March 29, 2017
Beating the Odds
At just 16, Sheryl Recinos packed her things, left her friends, her family, and the place she called home, and began a cross-country journey that would take her to a new home in southern California. There she would learn to support herself, both financially and emotionally.
“Those were some of the hardest years of my life, but I realize that the struggles that I went through as a teen helped shape me into the person that I am now,” said Sheryl about making the decision to live on her own at such a young age. But the same adversity that made for a trying childhood also taught Sheryl how to thrive amid challenging circumstances.
As an adult, Sheryl translated the grit she developed as an LA county teenager into the traditional measures of success. She made good money working as a biology teacher, married her husband Byron, and even went on to graduate school where she earned her MA in education, all while raising three children.
Not until this point in her life, had Sheryl much exposure to the healthcare industry. No one in her circles were physicians. It wasn’t until Sheryl and her husband started a family that her level of interaction with the American healthcare system increased.
Discovering a New Passion
When her first daughter was born, Sheryl developed a connection with a new resident physician who saw her daughter for wellness screenings. It was during these visits that her fascination with medicine started to grow and she discovered that she wanted to pursue medicine.
Not content to dream about what it might be like to become a doctor, Sheryl took a hands-on approach and started volunteering after work at local hospitals. One program in particular really let her get her hands dirty, participating in clinical work alongside doctors and nurses. She even shadowed residents at the University of Southern California to experience what it would be like to train as a doctor.
Sheryl found herself thinking about the volunteer shifts while she was teaching, looking forward to her next opportunity to return to the hospital. “I knew it’s where I belonged,” she said. She continued to volunteer, but each year as she re-signed her teaching contract, she dreamed of being a doctor. Sheryl had worked hard to get to this point in her career, she was successful and had overcome great adversity, but something was pulling her in a new direction.
A Life-changing Decision
The decision to change careers was not without its pressures. She would be leaving a full-time job that supported her family. She may have to leave the place she had long called home. Making matters worse, “Everyone kept telling me I couldn’t do it,” she said, “but my friends and mentors at the hospital said I could.”
With the approval of her children and husband, Sheryl made the decision to begin applying for medical school. She seemed like the perfect candidate: she was published, the holder of multiple degrees, made good grades, and was beaming with confidence and perseverance having overcome so much personal adversity. So, it came as a shock when U.S. medical schools wouldn’t interview her, citing a below-average GPA during the third year of her undergraduate campaign as the primary reason.
After being shut out by U.S. medical schools, Sheryl learned about Ross and its more rounded approach to admissions.
“Sheryl really impressed me because she went through school while raising her family,” said Lori Muramoto, a Senior Associate Director of Admissions at Ross.
Where other medical schools had focused on Sheryl’s below average year during undergrad, Ross took other factors into consideration, such as Sheryl’s post-graduate work, hospital volunteer experience, studies in biology, published article, and personal character.
“She thought that medicine was not going to happen for her, so she earned a master’s degree and worked as a biology teacher to raise her family, " said Muramoto. "She volunteered through the Clinical Care Extender program and was part of its leadership team. She was never a person that let obstacles stand in her way. Whenever she was faced with a challenge, she figured out a way to make it work.”
Making Her Mark in Southern California
After being accepted at Ross, Sheryl’s transition from teacher to student began. “It was overwhelming at first,” she said. Her husband and two of her kids were still stateside for the first few months and she was adjusting to working, studying, and caring for her oldest daughter in Dominica. But Sheryl’s goal never escaped her: she would return to southern California – the place she became an adult, got married, and had kids – to become a physician and serve the community she describes as “her happy place.”
Since earning her M.D. from Ross, Sheryl has returned to southern California for her a Family Medicine residency at the University of California - Riverside where, just a few months from now, Sheryl will complete her training and begin practicing as a licensed family medicine physician.
As Sheryl closes in on accomplishing her dream, she’s paying it forward by mentoring younger students with similar aspirations. Her advice to them is simple but profound:
- Never lose sight of your ultimate goal – becoming a doctor.
- Instead of focusing on maximizing your test scores, get out in the community. Volunteer, meet patients, and understand the role you can play.
- Time is going to pass regardless, just apply and see if you get in.
Thinking about applying for medical school? Learn more from Ross graduates who started their careers in other industries.
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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March 06, 2017
Kimberly Jean had a vision.
