Ross University Blog

CANADA: Alums Share 7 Tips on How to Prepare for the Canadian Resident Matching Service

June 05, 2017

 

Kirsten Yip, MD, and Christopher Navachandrabala, MD, recently matched into residency programs through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

Yip is set to begin a family medicine residency program at University of British Columbia (UBC). Likewise, Navachandrabala is entering the same specialty, beginning his career at Dalhousie University.

See below for their personal views on how to get ready for CaRMS.

 

Plan Ahead

You need strong organizational skills and to know your timelines. You often need to complete administrative requirements a year in advance.
 

Use Available Resources

Students should familiarize themselves with the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) and create an account on their portal. The MCC is the leading body in Canada that evaluates physicians in the country and maintains a national registry of their credentials throughout their careers. Students should also create an account with the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada’s (AFMC) student portal, a necessary step to register for elective clerkships in the nation. 
 

Kill the Exams

The Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE) and the National Assessment Collaboration Examination (NAC) are mandatory if you would like to apply to a Canadian residency program (completing the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination Part I (MCCQE1) before applications are due will help if you have time to do it). 

It is over simplistic to say the USMLE® Step and Canadian exams are alike. Moreover, you ought not to try to rely on USMLE® Step study aids as reasonable preparation for the Canadian exams. They are different beasts.
 

Gain Canadian Clinical Experience

Schedule electives and get Canadian letters of recommendation. Most, if not all, residency programs look for Canadian experience in your application. Some programs have an IMG Clinical Assessment Program (CAP) that will give you an advantage over other applicants.  

“Instead of using the AFMC student portal to obtain an elective clerkship, I entered the Rural Ontario Medical Program,” says Navachandrabala. “I was fortunate enough to complete two Canadian electives and I got a letter of recommendation from each of them.”
 

Attend Canadian Conferences

It is relatively inexpensive to join the Canadian Medical Association (CMA). The Annual Meeting and General Council is typically free to attend and you learn about the most pressing medical and healthcare issues in Canada. 

“I attended the College of Family Physician of Canada’s Family Medicine Forum and there were info booths representing every Canadian family medicine residency program,” says Yip. “I was able to speak one-on-one with the program director of UBC.”
 

Write Original Personal Statements

A generic personal statement is “kryptonite” and programs know when they are reading one. Read the requirements for personal statements. For example, the personal statement requirements often have different questions or even say to whom to address. Creating individualized statements is tedious but it will pay off if you can thoroughly express your connection and commitment to the program, school and province.  
 

Apply, Apply, Apply

Apply to as many Canadian residency programs as you can, provided you are willing to practice at each particular place.

 

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Tags: Canada , CaRMS , Residency , Match

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MATCH: Q&A with Mehran Giblin, MD

March 26, 2017

Dr. Mehran Giblin, 35, graduated with an MD degree from Ross University School of Medicine in November, 2016 and has obtained a residency in Internal Medicine at Legacy Emanuel Hospital and Health Center Program in Portland, Oregon. Find out more about him from the Q&A below:


ROSS: Why did you choose Ross University School of Medicine?

GIBLIN: I was ready to take on an exciting and challenging new career and felt that medicine was the right fit. Having been a few years removed from my undergraduate degree with an average GPA I knew that my entry to Canadian or US schools would be difficult. Despite that I stayed committed to my goal of becoming a doctor and decided to search for alternative paths. While researching programs I remembered that a long-time friend had gone to Ross many years prior and decided to reach out to him to ask questions about his experiences as a student in Dominica, residency life, and how he was planning to start his own medical practice. After a great deal of reflection and discussion with my family, I decided to take the leap and applied to Ross University. That was a little over five years ago now, and I haven’t looked back.


ROSS: Where did you complete your undergraduate studies?

GIBLIN: Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Also completed a graduate degree at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in British Columbia


ROSS:
Where did you grow up?

GIBLIN: Vancouver, Canada


ROSS:
What area of medicine are you most interested in? Why?

GIBLIN: I had a genuine interest in almost every aspect of medicine and it was hard to peg down what I would apply to. But Internal medicine eventually developed into a strong choice for me. I liked it because it was an intellectually stimulating branch of medicine and I was intrigued by the variety of diseases I could manage and treat. It was also highly rewarding to work in hospital teams with attendings, residents, and nurses to coordinate the care of patients.


ROSS:
How would you describe your experiences in Dominica?

GIBLIN: I found Dominica to be a unique and incredible place. Like many new Ross students I didn’t fully know what to expect when our turboprop plane first touched down on the island. I certainly hadn’t spent any time living on a rural Caribbean island before. As challenging as the initial move was, my fellow classmates and I settled in surprisingly quickly. Everything on the island was tailored to help me focus on my work. The distractions of city life were absent, and everybody in the Ross community was friendly and committed to making it a positive experience. On occasion there were also opportunities to experience the day-to-day island life. I especially enjoyed going to the open market early on Saturday mornings for fresh mangoes, papayas, and coconuts.


ROSS:
Were you involved in any student clubs or activities?

GIBLIN: I attended Family Medicine club meetings, went on organized trips to elementary schools with the Pediatrics club, and was a teaching assistant in the anatomy lab. In my spare time I played intramural basketball and volleyball, and tried to go to the gym as often as I could.
 

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Tags: Family Medicine , Canada , Match

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SCHOLARSHIPS: Becoming Someone Who Has the Power to Help

February 22, 2017

Roma Nagin, Ross student and recipient of the Opportunity Scholarship

Roma Nagin, Ross student and recipient of the Opportunity Scholarship

Roma Nagin knew she was ready to start her journey towards becoming a physician. All she needed was a chance.

And now, as a first-semester student at Ross and the recipient of an Opportunity Scholarship, this Surrey, British Columbia native is on her way to making it happen.

Roma’s journey into medicine has been more than a decade in the making. When she was 12 years old, a close family member had to be rushed to the hospital—an experience that left her feeling completely powerless. “I had no idea how to help her, and I never wanted to be in that position again,” said Roma.

But in the midst of her fear, a thought struck her: Maybe, one day, she could be someone who did have the power to help.

“That’s when I first thought about pursuing a career in medicine,” Roma said.

For the next several years, Roma did her due diligence—and then some—in an effort to confirm whether medicine truly was the best fit for her. In her science classes, she found herself especially fascinated by the human body and the myriad ways it adapts to survive. That was a good sign. But Roma knew this decision “wasn’t one to be taken lightly,” and figured some real-world experience would be the true test.

So she spent the next several years volunteering at three local hospitals. There, she did everything from helping families find loved ones in the emergency department, to leading exercise groups for patients in the transitional care unit. Meanwhile, Roma studied biology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and worked as a laboratory research assistant at UBC’s Biomedical Research Centre.

The verdict? There was no denying it—she was ready to take the next step and pursue her MD.

Roma was attracted to Ross for a number of reasons, including residency placement rates, organizations like the Canadian Student Society, and the positive firsthand accounts from friends already studying at Ross. And now that she’s been in Dominica for nearly two months, she’s found even more to love about it.

