Ross University Blog

ALUMNI: One Grad’s Musings on Dominica, Residency, and His 'Amazing' Ross Experience

October 04, 2016

Andrew Medvedovsky, MD (Ross Class of 2008)

Andrew Medvedovsky, MD (Ross Class of 2008)

He was in the midst of clinical rotations and Andrew Medvedovsky (Class of 2008) was still trying to figure out which medical discipline he wanted to pursue for residency—until a chance meeting helped him answer that question.

One day during clinicals, he bumped into a neurologist who asked him to help out with a spinal tap. Intrigued by the specialty, Medvedovsky tried a four-week neurology elective and ended up loving it. Fast-forward nearly a decade and he’s completed a neurology residency at Virginia Commonwealth University, plus a fellowship in interventional pain management at the same university. Now, the Brooklyn native is practicing with the New Jersey-based RA Pain Services.

Read below for Medvedovsky’s thoughts on island life, clinicals, residency, and what it really means to be a doctor.

A QUOTE THAT HE LIVES BY: [My fellowship] was directed by an amazing, amazing physician who was my mentor—Dr. [Maged] Hamza—and he was a person that really shaped my career in a lot of ways. One of the things he would always tell me is “Look. If you don’t demand perfection from yourself, nobody else will.” And the fellowship was really intense and very heavy on academics, on procedures, on patient volume, and you had to be perfect. There was no room for error. And it was overwhelming, but I knew if I could get through the fellowship … it would be worth it and would pay off when I’m on my own.

ON CHOOSING ROSS AND PRECONCEPTIONS: I was very nervous about coming to Ross because the preconceived notion was that, if you go to a Caribbean medical school, you’ll have a really hard time getting a residency and other negative beliefs that people have about Caribbean students. So I realized when I came out of Ross and started my clerkships, and then residency, there’s a lot more to being a doctor than the medical school you graduate … once you’re out there in real-life settings, I think it’s your personality, your compassion, and your work ethic that really takes over and becomes the driving force for your success.

Looking back, I think that at this point in my career I’m lucky I went to Ross. It gave me amazing experience, and has only exposed me to a different culture that I wouldn’t have ever been able to be a part of.

ON HOW MUCH HE LOVED DOMINICA: You’re walking into a school that’s equipped like an American school, and it’s an amazing luxury to be able to SCUBA dive in the morning and go to class in the afternoon, to be able to walk down the beach and then go to [your] apartment, look out the window, and look at a banana tree farm and wild mangoes in the backyard … or wake up Saturday morning, go to the fresh market, and buy a piece of fish they just pulled out of the water. So it’s a phenomenal experience—it’s an experience that you really can't put a price on.

HIS MOST EYE-OPENING ISLAND EXPERIENCE: The one that really sticks out is our experience when we went to [country capital] Roseau to a local hospital to see real life in a Dominica clinic. And it’s unbelievable—the minimal resources that the physicians and patients have. It really puts things into perspective, and it really makes you adaptable to work in various situations and circumstances. Because when you see doctors in action in Dominica doing their best, taking care of patients with whatever they have, and then we come back to the United States where we see a fully equipped hospital, we realize “Wow, there is no reason not to be able to provide patients with the best care and service.”

SOME COMMENTS ON CLINICALS: I did my rotations mostly in New York. Clinical rotations, I think, are a little bit challenging. You’re working with residents, other physicians who are busy … [and when you’re] coming out of the basic sciences where you’re going to class and then going [back to housing], then being in the hospital sometimes up to 80 hours a week as a [clinical] student, it gets extremely tiring. But you get through it. I think being motivated is a big factor in making it a good experience.

A FEW WORDS ON RESIDENCY: I did my neurology residency at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, which was a phenomenal experience. Obviously, neurology is a pretty competitive residency, but I felt comfortable applying for it. I had a genuine interest in it, I was very motivated, and I had very strong letters of recommendation because the neurologists that I worked with really believed in my interest and were willing to support me in my goals.

