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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October 04, 2016
Andrew Medvedovsky, MD (Ross Class of 2008)
He was in the midst of clinical rotations and Andrew Medvedovsky (Class of 2008) was still trying to figure out which medical discipline he wanted to pursue for residency—until a chance meeting helped him answer that question.
One day during clinicals, he bumped into a neurologist who asked him to help out with a spinal tap. Intrigued by the specialty, Medvedovsky tried a four-week neurology elective and ended up loving it. Fast-forward nearly a decade and he’s completed a neurology residency at Virginia Commonwealth University, plus a fellowship in interventional pain management at the same university. Now, the Brooklyn native is practicing with the New Jersey-based RA Pain Services.
Read below for Medvedovsky’s thoughts on island life, clinicals, residency, and what it really means to be a doctor.
A QUOTE THAT HE LIVES BY: [My fellowship] was directed by an amazing, amazing physician who was my mentor—Dr. [Maged] Hamza—and he was a person that really shaped my career in a lot of ways. One of the things he would always tell me is “Look. If you don’t demand perfection from yourself, nobody else will.” And the fellowship was really intense and very heavy on academics, on procedures, on patient volume, and you had to be perfect. There was no room for error. And it was overwhelming, but I knew if I could get through the fellowship … it would be worth it and would pay off when I’m on my own.
ON CHOOSING ROSS AND PRECONCEPTIONS: I was very nervous about coming to Ross because the preconceived notion was that, if you go to a Caribbean medical school, you’ll have a really hard time getting a residency and other negative beliefs that people have about Caribbean students. So I realized when I came out of Ross and started my clerkships, and then residency, there’s a lot more to being a doctor than the medical school you graduate … once you’re out there in real-life settings, I think it’s your personality, your compassion, and your work ethic that really takes over and becomes the driving force for your success.
Looking back, I think that at this point in my career I’m lucky I went to Ross. It gave me amazing experience, and has only exposed me to a different culture that I wouldn’t have ever been able to be a part of.
ON HOW MUCH HE LOVED DOMINICA: You’re walking into a school that’s equipped like an American school, and it’s an amazing luxury to be able to SCUBA dive in the morning and go to class in the afternoon, to be able to walk down the beach and then go to [your] apartment, look out the window, and look at a banana tree farm and wild mangoes in the backyard … or wake up Saturday morning, go to the fresh market, and buy a piece of fish they just pulled out of the water. So it’s a phenomenal experience—it’s an experience that you really can't put a price on.
HIS MOST EYE-OPENING ISLAND EXPERIENCE: The one that really sticks out is our experience when we went to [country capital] Roseau to a local hospital to see real life in a Dominica clinic. And it’s unbelievable—the minimal resources that the physicians and patients have. It really puts things into perspective, and it really makes you adaptable to work in various situations and circumstances. Because when you see doctors in action in Dominica doing their best, taking care of patients with whatever they have, and then we come back to the United States where we see a fully equipped hospital, we realize “Wow, there is no reason not to be able to provide patients with the best care and service.”
SOME COMMENTS ON CLINICALS: I did my rotations mostly in New York. Clinical rotations, I think, are a little bit challenging. You’re working with residents, other physicians who are busy … [and when you’re] coming out of the basic sciences where you’re going to class and then going [back to housing], then being in the hospital sometimes up to 80 hours a week as a [clinical] student, it gets extremely tiring. But you get through it. I think being motivated is a big factor in making it a good experience.
A FEW WORDS ON RESIDENCY: I did my neurology residency at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, which was a phenomenal experience. Obviously, neurology is a pretty competitive residency, but I felt comfortable applying for it. I had a genuine interest in it, I was very motivated, and I had very strong letters of recommendation because the neurologists that I worked with really believed in my interest and were willing to support me in my goals.
LIFE IN PRACTICE: My current position is very unique. I’m a physician with a private practice called RA Pain Services. I see patients in the office relating to various head, neck, [and] spine [conditions] and chronic pain. On Mondays, I’m in the hospital doing everything from basic epidural injections, nerve ablations, and spinal cord stimulators to really involved, unique cases. One other thing I do, which I think is pretty unique, is direct a medical marijuana program. So it’s been incredibly interesting to incorporate all of these different things into my practice. I never, ever imagined myself doing any of this stuff.
Editor’s note: Philly.com interviewed both Medvedovsky and one of his patients about his work with medical marijuana. Read the story here.
