Ross University Blog

ALUMNI: Ross Grads Receive Intern of the Year Awards

June 27, 2017


Congratulations to Ross alumni who were recently named "Intern of the Year" at their residency programs. Below is a sample of the awardees: 


Diane Brown, MD

Recognition: Pediatric Intern of the Year
Graduation Year: 2016
Specialty: Pediatrics
Residency Program: Baylor Scott and White in Temple, TX
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Undergraduate Institution: University of Minnesota


“I was not expecting the award. Everyone in my program was very deserving. If I had to pinpoint what made me standout, I would attribute it to my work ethic which I learned while a Ross student.”



Karleigh Ryan Curfman, MD

Recognition: Intern of the Year
Graduation Year: 2016
Specialty: General Surgery
Residency Program: Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center of Duke LifePoint Healthcare in Johnstown, PA
Hometown: Berwick, PA
Undergraduate Institution: The Pennsylvania State University


"I attribute this success of my intern year to knowing that becoming a surgeon was my career goal since a teenager. Keeping my goal in mind and realizing how far I have come already since then, I attempt to continue to raise the bar at every level on every single day to make that end goal of becoming a surgeon in my specialty after my residency and fellowship are a reality.  I know the work I put in every day positions me one step closer to my goal and that is what drives me to keep striving and creates my work ethic – along with the never ending encouragement of my family, fiancé, and close friends, their support is a constant reminder of my ultimate plan."


Daniela Matias Feitosa, MD

Recognition: Intern of the Year and Teacher of the Year
Graduation Year: 2016
Specialty: Pediatrics
Residency Program: Stony Brook University Hospital in Stony Brook, NY
Hometown: Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
Undergraduate Institution: Gordon College


“I am grateful to Ross, for providing me with a variety of clinical opportunities - preparing me to hit the ground running during my intern year. Furthermore, getting a medical degree from Ross has taught me to fight harder, and to never take no for an answer. I also am grateful to my parents who have always supported me and taught me how to be a hard worker and never settle for less.”


Sean Harrell, MD

 Recognition: Intern of the Year
Graduation year: May 2016
Specialty: Internal Medicine
Residency: Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University in Augusta, GA
Hometown: Augusta, GA
Undergraduate Institution: Georgia College and State University


“Receiving this award is incredibly humbling as I am honored to work with terrific physicians on a daily basis and to be a part of a culture that continues to push me. This award would not be possible without the help and trust of my fellow residents and dedicated attending physicians at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University. Equally, I am truly grateful for my education and experience that Ross University provided me, as this allowed me to cultivate my medical skills and work ethic while pursuing my passion. From fellow students, residents, professors, and attending physicians, this award is a product of all of their diligence and concern for my well-being and education.”


Alexander Williams, MD

Recognition: Intern of the Year 2016-2017
Graduated Year: 2016
Specialty: Internal Medicine
Residency Program: Virginia Tech Carilion Clinic in Roanoke, VA.
Hometown: Sarasota, FL
Undergraduate Institution: University of South Florida

"I attribute this award to the training I received from residents during my third and fourth years of medical school as well as the teaching given by current senior residents at my program. I feel that a big reason for receiving this award was being proactive in writing case reports and getting involved with research early in residency. Being a team player is instrumental for success in residency.”


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Tags: Alumni , Florida , Georgia , New York , Pennsylvania , Minnesota , Texas

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WALL STREET JOURNAL: Alumna Shares Her Ross Experience

June 12, 2017



Alumna Lindsey Ling, MD, shares her Ross experience in the recent Wall Street Journal article, "Overseas Medical Schools Offer Remedy for Shortage of U.S. Doctors: U.S. schools can't keep up with demand for physicians, so international programs are stepping in with American graduates." 

Ling is a family medicine resident at St. Vincent's Medical Center in Jacksonville, FL.

Ling met her husband, Richard P. Bowser, MD, at Ross. He is completing an anesthesiology residency program at the University of Miami. They both graduated with medical degrees from Ross in 2014 and married two years later. 


