Ross University Blog

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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STUDENTS: Slam Poet Gets Into the Rhythm of Medical School

September 08, 2016

Daniel Rock, second semester Ross student, with his wife Kate

Daniel Rock, second semester Ross student, with his wife Kate

Meet Daniel Rock, a Ross University School of Medicine student who applied his talent for slam poetry to improve his study skills through the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP).

Ross: So, poetry and medicine—what’s the connection?
Daniel Rock: During undergrad at Stony Brook University, I used to compete in slam poetry [also known as spoken word or performance poetry]. You have to memorize your poems to perform them, but it’s more than that – we call it knowing something beyond memory. If you’re up there and you’re nervous but you know your poem beyond memory, you’ll still be able to perform and not forget it. So in MERP, I was able to use that skill to help me learn new information—making mnemonics, thinking of a rhyme, tying it to a specific experience. I started learning how to apply that skill in the beginning of MERP, and I’m so much better at it now. I’m able to retain massive amounts of information.

First impression of MERP?
At first it was a little bit of a wakeup call. I went in there with a lot of confidence, and then the first quiz I didn’t do so well. I realized I had to tweak my way of studying. But that’s what MERP is for—it was structured in a way to teach you about yourself and how to study. The professors say this all the time: it’s not just about passing, it’s about learning about yourself and becoming a better student.

What did you learn about yourself?
I realized I was a passive studier. In undergrad I wouldn’t read textbooks, I would just take notes from the lecture and that’s how I got by. I realized I couldn’t do that in MERP because of the degree of information you had to learn.

MERP helped me develop a system that worked for me, using skills I already had. Now I feel so much more prepared than I would’ve been if I had just walked into medical school.

Why did you choose Ross?
I didn’t apply to medical school after undergrad right away because I didn’t have enough clinical experience. So I did graduate research to increase my chances of getting into a stateside school, and I applied about three years after undergrad. It didn’t work out on the first cycle though. So I said, let me give myself another shot. I looked into other options and found out about Ross.

When I got the phone call telling me I’d been accepted to MERP, I was excited because I knew all I needed was a shot. As long as someone was willing to give me a chance, the rest was totally up to me and I knew I could make it happen.

How did you get interested in medicine?
Medicine was something I knew I wanted to do my whole life. I spent three years working in the ER, and 4-5 years in the EMS world. Emergency is what I love to do. I’m a very enthusiastic, dynamic person—I need to be on the run, on the move.

Any advice for other MERP students?
My best friend actually started MERP a few weeks ago. I told her, ‘Give it your all,’ because I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be sitting in class and I’m mentally thanking the professors I have in MERP. Even though it’s a ton of information, I have somewhat of a background because of MERP. I’m able to focus on the things I don’t know and not spend a lot of energy on concepts that I just need to review.

I would also say, ‘Get to know yourself.’ I thought I knew how to study, but MERP showed me that I had so much more potential. I had the passion to become a doctor, but MERP helped me develop the mindset. And I don’t think you can do medicine without both.

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Tags: Students , MERP , New York , Emergency

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STUDENTS: From Gold Mining, to MERP, to Trauma Surgery

July 19, 2016

Dr. Stanley White, senior associate dean, presents Ben Kuhns with Dean's List award.

Dr. Stanley White, senior associate dean, presents Ben Kuhns with Dean's List award.

After graduating with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in forensic science, Ben Kuhns hoped to join a crime lab in his home state of Alaska. But there was only one, and it was in the midst of a hiring freeze.

So he took a slightly different path.

Over the course of several years, Kuhns spent time crab fishing, working in oil fields, and gold mining. A lifelong outdoorsman, Kuhns enjoyed the work and the lifestyle. Still, something was missing.

“It was physically demanding, which I don’t mind, but I wanted to use my brain more than my body,” Kuhns says.

That intellectual itch is part of what led him to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM). Kuhns had always cultivated an interest in science, and has volunteered with humanitarian groups such as Habitat for Humanity International. His connection to medicine was also extremely personal: His sister passed away from a meningioma that went undiagnosed for too long.

“In a way, I was bringing together everything that’s happened in my life by applying to medical school,” he says.

