping to alleviate the plight that most of our communities have suffered.”

Tags: Dominica , Campus

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PROFILE: For Alum Eric Wilson, RUSM Opened a Door to Opportunity

September 08, 2015

RUSM alumnus Eric Wilson
Alumnus Eric Wilson, MD (above), Class of 2007, credits Ross University School of Medicine for his success as a sports medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente, Santa Clara, CA.

For many years after his undergraduate studies at University of California Davis, Eric Wilson (’07), MD, had given up on his dream of going to medical school—held back by a less-than-stellar GPA.

Then he discovered Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM).

“For me, having the opportunity to realize a dream that I had given up on many years before was just an amazing experience,” he says. “The Admissions Committee at Ross University [School of Medicine] saw some potential in me and opened a door that would have otherwise remained closed.”

Once Dr. Wilson stepped through that door, he never looked back.

Strong USMLE Performance and His First Choice of Residency

He scored competitively on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE) Step 1 and 2 exams, and completed his residency in internal medicine at University of California San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education Program—his first choice.

“My experience from the moment that I first stepped foot on Dominica to the moment I walked across the stage to accept my diploma was fulfilling, stressful, challenging, difficult, and at times exhausting. But looking back, I would not have changed a single thing,” he says.

Dr. Wilson, now a sports medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Clara, CA,  (Kaiser) credits RUSM for his success, and the ability to pursue his personal passion: tennis medicine.

As a competitive tennis player and a United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) certified teaching professional, Wilson served as a member of the USTA Sport Science Committee, and is actively working toward understanding causes of tennis-related injuries, and how to prevent them.

"My experience from the moment that I first stepped foot on Dominica to the moment I walked across the stage to accept my diploma was fulfilling, stressful, challenging, difficult, and at times exhausting. But looking back, I would not have changed a single thing."

— Eric Wilson, '08 RUSM graduate, on how RUSM helped him achieve his dream

A Continual Source of Inspiration

Working in Kaiser’s department of orthopedics, Dr. Wilson treats a wide range of nonsurgical orthopedic conditions and sports related injuries.

“I work in a very enriching and collegial atmosphere and have the opportunity to interact with patients of all different ages and ethnic backgrounds. I treat their orthopedic conditions, which cause them pain and dysfunction, and to help them return to their desired level of function.” 

Seeing his patients recover remains a continual source of inspiration.

“The power of the body to heal itself never ceases to amaze me, and it is a privilege to support patients during their healing process and see them make a meaningful recovery,” he says.

Final Words of Advice for Medical School Students

And while his daily focus is on his patients, Dr. Wilson is constantly grateful for the opportunity RUSM has given him.

“I’m doing everything I wanted to do thanks to Ross [University School of Medicine], so I certainly owe everything to them.”

His advice to prospective students: never give up.

“If you have the desire and the dream to become a physician, Ross University [School of Medicine] looks to make it possible.”

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Tags: Alumni , California , USMLE

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RUSM Announces New Clinical Agreement with Western Connecticut Health Network

September 08, 2015

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is pleased to announce a new clinical affiliation agreement with Western Connecticut Health Network (WCHN), giving RUSM students even more options for clinical training and core or elective rotations. This agreement places students at either Danbury Hospital or Norwalk Hospital, both operated by WHCN, and effectively adds 24 more slots for core rotations, as well as additional slots for fourth-year electives and 24 slots in a WCHM-run, fourth-year global health elective.

“As our students know, we place strong emphasis on our students’ clinical educations, starting with their very first semester here at RUSM,” said Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, dean and chancellor. “This new agreement gives even more students the opportunity to complete core rotations in learning environments in the Connecticut area.”

Clinical Rotations at Danbury Hospital

Danbury Hospital is a 371-bed, regional medical center and university teaching hospital associated with Yale University School of Medicine, the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, and the University of Vermont College of Medicine. This year, U.S. News and World Report ranked Danbury among the top three hospitals in Connecticut, and the facility is one of seven that exceeded expected standards of care in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart failure, and knee replacement.

Clinical Rotations at Norwalk Hospital

Norwalk Hospital, a teaching facility for Yale School of Medicine, is a 328-bed acute care community teaching hospital that serves a population of roughly 250,000 in lower Fairfield County, Connecticut. Signature clinical programs include cancer, cardiovascular, digestive diseases, emergency care, orthopedics/neurospine, and women’s/children’s services. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the hospital earned the Healthgrades® Distinguished Hospital Award for Clinical Excellence, and was listed as one of America’s best hospitals for stroke care by Healthgrades in late 2012.

Optional Global Health Elective

Both hospitals offer RUSM students the opportunity to travel to established clinical sites abroad via a fourth-year global health elective operated by WCHN schools. These rotations, which last for up to six weeks, allow students to globally enrich their clinical education by engaging in cultural and educational exchanges that characterize the concept of global health. Sites abroad in the past have included Uganda, Vietnam, China, and Russia.

In addition to WCHN hospitals, clinical students can also complete elective rotations in Connecticut at St. Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury. Learn more about RUSM’s clinical affiliates here.

Other Posts and Pages About Our Clinical Network

Tags: Clinical Program

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RESCHEDULED: RUSM White Coat Ceremony

September 05, 2015

Ross University School of Medicine's (RUSM) fall 2015 White Coat Ceremony will take place on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 2 PM in Dominica. The ceremony will also be broadcast live via RUSM's webcast.

RUSM white coat ceremony speaker Anita Lal, MD
Anita Lal, MD (above), RUSM Class of 2004, will be the featured speaker at the fall 2015 White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Lal is a staff forensic patholgist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit, Toronto, Canada.

Featured speaker: Anita Lal, MD (Class of 2004), Forensic Pathologist

2004 RUSM graduate Anita Lal, MD, is the featured guest speaker at the fall 2015 ceremony. Dr. Lal has been a staff forensic pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto since 2013 and is also a lecturer in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. After earning her MD she completed her residency training in anatomical and clinical pathology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan in 2010 and a fellowship in forensic pathology at the Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office in Detroit in 2011.

Check back here in the coming days for the link to the live broadcast.

Other important notes

  • Friends and family who are on campus for the White Coat Ceremony will not be able to view the ceremony in the room with students. Visitors will be directed to an overflow room where the ceremony will be broadcast.
  • Dominica's major airport is now open, and roadways from the airport to the campus are open.

Want to learn more about the White Coat Ceremony in general? Go here for more on this time-honored tradition.


Tags: Campus , Alumni

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