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Tags: Florida , Family Medicine , Anesthesiology

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MATCH: Soon-to-Be Surgery Resident Says Transfer to Ross was "Best Career Choice"

March 20, 2017

Ross University School of Medicine alumna Eliza Slama, MD, (Ross ’16) has been working as a volunteer since she was a teenager, to help underserved people around the world in numerous capacities. She has participated in mission trips to countries including Peru, India, and the Dominican Republic. Now she has achieved her long-held goal and has obtained a residency in Categorical Surgery at St. Agnes Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

“Surgery is my passion, global surgery actually,” she said. “To me, the goal of surgery is to definitively fix the patient, and I like that aspect of it. In addition to this, I appreciate that surgery cannot be done on autopilot; for example, something that may appear like a simple surgery, never is because everyone’s anatomy is so different. Also, I enjoy working in a team setting. I hope to use the experience that I have gained from attending an international medical school, along with the expertise I gain in residency, and the knowledge from my Master’s in Public Health program to help me practice surgery on a global scale in developing countries, or at least improve the surgical conditions internationally.” While waiting to begin her residency Dr. Slama is pursuing an MPH degree with a focus in global health at George Washington University in Washington, DC, which she anticipates being awarded in May.

Dr. Slama considers Florida her home. She moved to the state with her family when she was in high school, and went on to complete her undergraduate studies at Florida State University in Tallahassee, with bachelors’ degrees in both biology and Spanish. Originally she enrolled in another international medical school, she noted, but, “While I was already rotating in the United States with my prior school, I felt that Ross University had a broader clinical network, and decided to transfer to Ross,” she said.” By broad clinical network I mean they have rotation sites at many places across the United States, as well as rotations where there are residency programs, which I found to be a key choice in my transfer, as well as places where international medical graduates were matching for residency. I think transferring to Ross has been the best career choice I have made.”

There are already a number of publications on her CV, of which Dr. Slama is a co-author. She also won an award for a poster she presented at the Ross Leadership Conference in Cancun, Mexico in 2016.


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Tags: Florida , Match , Surgery

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ALUMNI: Newlyweds Were a Match in Med School and in the Couples Match for Residency

February 28, 2017

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alumni Rebecca Negron, MD (’13) and Fabio Morales, MD (’13) met during their first semester of medical school on the campus in Dominica, the Caribbean “nature” island, in 2009. “We had Anatomy and all the other labs together, and those became our ‘dates,’” Fabio said. “We started snorkeling and scuba diving, and the rest is history.”

They graduated together and earned their MD degrees in 2013. Today the Florida natives are working as hospitalists in the Tampa Bay area of the state. He is at Bayfront Hospital and she is at Tampa General.

The couple has always shared a passion for medicine and was well-matched in many ways. Perhaps most importantly for their professional and personal lives, they entered the Couples Match together for residency in Internal Medicine and both matched successfully at the University of Miami Palm Beach Campus. One bit of rivalry that they enjoy is rooting for their undergraduate alma mater’s sports teams, he for the University of South Florida in Tampa and she for the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

It was a match made in med school for these doctors who got married on January 21, 2017. Where did they choose to go for their honeymoon? “We went to Dominica where we visited the campus and drove the entire island a couple of times,” Fabio related. “We went back to the places that reminded us of our early beginnings.”

They also were pleased to see that a student club they helped create still exists, OLAS (Organization of Latin American Students.) The group organized health fairs on the island, where they evaluated more than 400 people with screening blood pressure, blood glucose, cholesterol levels, vision and general physical exams. They also taught medical Spanish to students, and also gave Salsa dance lessons. “It was a great time,” Fabio said.

He added that both he and his spouse are very appreciative of RUSM for giving them a chance to realize their dreams of becoming physicians.

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Tags: Florida , Alumni , Residency , Couples

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ALUMNI: They Met in Med School. Now They're Married MDs.

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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Tags: Florida , Residency , MERP , Family Medicine

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ALUMNI: How Priti Kothari Saw a Healthcare Need—and Filled It

January 24, 2017

Priti Kothari, Ross Class of 2000
Ross graduate Priti Kothari ('00)

It’s a pretty common sight at most hospitals—patients’ beds festooned with get-well balloons, relatives dropping by to sit at their bedsides, loved ones delivering chocolates and concerns to individuals in recovery. Priti Kothari, MD saw a lot of that during her internal medicine and surgery clinical rotations at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Queens, NY.

But then she started her psychiatry rotation at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Queens, NY, and she didn’t see much of that at all. No gifts, no teddy bears, no visitors. Some patients in psychiatric care had outlived their relatives, and had no one to come visit them. Others may have shown aggressive or hostile behavior, causing trauma to the family system and driving loved ones away.