“So far, one of my favorite areas is the anatomy lab,” Roma said. “We get hands-on experience with dissecting cadavers and learning the material up close. Plus, Ross provides us early training in clinical skills that we’ll use in our rotations—not to mention, the rest of our lives.”

She added, “The community here is so kind that you can ask anyone for help and they’d be willing to go out of their way to help you, whether they’re a student or a professor. And I’ve already made so many good friends that I know will last a lifetime.”

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Tags: Canada , Students , Scholarships

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SCHOLARSHIPS: It's Only Been a Month, but Ross Is Already Her Community

January 30, 2017

Martina Tripcovici, recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award, at the White Coat Ceremony

Martina Tripcovici, recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award, at the White Coat Ceremony

When Martina Tripcovici was young, she imagined herself in all the usual far-flung careers, such as an astronaut, doctor or lawyer. Meanwhile, her parents, a business owner and company director, planted the seed of going into business. But as it turned out, only one of those professions would stick with Martina—and deepen into her life’s calling.

Growing up, Martina had a natural curiosity about the world and people around her. Captivated by her science classes in school, she would read up on concepts that piqued her interest. In particular, she found herself fascinated by the human body and disease. When friends came to her with their health and medical questions, from “I don’t know why my foot hurts…” to “My mom has a headache that won’t go away…” Martina was happy to look it up.

It didn’t take long for her to realize that maybe being a doctor wasn’t just a childhood dream.

Fast-forward a few years, and this Quebec native is on her way to making that dream a reality. Martina is the recipient of a Community Health Leadership Award, a scholarship that recognizes students who have made significant contributions to their communities through volunteer work or research.

“Pursuing my MD at Ross complements my drive to always be the best at what I do,” said Martina. “I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and be in an environment where I know I will thrive in becoming a physician.”

The Road to Medical School

Martina’s ambition flourished during college at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, where she earned a full athletic scholarship as an NCAA Division I tennis player. Amid a demanding tennis schedule, she pursed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in environmental science—and earned Dean’s List honors throughout her college career. In addition, she shadowed a local orthopedic surgeon in Livingston, N.J., and spent a summer volunteering at Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital in her hometown of Terrebonne, Quebec.

After graduating from NJIT, she decided to further strengthen her clinical experience by taking on a research assistant position at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal. Here, she had the opportunity to work closely with physicians on inflammable colon diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, in pediatric patients.

“I was able to interact with everyone there—patients, doctors, parents,” Martina said of her experience at Sainte-Justine. “I completely fell in love with it.”

Her passion for medicine confirmed, Martina began the application process for medical school. But her options were limited.

Most of the medical schools in Martina’s native Quebec conduct their curricula in French. While Martina spoke French very well, she had just spent her undergraduate years in New Jersey, learning the sciences in English. Attending a French-speaking medical school would mean having to translate her foundational knowledge—four years of complex, scientific education—just to get on a level playing field.  

In addition, medical schools in other Canadian provinces (that teach in in English) were extremely competitive. As Martina had completed her bachelor’s degree in the U.S., she would be considered an international applicant—making it even more difficult for her to gain admission.  

That’s when Martina began looking into Caribbean medical schools, where some of her friends had enrolled. One thing that drew her to Ross was the organ systems-based curriculum that organizes the teaching of medicine by systems within the body, like the digestive or respiratory systems. This approach, which mirrors how medicine is actually practiced, gives you a big-picture look at the physiological, anatomical, and biochemical processes of an organ system all at once.

“Ross was one of the only schools that had a systems-based curriculum, and the class size was smaller than some other schools,” said Martina.

Finding a Home

Having arrived at Dominica several weeks ago, Martina is taking advantage of all that Ross has to offer. “The simulation center and anatomy lab are amazing,” Martina said. “You can do dissections; you can see everything. Many of my friends that are in medical school do not have the opportunity to dissect or even go into a simulation center this early, which restricts hands-on learning.”

And beyond the academics, Martina has found a home in the Ross community.

“There’s a great little community here,” she said. “We’re not a huge class, and everyone is super friendly. You’re all in the same boat. I got here on the 29th of December at 11 p.m., and by the 30th, I had met people who I think are going to be my best friends.”

Her advice for pre-med students? “Think about how you are as a person, and look for a school that you can relate to,” she said. “I’m a people person—I like to get to know my classmates and be part of a community. Ross has been an amazing experience for me.”

Have questions for Martina about her Ross experience? She encourages students considering Ross to reach out to her with any questions you may have. You can email her at MartinaTripcovici@students.rossu.edu.

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SCHOLARSHIPS: Ross Student Driven by His Noble Intentions, Inspired by His Sister

January 23, 2017

“Since I was five, I have been fascinated by the human body,” said Burhan Butt, who just received the Dean’s Scholar Award and Opportunity Scholarship to begin his medical education at Ross.

Butt is a recent graduate from the University of Toronto where he received an honors degree with distinction in biology.
 

Discovering His Passion for Medicine

Perhaps, what established his pursuit of medicine was his trip to Pakistan to visit family. At the age of nine, Butt was influenced by his uncles who were physicians. He observed firsthand their knack for treating their patients’ medical conditions while maintaining meaningful connections with them.

“One of my uncles who was a family physician really sparked my interest in medicine as I observed him interacting with patients every day,” said Butt. “Witnessing his ability to understand the human body as well as being able to relate to people with different personalities and experiences initiated a life-long passion for medicine.” 
 

“I want to get a medical degree so that I can use my skills and experience to make healthcare much more accessible to everyone.”

Inspired by His Sister's Success

Now as a young adult, one of Butt’s biggest inspirations to become a physician is his older sister, Ifrah, who is currently completing her last semester at Ross in a clinical clerkship at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Michigan. “Her experiences in clinical settings and her daily schedule confirms I made the right decision going to medical school,” said Butt.
 

Aspiring to Make a Difference 

Butt aspires to volunteer with Doctors Without Borders and hopes to use his language skills to reduce barriers to healthcare – he is fluent in English, Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi.

“I want to get a medical degree so that I can use my skills and experience to make healthcare much more accessible to everyone,” said Butt. “I want to treat people for an affordable cost.”

He goes on, “I believe healthcare should be a right, not a privilege.”

 

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SCHOLARSHIPS: Ashley Sebastian Begins the Path She Vowed to Take

January 18, 2017

With a Masters of Public Health degree from Western University in Ontario, Canada under her belt and a wealth of medical and community volunteer experience on her resume, Ashley Sebastian just began her first semester at Ross University School of Medicine – with scholarships.

As a recipient of the Dean’s Scholar Award and Opportunity Scholarship, both merit-based aid, Sebastian was acknowledged for the combination of her academic performance, service and exposure to medicine. For several years she volunteered at a community kitchen, the Nova Scotia Cancer Clinic and was involved in the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequalities and Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) at Dalhousie University. Sebastian also served as the first research assistant at the William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ontario where she analyzed medical charts and physician processes to develop better practice outcomes. Additionally, Sebastian had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Subodh Verma who is a professor of surgery and pharmacology at the University of Toronto as well as cardiac surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.