LIFE IN PRACTICE: My current position is very unique. I’m a physician with a private practice called RA Pain Services. I see patients in the office relating to various head, neck, [and] spine [conditions] and chronic pain. On Mondays, I’m in the hospital doing everything from basic epidural injections, nerve ablations, and spinal cord stimulators to really involved, unique cases. One other thing I do, which I think is pretty unique, is direct a medical marijuana program. So it’s been incredibly interesting to incorporate all of these different things into my practice. I never, ever imagined myself doing any of this stuff.

Editor’s note: Philly.com interviewed both Medvedovsky and one of his patients about his work with medical marijuana. Read the story here.

HOW THINGS TURNED OUT: I’m amazed with my life. I feel extremely fortunate. I’m amazed at the people that I meet and the ability to affect people’s lives. It’s phenomenal and I thank Ross University and my mentors along the way who have given me the opportunity, and who believed in me.

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Tags: New Jersey , Dominica , Residency , New York

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COMMUNITY: RUSM Supports Construction Projects for Local Primary School

June 27, 2016

The recently constructed kitchen and dining room for Savanne Paille Primary School.

The recently constructed kitchen and dining room for Savanne Paille Primary School.

A new kitchen and dining room for Savanne Paille Primary School

A donation by Ross University School of Medicine and DeVry Medical International to the Savanne Paille Primary School in Dominica was instrumental in enabling the construction of a dining room and kitchen for the students. The project was co-sponsored by the Dominica Ministry of Education, and supported by the PTA and a host of volunteers. RUSM Campus Dean Stanley White, PhD, cut the ribbon on the new facility at a festive event on Monday, attended by dignitaries, well-wishers, RUSM colleagues, parents, teachers, and the 43 children in grades K-6. Dominica’s Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Hon. Petter St. Jean was in attendance, together with several members of his department. Also on the agenda was Hon. Reginald Austrie, parliamentary representative for the area.

“We strive to be good corporate citizens, and to give back to the community in which our university has been made to feel at home. We continue to support organizations devoted to education, sports, cultural programs and humanitarian efforts throughout the island,” said RUSM’s Dean and Chancellor Joseph Flaherty, MD.

“Ross University School of Medicine has had a special partnership with this island and its people,” Dr. White said. He thanked Executive Administrator Ryan Didier and Director of Finance Laurel Peterson for their involvement in making the project become a reality. Dr. White had the honor of cutting the ribbon on the new facility.

Minister of Education and Human Resource Development Hon. Petter St. Jean said that, “With this new environment we’ll see our students being strong and healthy and that will be reflected in their academic performance.”

RUSM has had a long and continuing history of community involvement and outreach in Dominica, supporting organizations devoted to education, sports, cultural programs and humanitarian efforts throughout the island.

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Tags: Community Service , Dominica

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INSIDE LOOK: RUSM Students and the USNS Comfort Medical Mission

January 13, 2016

 RUSM students on Comfort mission

In July 2015, the US Navy visited Dominica for an important medical mission, and many of our students were able to volunteer and help with this far-reaching humanitarian initiative. They shadowed Navy physicians, observed surgeries close up, and more—some even learned how to do medical procedures during their time alongside Navy doctors. It was all part of the USNS Comfort medical mission: something many students called a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get some valuable clinical experience early in their medical careers.

Get an inside look at this unique student experience with our new Comfort microsite. Read student stories, learn about the mission, and find out what it was like for the students to really get a firsthand look at how medicine is practiced on a global scale.

Take an extended look at the Comfort experience here.

Tags: Dominica , Students , Campus

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VIEWPOINT: Faculty Member Sees An 'Unbelievable' Transformation at RUSM

November 17, 2015

 

Davendra Sharma

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.

What first brought you to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)?