“I started to realize how lonely these patients were, how they needed time and attention, and how this system just wasn’t easy for them,” said Kothari, a 2000 Ross graduate.

Originally, Kothari had been considering pediatrics. But she’d found a new passion.

On Developing Her Own Practice

Kothari’s experience isn’t unusual—many medical school students figure out what they want to do during their clinical rotations. Her mind was set: after wrapping up her clinical rotations, Kothari completed an adult psychiatry residency at University of Maryland/Sheppard Pratt Hospital, followed by a fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in child adolescent psychiatry.

Then she was off to work, and that part was a little unusual. Typically, most medical school graduates in her specialty start off by joining a hospital group, but Kothari’s husband was starting his own fellowship in Florida, so the two moved there from Baltimore. After the move, Kothari immediately started establishing herself.

“I came straight out of my fellowship into a solo practice, and I found my groove quickly,” she said.  That’s in part because there’s what she called a “tremendous need” for child psychiatrists—but in the end, it was her own hard work that got her established as a practicing psychiatrist. She networked. She handed out business cards. She marketed herself. And she put in a concerted effort not to just be a doctor in Florida, but a doctor who is serving Florida.

“I walked around, handed out my business cards, kept marketing and kept moving, but I always made an effort to be connected to the community I worked in,” she said. “I did a lot of work with OCD groups, Tourette’s groups, and others—I spoke, I advocated, and somehow through all of that, I developed a practice.”

If It Weren’t for Ross…

She believes establishing her own practice was really all about being assertive, being able to handle herself independently without training wheels. Ross helped her become that person, she said.

“I would not have the confidence to start a practice of my own, make judgment calls and decisions on my feet, learn how to sign myself up for different insurance programs, or do all of my administrative work on my own if it weren’t for Ross,” she said.

Ross was a good fit—for her, the campus environment was conducive to learning, and she had the support of both institutional faculty and her fellow students.

“It built my confidence—it’s a beautiful learning environment, and there aren’t a ton of distractors,” she said. I had wonderful friends, good faculty, and it was a healthy environment for me to study and focus.”

Now, she’s giving back to her alma mater. Kothari mentors third-year Ross students during clinicals and is helping a fourth-year student explore possibilities for residency.

“I think that’s part of your duty as a Ross grad,” she said.

Kothari treats adults and children in Boca Raton. Learn more about Kothari and her practice at

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ALUMNI: Endocrinologist on Treating Diabetes and the Ross Experience

December 19, 2016

We recently spoke with alum Karla Arce, MD (‘10), to talk about her work as a practicing endocrinologist and her time at Ross University School of Medicine. Dr. Arce, who was born in Peru, earned her undergraduate degree in biology at Florida International University, and her master’s degree in biomedical sciences at Barry University, both in Miami. The following is an excerpt from our Q&A with her.

Ross: Where you are practicing currently, and what types of patients do you see?
Dr. Arce: I’m currently employed by Mount Sinai Medical Center, and mainly work in their satellite, multi-specialty clinic in Coral Gables, Florida. The majority of patients I see are for diabetes and thyroid disorders. I also see patients with pituitary and adrenal disorders. 

Is diabetes preventable? Is it on the rise in the US?
Type 2 diabetes is a preventable disease. Type 1 diabetes unfortunately is not. Diabetes is growing at an epidemic rate in the United States; nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes, and out of that number, nearly 95% have type 2.

What advice do you give to pre-diabetic or diabetic patients?
I advise patients to lose about 7% of their weight if they are overweight or obese. I recommend moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, five days a week. I also tell patients to stop smoking, reduce carbohydrate intake, eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and drink less alcohol.

Tell me about your experience at Ross. How did you like life in Dominica?
Overall, I would say my experience at Ross was a positive one. Moving to Dominica was my first time away from home and the first semester was very challenging, but I met great people along the way and we helped one another. The campus had some technological advances and it was in the process of expanding but we had the basic necessities and support we needed. For my clinical rotations I got the opportunity to live in different states, such as New York, New Jersey, Georgia and Florida, and I learned from different health care systems and worked with great physicians. I worked hard to excel during my clinical rotations and pre-matched at my top residency program at Cleveland Clinic Florida. It's up to students to make the most of the opportunity.