On MERP: “They Don’t Hold Your Hand, But They Help You Through It”

Kuhns with his classmates during clinicals

Kuhns was granted conditional acceptance to RUSM, on the condition that he successfully complete the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) before starting as a first-semester med student.

“At first, it was a little terrifying, because I had been out of school for so long,” admits Kuhns, who was 28 when he applied. “It was tough trying to get back into an academic environment, let alone medical school.”

That’s exactly the benefit that MERP provides, especially for career changers and students who have been out of school for some time, like Kuhns. The 15-week program offers additional academic preparation and helps students adjust to the demands of medical school.

For Kuhns, MERP provided a combination of academic and social support. In addition to instructors who helped him improve his study skills and presented information in memorable ways, he found a good friend in his randomly assigned roommate, Neal Ferrick. Being able to encourage and help one another was a key factor in his success, Kuhns says. He also cites his family as a major source of support throughout both MERP and medical school.

“MERP is something I think everyone should go through. They don’t hold your hand, but they help you through it,” he says. “I got plenty of things wrong, and then I learned by understanding the issue and applying it next time. There’s no better way to learn than by failing.”

His hard work paid off. Kuhns received the MERP Scholar Award—given to students who have excelled academically and provided leadership to peers during MERP—and continued to do well at RUSM.

“I don’t think I could’ve gotten dean’s list all four semesters without MERP,” Ben says. “It teaches you to be a proactive student.”

Looking Ahead

Now, Kuhns is completing his clinical rotations at Atlanta Medical Center, experiencing the different specialties available. Although he came in thinking that cardiology would be his favorite, he’s fallen in love with trauma surgery. Still, he’s keeping his options open. 

“The future is unknown, but I’d eventually like to make it back to Alaska,” he says. “Alaska is where my heart is.”

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Tags: Students , MERP , Scholarships , Alaska

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

June 28, 2016

Emma Cronk at the RUSM library

Emma Cronk at the RUSM library

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

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

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

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

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

Why She’s a “Huge Advocate” for MERP

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

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

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

Her number one tip for MERP students?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 22, 2015

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

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

We're very proud to announce that more than 800 Ross University School of Medicine graduates earned residency appointments in 2015. Our alumni earned residencies in very competitive specialties—like ophthalmology, neurology, and surgery—while also obtaining placements in primary care programs, like internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. With our new residency total, we’ve broken institutional records for the second year in a row. >> Read More

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

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

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

Ray King, MD, PhD, a RUSM Class of 2010 graduate, was just named Resident of the Year at the Medical College of Georgia (MCG) at Georgia Regents University, Augusta. Dr. King is the chief resident in surgery, and is just about to complete his training. It goes without saying that we’re immensely proud of Dr. King’s accomplishment, but—given the caliber of our students and graduates—we also aren’t that surprised. What might surprise you, though, is the path he ultimately took to become a physician. Because it’s the opposite of what you’d expect. >> Read More

CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: Making Our Strong Clinical Program Even Stronger

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

ADMISSIONS ADVICE: Steps for Success on Your Medical School Interview

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

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

Hundreds of Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduates started residency training just a few months ago, in July. In the meantime, many of our graduates who are already deep in their training have earned the distinction of being named chief residents for the 2015-2016 year. Chief residents are generally appointed by the program director of a given residency program, and they’re entrusted with developing clinical rotation schedules, performing administrative duties, and supervising junior residents, among other responsibilities. Curious whether a friend or classmate of yours was appointed chief resident recently? Check out the list. >> Read More

STUDENTS: RUSM Clinical Student Gets Published on Major Healthcare Blog

The first time Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student Marc Katz submitted a piece of his writing to—a popular,  influential healthcare blog run by New Hampshire-based internal medicine physician Kevin Pho —he didn’t think much of it. The day after he submitted the post, he was surprised to see he had already gotten an email back saying his story was accepted. His initial thought? “Well…I guess people are going to see this now,” he laughs. >> Read More 

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

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

CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac

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

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

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

MATCH: Surgery Residency Brings RUSM Student Closer to Dream Career

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

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

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

CLINICALS: RUSM Offers United Kingdom-New Jersey Clinical Track

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

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

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

MATCH: RUSM Student Lands Her First Choice for Residency

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

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

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RUSM Grad Who Completed MERP Is Now Chief Resident in Surgery

November 10, 2015


Sola Fasusi, MD, readily admits that when he found out that he’d been recommended to the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP), his pride took a hit. He had already had been waitlisted at two United States medical schools, had taken the MCAT twice, and had applied to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) only after a friend mentioned the school in passing. He was granted conditional acceptance to RUSM, on the condition that he successfully complete MERP before starting as a first-semester med student.

