Ross University Blog

MATCH: Alumni are a Match Made on Campus

April 19, 2017

Medical school is not usually thought of as a romantic place where one is likely to meet his or her match, but that’s exactly what happened to Ross alumni Tracey Dabal, MD, and Blaise Carney, MD. “Blaise and I met briefly during orientation week but we really go to know each other sitting together in lecture,” said Dr. Dabal. They experienced life on campus in Dominica, completed their clinical rotations in the US, and both graduated with MD degrees in November 2016. Now, having succeeded in the Couple’s Match, they will soon start residencies at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, he in psychiatry, and she in internal medicine.

Dr. Dabal did her undergraduate studies at Montclair State University in her home state of NJ, graduating Magna cum Laude with a degree in biochemistry. “While medical school is demanding, Dominica provided beautiful moments of escape in the quiet of sunsets and the balmy salt air,” she said. “I am grateful that I was able to experience the beauty of the Caribbean, not only with Blaise, but surrounded by people who shared my passion.” She also served as president of the Oncology Society on campus and as a member of the Honor Council.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Dr. Carney earned his BA in psychology at the University of Washington in his home city. He did not excel as an undergraduate but he felt that he was academically prepared to do well in medical school. He was right. “I think Ross is a place for second chances,” he said. He explained his deep-seated interest in psychiatry this way: “I think mental health work is community work, which has always been extremely compelling to me. It is my interest in understanding the lives of others that has led me to pursue a career in medicine.” About Dominica he said, “It was awesome. I didn’t need to own a car on the island. I lived walking distance to a farmer’s market, and everything is basically on the beach.” 

Drs. Dabal and Carney met as students, and now, as physicians, they continue together on their professional and personal paths.

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Tags: Match , New Jersey , Internal Medicine , Psychiatry

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MATCH: Q&A with Student Set to Begin an Internal Medicine Residency

April 03, 2017

Recently, Ross hosted a reception at Times Square in New York to celebrate students who matched into a residency program. During the event, Ross had a chat with Ryan Bartscherer, who is a native of Montville, NJ, to discuss his experiences that led to an Internal Medicine residency at Stamford Hospital in Connecticut.

ROSS: Considering what you know now, what would you say to your younger self - that person who was just beginning his medical education?
BARTSCHERER: I would tell that person (who I was back then) to relax. You are going to make it. I would reassure him that he is putting in the work that is needed. I would encourage him to make sure he takes everything he could with him from the basic sciences program and apply it in clinical practice.
ROSS: Did you have many people who questioned why you were going to school in the Caribbean?
BARTSCHERER: To be quite honest, I did not have many friends who were going into medicine. I was a pioneer of sorts among my circle of friends. Therefore, not too many people had an opinion either way about whether I pursued my medical degree at a US school or in the Caribbean.
I did enough research on my own to feel comfortable with my decision - I looked into match rates and other outcomes that were important coming out of school. I felt confident I was up for the challenge.
ROSS: So, if you did not know many people in the field of medicine, what influenced you to become a physician?
BARTSCHERER: I was initially in electrical engineering. I found that sitting in a cubicle all day was not really for me - I liked to be around people and interacting with them. Engineering was too impersonal for me.
I ended up tearing my ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and had a bad recovery and awful experience with physicians. I decided I could do it better. I could be the type of physician who really understands what patients are going through and help them get better - instead of making the experience more miserable.
ROSS: Why do you think you were successful in earning a residency position?
BARTSCHERER: I really applied myself during the clinical years. I consistently worked hard and put in the work to make sure I got great recommendation letters.
Also, having a fair amount of confidence during residency interviews is key. Some I know did not do well because of their lack of interpersonal skills. It had nothing to do with their board scores.
ROSS: Where did you conduct your clinical clerkships?
BARTSCHERER: My core clerkships were at St. John's Episcopal Hospital in Queens, NY. From there, I ventured out for most of my electives - cardiology at NYU Lutheran Medical Center, electives that were sub-categories of Internal Medicine at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, Michigan. Michigan was beautiful; I had a great time there. The attending physicians were very enthusiastic about teaching. I also conducted electives in Connecticut at Norwalk Hospital and Danbury Hospital.
It was fantastic to experience the many places that I would not have normally considered. Conducting my clinical training at various hospital sites gave me the opportunity to engage with different attending physicians, see the varying types of patients and learn in contrasting socio-economic settings.


