Ross University Blog

ADMISSIONS: What You Need to Know about Applying to Medical School

May 30, 2017

Carey M. James<br/>Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis and Admissions

Carey M. James
Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis and Admissions

This article was authored by Carey M. James, Associate Dean of Operations, Analysis and Admissions.

What do we look for in a medical student who is applying to Ross University School of Medicine (Ross)?  Our admissions philosophy is that anyone with the requisite ability, character and drive to be a physician deserves an opportunity to pursue his or her dream. We know that there are so many barriers to entry to medical school, things that get in the way, like lack of time, financial resources, and mentorship as pre-medical hopefuls begin their journey in college. While the average age of beginning  medical students in the US is 24 years old, the expectation is that you were always an A student, and never deviated from that since you were 17 or 18 years old. There are no second chances.

At Ross we also recognize that there is a shortage of seats in US and Canadian medical schools, and you need to be consistently competitive from the very beginning to be a viable candidate. There is little room for development as a student or to account for successfully overcoming earlier struggles, when there are more than 50,000 applicants for just 21,000 seats in MD programs in the US.

You are not your MCAT

While US medical schools are trying to become more holistic, our Caribbean medical school has always taken the approach that you are not your MCAT. Of course we look at an applicant’s academic record, but this is just one factor in a number of other skills and traits that we value. At Ross we know that people evolve, that there are those who become brilliant students who were not so their first semester of college. We need to see that there has been improvement, and that a student is ready to excel in medical school now. We can give you feedback and suggest ways in which you can improve your record. Many of our students come to us right out of college, while many others are career-changers, perhaps a few years older, and have spent time in medical and other fields. They are former nurses, paramedics, IT professionals, and more, who came to the decision that becoming a doctor was what they really wanted to do with their lives.

Are you ready to succeed?

Ross' campus in the Commonwealth of Dominica, a beautiful location known as “the nature island,” is an incredible learning environment where students start seeing patients in the second week of classes during the first semester. They see standardized patients, people in clinics and at health fairs, and in the Kalinago territory which is home to the indigenous population. This is a hands-on curriculum on the front-lines of medicine. Students then go on for clinical training in hospitals throughout the US and Canada.

It’s important for us to know that you’re ready to succeed. We look carefully at your letters of recommendation, and at your personal statement. What we want to see is that you have had some exposure to volunteer work in a medical setting, so that you recognize the demands placed on physicians, the daily stresses and the enormous pressures on the profession. The personal admissions interview is also very important, as it gives us a chance to get to know you as an individual, not just a set of data. Our campus community helps define who we are as a school, and develop who you will be as a doctor.  During the admissions process we need to understand who you are as a person, and as a team member.

We are looking for emotional intelligence

The non-cognitive factors we seek in applicants are extremely important. We want you to be adaptable, flexible, not take no for an answer and never quit. In other words, our students must have grit. They also require a tremendous capacity for caring and compassion. These are characteristics that can’t be graded on a test. We are looking for emotional intelligence.

If you overcame a difficult start in college, or spent years in pursuit of a profession that became unrewarding, you don’t have to take yourself out of the game and give up on your desire to become a doctor. Forgive yourself and know that you have options and an opportunity to be excellent. We are here as your advocate. I encourage prospective students to believe in themselves. There are more than 13,000 Ross alumni in all 50 states in the US and in every province in Canada. Our medical school, nearing its 40th anniversary, offers a well-worn path to residency and licensure.


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Tags: Admissions

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VIDEO: Ross 2017 Graduation Ceremony

May 25, 2017


Congratulations Ross Class of 2017!


Tags: Graduation

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NEWS: Ross Graduation Ceremony May 20, Live Feed on Facebook

May 18, 2017

Ross graduates from the Class of 2016.

Ross graduates from the Class of 2016.