When I first came to RUSM in 1993, I was working as the psychiatrist for the country of Dominica and was very much involved in developing a good mental health program locally and for the region. I was recruited by the dean of RUSM to lecture on a part-time basis, and I did that from 1993 to 2000. I accepted a full-time position at RUSM in 2000.

What are some of your memories of campus in the 1990s?

The main campus was in Roseau on the bay front. It was a leased property, and a far cry from the modern, high-tech auditoriums we currently have on the Portsmouth campus. It was very underdeveloped. To be honest, the ambience was not good—it was like working in tin cans.

I recently met with pre-med advisors, and one asked a very perceptive question: We know you talk about your strengths, but what are some of your weaknesses? I responded that, though we have a much more beautiful campus than we did when I first arrived, we still have some of those tin cans around, like my department building, which is the oldest on the current campus. A colleague of mine has even crawled through the roof to drop into a locked office! So, I explained that this is the weakness.

We may not be the prettiest campus among the offshore schools, but within the tin cans we have hearts of steel. Of strength. Students come here in large numbers because they know we work to make them successful. That premed advisor responded that my answer truly touched her, and now she wants to send her students to RUSM.

I gained enormous respect for the sacrifice, motivation, and courage that the students were showing to become doctors.

What were some of your first impressions about the university?

The truth? When I was asked to join RUSM on a part-time basis in 1993, I was not very keen. There was a huge stigma against RUSM from the University of the West Indies (UWI), where I did my postgraduate training. It was as if RUSM, a private enterprise, was intruding on our realm of aristocracy. For the crème de la crème—the persons who became doctors in this part of the world—it was as not to be accepted that persons who could not enter the UWI should be allowed to become doctors.

I was good friends with the RUSM dean at that time; we played squash together. He asked me to do lectures at the campus in Roseau and I agreed because I cannot say no, especially to friends. But I came to enjoy the appreciation of the students, and became more and more enchanted with RUSM and the fact that the students were intelligent and highly motivated. I was no better than they were. I gained enormous respect for the sacrifice, motivation, and courage that the students were showing to become doctors.

We have grown to a force that is beyond comparison. We have the commitment. We have the love for our students. That is what this school is about.

How is RUSM different today from when you first started?

Physically, the transformation has been unbelievable and is still ongoing. There’s a new Center for Teaching and Learning, which is nearly finished and awesome, and an amazing anatomy lab and simulation lab. But what remains is the care and quality of our training that made it possible for our pioneers to succeed.

And that training has not been static. Our dean made a promise that our school will be one campus integrating the basic sciences and clinical programs. That is happening. We are not static. We are a dynamic campus. We have made changes in our curriculum, in clinical skills training, and in our support services to further enhance the student experience. 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. I grew up in RUSM, and I am now the interim chair of my department. I am proud of my progress, and the support I have received from RUSM. And I am proud that I have supported so many who are now successes in the medical field.    

What are some of your favorite places on campus today?

I really like to sit outdoors at the tables and have my lunch. The Picard Food Pavillion, a row of about 20 food vendors, is nice—we call it The Shacks. I like the atmosphere and the chance to tease students about their meal choices!

What is your favorite thing about RUSM today?

Gosh! My favorite thing would be my department team. I have some unbelievable people working for me and my students. I can count on them to go above and beyond—all are exceptional. If I had to make a full list, it is impossible.

I have too many favorites including our support staff, security team, administrators, and student clubs.

We may not be the prettiest  campus among the offshore schools, but within the tin cans we have hearts of  steel. Of strength. Students come here in large numbers because they know we  work to make them successful.

What are you looking forward to in the university's future?

What I have looked forward to, I am already seeing happen. I believe that our future is dependent on achieving our mission of making our students successful, and I see the necessary changes happening for that to be possible.

In the end, our tin cans made to withstand hurricane force winds are filled with the force of love for our students. I look forward to the day when our university will be recognized in the US as a center of excellence equal to or greater than the best the US has to offer.