“It was a shot to my ego,” remembers Dr. Fasusi. “But it fueled a fire in me, and I realized I had two decisions: either wait to see if I could possibly get into one of those two US medical schools, or take the RUSM opportunity now.”

He chose the latter. And he’s glad he did. After graduating from RUSM in 2010, he matched into the surgery program at Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. Today he’s in his final year of residency training, and serves as chief resident.

On Lectures: “They Were Some of the Best I’ve Ever Had”

After entering MERP, Dr. Fasusi quickly realized the program had real value. At MERP, instructors help students build strong foundational knowledge in the basic sciences, and teach students helpful advice and techniques for studying and retaining information.

“It was such a blessing to attend MERP, because it literally gave you a framework to optimize your studies when you start medical school,” he says. “It gives you an organized group of people that you feel comfortable studying with. And the professors, the lectures—they were some of the best I’ve ever had. I can remember them in my head right now. That’s how good they were.”

Why MERP? Learn more about how this rigorous, three-month-long program can help prepare you for medical school success.

A “Seamless” Transition from MERP to Medical School

After completing MERP, Dr. Fasusi went on to learn the basic sciences through RUSM’s Foundations of Medicine curriculum, based in Dominica. And, it turns out, MERP did more than give him the foundational knowledge he needed to thrive as a medical student. It also meant that he’d already know some of his fellow students when he started his first semester at RUSM. After all, they had all been through MERP together.

“I have an uncle in Dominica—a dentist on the island—so going in, I knew I wouldn’t be totally without a support system,” he says. “But even if I didn’t have my family there, the people I went to MERP with made up such a cohesive group that it was a seamless transition from MERP to medical school.”

“I Wouldn’t Change Anything”

After completing Foundations of Medicine, then his clinical clerkships in the United States, Dr. Fasusi decided to complete a year of research at the Medical College of Georgia, where two of his friends were undergoing residency training. Doing this would allow him to strengthen his residency applications even more, he reasoned.

“What I was doing was a sort of pro bono research,” he says. “But it was great experience, and they loved me so much that after a couple of weeks, they told me that they’d find a way to start paying me. And they had me involved in multiple areas—not just surgery. I was helping with neurology, ENT, and other disciplines. At MCG, generally, you’re paired with one principal investigator during research, and you only work on that one project. I was doing six or seven.” (MCG did deliver on that promise to pay him, he adds.)

In his time at MCG, Dr. Fasusi made enough of an impression that many program directors and residents there wanted him to stay for his surgery residency, which he did. Now in his fifth and final year as a surgical resident (and chief resident), Dr. Fasusi is looking forward to his next step—a three-year plastic surgery fellowship, also at MCG. He didn’t even have to match for this position: “The plastic surgeons work with me very closely, they know me very well, and they offered me a spot outside of the Match,” he says. He got one of two open fellowship spots, and is the first RUSM graduate to earn a plastic surgery fellowship at MCG.

His time at MERP and RUSM, Dr. Fasusi says, really paid off in the long run.

“I work with wonderful people, I get fantastic training, and I have wonderful opportunities,” he says. “I wouldn’t change anything.”


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

March 11, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tags: Alumni , Residency , Canada , MERP

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Medical Education Readiness Program has new US and Canada locations

January 28, 2014

Starting with the January 2014 MERP class, the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP) is hosted in Miramar, Florida, just a few minutes north of Miami, and convenient to airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Also, starting with the April 2014 session, students from Canada can attend the program via videoconference at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in Toronto.

MERP is a 15-week medical school preparatory program offered to students who have been granted conditional acceptance to Ross University School of Medicine. MERP's dual mission is to provide students from diverse backgrounds with additional academic preparation to foster their success in medical school, and to help determine the readiness of these students to meet the demands of a fast-paced and rigorous medical school curriculum like the one at Ross.

Tags: MERP , Canada

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