The 2011 Ross graduate knew so many women whose health concerns didn’t fit neatly into just one box. Low energy, weight gain, painful periods, stress, mood changes—whatever the combination, these all-too-common symptoms were eating into their daily lives.
Yet, primary care visits for these women often yielded little but frustration. Patients struggled to articulate their stories to well-meaning but frazzled physicians, constrained by short appointment lengths. “I knew there were services that women needed but just didn’t have anywhere to go for it,” Dr. Jean said.
The solution? Start a new practice—one that wouldn’t limit women by their symptoms, or by the time it took to understand them.
Committing to Her Patients
ReVitaJuve—a linguistic blend of revitalization and rejuvenation—has been open for just six months in Allentown, Pennsylvania, but Dr. Jean’s practice has already attracted a bevy of patients. With an emphasis on women’s hormone wellness, functional medicine, and mental health, ReVitaJuve is an integrated specialty practice that caters to women with concerns ranging from anxiety to infertility.
Here in her sunny office, Dr. Jean offers her patients customized treatments and recommendations, but not before employing her most important tool—a listening ear. She starts by scheduling about 45-60 minutes for each appointment, a stark contrast to the 7-minute visits from when she worked in a conventional practice setting.
“My patient are my best source to figure out what’s wrong and which direction to go,” explained Dr. Jean. “Not only that—in order for patients to trust me, I need to get to know them. I need them to understand that I’m committed to them, and if I don’t know their story, it won’t go very far.”
By taking the time for a comprehensive patient history, Dr. Jean is able to tap into aspects of her patients’ lives that she wasn’t able to before, from their sleeping habits to their strategies for self-care. She’ll do additional testing as needed, such as hormone or neurotransmitter tests, but said often simple lifestyle changes can represent a big part of her treatment plans. It all depends on the patient’s individual situation.
“Many of my patients are leaders in their fields, whether they’re CEO of a company, or a manager at a business,” Dr. Jean said. “They’re in these high-ranking positions, where they have to take care of other people, whether it’s at work or at home. And they just forget the simple things they need to do for themselves to make sure they’re okay to take care of someone else.”
Designing Her Career
Dr. Jean’s training has prepared her well for such a multifaceted field. While she initially considered OB-GYN residency programs, she chose family medicine so that she could have the flexibility to pursue her many passions, including mental health, women’s health and holistic medicine.
In fact, her residency program at Robert Wood Johnson in Somerset, New Jersey allowed her to do just that. “RWJ offered integrated fellowship tracks within the family medicine curriculum, and I chose the reproductive health track,” said Dr. Jean. “So throughout my three years of training, I had extra clinical experience and exposure to the women’s health field, which was amazing. I was able to treat women throughout their hormonal lifespan—including family planning, hormonal therapies, ultrasounds, and some surgery.”
After residency, Dr. Jean worked for a hospital network in the Lehigh Valley area of eastern Pennsylvania, until she started a family and decided that she wanted to spend more time with her little one. That was when she realized this could be a great opportunity to set her own hours and pursue her passions—by starting her own practice.
Dr. Jean’s journey to business owner didn’t come without its challenges. She did intensive research on all the aspects of running a business, from finding office space to hiring a website designer—while caring for her new baby. All along, though, Dr. Jean had a clear vision. All she needed to do was carry out the steps to enact it into reality.
“It was tough, but I cultivated this practice in my mind,” said Dr. Jean. “The whole process has been such an exponential mental and spiritual self-growth for me.”
The Physician She Envisioned Herself to Be
Dr. Jean is a graduate of Villanova University in Pennsylvania, where she pursued a pre-med track, majoring in biology and minoring in cognitive science and psychology. She got her first introduction to Ross through a family friend who was also a Ross graduate.
“My friend spoke very highly of Ross, saying it was a very challenging program. And after graduating, she earned a great residency. That was my experience as well,” said Dr. Jean. “If you go to Ross, and you’re focused, you’ll become the physician that you envision yourself to be.”
If she had to sum up her journey thus far in one word, it would be rewarding. “What I’ve learned along the way has been priceless,” Dr. Jean said. “I’m so thankful for all the people I’ve met who have mentored me, for all the professors at Ross for teaching me everything I know, for everyone in residency. The gratitude is just immense.”