HOW THINGS TURNED OUT: I’m amazed with my life. I feel extremely fortunate. I’m amazed at the people that I meet and the ability to affect people’s lives. It’s phenomenal and I thank Ross University and my mentors along the way who have given me the opportunity, and who believed in me.
Other Recommended Links
- Ross Presents: 2016 Residency Results and Highlights
- See If You Qualify: Try Our Online Candidate Assessment
- Learn Admissions Prerequisites and Information
- Read Other Alumni Success Stories
- Discover More in the Ross Newsroom
September 12, 2016
Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy
Ross alumnus Rob Forcella, MD, recently began an internal medicine residency at Nassau University Medical Center and is slated to begin his second post graduate year in a radiology residency program at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.
Hear from alumni at our New Brunswick Information Seminar on Oct. 27. Read more and sign up here.
However, Forcella’s road to residency was anything but typical. Indeed, his journey started out like most. Forcella was a pre-med student at Farleigh Dickinson University, but that is where the traditional route ended. Forcella went on to art school at the Academy of Applied Art of Naples (L'Accademia Di Belle Arti Di Napoli) in Italy. The beginning of his career includes experience in 3-D animation and the bulk of his professional work was sculpting.
“Medicine, anatomy and human form and function has always been an interest of mine,” said Forcella when asked what prompted him to make the transition from sculpting to medicine. “I don’t see it as an absolute career change. I’ve done anatomy illustration professionally for many years, even throughout art school. So, medicine, anatomy and anatomy physiology was always there.”
Knowing he didn’t take the direct route to medical school and that he would be an “older” candidate (as self-described by Forcella who is in his mid-thirties) at the time of graduation, it made the news of him receiving a residency that much more rewarding.
“Very relieved,” said Forcella when reflecting on the moment he learned about the residency appointments he earned. “It was a sense of relief, a sense of accomplishment.”
Forcella’s advice to students beginning their medical education: Don’t look for instant gratification.
“If instant gratification is what you are looking for, get out now. You’ve chosen a field that requires a lot of work – years. You’re in it for the long haul,” said Forcella. “Know your long-term goals and buckle down, do what has to be done. You will get greater reward from it.”
Meet NJ alumni at our New Brunswick Information Seminar on Oct. 27. Read more and sign up here.
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August 25, 2016
Third-semester Ross student Michael Munoz is currently the clinic coordinator for the Endocrinology Club on the Dominica campus. In this capacity he has been instrumental in organizing four clinics for local community members this semester, alone, while also participating in two other clinics organized by members of other student clubs.
Michael has also donated a meter and testing supplies to two diabetic patients he met, who were not able to afford them, a 70-year-old man and a three-year-old boy. Additionally, he has taken steps to ensure that these people continue to get the supplies that are so critical to their care. Moreover, Michael gives his time to educate patients and their families, and to provide emotional support and reassurance for managing the disease.
“At all of these clinics I have come to see the difference Ross is making here in Dominica with the local population,” Michael said. “The patients and the students get joy from interacting with each other, because the students are given a chance to apply all of their knowledge, while the patients are glad to receive free treatment, and to get a chance to talk about their concerns and to get answers to questions about their health.”
Michael earned his undergraduate degree with a major in chemistry, at Montclair State University in N.J., where he was born and raised. His goal while studying in Dominica is to help create a “self-sustaining program in which diabetics can have more access to information on a variety of topics,” he said.
August 17, 2016
Kofoworola Ojo, MD, recently began the psychiatry residency program at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) in Staten Island, as she calls it the “number one” specialty in medicine.
“I remember it felt so awesome to match into a residency program. I started medical school about four years ago and the whole process led to where I am now,” said Ojo when remembering how it felt to receive the news that she received a residency appointment through the National Resident Matching Program®. “I’m really happy that I’m at my number one location, New York, and second choice residency.”
In addition to the skills Ojo has gained through her medical education at Ross, perhaps one of the most significant assets she can offer patients is her global perspective that allows her to identify with people from all walks of life. Ojo’s parents are from Nigeria, she was born in England and for much of Ojo’s childhood she was raised in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Since high school Ojo had her sights set on attending Ross. The local university, Fairleigh Dickinson University (FDU) in Teaneck, NJ, offered a program where students could obtain an undergraduate degree in three years and then begin their medical education at Ross, contingent on meeting admissions requirements.
Ojo admits she had a bumpy start during her first semester, but quickly comments that the remainder of her tenure at Ross was “smooth”. Her clinical training was in New York at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center – Ojo’s first-choice location. She recalls the grueling schedule, “during my surgery clinical clerkship I was on call 24 hours every three days.”