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Tags: Florida , Residency , Alumni , Endocrinology , Diabetes

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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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MERP: Student Closer to Dream of Providing Care in Underserved Communities

June 09, 2016

While growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, Ozioma Nwaigwe was close with her extended family. But something odd started happening—or so it seemed. All Nwaigwe understood as a young child was that three of her aunts started moving away, one by one, only returning after years of absence.

It wasn’t until later on that she learned what was really going on. Her aunts had gone to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) on the island of Dominica to become doctors—specializing in cardiac electrophysiology, infectious disease and neonatology, respectively.

Now, Nwaigwe is following in their footsteps at RUSM, currently completing clinical rotations at Florida University Hospital in Tamarac.

“From talking with my aunts, I knew RUSM was a great choice,” she says. “They said Ross prepared them and they couldn’t imagine having had a better education.”

Nwaigwe’s aunts weren’t the only influence on her interest in medicine. Her mom was a nurse, and Nwaigwe volunteered in a hospital during middle school. In addition, her family roots played a role in showing her the importance of health care.

“I was born in America, but my parents are from Nigeria,” she says. “I remember going back to Nigeria and seeing the dire need for doctors, nurses, and health care practitioners in general.”

Paving the Way for Success

Nwaigwe was accepted to RUSM on the condition that she successfully complete the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) beforehand.

“First I was disappointed that I was recommended for MERP, but looking back, I’m really happy I did it,” Nwaigwe says. “If it wasn’t for this program, I wouldn’t have had the GPA that I had, or been on the dean’s list.”

She explains, “One of the key benefits of MERP is that it helps you figure out your learning style. There’s so much personal attention, which helps you understand what your hang-ups are and how to improve them. MERP taught me that it’s okay to go to an instructor’s office and ask for help if I’m struggling.”

Ozioma Nwaigwe with Dr. Elfa Shabashvili, assistant professor of anatomy and histology at MERP

One example of how Nwaigwe benefited from the individualized attention was getting help with test-taking. She had a habit of frequently changing her answers during exams—but didn’t realize how often they were correct in the first place.

“My professor watched the way I answered questions and helped me figure out that changing my answers was doing more harm than good,” Nwaigwe says. “She taught me to rank each one 1, 2, or 3—1 if I was really sure that it was correct, to 3 if I wasn’t sure at all. So if I went back over the test, I might change the ones I marked 3 but I wouldn’t touch the 1’s and I’d try to avoid changing the 2’s.”

Besides learning not to second-guess herself, Nwaigwe also credits the program with teaching her how to work efficiently in groups, and helping her discover the best study habits for her.

“I’ve learned that I am someone who has to be totally engaged in lecture. I need to sit there, turn off my phone and pay attention,” she says. “Then after class, I go home, reread everything and rewrite my notes using a million different colored pens.”

All in all, MERP helps you find what works for you, Nwaigwe says.

Her advice for MERP students: “When you go, remember you’re there for a purpose,” she says. “You do have to put in a lot of hours. But it’s all so you can eventually become a physician and care for patients well.” 

Building Healthier Communities

Between her visits to Nigeria and having grown up around underserved communities in Baltimore, Nwaigwe is passionate about giving back and ensuring access to quality care for all. While completing her bachelor’s degree in public health, she conducted smoking cessation programs, taught children CPR, and did health screenings at nursing homes. She wants to combine these kinds of experiences with her medical training to help promote community wellness.

“I see myself going to health fairs on my off days and offering free blood pressure screenings, educating people on health and teaching them how to take care of themselves and their families,” Nwaigwe says.

And in the meantime, if she ever needs a reminder of the opportunities that are possible through hard work and persistence, all she has to do is look to her three aunts.

“People may think it matters where you go to school,” Nwaigwe says, “but what matters is the education you receive and the person you are.”

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Tags: MERP , Students , Maryland , Nigeria , Public Health , Florida

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ALUMNI: Heart to Heart with Adam J. Waldman, MD, FACC

February 05, 2016

Adam J. Waldman, MD, FACC

Adam J. Waldman, MD, FACC

In recognition of American Heart Month, the “Heart to Heart” series was developed to provide an inside look into the career path of cardiologists who got their start at RUSM. Below Dr. Waldman, a proud husband and father of two boys, talks candidly about his experience.

RUSM: Why did you choose to attend Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)?