Looking back, Dr. Jean said she never expected to have opened her own practice just five years after graduation.
“To see your dreams come to fruition, it feels so good,” Dr. Jean said. “It really does.”
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February 14, 2017
It was a Match Made in MERP (Medical Education Readiness Program) when Richard P. Bowser and Lindsey Ling met, as they began their journey to become physicians. The road led them not only on the path to success as students of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), but it also led them down the aisle; they graduated as MDs in 2014 and married two years later.
Today Richard P. Bowser is a PGY-2 anesthesiology resident at Jackson Memorial Hospital/University of Miami Hospital, and his wife Lindsey Ling Bowser is a PGY-2 family medicine resident at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, FL.
They entered the Couples Match, attempting to obtain residencies close to each other, “but unfortunately it wasn't very kind to us,” Richard commented. Nevertheless, they were undaunted in their pursuit of their professional goals and the dream of a life together. “We make it work,” Richard said.
Florida Natives and Football Rivals
They are both Florida natives. He grew up in Jacksonville and earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, and she grew up in Brandon, FL, near Tampa, and did her undergraduate studies at the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa.
What brought them together initially, Lindsey said, was “watching a UF vs. USF football game.” Richard added, “We had a bet on which team would win.” While on the Dominica campus they were active in several student clubs and organizations. He was a three-time flag football champion with the MERP Strong team, and she was involved with the Neuroscience Society, the Pediatric Students Association, and as the island’s Tennis Commissioner.
Why did They Choose RUSM?
Their time on the island “was an adventure that allowed me to grow not only as a student but also as a person,” Richard said. “I garnered a new appreciation for a wonderful culture and for my future profession.” Lindsey said that her experiences in Dominica were “full of adventure, camaraderie, and disciplined studying.”
Why did they choose RUSM? “My parents both went to an international medical school,” Lindsey related,” so choosing Ross was only natural. I also worked with an alumnus at his Internal Medicine practice.” Richard said that enrolling in RUSM was “an opportunity to achieve my medical degree. It also had a stellar reputation from friends who were enrolled prior to my application submission.”
Now the married doctors are proud RUSM alumni who enjoy sharing their success story.
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September 10, 2013
Dr. Joan Alvarado (RUSM ‘08) joined the staff of Sarah Bush Lincoln Charleston Family Practice, after completing her residency at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program. She has a special interest in women’s health issues. “I enjoy working with patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, and I enjoy getting to know patients on a more personal level. That’s why I chose family medicine,” she said.
Born in the Phillipines, Dr. Alavado moved with her family to New York City when she was five years old. With many aunts and uncles working in healthcare, having an interest in the medical field was always there, she said. Following high school, she went to College of New Rochelle, New York, on a full-tuition scholarship and received a bachelor of arts in psychology. At RUSM, Dr. Alvarado completed clinical rotations in New York, Chicago, South Miami Beach, Meza, Arizona and Washington, D.C.
While Dr. Alvarado enjoyed living in Chicago during her residency, she is excited to begin her practice in a smaller community. “People stop and talk and are much more open here,” she said. “My philosophy is to help people make healthy decisions within the context of their individual lives; and I’ve found people to be very receptive.”
September 03, 2013
Dr. Matthew Plosker (RUSM ‘10) has joined the Mansfield Health Center in his native Massachusetts, after completing his residency training in family medicine at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center. Dr. Plosker is a graduate of the University of Tampa, where he studied biology and marine biology, with minors in chemistry and environmental science. He found time to compete and achieve national NCAA ranking in golf. Before entering medical school, he worked as a research scientist with AstraZeneca in Waltham, MA. The Mansfield Health Center, a unit of Sturdy Hospital, provides a wide range of services including routine checkups, preventive health and ongoing maintenance, sick visits, laboratory and X-ray services, as well as a walk-in service for urgent care and treatment of minor injuries.
News and perspectives from our campus, colleagues, and alumni
P R E V I O U S P O S T S
- MATCH: Alumni are a Match Made on Campus
- ADVICE: 10 Tips for Ross Clinical Students
- IN THE NEWS: CNN Highlights Image of Ross Alumna and Female Surgeon Peers
- MATCH: Q&A with Student Set to Begin an Internal Medicine Residency
- ALUMNI: Sheryl Recinos, MD, Charted a Bold Plan to Pursue Her Dream
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