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Tags: Internal Medicine , Match , Connecticut

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MATCH: Q&A with Ross Alumna who Earned an Internal Medicine Residency

March 21, 2017

Iman Arafa, 25, graduated with an MD degree from Ross University School of Medicine in November, 2016 and has obtained a residency in Internal Medicine at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. Find out more about her from the Q & A below.

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

ARAFA: Ross was always a good choice for me because my cousin was currently attending when I was
looking into it and my sister and I had previously gone to two information seminars, so I was
pretty confident and educated about what I was applying for. I also applied to Ross because
my MCAT scores were not US med school competitive and I knew I'd have better chances

ROSS: Where did you complete your undergraduate studies?

ARAFA: I majored in public health policy at University of California, Irvine

ROSS: Where did you grow up?

ARAFA: I grew up in Los Angeles, California

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

ARAFA: I love internal medicine because of the broad range of pathology and patient population that
you get exposed to. I specifically am interested in being a hospitalist because I love working
hands-on in the hospital in acute care settings. It fascinates me how complex the body is and
how it truly does take a lot to make us sick, so it's crucial to understand the reasoning behind
every patient’s illness and presentation.

ROSS: How would you describe your experiences in Dominica?

ARAFA: I had an amazing time while living in Dominica for 16 months. I experienced medical school
with my best friend who also happens to be my older sister. We were roommates again and
were shoulders for each other to laugh and cry on. We also developed so many life-long
friendships on the island and a renewed appreciation for our surroundings. The campus and
its facilities were constantly being renewed and amazing things kept happening for us. Even
though some of the most stressful moments in my life happened on that island, it was always
nice to take a moment and walk a few steps to watch the sun set over the beautiful Atlantic

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

ARAFA: I was involved in several student clubs on campus including the ER club which offered many
workshops to gain skills and exposure to common procedures that are done in the ER. I was
also an active member of the Ross internal medicine and neuroscience club where I tutored
my peers in neuroanatomy and neuropathophysiology. As an Arab American Muslim, I was also
part of the Muslim Student Association (MSA) where we would fundraise and make trips to
the Carib territory to help diagnose and treat natives who otherwise have no other or very
limited access to healthcare.

ROSS: Where have you done your core and elective rotations?

ARAFA: I did all my core rotations and most of my electives at California Hospital Medical Center In
the heart of downtown Los Angeles. I did two electives at Norwalk and Danbury hospital in

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Tags: California , Match , Internal Medicine

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MATCH: Ross Graduate Seizes Opportunity with Open Arms

March 15, 2017

Atul Bali, MD (Ross ’16) said that when Ross University School of Medicine offered him a spot he “seized the opportunity with open arms.” Dr. Bali, 25, has now obtained a residency in Internal Medicine. On Friday, March 17 he will learn where he matched. He received 33 offers for interviews, accepted 18 of those offers, and then ultimately ranked 15 programs. He matched at his number one choice, the program at Drexel University/Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia. “It’s a wonderful feeling,” he said.

Why did he choose Ross? He related that, “The program at Ross is one which I was familiar with having known several close family friends that graduated from the school.” As an undergraduate at the University of California, Irvine, he was a collegiate athlete and as a consequence, he said his GPA “was just a tad bit lower than required for acceptance into a US MD program.”

A native of Modesto, in Northern California, Dr. Bali is interested in cardiology, a fellowship of Internal Medicine. “I'm interested in cardiology, with further subspecialty training in interventional cardiology with a specific interest in structural heart disease interventions,” he said. “I find that specialties that are fundamentally rooted in physiology appeal to me greatly,” he said. “Furthermore, cardiac diagnoses can be quickly made from a physical exam which is considered to be a dying art in modern medicine. I really enjoy that cardiology still has strong foundations with the physical exam. Lastly cardiology is the only field where the practitioner admits his or her own patient, interprets the radiology themselves and if need be, the cardiologist can perform minimally invasive yet life-saving procedures. It’s a beautiful union of all aspects of medicine. ”

About his time spent on the Dominica campus Dr. Bali said, “I found it to be a brilliant experience and am planning a trip back soon. It was wonderful. I could not have chosen a more serene and simple location to begin my medical career. There were no distractions and one can completely immerse oneself in studies and the purity of nature.” He noted that, “The Salybia Mission Project was a big part of my experience on island. I have always been one for public service and to be able to give back to the indigenous folk who so graciously accepted us as part of the Dominican community was very fulfilling.”

Tags: California , Match , Internal Medicine

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