People choose RUSM because it is a quality alternative for those who are qualified to get into a US medical school but weren’t accepted due to too few open seats.  Although the weather is warm, they don’t choose RUSM for the climate.

I can say RUSM made me a better person and physician because of some of the challenges I had to overcome. When I matriculated at RUSM more than 20 years ago, the campus didn’t have the technological advances and capital investments as they do today. At the time, I had to persevere through modest (at best) amenities and technology challenges. However, in the long run it paid off because it made me appreciative of the basic things that we are accustomed to in America. 

RUSM: When you began your clinical rotations, did you encounter misconceptions about the quality of your medical education?
WALDMAN: Although there is always some stigma associated with being a foreign trained medical student, some of it is self-inflicted.  I constantly wanted to prove that I was just as good as my peers and it made me work harder, and I put in more hours when doing clinical rotations so that I could rise a step above others.

Most people may not realize that foreign-trained physicians make up 35.5 percent of the physician workforce in Florida – the third largest state of international medical graduates in the nation*. That means, one in every three doctors in Florida have received their medical education outside of the United States.

RUSM: Why did you choose cardiology as your specialty?
WALDMAN: As an intern I was interested in hematology/oncology, pulmonary and critical care, and cardiology. I ended up choosing cardiology for a variety of reasons.  It lets me deal with acute problems, in addition to following patients with chronic conditions.  It also allows me to work with my hands and do procedures, something I enjoy. 

In cardiology, I get to see young and old patients and I have the opportunity to fix problems. When patients are extremely sick, I help them get better as part of a multidisciplinary team. I am able to see them get healthy and spend quality time with their families.
More on Adam J. Waldman, MD, FACC

Current Positions:

  • Chair, Orlando Regional Medical Center Congestive Heart Failure Program
  • Vice Chair, Orlando Regional Medical Department of Cardiology
  • Medical Director, Orlando Health Center Echocardiography Laboratory

Post-Graduate Training

  • Internal Medicine Residency, University of South Florida (USF)
  • Rotating Chief Medical Resident, James A. Haley VA Hospital
  • Chief Medical Resident, USF
  • Cardiology Fellowship, USF

Residency Awards

  • USF 2000-2001 Medical Jeopardy Team
  • Internal Medicine Resident of the Year, 2002
  • The Nathan L. Marcus Award, 2001-2002


  • Undergraduate Education: University of Florida
  • Medical Education: Ross University School of Medicine


Proud husband and father of two young boys

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PROFILE: This Alum, Now a Neurologist, Wouldn’t Take No for an Answer. Good Thing She Didn’t.

January 19, 2016

Perseverance, personality and a little help from her dad. That’s how Amy Jarvis, MD—a 2003 graduate of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM)—got to where she is now.

Jarvis, a vascular neurologist at the Miami-Dade Neuroscience Institute (MDNI), boils her success down to three things. “Be nice. Be a team player. And persevere like it’s nobody’s business. That’s 9/10ths of the game right there,” says Jarvis, now the medical director of the Primary Stroke Center at North Shore Medical Center in Miami. She’s also a member of the Advanced Neuroscience Network (ANN), an integrated delivery system of medical professionals and hospitals focused on offering a full continuum of neurological care throughout South Florida. Both North Shore and MDNI are members of the network.

Her medical career spans more than a decade—she’s evaluated NFL athletes from the Jacksonville Jaguars for concussion and possible neurological trauma, spoken on behalf of an international pharmaceutical company on stroke and atrial fibrillation, and served as director of stroke for two separate healthcare facilities.

And she isn’t accustomed to backing down from a challenge. So it makes sense that years ago, when someone told her she had no shot of getting into medical school, she didn’t take no for an answer.

They Said Her Admission Chances Were Zero.

When Jarvis decided to make a career change to medicine—she originally came from the commodities sector, brokering coffees and cocoa in locales ranging from London to Cameroon—it didn’t shake her up much when someone gave her a less-than-favorable prognosis on her chances of getting into medical school.

“He told me my chances were zero,” she says, recalling the conversation between her and the proverbial someone—in this case, a family friend who had served on the board of directors for a United States medical school. It didn’t matter that her grades were great, Jarvis was told: she didn’t have any work experience in medicine, save for when she was a teenager working for her father.

“An admissions committee would look at your file, close it, and move on,” this person told her. “You’d spend the next few years applying, and in the meantime, you’d need to get a job in a lab or some kind of trade showing you’re doing more of the sciences.”