“That day, I made a vow to become a physician who would never leave anyone behind. My mission is to improve the quality of life for others by bridging the gap between social determinants adverse to health and health care delivery.”

Sebastian has known from an early age that she would become a physician. While on vacation with her family as a second-grader, a driver refused to stop the vehicle to assist a visibly hemorrhaging pedestrian, in spite of her pleas.

“That day, I made a vow to become a physician who would never leave anyone behind,” said Sebastian recalling how helpless and sad she felt. “My mission is to improve the quality of life for others by bridging the gap between social determinants adverse to health and health care delivery.”

Perhaps it was also the influence of her family that subconsciously inspired Sebastian to become a physician. Her grandfather, father, three uncles and a host of cousins all have careers in medicine.

“I have grown up in a family of physicians and realize that hard work and an ardent commitment to the sick are the cornerstones of the profession,” said Sebastian as she contemplated about the physician role models in her family. “From volunteering to help the homeless to sponsoring children in developing countries, my father, who is a physician, taught me the foundations of selflessness and altruism.”

Sebastian completed her undergraduate career at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she received the 2014 Student Leadership Award for Science. In the same year she made the Dean’s List and was an active member of the university’s Caribbean Society. In 2015, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.
 

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RESIDENCY: Ross Presents 2016 Residency Results and Highlights

September 26, 2016

Hundreds of Ross University School of Medicine graduates attained residencies this year, with the vast majority of them having started their training in July. In total, more than 42,000 medical school graduates registered to apply for residency placements in this year’s National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP) Main Residency Match (The MATCH℠). 

Here are some highlights from the 2016 Ross residency list.

Key Statistics: Ross Residencies by the Numbers

  • 786 Ross graduates attained residencies this year in more than 15 disciplines, including pediatrics, surgery, internal medicine, family medicine, neurology, anesthesiology, radiology, and more. View the full list.
  • 86% of 2015-2016 Ross graduates who applied to residency for the first time in 2016 attained placements.
  • On a related note, 99% of all 2014-2015 Ross graduates who passed their USMLE Step exams on the first attempts attained a residency by April 2016.
  • Ross graduates attained residencies across the United States, placing in 46 US states and territories (this figure includes Washington DC and Puerto Rico). The Association of American Medical Colleges has predicted a nationwide shortage of physicians over the next decade, and we are proud that Ross graduates can potentially make a difference on this issue across such a wide area of the United States.
  • Several Ross graduates from Canada attained residencies through the Canada Resident Matching Service (CaRMS), enabling them to go back to their home country for training.
  • More than two-thirds of Ross graduates who attained residencies in 2016 are in primary care specialties—this includes pediatrics, internal medicine, and family medicine. Ross graduates who complete training in these areas can enter fellowships and subspecialties in areas of their choosing.

Ross Residency Highlights

  • A Ross graduate matched into the neurological surgery program at SUNY Upstate Medical Center. According to the NRMP, only 216 spaces in neurological surgery were available in this year’s MATCH.
  • One of our graduates matched in child neurology at University of Chicago Medical Center.
  • A total of 28 Ross graduates attained diagnostic radiology placements this year.
  • Two Ross graduates attained dermatology residencies. One was at George Washington University in Washington DC, with the other at SUNY Health Sciences Center in Brooklyn, NY.
  • Seven Ross graduates attained residencies in neurology this year, not including the child neurology residency placement listed above.
  • We had a Ross graduate match into the neurology program at the prestigious Duke University Medical Center, ranked the #1 hospital in North Carolina by U.S. News and World Report and nationally ranked in 13 adult specialties (including neurology) and 10 children’s specialties.
  • Two Ross graduates attained placements at Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, CT—one in diagnostic radiology, and the other in internal medicine. According to U.S. News and World Report, Yale-New Haven Hospital is the #1 hospital in Connecticut, and nationally ranked in 11 adult specialties and six children’s specialties.
  • A Ross graduate placed into Stanford as a pathology resident. According to U.S. News and World Report, Stanford University is ranked #2 nationwide for research.
  • Also for pathology, a Ross student attained a residency at Baylor College of Medicine, which is ranked #20 nationwide for research, according to U.S. News and World Report.
  • Two Ross graduates attained residencies at Brown University programs—one in pathology and the other in internal medicine.
  • A Ross graduate attained a general surgery residency at McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University in Chicago, IL.
  • Two graduates earned internal medicine residencies at the well-known Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education’s Florida location.
  • Two graduates earned family medicine residencies at Emory University School of Medicine, which is nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report in primary care.
  • Three Ross graduates placed at the prestigious Cleveland Clinic’s Florida location in internal medicine.

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Tags: Residency , Match , Canada , New York , Illinois , North Carolina , Connecticut , California , Texas , Florida

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ALUMNI: Grad Goes from Olympics to Sports Medicine Fellowship in Canada

June 30, 2016

Keith Morgan, RUSM alumnus from CanadaSure, people make all sorts of career changes to follow their dreams of practicing medicine—but it’s pretty rare that one of our graduates can list “former Olympic athlete” as their prior occupation.

But that’s exactly the case with Keith Morgan, MD, a 2013 graduate of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Before enrolling in medical school, Morgan was a judoka—a term for someone who practices judo, a grappling-based martial art—who participated in four Olympic Games from 1996 to 2008. Not only that, he medaled four times in the Pan Am Games (gold, two silvers, and a bronze) and earned a gold medal in the 2008 Pan American Judo Championships.

Hear from alumni at our Toronto Ross Experience on Sep. 23. Read more and sign up here.

A pretty impressive athletic career, to be sure. But post-2008, he was “happy where I was in my sports life.” It was time to move on to a different career, but preferably something that kept him in sports.

That’s where RUSM came in. And based on the sports medicine fellowship he’s starting this year at University of Ottawa, he’s well on his way to achieving his goals.

How Morgan Went from the Olympics to RUSM

After retiring from judo, Morgan ran into some friends in Saskatchewan, and one—a physician—mentioned that his son and daughter-in-law were both attending RUSM. After learning about the medical school’s accelerated curriculum, in which students can earn their Doctor of Medicine degree in under four years, Morgan figured he “might want to give it a shot.”

He hadn’t looked into medical schools for years. A graduate of McGill University (majoring in anatomy and cell biology), Morgan had tried applying to a few Canadian schools in 2004, but was denied based on his MCAT score. RUSM, which looks at candidates holistically rather than solely on MCAT scores and grade point averages, admitted Morgan in 2009.

It proved an easy transition. “I took the determination I needed as an athlete, and put it into medicine,” he said. “I’ve got to say I worked pretty hard, but I enjoyed my time [at RUSM]; and I enjoyed some of the stuff the island had to offer.”

Morgan went on to complete clinical rotations at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan, later completing two elective rotations in his home country—one at Ottawa University, the other at Western University.

“As a Canadian student, you have to try and get electives in Canada,” he said. “I fought for those hard. I was told ‘no’ a couple of times, and I badgered them until I got them.” Networking with other Canadian physicians is a must if you want to go back to Canada for residency, he said.