I am proud to be part of this progress. I am proud of my students; they keep me going. Their words of thanks mean much to me. They cannot begin to understand my sense of pride, humbleness, and gratefulness, for entrusting themselves to my teaching and for allowing me to be part of their lives and success.

 

 

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Tags: Dominica , Faculty

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LEADERSHIP: RUSM Colleagues Lead New Group Focused on Mental Health

November 02, 2015

 
RUSM colleagues instrumental in founding Dominica Psychology Society
Shani Shillingford, PhD (above, left) and McMillan Cuffy, MSc, were instrumental in founding the recently created Dominica Psychological Society.

Two Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) colleagues have been instrumental in founding the recently created Dominica Psychological Society (DPS), and have been elected to serve as leaders of the new organization. Shani Shillingford, PhD, was elected president and McMillan Cuffy, MSc, was elected vice president. RUSM’s Dean and Chancellor, Joseph A Flaherty, MD, commented that, “As a psychiatrist, and interim chair of psychiatry, I am profoundly impressed by the work of our colleagues in taking on this tremendous challenge. RUSM is proud of their efforts and we wish them well as they move forward.”

Dr. Shillingford, a native of Dominica who joined RUSM in 2013, earned her doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Northern Colorado in 2011. She is an assistant professor at RUSM's Center for Teaching and Learning. Mr. Cuffy is a counselor at the Counseling Center, in the Department of Health Services. He earned his MSc in counseling at the University of the West Indies-Mona campus, Jamaica, in 2005, and has been at RUSM for five and a half years.

Two years ago, the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations was launched. When Shillingford and Cuffy attended a conference presented by the group, as a professional development activity through RUSM, they learned that Dominica was not represented. They formed a steering committee and got to work. “One of our main objectives is promoting mental health in Dominica and dealing with the stigma,” said Cuffy. “We want to get people to be as comfortable talking about mental health as they are about physical pain.”

Shillingford said, “The primary aim of the DPS is to establish ethical ideals consistent with recognized international principles and standards.” She said that the DPS already had about 40 members, “mostly master’s level psychologists and counselors,” and that last month they had organized a series of group activities for at-risk young people in various programs on the island. “We did exercises in self-esteem,” she explained. “We helped them identify something good in themselves,” Cuffy added, “whether it was something physical that they liked, or a personality trait.”

 

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Tags: Campus , Dominica

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OPPORTUNITY: RUSM’s Class of 2019 Don White Coats in Moving Ceremony

October 12, 2015

Looking for video from the September 2015 White Coat Ceremony? View the video here.

RUSM September 2015 WC“You are the group that said, ‘we’re not giving up,’” said Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, Dean and Chancellor of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) addressing the new group of incoming students at the White Coat Ceremony on October 8, 2015 on the Dominica campus. “You’ve gone through a lot just getting here.” He was referring to Tropical Storm Erika and its devastating aftermath on the island in late August.

The widespread destruction caused by the deadly storm also resulted in the airport’s closure, making it necessary for large groups of students, faculty and other colleagues to fly to Guadeloupe and take a ferry from there. “Remember Guadeloupe?” Dean Flaherty asked, eliciting affirmative cheers from the audience. He, too, had traveled that route with them last month. “You showed your commitment. You showed your ability to take on a challenge and move on. There are many challenges in medical school. I think you’re up to them. We selected you because we knew you could make it.”

Vice Dean Peter Goetz welcomed the class of 2019 and said, “We are very proud of our diversity.” He noted that the students were born in 56 countries, although most were born in the US.

“This is a very significant event for us,” said Campus Dean Dr. Stanley White. He introduced the keynote speaker, RUSM alumna Anita Lal, MD, a forensic pathologist. “Our keynote speaker shows new students what our graduates can become,” he said.

Dr. Lal has been a staff forensic pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto since 2013 and is also a lecturer in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. The advice she gave to the new students was,  “Ask questions. Be determined. Don’t give up.”