A Little Advice from Her Dad

But becoming a physician had always been a dream of hers. Her father was a psychiatrist—she eventually learned that he, too, had always had big dreams of becoming a neurologist, the career route she ultimately took—and Jarvis remembers how excited her father was that she was interested in applying to medical school. She’d grown up in a family that had always been focused on matters of the brain, hence her fascination with neurology.

So she went to him for advice.

“I’d been talking to my dad, and he said ‘You know, Amy, why not apply to an international medical school?’ Some of his friends had gone to foreign medical schools, and they’d come right back to the states,” Jarvis says.

RUSM was one of the medical schools that kept popping up in her research, and—encouraged by the school’s academic outcomes and the quick response time after she submitted her application—she ultimately interviewed, enrolled, and started her basic sciences studies on the island of Dominica, where RUSM’s Foundations of Medicine campus is located. After her time in commodities in Africa—a time she refers to as “interesting”, with an emphasis on the quotation marks around the word interesting—studying medicine on a tropical island didn’t faze her.

Her studies went smoothly, but during her time in Dominica, her father passed away.

A faculty member there had Jarvis brought to his office after it happened, and encouraged her to take a leave of absence.

“He was the nicest, nicest gentleman. I got incredible support from him,” she says. “But on the leave of absence, I said no—my father wouldn’t want me to do that. He’d want me to pour myself into things to continue.”

“My father had been so excited when I went back to medical school,” she added. “So he was there with me.”

“I’m Where I Want to Be”

Jarvis went on to earn her first-choice residency in neurology at Georgetown University, Washington DC, followed up by a fellowship in vascular neurology at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA.

“I was thrilled [to get the Emory fellowship],” she says. “There were only two open spots, and most of the time they usually draw from within. I knew they’d had a fabulous stroke program—at the time, the people there were major, major players in the stroke world.”

These days at North Shore, she’s tasked with—among many other things, including treating stroke patients—taking the hospital to the next level in terms of overall stroke care. This means developing the hospital’s continuum of stroke care to the point where it earns certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. Primary Stroke Centers treat most cases of ischemic stroke (blood vessel blockages); comprehensive centers, though, treat all types of stroke, and offer interventional treatments that Primary Centers don’t.

“I’m where I want to be,” she says. “To me, the brain is like the final frontier. There’s so much we don’t know about this organ—it encompasses everything, from neurology, to hardcore neurological aspects of disease, to psychiatry. And those two things—neurology and psychiatry—are moving much closer together as we learn more about the brain. Some of the stuff that’s going on is amazing.”

It’s All About Doing What You Love

And her expertise and knowledge are in demand. Just months ago, she sat down with a reporter from STAT, a national health-and-medicine publication produced by Boston Globe Media, to discuss concussions in NFL athletes in her capacity as a neurologist. She doesn’t evaluate NFL athletes anymore—she did that from 2013 to 2015—but the STAT writer, Robert Tedeschi, came across her name and wanted to ask her take on some recent concussion-related issues that have been popping up in the news lately. (Read the STAT piece that features Jarvis here.)

As a seasoned physician, Jarvis says that it’s important to find balance after graduating from medical school. “After you get out of residency and fellowship, you’re all about work and are used to being on call,” Jarvis says. She had to learn, very quickly, how to say no, to set boundaries. “Once I found that limit, that boundary, my comfort zone, then I was good,” she says. It’s a good thing she found that comfort zone, too: She’s got her hands full balancing a full-time medical career with a family, including a 6-year-old son at home.

But in the end? The best way to sum things up for Jarvis is something she realized when she started taking pre-med classes, way back when she made her career change to medicine.

“I loved it!” she says. “And you have to follow what you love.”

Want to hear more from Dr. Jarvis? She recently wrote a blog post about concussion that was published on the Tenet Florida Physician Services website. Check it out here.

Other Recommended Articles

Tags: Alumni , Florida

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MATCH: RUSM Residency Celebrations Held in Miami, New York and Chicago

March 30, 2015


Dr. Paula Wales (above, from left), RUSM Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs, and students Anil Rathi and Christie Cherion, who both matched for residencies this year.

Celebrations were held in Miami, New York and Chicago on March 21 to applaud the achievements of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduates who matched into residency programs this year. Hosted by the school and attended by Dean and Chancellor Joseph Flaherty, MD, in Miami, and by his Cabinet members, who were dispersed throughout the locations, the events drew throngs of students, graduates, and guests. The festivities in the three cities were linked electronically by video.