From US Clinicals Back to Canada for Residency

After graduating, Morgan attained a residency at University of Ottawa through the Canada Resident Matching Service (CaRMS). Family medicine residencies in Canada last two years, with residents typically completing a fellowship during a third year. He selected family medicine, he said, for its versatility.

“It’s kind of the gateway to everything,” Morgan said. “We [family practitioners] do the majority of the medical care and refer out where we have to. It gives me the ability to do whatever I want.” Family practitioners from Canada can specialize in disciplines like obstetrics, palliative care, anesthesia, and sports medicine. That last one—sports medicine—was the perfect fusion of his personal athletic interests and his ultimate career goals as a physician.

His first two years of residency were challenging, he said. “At times, it can be overwhelming. You’re working a lot of hours—sometimes it’s 100 per week, and other times it’s 60,” he said. “But I feel like I was well prepared by Ross, and had confidence going in. In fact, I actually felt like I was better prepared than some of my colleagues from Canadian medical schools.”

After completing fellowship training, Morgan hopes to open a mixed practice—half family medicine, half sports medicine, with time spent moonlighting as a team physician for Canadian wresting and judo national teams as they compete in the Pan-American Judo Championships, Pan-American Games, and the Olympics.

“It would be sort of a win-win,” he said. “They like to have people who know the sports.”

Morgan offers three pieces of advice for current and potential RUSM students: don’t take no for an answer, believe in yourself, and work extremely hard.

“You have to be very tenacious, very above-and-beyond,” he said. “You’ve got to be a hard worker.”

Meet alumni at our Toronto Ross Experience on Sep. 23. Read more and sign up here.

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Tags: Residency , Alumni , Canada

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MERP: Student Inspires through Blogging, Hits 26,000 Views (and Makes Dean’s List, Too)

June 28, 2016

Emma Cronk at the RUSM library

Emma Cronk at the RUSM library

“I average about 14 emails a week from prospective students,” says Emma Cronk. “And that’s not counting my Instagram messages!”

Is Emma Cronk an admissions counselor? No—she’s a fourth-semester student at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). But since the personal blog where she chronicles her medical school journey took off among prospective students, she’s found herself a go-to resource for medical school hopefuls asking about her RUSM experience, seeking advice and simply wanting to know more about her. As of June 2016, her blog had more than 26,000 views.

Cronk grew up in a small rural town called Parham in Ontario. She started her blog in fall 2014 as a way to keep in touch with family after she entered the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) prior to beginning medical school—knowing she likely wouldn’t have time to keep up regular emails while immersed in microbiology. She chose the name “bigcronk” (she’s 6’4”) and gave it the pithy title “From D1 to DR” (she played Division I basketball during college).

It wasn’t long before she noticed that the number of views and comments on her posts was far surpassing the number of relatives she had. The sudden popularity came as a surprise, but a good one: She was glad to have an avenue to reach students.

“I write how I feel. I don’t hold back,” says Emma. “I preface that this is a blog that details all my emotions. And I think that’s why a lot of students relate to it and feel comfortable emailing me with questions about my experience.”

Why She’s a “Huge Advocate” for MERP

One of the most frequent questions Cronk receives centers around MERP, the 15-week program Cronk completed as a condition of her acceptance to RUSM, which provides additional academic preparation for medical school. Since completing MERP, Cronk has become a “huge advocate” for the program.

After graduating from the State University of New York at Binghamton in 2011, Cronk spent a few years traveling and working in Australia before applying to medical school. So she was glad to have the opportunity to get back into “school mode” and prepare for her M.D.

“I knew I needed that refresher in the sciences,” Cronk says. “And once I got to Ross, it was clear just how amazing of a foundation it gives you. Microbiology, anatomy, biochemistry—all of these subjects are going to be with you the rest of your career. MERP shouldn’t be the exception, it should be the norm.”

Her number one tip for MERP students?

“Treat MERP like it’s your first semester of medical school,” Cronk says. “That mentality is the best thing I did—it’s what helped me succeed.”

Now, four semesters into her time at Dominica, Cronk has earned a scholarship, made Dean’s List every semester, and started a brand-new club on campus for her passion, sports medicine.

“I’ve always pushed myself to never settle, whether in school, sports or being a physician, because life’s too short to be something I don’t want to be,” says Cronk.

And through it all, she still manages to find time to keep updating her blog with new experiences, insights and plenty of photos.

“I want to thank everyone who reads my blog for cheering me on,” Cronk says. “I feel like I have a cyber-family. The comments I get are amazing, and they help me get through times when I feel stressed. Medical school can be tough, but it is so worth it.”

To keep up with Emma Cronk’s journey, read her blog From D1 to DR and follow her on Instagram.

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How This Canadian Grad’s Clinical Experience Helped Shape Her Residency Choice

May 02, 2016

Stefani Vescio, RUSM Class of 2015

Stefani Vescio, RUSM Class of 2015

When Stefani Vescio originally decided to become a doctor, she had sports medicine in mind. It just seemed to fit: she had played varsity soccer during undergrad at York University’s Schulich School of Business in Toronto and had “loved” volunteering with a sports medicine physician before starting medical school. After she earned her business degree, she reasoned, perhaps she’d open her own sports medicine practice geared toward female athletes. It was a way of tying her future career to her personal interests.

Given four years to explore different medical disciplines through her training at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), Vescio’s interests have shifted a bit—expanded, even. She’d still like to work with female athletes, but rotating through her different clinical cores gave her a deeper appreciation for the medical specialty she selected in the end. It was one that opened up more potential opportunities for her future practice.

A New World of Opportunities Within Medicine

That specialty, she says, was family medicine. Vescio, a 2015 RUSM grad currently in pre-residency training (a requirement for international medical school grads), matched into the University of Ottawa’s family medicine program through the first iteration of the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) in March 2016.

Family medicine as a discipline started making sense for her, she says, when she started her RUSM clinical education and began her FM rotation. “I thought family medicine was fascinating,” says Vescio. “It allows for a lot of coordination of care, for building long-term relationships with your patients.”

The breadth of work in family medicine appealed to her, too; she had worked with a family medicine doctor during elective rotations in Toronto, and was able to work with a different type of patient almost every day. It opened her eyes to a world that she hadn’t necessarily considered.

“There’s such a variety of cases,” she says. “On Mondays, we’d be in the hospital during ovarian and breast cancer screening clinics. On Tuesdays, we were in the operating room, assisting a plastic surgeon. And Wednesday through Friday. We were in her office, seeing her regular continuity patients.”

Now, Vescio’s considering a focus on general women’s health as a long-term goal for her future career. She could still treat and care for female athletes, but she could also tackle the preventative side of medicine and focus on treating other medical concerns that females face in general beyond sports.

Opportunity and Support During Clinicals

Vescio singled out her clinical experience during her RUSM education as particularly valuable. She completed her core clinical rotations, plus several electives, at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) in Pontiac.  

“For me, clerkships were the best,” she says. “I’d rather be learning something while doing it as opposed to learning it from a book.” Plus, she says, some of the residents at SJMO were RUSM graduates, which helped add a degree of familiarity while she was rotating through various core rotations. However, the majority of support during clerkships came from her RUSM peers, who were always willing to provide advice, study tips, and share notes.