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Tags: Dominica , Campus

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

September 18, 2015

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

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

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

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

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Tags: Campus , Dominica

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

September 14, 2015

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

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

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

Tags: Dominica , Campus

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DEAN'S BLOG: Budgeting Advice for RUSM Students in Dominica

July 06, 2015

Executive Dean and Chancellor Joseph Flaherty, MD, chats with Senior Director of Finance Dean Shillingford.

I met recently with Ross University School of Medicine’s (RUSM) Senior Director of Finance Dean Shillingford, to talk about the importance of budgeting, and some ideas that might be helpful for our medical students. Mr. Shillingford, a native of Dominica, began his career with RUSM on the island in 2006, as a student accounts coordinator. He was promoted steadily and in 2011, he became the director of finance and administration on the Dominica campus and in January of this year he was appointed to his current position in Miramar. Here’s some of that conversation:


Flaherty: Generally speaking, it makes good sense for everyone to prepare a budget and keep track of expenses. People need to think about what is a necessity and what is not, and that is different for everyone.
 

Shillingford: It’s important to create a budget and to write it down. As far as expenses, the big three are food, housing and transportation. When students first arrive in Dominica for the Foundations of Medicine portion of the medical education program, they may not be sure how much to budget. But by the second semester, they will know how much they need.
 

LIFESTYLE


Flaherty:
Students’ standard of living has gone up; what they used to call the middle class standard of living has gone up. Medical students today wear decent clothes, eat out occasionally, take vacations. They probably had that in college. Our students have to look at their lifestyle a little differently. Going to Dominica is different. This is a study experience. You have this opportunity to learn the basic sciences and pass the USMLE® Step 1 exam with a good score. You’re not going to be spending money going places. There’s no need for a lot of new clothes; there are few functions for which to get dressed up.


Shillingford: There is a temptation for students. They studied hard all semester and they want to party. During the breaks some want to go island-hopping by plane, stay in nice hotels, go to the casinos.


Flaherty: I’m a big advocate of students setting study goals with rewards. Each day, if you study for five or six hours, you should have a short-term reward. Go out and play basketball, or whatever you like to do. If you study all week, go out on Saturday or Sunday. And if you study all semester, set aside money in your budget for a reward. I remember when I was a medical student I set aside $20 every semester, to reward myself with a trip to my favorite bookstore. I liked to read history and fiction. Still do.

 

VIEW VIDEO FOR MORE ON WHAT LIFE IS LIKE ON CAMPUS.

 

TRANSPORTATION


Flaherty: The thing that students have to plan is how many trips back to the U.S. they will have to make. They may want to go home twice in 16 months. Some people get homesick.


Shillingford: As far as transportation on the island, the university provides it. Everything is within walking distance. And for excursions to Roseau and sightseeing day trips, these are also organized by RUSM and transportation is provided. You don’t really need a car.


Flaherty: There will be no events where you’re expected to drive. I think if a student wants to drive somewhere remote on the island, he or she can find three others who also want to go, and they can rent a car together for that occasion.

Shillingford: You don’t really need to buy a car just for 16 months. Gas on the island is also much more expensive than in the US. You have to discipline yourself to cut expenses. It’s always wise to reduce your expenses.

 

HOUSING


Shillingford: Most first semester students stay at Ross University Housing. Then they should look through our housing database for an apartment that is clean, and in a good location, and less expensive than something bigger and fancier. After all, how much time will they spend in the apartment? They’ll be spending most of their time on campus, in classes and labs, and studying.


Flaherty: Students probably spend about 80% of their awake time on campus. They should check out all of the many options available for study space and see what works for them. Very few students prefer to study at home all the time, because of the distractions there. So, how much living space do you really need? Some people are more social, and a compromise for them might be a place with maybe four bedrooms and a communal kitchen. When I was in medical school I lived in a decrepit building with about 20 other students. My room was about 10’ by 12’ with a bed and a desk and chair. It wasn’t bad. We had great camaraderie. It didn’t seem like a hardship.