“It was truly heartwarming to share in this joyous moment with hundreds of happy graduates, friends, family, and RUSM colleagues,” said Dean Flaherty.

Anil Rathi, who matched in internal medicine (categorical) at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, said that he was excited to be headed to NY. “RUSM prepared me well,” he added.

Yeissen and Linda Godinez were successful in attaining residencies through the National Resident Matching Program® (NRMP) couples’ match, both in internal medicine, he at Kendall Regional and she at Cleveland Clinic Florida. The couple met in Miami before deciding to enroll in RUSM together. Yeissen said they were happy that “we get to stay home” to do their residencies.

Christie Cherian matched in pediatrics at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Chattanooga.  “I’m super excited,” she said. “All the years of hard work really paid off.” 

Keep checking the RUSM blog for the latest news on Match results, residency locations/specialties, and more! Read more blog entries here. 


Tags: Residency , Florida

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INSIDE LOOK: RUSM Grad Writes About the Residency Recruitment Process

February 27, 2015

A pretty interesting article recently hit the pages of The News-Press, a Fort Myers, Florida-based daily newspaper. The piece, written by Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate and first-year resident Elizabeth Midney-Martinez, shines a spotlight on two sides of the residency process—what it’s like to be a recent grad trying to earn a residency and, on the flip side, what it’s like to be on the recruiting end.

“This year, as interns, we were very involved with the recruitment process, everything from reviewing applications to taking candidates out to dinner, giving tours of the different hospitals, and keeping in contact with them throughout the entire Match process,” she writes. “It has been a year since I was in their shoes, but it feels like just yesterday.”

Midney-Martinez is about six months into her first year of residency at the Florida State University College of Medicine Family Medicine Residency Program at Lee Memorial Health System. She also shares some interesting statistics about the residency process—more than 1,500 people applied for the six available residency slots in her program, for example—plus some details about her own medical school student experience.

Read the full article here.

Want to learn more about our graduates' stories? Check out a story about the Chillemis, two brothers who both graduated from RUSM and moved on to fulfilling careers in medicine. Read the profile here.

Tags: Residency , Alumni , Florida

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RUSM Graduate Obtains Dream Residency Position at Hometown Hospital

April 21, 2014

From birth to residency, two major milestones are now forever connected for RUSM graduate Elizabeth Midney. This July, Midney will begin an inaugural residency program in Family Practice Medicine at the hospital where she was born 27 years ago - Lee Memorial Hospital in Florida. According to a local newspaper article, Midney was one of the top 10 candidates the hospital had identified to fill their residency positions.

Midney expressed that she sees her role as addressing a need in Immokalee, FL as she states there is a “doctor shortage.”

Tags: Alumni , Residency , Florida

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Numerous RUSM Alumni Have Earned 2013-14 Chief Resident Positions

March 14, 2014

Each year numerous RUSM alumni are selected as Chief Residents of their residency programs. The following are a selection of 2013-14 Chief Residents in various specialties:

Family Medicine


Internal Medicine







Tags: Alumni , Residency , Illinois , Tennessee , Florida , Michigan , New Jersey , California , New York , Kentucky , Connecticut , North Carolina

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Dr. Jeffrey Lester promotes preventive medicine in his practice

January 02, 2014

Dr. Jeffrey Lester (RUSM ‘04), a newly appointed general internist at Tampa General Hospital, was featured in The Tampa Tribune. Dr. Lester joined the hospital’s new center in Sun City Center, which opened in October. Lester currently is the only physician at the Sun City Center office, although another doctor is expected to join the practice this spring.

“The idea is to provide preventive medical care for residents in the area so they don’t end up in the emergency room,” said Lester in the article. “That’s my specialty. I eat, drink and breathe prevention.”

Dr. Lester grew up in Clearwater and earned a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of South Florida (USF). He turned to medicine after earlier considering a career as a stock broker. He earned a degree in chemistry from USF before enrolling at RUSM. He began his residency in internal medicine at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa and was board certified in 2007. He then completed his training in medical genetics at the University of Miami in 2009 and after spent three years with the National Health Service Corps, treating low-income, indigent patients in Baltimore.

Tags: Alumni , Florida

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