“I enjoyed my time at SJMO both because of the students I worked with and because many residents and attendings were invested in teaching," she says. "I felt there was a lot support and opportunity there to learn.”  

Before she started her cores, she took advantage of a unique opportunity at RUSM—a six-week pediatrics rotation in the United Kingdom. Clerkships in the UK are generally more geared toward observation, she says, which made it a “really nice transition into clerkships from basic sciences.” She also had a chance to rotate in Canada—she did three months of electives in her home country, one each at the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa, and McMaster University. While there, she was in contact with two Canadian RUSM alumni who were able to provide her with useful advice about matching back home.

Vescio also singled out Tom Harkness and Chuck Furey, both part of RUSM’s Canadian admissions team, for helping guide her through the medical school process and being on hand for advice. But if RUSM taught her one thing, she says, it’s that you need to make the best of any opportunity that comes your way, whether it’s a chance to network with a Canadian resident or physician or to see how medicine is practiced in a different country.

“If there’s anything I learned from business school, it’s to network and to make yourself as marketable as possible when looking for that real job,” she says. “And at RUSM—in general—if you’re the kind of person who takes advantage of all opportunities and makes the best of each situation, you can really excel anywhere.”

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Tags: Residency , Canada

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CARMS: Student Heading Back to Hometown for IM Residency

April 18, 2016

Mike Radford, a 2015 RUSM grad, attained a residency this year at Western University, in his hometown of London, Ontario.

Mike Radford, a 2015 RUSM grad, attained a residency this year at Western University, in his hometown of London, Ontario.

Mike Radford learned a lot during his time at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), but one lesson stands out that has nothing to do with disease pathologies, anatomy, or biomedicine. It has to do with taking personal responsibility, and about putting your heart and soul into achieving your goals—regardless of what obstacles get thrown at you.

Radford, a 2015 RUSM graduate who attended McMaster University for undergrad, wasn’t able to secure a seat at a Canadian medical school. That didn’t stop him, though—he found his opportunity at RUSM. Another potential obstacle on his road to residency: He knew that at the end of the day, matching back home in Canada wasn’t going to be easy, as matching through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) is notoriously competitive. 

The common thread here is that Radford didn’t give up. And it paid off.

Matching for Residency Right Back in His Hometown

This year, Radford matched to Western University in London, ON—his hometown—through the first iteration of CaRMS, and he’s thrilled to be heading back home to start his internal medicine residency. “I always wanted to pick an area of medicine that involved a challenge, continuous mental stimulation, and patient interaction,” he says of his chosen specialty.

Throughout his education at RUSM, Radford had support from his school—in particular, he credited RUSM clinical advisor Dodson James and Canadian advisors Tom Harkness and Chuck Furey—but he also realized the onus of matching in Canada rested, ultimately, on what he was willing to put in to his education. He earned his residency, he says, by holding himself accountable for his own success through hard work, dedication, and commitment.

“I learned that the responsibility was on me to achieve my goals, and not on administration, professors, or other faculty members,” Radford says. “Nothing is impossible—you can be successful. You just have to stay focused and dedicate yourself to achieving your goals.”

Looking Ahead

As far as future plans go, Radford is in something of a wait-and-see phase. He’s still mulling the idea of a critical care or hematology/oncology fellowship, but he plans on seeing whether he changes his mind and goes in a different direction based on his residency experience.

To future RUSM students from Canada, Radford has this to say: Work as hard as you can, with no regrets.

“RUSM gives Canadian students an opportunity to pursue medicine where it may not have been possible in Canada,” says Radford. “Take advantage of this opportunity and never stop working to be a better, smarter, more confident individual, and you will succeed and be recognized.”

Radford starts residency at Western in July.

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Tags: Residency , Canada

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CARMS: Dana Trafford (RUSM ’16) Heading Home to Canada for Residency

March 10, 2016

When Dana Trafford (Class of 2016) set out to earn her medical degree at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), her goal was to match in a residency back home in Canada. And she knew it might not be easy—matching through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) is known to be competitive, especially for international medical graduates.

But knowing that ended up driving her, pushing her work even harder.

“[It] gave me the drive to work that much harder when I came across people who had stigmas about international medical graduates, or those who didn’t believe a Canadian residency was obtainable,” says Trafford, a graduate of York University and resident of Brampton, Ontario.

Her hard work paid off. She just attained an internal medicine residency at Western University in the first iteration of the 2016 CaRMS.  

“I feel amazing,” she says. “It’s the hardest I’ve ever worked, but I’m so thankful that I persevered, and I couldn’t have done it without so many people supporting me through the process.”

She adds that RUSM has an active community of Canadian students that proved invaluable during her time at RUSM—her fellow Canadian students would help her with things like housing, visas, and navigating Canadian exams. And she’s grateful to RUSM for giving her the educational tools she needed to earn her MD, she says.

“There were many growing pains over the past few years,” she says. “And looking back now, I’m thankful for them, because they’ve made me a more evolved person and a better physician.”

Looking ahead, Trafford hopes to complete a fellowship in geriatric medicine after residency.

“The geriatric population is a huge area for new research,” she says. “I would love to participate in finding new avenues to improve this population’s quality of life.”

Other RUSM Stories About Residency Success in Canada

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RESIDENCY: RUSM Students Attain Residencies in 2016 CaRMS Match

March 03, 2016

Congratulations to our Canadian Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students on attaining residencies through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) first iteration. RUSM students attained residencies in family medicine, pediatrics, and internal medicine programs at University of Ottawa, University of Saskatchewan, and Western University.

Results for the second iteration of CaRMS will be released in April.

Check this blog over the next few days for profiles of Canadian RUSM students who matched through CaRMS in 2016. In the meantime, see below for detailed profiles of RUSM graduates who attained residencies through CaRMS in 2015.

Are you a Canadian resident interested in attending RUSM? Check out our Canadian Applicants page for useful resources and content.

 

Tags: Canada , Residency

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THE TOP 15 FROM 2015: Some of Our Favorite Stories This Year

December 22, 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, we're looking back at some of our most interesting and exciting stories. From clinical updates to student and graduate success stories, help us say goodbye to 2015 with some of our favorite posts from this year!