With a promising future ahead, Ojo is looking beyond her residency at RUMC. She plans to conduct a fellowship in addiction or forensic psychiatry.
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June 03, 2016
Soon to begin the Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program at Geisinger Health System in Dansville, PA., RUSM graduate, Jeffrey Ortiz, recalls his pathway to becoming a physician.
“I was an X-ray tech before starting Ross,” says Ortiz. “I knew right away I wanted to attend medical school to become a radiologist. Finally, I’m here.”
Ortiz attributes his decision to attend RUSM to a serendipitous meeting with a friend he reconnected with at a social engagement.
“My friend shared his experience at Ross and from then on I began to learn more about the institution while completing my undergraduate degree,” said Ortiz. “Then fast forward a bit, I applied and got accepted. I’m forever grateful to Ross.”
“From the beginning of medical school, we’re told it is hard to match and you have to work hard. For four years, you have that going through your mind,” said Ortiz. “Now, I’m finally here. It’s a dream come true. It’s surreal.”
Ortiz’s advice to aspiring physicians: Ignore the naysayers.
“There are naysayers along the way,” said Ortiz. “Anyone can do it. You just have to work hard, put your mind to it and get through it.”
The Elizabeth, NJ native plans to hone his skills in interventional radiology, allowing him to maintain patient care.
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June 02, 2016
This spring, thousands of college students chose to spend part of their weekend a little differently from the norm.
Rather than going out with friends or relaxing, the end of the weekly grind found them walking a track or circling a gymnasium in shifts over a 12-hour span. Buoyed by pulsing music and moving speeches, they were united by a common purpose: supporting the fight against cancer.
|Top: Shafon McNeil, admissions advisor at RUSM, is ready to greet participants at the Rider University Relay for Life event. Bottom: It’s a full house at Rider Relay for Life.|
Ross University School of Medicine was proud to be a sponsor for several recent Relay for Life events at New Jersey college campuses. The American Cancer Society Relay for Life movement brings together communities to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight. During these overnight fundraising walks, teams of people camp out around a track and take turns walking around it through the night to symbolize the reality that “cancer never sleeps.”
A Growing Partnership
RUSM sponsored Relay for Life events at the College of New Jersey, Rider University, Rowan University, and Stockton University, where RUSM representatives engaged with students and participants and answered questions about medical school.
|Kevin Niessen, senior graduate admissions advisor at RUSM, at the Stockton University Relay for Life.|
These sponsorships represent a further extension of RUSM’s relationship with the American Cancer Society (ACS). Previously, RUSM has joined ACS in the pledge to fight colorectal cancer, and supported the annual Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in October 2015 as a corporate sponsor.
The fundraising efforts from these four college events totaled more than $200,000 for the American Cancer Society —demonstrating the commitment and dedication of everyone involved, including participants, staff and sponsors.1 The funds raised will go to cancer research and support programs for cancer patients, including accommodations and transportation to and from treatment.
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May 10, 2016
Lisa Dougherty, national director of admissions at RUSM (left), and Dr. Laura Moriarty, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Monmouth (right), shake hands after signing the articulation agreement.
Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has entered into an articulation agreement with Monmouth University. Representatives of both institutions gathered on the Monmouth campus in West Long Branch, N.J. to sign the agreement and increase opportunities for qualified students to pursue their dream of becoming a physician.
“I was very impressed by the facilities and the engagement of the faculty at RUSM,” said Dr. Bernadette Dunphy, specialist professor of biology and co-director of the Pre-Professional Health Advisory Committee (PPHAC) at Monmouth. “The education is top-notch, and it gives our students a great opportunity.”
Opportunities for Monmouth Graduates
Under the terms of the articulation agreement, Monmouth graduates interested in applying to medical school will have special opportunities such as:
- Waived application fee (except where prohibited by law) when applying to RUSM
- A guaranteed admissions interview with RUSM
- Priority consideration for scholarships for which they qualify and apply (once an acceptance decision has been made)
In addition, RUSM will hold five open seats in each semester class for eligible applicants from Monmouth until 30 days before the start of the semester.
“Ross University School of Medicine is thrilled to partner with Monmouth University to provide opportunities for aspiring medical students,” said Lisa Dougherty, national director of admissions at RUSM. “At RUSM, we share Monmouth’s core value of ‘Excellence in Teaching and Learning’ and look forward to welcoming students into our learning community.”