For the Class of 2017, the final destination of their medical school journey at Ross will be the commencement ceremony May 20 at the University of Miami's Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Fla. There will be a live stream of the event on the Ross Facebook page or Ustream beginning at 9 a.m.
As hundreds donned in cap and gown anxiously await the start of the processional, there undoubtedly will be many envisioning the first day of their residency program in which most are set to begin just weeks away. Internal Medicine and Family Medicine are again the top two specialties in which many of the newly minted Ross graduates earned residency positions. However, recent Ross graduates also matched through the National Resident Matching Program® in anesthesiology, neurology, orthopedic surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, urology, radiation oncology and in a rare pediatric-emergency program, to name a few.
Whether returning to their hometowns or beginning careers in new regions, the Class of 2017 will have a presence throughout the United States, joining the more than 13,000 existing Ross alumni. Some of the residency programs earned by the latest cohort of graduates are offered by the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in AZ; Brown University Alpert Medical School in RI; MedStar Georgetown University Medical Center/National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington, DC; University of Texas Medical School in Houston; and Tulane University School of Medicine in LA.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony include remarks by Ross alumnus Sandor Toledo, MD, and a keynote address by Dave Barry, Miami Herald columnist and best-selling author:
Sandor Toledo, MD, (Class of 2017) will begin a general surgery residency at the University of Connecticut Health System.
Toledo is a military veteran who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating from high school. Sandor spent seven years in the Marines and attained the rank of Sergeant. He then went on to pursue higher education, and earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida International University (FIU), with majors in biochemistry and psychology, both through the FIU Honors College. He later obtained a master's degree in business administration at FIU while simultaneously enrolled at Ross.
Sandor has held several leadership positions at Ross including Exam Representative, Class Representative, and Student Government Association President. He co-founded the Ross University Veteran's Club and First Pass Effect, a local school rock band.
He is also Founder and Chief Executive Officer of El Carne Express, a Cuban restaurant and food truck. Sandor continues to serve in the military active reserves as a percussionist and guitarist in the 13th Army Band. 
Pulitzer-Prize winner Dave Barry is a syndicated Miami Herald humor columnist and best-selling author. His columns have appeared in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. He has written a total of 30 books. Two of his books were used as the basis for the CBS TV sitcom Dave's World, starring Harry Anderson. He also plays lead guitar in a literary rock band called the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose other members include Stephen King, Amy Tan, Ridley Pearson and Mitch Albom.
Barry is an entertaining personality who takes on the most difficult issues of our times, yet leaves his readers and audiences laughing. His recent books include Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer is much Faster), You Can Date Boys When you’re Forty, Insane City, and I’ll Mature When I’m Dead.

Tags: Graduation

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VIDEO: Alumna Recounts Her Road to a Triple Board Residency

May 17, 2017


Myrline Rose Belzince talks with Ross at Flushing Hospital Medical Center. Belzince is set to begin a triple board residency at Tulane University School of Medicine. After successfully completing the five-year program she will be board-eligible in pediatrics, child and adolescent psychiatry, and adult psychiatry. Read more about Belzince's story.

Tags: Match , New York , Louisiana

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ALUMNI: Alumna Named EVP at Nonprofit that Serves Mentally Ill and Substance Users

May 10, 2017


Ross alumna Sharyn Comeau, MD, was recently appointed Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs at Monarch, a statewide nonprofit that provides support and empowers people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use issues.

The newly created leadership role will ensure that all medical administrative processes for Monarch’s behavioral health locations across North Carolina meet the ever-evolving healthcare standards and provide excellent care for the people Monarch supports.

“Dr. Comeau has truly excelled over the three years she served as a psychiatrist at our Charlotte behavioral health office. She brings a wealth of knowledge and over 21 years of experience to this new role,” said Monarch CEO, Dr. Peggy Terhune. 

As Executive Vice President of Medical Affairs, Dr. Comeau will be responsible for providing medical leadership at the community and state level, as well as internally at Monarch. As part of Monarch’s strategic plan, she also will help the organization foster positive relationships with local stakeholders, legislators, potential donors, and physician groups as it relates to behavioral health services.

“I’m elated to be part of Monarch’s leadership team and be a driving force to addressing the wide range of community behavioral health needs. As Monarch continues to grow and the healthcare industry becomes more complex, I’m excited to be part of the team that will ensure that our offices are offering treatment of the highest medical standards,” said Dr. Comeau.

Dr. Comeau is certified by the American Board of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. In addition to her medical degree earned at Ross, she completed her medical training in child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard University and in general psychiatry at the University of Connecticut/Institute of Living. She also holds a Master of Arts from New York University and a Bachelor of Science from Pace University.

Established in 1958, Monarch is a not-for-profit organization that provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders. The company has earned Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation with Distinction by The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) – and is among a small and elite group worldwide to receive this designation. Monarch is certified by The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services as a Critical Access Behavioral Health Agency (CABHA) and operates The Arc of Stanly County, which is a chapter of The Arc of North Carolina and The Arc of the United States.

Tags: Alumni , North Carolina , Nonprofit

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CAMPUS: Watch the Livestream of the White Coat Ceremony in Dominica on May 12

May 07, 2017

The tradition at Ross University School of Medicine is to invite one of our alumni to be the featured speaker at each White Coat ceremony. The donning of the white coat marks the transition of this cohort of men and women from students to student doctors. For the May 12 event, Dr. Giuliano De Portu (Ross ‘09) will share his inspiring story. Watch the livestream from the Dominica campus at The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. EST, and the livestream will be available from 1:30 p.m. EST.

Dr. De Portu is board certified in Emergency Medicine and is currently an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Emergency Ultrasound, and Assistant Program Director of the Emergency Medicine Residency Program in the Department of Emergency Medicine, and Program Director of the Medical Student Ultrasound Curriculum at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville. Before following his passion for medicine, he had a career as a photojournalist.