MATCH: 800+ RUSM Grads Earn Residencies in 2015, Breaking Institutional Records

We're very proud to announce that more than 800 Ross University School of Medicine graduates earned residency appointments in 2015. Our alumni earned residencies in very 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. >> Read More

OPPORTUNITY: RUSM Students Join US Navy Ship COMFORT Clinics on Medical Mission in Dominica

About 900 Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students joined medical personnel from the US Navy’s hospital ship USNS COMFORT to provide health services to people in Dominica while the ship was docked there between July 28 and Aug. 6. >> Read More

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

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. >> Read More

CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: Making Our Strong Clinical Program Even Stronger

We’re excited about some of the great new developments in the clinical program at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). From dedicated student support teams to new U.S. regional hubs that serve as convenient, single-location “academic homes” for our clinical students, there’s a lot for our students to look forward to—and even more enhancements headed your way in the future. >> Read More

ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Steps for Success on Your Medical School Interview

The medical school interview is a crucial component of the admissions process, and can make or break your candidacy for medical school. Your credentials and accomplishments on paper have gotten you this far—now, the school is asking for the opportunity to get to know you in person. That’s a big deal. We sat down with Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Graduate Admissions Advisor Matt Fessler, who had some helpful suggestions on how to prepare and conduct yourself to ensure you will stand out in your interview. >> Read More

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

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. >> Read More

STUDENTS: RUSM Clinical Student Gets Published on Major Healthcare Blog

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. The day after he submitted the post, 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. >> Read More 

ALUMNI PROFILE: RUSM Grad Who Completed MERP Is Now Chief Resident in Surgery

Sola Fasusi, MD, readily admits that when he found out that he’d been recommended to the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP), his pride took a hit. He had already had been waitlisted at two United States medical schools, had taken the MCAT twice, and had applied to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) only after a friend mentioned the school in passing. He was granted conditional acceptance to RUSM, on the condition that he successfully complete MERP before starting as a first-semester med student. “It was a shot to my ego,” remembers Dr. Fasusi. “But it fueled a fire in me, and I realized I had two decisions: either wait to see if I could possibly get into one of those two US medical schools, or take the RUSM opportunity now.” He chose the latter. And he’s glad he did. >> Read More

CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac

Established in 1927, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) is a long-time healthcare provider in Oakland County. A 443-bed comprehensive community and teaching hospital, SJMO is ranked in the top five percent of hospitals across the nation for clinical excellence and women’s health, and has earned a position among the top 50 US cardiovascular programs. >> Read More

VIEWPOINT: Faculty Member Sees an "Unbelievable" Transformation at RUSM

Davendra Sharma, MBBS, DM, professor and interim chair of behavioral sciences, has been at Ross University School of Medicine for over 20 years. Here, he explains not only the great transformations taking place on campus, but also his unique path from skeptic outsider to passionate advocate of the university. "We have grown as a force that is beyond comparison. We have something that goes beyond materialism. We have the commitment. We have the love for our students. That is what this school is all about, or I would not have been here so long." >> Read More

MATCH: Surgery Residency Brings RUSM Student Closer to Dream Career

Shortly after attending the Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Match Celebration in New York on March 21, Jairo Espinosa, who is scheduled to graduate in May, plans to do some traveling. Completing his last clinical clerkship had been “very, very surreal,” he said. “It was a crazy feeling.” After all, he had been working so hard since enrolling in medical school, with barely a break. “I like to plan ahead,” he said, and so he made the arrangements for a month-long trip to Europe and Asia, right after learning where he had matched, and before he was to begin the residency. Jairo landed a surgery residency at Western Michigan University. >> Read More

CARMS: Two Tragic Stories Started This New Resident on Her Path to Practice Medicine

For January 2015 graduate Sisi Li—like many of her classmates at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)—the seeds that would ultimately grow into a calling to practice medicine were planted early in life, when she was still a young child. But unlike other RUSM graduates, her path to practice didn’t start with toy stethoscopes or stuffed animals standing in for patients. Instead, it started with her hearing two tragic stories that impacted her family before she was ever born—stories that affected her more than she knew at the time. >> Read More

CLINICALS: RUSM Offers United Kingdom-New Jersey Clinical Track

Ross University School of Medicine is excited to announce the new United Kingdom and New Jersey track program, dubbed the UKNJ Track. Students will spend 24 straight weeks each in the United Kingdom and in New Jersey hospitals. Students will complete surgery, pediatrics and OB/GYN clinical rotations at Queen’s Hospital in Romford, just outside of London. >> Read More

RESCUE: RUSM Faculty Save a Passenger's Life on a Plane

“Is there a doctor in the house?” is something most of us have heard only in a scene in a movie, but for two Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) physician colleagues, the urgent announcement, “Is there a doctor on the plane?” was very real. They were flying home from the RUSM Leadership Conference, held Sept. 17-19 in Cancun, Mexico. Sean Gnecco, MD, RUSM Associate Professor in the Internal Medicine Foundations program, and Assistant Dean for Clinical Sciences, Iriana Hammel, MD, FACP, AGSF, heeded the call for a doctor immediately. >> Read More

MATCH: RUSM Student Lands Her First Choice for Residency

Marcella Perez, set to graduate in May 2015 from Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), plans to bring 25 family members to the commencement ceremony in Coral Gables, Florida. She was born and raised in New Jersey, and some relatives are coming from there, some from Tampa, and some from as far away as Colombia. And after Perez's successful Match today—at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Family Medicine Program, her first choice—she and her family have even more to celebrate. >> Read More

Tags: Admissions , Alumni , Canada , Clinical Program , MERP , New Jersey , New York , Residency

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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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Tags: Canada , Alumni

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MATCH: Two Tragic Stories Started This New Resident on Her Path to Practice Medicine

April 08, 2015

Sommerhalder and Veatch, RUSM alumni
January 2015 RUSM graduate Sisi Li (above) matched into her first choice for residency: University of Toronto's family medicine program.

For January 2015 graduate Sisi Li—like many of her classmates at Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)—the seeds that would ultimately grow into a calling to practice medicine were planted early in life, when she was still a young child. But unlike other RUSM graduates, her path to practice didn’t start with toy stethoscopes or stuffed animals standing in for patients.

Instead, it started with her hearing two tragic stories that impacted her family before she was ever born—stories that affected her more than she knew at the time.

“When I was about 6 or 7 years old, I learned that my father and grandfather had both lost younger siblings very early in life from childhood accidents–one in a drowning, and the other in a choking episode,” she says.

Those lives, she says, didn’t have to end that way; if anyone in those situations had even the most basic knowledge of CPR or the Heimlich maneuver, things could have been different.

“I knew, from then on, that medicine—with its ability to affect such great change in the lives
of others, particularly in their greatest moments of need—was what I wanted to pursue with my life,” she says.

After Matching, Li Is Heading Back Home to Canada for Residency

In March 2015, after four years as a RUSM student, Li logged in to the Canada Resident Matching Service (CaRMS)—along with hundreds of Canadian medical school students hoping for their first choice in residency—to see how she’d fared in the Canadian match. In the years before this, she’d completed the Foundations of Medicine (basic sciences) program in Dominica and completed her clinical years in the United States and Canada.

Would her hard work pay off?

“Everything boiled down to that one moment, she says. “My hands were shaking. I’m fairly certain I was hyperventilating.”

She’d matched. University of Toronto, family medicine. Her first choice.

“After seeing that I had matched to my number one choice, I basically dissolved into a crying, hysterical and elated mess,” Li says. “Matching back home has been my goal since starting at RUSM—going to Dominica, and then bouncing across North America over the last four years, has really reinforced how important my family and friends are to me.”

In July 2015, Li will start her residency back in Ontario, close to her family, friends, and her fiancé, who just earned his MBA.

What She Learned at Ross—About Medicine, and About Herself

When starting medical school, Li knew going in that her primary focus would be primary care.