 

FOOD


Shillingford: Eating out is always more expensive than eating at home, no matter where you may be. You can save a lot of money by limiting the number of meals that you eat in restaurants.

Flaherty: It’s also probably easier to eat healthy if you cook a little. Our students can go to the market once a week to shop for fresh food. They can freeze leftovers in containers and have enough to eat for a few meals. This is what many of them do. It’s also a good way to make friends, shopping, cooking and eating together. During Orientation on campus we offer a presentation on the unique foods of Dominica and how to prepare them.

There’s a lot of information we give students, from the time that they are accepted to RUSM, about what to expect on the island and how to arrange for what they need, including housing and transportation. We are here to help. What students need to do for themselves is to think about their expenses and how they will budget for the basic necessities, as well as for the rewards they will give themselves along the way. And, as Dean Shillingford advised, “write it down.”

 

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The Ethical Traveler: Dominica a Top Three Travel Destination

December 15, 2014

We think there’s a lot to love about Dominica, home of Ross University School of Medicine’s Foundations of Medicine curriculum. Many already travel here for the sights and experiences:  The country is home to rainforests, waterfalls, hot springs, and numerous diving spots, plus local flora and fauna that you can’t find anywhere else. 

There’s more to Dominica than just its beauty, though. CNN recently posted an article listing the Top Ten Ethical Travel Destinations, as selected by Ethical Traveler, a nonprofit organization.  Dominica landed in the third spot on the list.

Ethical Traveler looked at three criteria when creating this list—environmental protection, social welfare, and human rights. The nonprofit consulted databases from sources like Freedom House, UNICEF, and Reporters Without Borders, and reviewed detailed case research about each of the candidates.

"In Dominica, native species and forests are relative unspoiled in comparison to neighboring islands," writes Ethical Traveler. "Impressive efforts are underway to save endemic mountain chickens, which only inhabit two islands in the world. Other notable strides in Dominica include the expansion of solar power across the island, work to preserve native populations of frogs and iguanas, and a stated goal to become energy independent and carbon negative by 2020."

There’s more to making this list than doing well in the three categories above, though. “Each country selected as a Best Ethical Destination also offers the opportunity to experience unspoiled natural beauty, and to interact with local people and cultures in a meaningful, mutually enriching way,” writes Ethical Traveler on its website.

Check out the CNN article here.

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Ross Med Supports Community Organizations in Dominica with Donations

June 06, 2014

Ross Med is committed to maintaining a close and caring partnership with the Commonwealth of Dominica, the campus’ host country, and its people, neighbors and friends. As part of the university’s involvement with the community, Ross Med is pleased to contribute a variety of resources to local groups.

This past year Ross Med has donated more than $24,000, as well as supplies and other assistance to organizations and institutions in the realms of education, sports, culture, and other endeavors. They include, for example: Paix Bouche, Colihaut, Canefield/Massacre and Bense primary schools; Dublanc Sports Club; Waitukubuli Dance Theatre Company; Carnival activities; Bureau of Gender Affairs; Nature Island Literary Festival & Book Fair; and many more.

In February, the Hon. Ian Douglas, chairperson of Carnival’s Northern Festival Committee, and Member of Parliament for the Portsmouth region, was presented with a check by Senior Associate Dean Wm. Lynn Weaver, MD, FACS. He applauded Ross Med for its contributions and noted that after more than 35 years, the university is no longer a guest, but rather a member of the community.
 

(Photo: The Hon. Ian Douglas accepts a Carnival contribution from Dr. Weaver.)

Tags: Dominica , Campus

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Pharmacology Professor Julienne M. Turnbull, PhD to Retire after 21 Years at RUSM

April 05, 2014

“I felt the time had come to seek new pastures,” said Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) pharmacology professor Julienne M. Turnbull, PhD about her decision to retire last December. For the time being, however, she remains as a visiting professor, “to help out.”