Co-author of a textbook, Emergency Medicine Procedures, several book chapters and eight peer-reviewed articles, Dr. De Portu has also delivered numerous presentations. He is the recipient of University of Florida College of Medicine - Exemplary Teachers Award for 2015-2016 Academic Year, and many other awards and honors. He and his wife are the proud parents of a young son, Giuliano.

Tags: Campus , White Coat , Students

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Drive and Passion Earns Ross Student a Triple Board Residency and Fuels A Mission to Uplift Women

May 04, 2017

Myrline Rose Belzince is a 2017 Ross graduate who is poised to begin a triple board residency. She also is the author of <em>Beauty by Divine Design: You are Already Beautiful! Stop Trying</em>, published by WestBow.

Myrline Rose Belzince is a 2017 Ross graduate who is poised to begin a triple board residency. She also is the author of Beauty by Divine Design: You are Already Beautiful! Stop Trying, published by WestBow.

Anyone in need of some inspiration should pause to learn Myrline Rose Belzince's story. She is in the final stages of her medical education and is in position to begin a coveted Triple Board Residency Program at Tulane University School of Medicine. At the end of the 5-year training program specializing in pediatrics, general psychiatry, and child and adolescent psychiatry, Belzince will be board-eligible in all three disciplines. If all you were to know of Belzince were her current achievements and future potential that would be enough to celebrate. However, you may be astounded to learn about her journey from orphan to physician and her crusade to help women improve their self-image.

Humble Beginnings

Belzince was born in a rural region in Haiti. At age 7, her mother died and her father was not present in her life. Raised by relatives for the remainder of her childhood, Belzince was not privileged to enjoy the amenities common to children in the United States.
At age 11, Belzince's family moved to the island nation's capital Port-au-Prince to continue her schooling. According to Belzince, that is when she became keenly aware of her economic status. She began to compare herself with the other female students her age outfitted in jewelry and other nice accessories - even some classmates were chauffeured to and from school.

Courage to Change

Later, she followed her family members to the United States at age 20. After two years of living with her sister while working a minimum wage administrative job, Belzince decided to live on her own - to chart a new path.

She eventually earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts in Boston and a master's degree from New York University. 
After years of hard work, Belzince found herself in an established 10-year nursing career. Yet still, with all of her accomplishments, she felt unfulfilled.
"There was a part of me that was not satisfied with what I was doing. I worked with great people and I had wonderful experiences, but something was missing," said Belzince. "In order to make the impact that I wanted to have, I had to take a leap."
Although Belzince took a leap of faith to leave a stable career and go to medical school, some questioned her decision.
"A lot of people thought I was crazy," said Belzince. "But I knew it would be alright because I was going to work hard for it. Going to medical school was one of the best decisions I have made."

Road to Residency

Belzince recalls some of the challenging moments of medical school. "Medical school is tough, it's hard. There were nights when I asked myself, 'What were you thinking?' or 'What is wrong with you?'"
"Especially for me, I left a career. I left what was 'secure' and, at times, I felt like I knew nothing," Belzince explains.
According to Belzince, all of her doubts disappeared when she would interact with patients and build relationships with them. "All the long study nights were worth it," she said.
She attributes her support system and faith for helping her get through medical school.
On the Monday of Match Week at 11 a.m. EST, all medical students who entered into the National Resident Matching Program are notified whether they obtained a residency position. While most medical students are hovering over their electronic devices waiting for the official email notification that determines their fate to reach their inboxes, Belzince could not bring herself to look. She initially distracted herself with cooking and contrived household chores until she could no longer resist.
"Finally, at 11:17 a.m. EST, I decided to be a big girl and open my email," said Belzince. "And it read, 'Congratulations, you matched!' I didn't know if I should cry or laugh."

Message of Empowerment

"I had to jump, so I could tell all of the girls and women with similar stories that they could do it too," said Belzince when taking a deeper reflection on her motivation to make the bold move to begin a new career.
Belzince's desire to help other women thrive has been the undercurrent throughout her adult life - propelling Belzince to where she is now.
"What my MD degree and journey represent to me is that every girl and woman can achieve what they want," said Belzince. "If they are willing to sacrifice for it, it is attainable."
Challenging women to stop being self-critical, even self-deprecating, is what inspired Belzince to author her book, Beauty by Divine Design: You are Already Beautiful! Stop Trying. The book was re-published this year by WestBow Press.
"The inspiration for the book is to tell other girls and women that they are beautiful," said Belzince.
"I struggled a lot with low self-esteem and that coupled with the rejection from my biological father resulted in a very unhealthy view of myself," admitted Belzince. "Then I realized I was not alone. There are lots of girls and women dealing with similar struggles."
Belzince added that she wrote the book to share how her faith has helped her to overcome challenges and become a new beautiful woman. Her book focuses on biblical scriptures to help women modify their thinking. She notes Psalm 139 as a favorite that has helped transform her life.
Today, Belzince is a motivational speaker, sharing her story with women's groups and young girls.


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Tags: Match , Psychiatry , Pediatrics , Louisiana

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