“The personal patient interactions, continuity of care—those were the things that I really valued as I thought about my future career plans,” she says. Through clinical rotations, Li was exposed to some “truly great” programs and specialties that, ultimately, she would have been very happy pursuing.

“But when I sat down to make a rank order list—when I really started thinking about what I wanted with my career in medicine—the ability to provide comprehensive care to such diverse patient populations was what made me ultimately select family medicine,” she says.

Picking her top choice of residency program, she says, was a much easier decision.

“Not only would I be close to home,” she says, “but I’d also be able to join the ranks of the largest family medicine training program in North America, training in some of the best academic and community hospitals in Canada.”

Li learned more at RUSM than just what specialty she wanted to practice in, she says. She learned perseverance and determination—qualities she says will serve her well in residency training. RUSM taught her to be resourceful, to be prepared to handle anything that comes at her in the field of medicine. And she learned that every other student on that island was in the same boat as her, that everyone was in this together.

“Since my first day on the island, I’ve been overwhelmed with the incredible sense of student camaraderie and support,” she says. “Students are happy to do whatever they possibly can to help each other out, which I think is a fantastic attitude to carry with you in your career.”

Through giving back to the school—by serving as a peer tutor and neuroscience teaching assistant while at RUSM—she even discovered she had a hidden passion for teaching.

“I’m very keen to be able to incorporate teaching into my future practice while working closely with medical students and residents,” she says.

On the immediate future? “I’m keeping a very open mind as I approach residency training,” she says. Options include possibly pursuing fellowship training in academic family medicine or obstetrics/women’s health.

But for now, four years after enrolling at RUSM, Sisi Li is going home for her next big step toward the practice of medicine.

We're close to finalizing our complete list of residencies for 2015. Please check our residency page regularly in the coming days!

Tags: Canada , Residency , Alumni

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MATCH: RUSM Student Matches Into Her Favorite Residency Program Back Home in Canada

March 23, 2015

RUSM student Meredith Austin-Appleton
Meredith Austin-Appleton (above) recently matched into her favorite pediatrics residency program back home in Canada.

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) student Meredith Austin-Appleton, slated to graduate toward the end of March 2015, had convinced herself of one thing early on: Though she wanted to return to her home country of Canada for residency training, she’d be perfectly happy matching for residency in the United States.

It had to be pediatrics, though.

“I always knew I was going to work with children. Pediatrics was my first choice—really my only choice—for residency long before I started medical school,” Austin-Appleton says. “But I’d heard how difficult it was to get a spot in a pediatric residency program back in Canada, and I knew there hadn’t been a match there [from RUSM] in pediatrics for years.”

This year, she says, there were only 13 pediatric residency spots—total—in all of Ontario for international medical graduates (IMGs).  

Applying to Residencies in Both the US and Canada

So Austin-Appleton went through the residency application process, scoring interviews in both Canada and the US for various pediatrics programs. “I’d interviewed at some places in the US that I really liked, and would have been happy at—there, I had a clear idea of what my top program was. But in Canada, I had a very tough time making my rank list,” she says. “I loved them all.”

Her favorite, she says, was McMaster University’s pediatrics program.

On March 4th, 2015—Match Day for those seeking Canadian residencies—Austin-Appleton logged onto the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) to see what was in store for her.

“I’m Still Waiting to Wake Up From This Dream”

She’d matched at McMaster. According to McMaster University’s website, only 13 recent med school graduates were invited to the pediatrics program this year, and she was one of them. Only 4 of those spots at McMaster were dedicated to international medical graduates.

“I’m still in disbelief,” she says. “It wasn’t until I matched at McMaster that I realized how much I really wanted to return to train in Ontario. It’s one of those feelings that seems too good to be true—hence my feeling of disbelief! I’m still waiting to wake up from this dream.”

RUSM Gave Her Opportunity

Austin-Appleton credits RUSM both for guiding her through the residency process and for preparing her for success on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE). In particular, she singles out Tom Harkness and Chuck Furey, RUSM’s Canadian advisors, for their support. “They’ve been amazing through the whole process,” she says. “Since starting down on the island, they’ve guided us through what steps we needed to take to give ourselves the best chance of matching in Canada.”

Her experience with clinical rotations in the US—at Central Michigan University, in Saginaw, Mich.—was “wonderful,” she says. Even better: She was able to pursue elective rotations back home in Canada, at Western University for pediatric genetics and at Dalhousie University for pediatric endocrinology.

As for the future? Austin-Appleton isn’t sure yet. “I’m considering a fellowship in critical care or emergency medicine,” she says. “But at this point, all doors are open.”

Tags: Residency , Canada , Alumni

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CaRMS: RUSM Grad Earns Residency in Highly Competitive Neurology Program

March 12, 2015

2015 is going to be a pretty exciting year for Candice Todd, MD. Not only did she match into what she describes as a “world-famous” residency program at University of Toronto, but she’s getting married in just a few months.

Candice Todd, RUSM alumna, recently matched in neurology at U of T
Candice Todd (above), a 2014 RUSM graduate, grabbed a neurology residency at University of Toronto through the 2015 CaRMS Match.

The only twist is that this recent Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate has to miss her graduation ceremony this year. “Because it’s the same day as my wedding,” laughs the Guelph native, who wrapped up studies at RUSM in late 2014. Todd matched in neurology at University of Toronto in the first iteration of the 2015 Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS), grabbing one of two spots dedicated to international medical school graduates. She was one of three thousand applicants to vie for the spot, she says.

Go here to see where else our Canadian grads earned residencies through the CaRMS Match.

Heading Right Back Home for Residency

It’s safe to say she’s pleased—and a bit surprised.

“At U of T, they only interview 13 people [for the neurology program],” she says. “You can understand why I’m very, very shocked about being accepted—I applied through CaRMS thinking I wouldn’t even get an interview there, much less be sitting here right now as a PGY-1 neurology resident.”

The idea, she says, was always to stay close to home during residency. “I didn’t know I’d be this close,” she says. “I’d mentally prepared for the US match, but I’m so excited to stay home in Canada.”

Family Ties Brought Her to Medical School

Her uncle, a physician, served as a mentor of sorts, but Todd’s grandfather was what really drove her toward an interest in medicine.

“My grandfather was really ill,” she says. “He’s someone who was close to me, and I wanted to learn more about his illness.” Her grandfather had chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), a condition that she didn’t know much about at the time.

“I ended up really immersing myself in researching medicine to try and figure out what I could have done—had I been a physician—to provide better care for him,” she says.

Ultimately, her grandfather passed away from pneumonia. But Todd's interest in medicine lingered. “It was that interest in the pathogenesis of respiratory illnesses, the interest in why he had to go for lab tests and how they worked—that’s what really pulled me toward the idea of being a doctor,” she says.

"You really focus on your schooling and education, and [Ross] teaches you a real respect for the field. And sometimes, I do miss waking up and wearing shorts every day."

Candice Todd, '14 RUSM graduate, on how how RUSM "immerses" you in the study of medicine

“Ross Will Test Your Resilience”

On attending a Caribbean medical school like RUSM, she says, she gives one piece of advice: "You really have to want it."