Dr. Turnbull, who joined the faculty of RUSM in 1993, described a conversation she had with the institution’s founder. “I spoke to Dr. Ross and he said he wants to give an opportunity to people who have a real passion to study medicine,” she related. “I was drawn to that. The depth of motivation of the students impressed me. I’ve enjoyed my time teaching at Ross.”

RUSM’s Senior Associate Dean, Wm. Lynn Weaver, MD, FACS, commented, “I first encountered Dr. Turnbull not long after I had arrived on island. My initial thoughts were I have just met the most joyous, likable, enthusiastic, optimistic whirlwind I have ever seen. She is that rare person who lives as she believes, and strives to help all who come into her orbit. People like her are rare, teachers like her are even rarer. I, like our students, will miss her positive attitude and I wish her the best for she has given her best.”

After 21 years of living on the island, Dr. Turnbull said, “I have a lot to thank Dominica for.” She is an avid birdwatcher, a member of the Anglican Church, and very involved with the Northern District Home for the Aged, on whose board she sits. She noted that the medical school faculty and some student groups give their time to visit and help the elderly residents, three of whom are centenarians. 

Her two sons and new grandson live in London, where Dr. Turnbull has a “tiny, 170 year-old terraced house” that she calls home. “It has the original roof of Welsh slate, with the beautiful tiles that are falling off. The bricks are lovely, dark red. There are fireplaces in every room.” She added that, “The inside has been modernized.”

Dr. Turnbull earned a PhD in biochemistry at the University of London and pursued a career in research and medical education.  She has taught in London, New York, and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. During vacations she visited other countries, bird-watching around the world.

“I shall miss all sorts of things,” she said about leaving Dominica. One of the things from which she benefited most, she said, is the people’s “celebratory attitude.”

Tags: Faculty , Dominica

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Prep School and Early Learning Center Thrive on RUSM Campus

March 28, 2014

It is a school that is unique in many ways. With more than 70 children, aged 10 months to 14 years, the preparatory school and early learning center on the Dominica campus of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is a tremendous boon to the parents, who are RUSM students, faculty members and staff.


“I like the school,” said Jonathan Strickland, a third-semester RUSM student, as he dropped off his three-year-old son Lincoln. “It gives me more time to study and my wife gets a break. They have fun activities, good teachers, and I think the kids get a good social life.” As if to demonstrate his dad’s point, Lincoln waved cheerfully and went to engage in a game with his peers.


Recent renovations to the school expanded the space, created a gazebo, put in new, child-sized restrooms, added a fenced-in area, redecorated with fresh paint, new windows and floors, and more, said Interim Principal Kathryn Weaver. Mrs. Weaver is the wife of RUSM’s Senior Associate Dean Wm. Lynn Weaver, MD, FACS.

“The school is quite diverse,” said Principal Weaver. The children are originally from the U.S., Pakistan, India, Africa, Canada, Greece, Turkey, Finland, and other countries. “The beauty is, because the kids come from all over, they embrace what’s different,” she said. The culture of Dominica is also integrated into the curriculum, she said. A recent school newsletter features an article about the celebration of Dominica’s independence, and of Creole Day festivities two days earlier. Photos show the young students dressed in national Dominican colors and costumes, and performing a traditional dance.

Principal Weaver attended the University of New York at Buffalo, where she earned the credentials of Specialist in Educational Administration, School District Administrator, Master of Library Science, and Bachelor of Arts. Her career as an educator includes serving as a high school interim assistant principal.

“I have a vision,” she said, “Smart boards in every classroom, arts and music programs, a data-driven approach to student achievement. There’s a lot of work to be done.”

For more information about the prep school and early learning center contact: rossprepschool@gmail.com or call 767-255-6436.

Tags: Campus , Dominica

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