"Ross will test your resilience, your love for the field,” she says. “You have to be 100% committed to becoming a physician."

Supported by what she described as “amazing faculty” and a group of medical school peers who all had exactly the same endgame in mind—earning their Doctor of Medicine (MD) degrees—Todd says that RUSM’s campus environment “immerses” you in the study of medicine.

“It’s sort of a bubble,” she says. “You really focus on your schooling and education, and it teaches you a real respect for the field,” she says. “And sometimes, I do miss waking up and wearing shorts every day.”

An “Awesome” Experience During Clinicals

After completing the Foundations of Medicine (basic sciences) curriculum, Todd headed to the United States to start her clinical rotations. She completed her “cores” in Chicago, Ill., at Norwegian American Hospital; elective rotations took place back in her home country of Canada.
Her experience at Norwegian, she says, was a particularly memorable one.

“That was an awesome clerkship year,” she says. “[Norwegian is] a great hospital—there aren’t any residents there, so it’s really almost like you’re a resident,” she says. “And the city [of Chicago] is amazing.”

RUSM alumna Candice Todd and her husband
Dr. Todd (above, right) and her husband-to-be, Rami Aziz (left). Their wedding is set for May 30, 2015—the same day as RUSM's 2015 graduation ceremony..

Thoughts on Future Careers in Medicine

Though she has some time to decide, Todd is already thinking of her next career steps. Ideally, she’d like to come back home to Guelph to practice neurology, possibly while researching cognitive disorders on the side.

“I earned my master’s degree before medical school, so I have a love of academic research,” she says.

But she has time, and a wedding to hold, before any of that happens. And when that wedding happens, RUSM will be represented—even though she won’t be able to make it to graduation.

“I made best friends for life at Ross,” she says. “Some of them are bridesmaids for the wedding.”

 

Tags: Alumni , Residency , Canada

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RUSM Grad Garrett Whyne, MD, Going Home to Canada for Residency

March 11, 2015

Garrett Whyne, MD
RUSM graduate Garrett Whyne, MD (above), recently matched in family medicine at Northern Ontario School of Medicine.

“It’s the best feeling I’ve ever had,” said Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate Garrett Whyne, MD, about the moment he learned that he had obtained a residency through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) on March 3, 2015. “I’m really excited. I’m going home.” He will begin a residency in family medicine at Northern Ontario School of Medicine in July. “I like family medicine because I like talking to people and getting to the root of their problems,” he explained.

For the past year, Dr. Whyne was a junior faculty member in the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP), a program with which he became acquainted as a student. He taught biochemistry and anatomy, and more. “I’ve sort of come full circle,” he said. “I got my start at MERP, and then teaching at MERP helped to get me a residency.” Many hospitals look for residents with the ability to teach, he said, and it was a strong asset for him. “I found that I love teaching and I plan to carry it into my residency, by being involved with students.”

"I took [MERP] as an opportunity to show that I have what it takes, and that I can do this ... I learned how to be a good student and graduated with honors."

RUSM graduate Garrett Whyne, MD, on how MERP helped set him up for medical school success.

Dr. Whyne, 27, a graduate of the University of Guelph, Ontario, is the son of a physician and always had an interest in medicine. Although the path to becoming a physician was sometimes a struggle, he was able to maintain a good attitude, “and I was always very mellow about everything,” he said. When he was given conditional admission to RUSM if he completed the MERP program successfully, he was not discouraged. “I took it as an opportunity to show that I have what it takes, and that I can do this. It was probably the best thing for me. I learned how to be a good student and graduated with honors. I also made friends for life.”

On the Dominica campus, Dr. Whyne took advantage of the island’s natural wonders, together with fellow students, by hiking up to Boiling Lake, going fishing, and more. He also played hockey, football and other sports.

When one of Dr. Whyne’s friends from MERP found himself on the same rotations, they became roommates, and shared expenses and experiences throughout much of the clinical segment of their medical education.

Dr. Whyne is looking forward to a career in family medicine, “maybe starting as part of a group practice,” he said.

Tags: Alumni , Residency , Canada , MERP

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RESIDENCIES: RUSM Grad Excited About Her CaRMS Match at University of Toronto

March 09, 2015

RUSM alumna Rachelle Krause
Rachelle Krause (above), a 2014 graduate of RUSM, matched at University of Toronto in internal medicine during the first iteration of the 2015 CaRMS.

Recent Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate Rachelle Krause, MD—a native of Courtice, roughly 40 miles away from Toronto, Canada—remembers the exact moment she decided to become a physician. It was during an exchange program to South Africa years ago, while she was still in high school.

“That was the first time I saw real poverty—people who had nothing,” says Krause, one of 13 RUSM graduates who matched through the Canadian Resident Matching Service’s (CaRMS) first iteration on March 4, 2015. Krause earned a residency in University of Toronto’s internal medicine program, grabbing one of 12 available IMG slots. She was one of hundreds of applicants to the program.

Further down, check out a video Krause made showing her reaction to the residency news.

Choosing a Career That Could Change Lives

That South Africa exchange trip, she notes, was an important event in her life: one that pointed toward a career that could “have the biggest impact on people’s lives directly, and where I’d be on the front lines delivering that care.”

“I think I could have done lots of things with my life—be a researcher, enter the business world—but for me, being a doctor made sense,” she says. “It just fit.”

Internal medicine, she says, was her goal from the very beginning. Krause is “pumped” to start her residency, and even happier that she earned a placement so close to home.

How RUSM Prepared Her for Success

On her medical school experience, she sums it up nicely: RUSM prepares you, but you don’t always know you’re being prepared while you’re being prepared.

"You get pulled out of your comfort zone,” she says. She’s referring to Dominica—home of RUSM’s technologically advanced basic sciences campus, where RUSM students spend the early part of their medical education. “All of the resilience and resolve you gain from your time on the island is empowering. You’re kind of like a fighter when you come out of the program, and that in itself is a huge component to success—that you’re trained to work really hard for what you want.”

“The rigor of the program is just top-notch,” she adds. “You would never get the amount of exposure to so many different medical scenarios and cultures if you were at any other school. You wouldn’t even get that at a Canadian school.”

The student support she received from RUSM advisors in Canada, she says, also made a difference.

“Every single person’s experience [at RUSM] is going to be completely different, and we always had someone to turn to when we had questions or needed help with something,” she says. “[Advisors will] come down to the island, they’ll visit the town you’re doing clinical rotations in—you can text them, message them, or email them, and you’ll always get an answer.”          

Plans for the Future After Residency

Looking forward, Krause is considering exploring fellowships after completing her residency training. Though she’s still mulling exactly which fellowship she’d like to pursue—she has time, after all—she thinks that the University of Toronto could be a great place to start.

“I can see myself working in Toronto, but I can also see myself working for a smaller community,” she says. Teaching is also a possibility—she was a teaching assistant during her time at RUSM.

Her advice to incoming or prospective students? Believe that you can succeed.

“You just need to mentally make a decision—Yes, I want to go back to Canada, or Yes, I want to get a good residency.”

Tags: Alumni , Residency , Canada

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