“A Great Fit for Our Students”
|A group of pre-med advisors hold the pennants of their respective schools during a visit to the RUSM campus. Dr. Bernadette Dunphy is third from the right.|
Dr. Dunphy said visiting the campus in Dominica helped her get to know RUSM “beyond the brochure”—a crucial factor when providing guidance for pre-med students. When students are considering going outside the U.S. for medical school, Dr. Dunphy explained, they often don’t have the opportunity to visit, and they want assurance from someone who’s been there.
“After checking out the campus, faculty and housing, it was clear to me that RUSM is a great fit for our students,” she said. “Having this agreement allows us a closer connection with the school and gives our students a personalized experience.”
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February 17, 2016
In recognition of American Heart Month, the “Heart to Heart” series provides an inside look into the career path of cardiologists who got their start at RUSM. Below Dr. Zakir, cardiologist, professor and sought-after expert speaker, shares his experience in providing innovative medical treatments.
RUSM: What influenced you to pursue medicine?
ZAKIR: It was my father's dream for me to pursue a career in medicine. I always enjoyed science classes so the interest was definitely there on my side as well.
RUSM: Why did you choose cardiology as a specialty?
ZAKIR: Once in medical school, I was fascinated with cardiovascular pathophysiology and my interest to pursue a career in cardiology began. I spent a day with my Dad's cardiologist in the office and really enjoyed the patient interactions which helped cement my decision.
RUSM: What do you find most rewarding about being a cardiologist?
ZAKIR: What I find most rewarding and the main reason for pursuing a career in interventional cardiology is that interventions can have an immediate positive impact on patients’ lives, and can be life-saving in acute settings. Seeing the patient's and the family's appreciation for my efforts and outcomes is why I love being an interventional cardiologist.
RUSM: Therefore, I would imagine a career highlight for you is being a part of innovative technology used in your department, like the Lightbox to treat peripheral artery disease. Can you talk about that?
ZAKIR: It [the Lightbox] allows you to visualize inside the artery to improve success rates in crossing arteries in the legs that are completely blocked. By imaging inside the artery, we can more safely and effectively manage patients that are suffering from debilitating peripheral arterial disease. We were one of the first sites in the country to adapt and utilize this technology. (See video)
|Dr. Zakir discusses new treatment option for patients with Peripheral Artery Disease.
More on Ramzan M. Zakir, MD, FACC, FSCAI
GRADUATION YEAR: RUSM Class of 2001
- Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
- Director of Transradial Catheterization, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
- Director of Peripheral Vascular Program, Saint Peters University Hospital
- Resident, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) and Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC)
- Chief Resident, UMDNJ and HUMC
- Cardiology Fellow, UMDNJ and HUMC
- Chief Fellow, UMDNJ and HUMC
- Interventional Fellow, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
For several years, Dr. Zakir has been an invited faculty member at numerous conferences, see select highlights below:
Philadelphia Cardiovascular Symposium presented by the International Society of Endovascular Specialist (2015)
Presenter: Drug Coated Balloons for the Treatment of Critical Limb Ischemia (CLI) (see video)
| Dr. Zakir presenting at the Philadelphia Cardiovascular Symposium hosted by the International Society of Endovascular Specialist.
Chicago Endovascular Conference (2015)
Panelist: Business of Medicine – Arterial and Venous
Panelist: Below-the-knee Intervention/Would Care Pedal Intervention II
Co-Presenter: Complex Pedal Access and Below-the-Knee Cases
Complex Cardiovascular Catheter Therapeutics (2015)
Panelist, Moderator, and Presenter during several sessions
New Cardiovascular Horizons (2015)
Presenter (General Session and Summit Talk): Drug-Eluting Stent Implantation for the Treatment of CLI and Rotational Atherectomy and Thrombectomy in CLI: How is this Different from Other Devices?
Euro PCR in Paris, France (2012)
Presenter: CLI After Bypass Graft Failure
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January 19, 2016
Our clinical sciences curriculum is stronger than ever, in large part because all clinical students complete their clinical rotations in our "tracked" clinical programs. This means that as a Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student, you'll do all six of your core rotations within the same geographic area—and in some tracks, at the same hospital.
Let's take a closer look at one of our tracks. This one, called the BQNJ track (Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey), is on the East Coast and gives RUSM students the opportunity to complete rotations at three major area hospitals in the New York metropolitan area: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center (Brooklyn, NY), Hoboken University Medical Center (Hoboken, NJ) and St. John's Episcopal Hospital (Far Rockaway, NY).
Detailed Look: Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center
Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center (Brookdale) is one of Brooklyn's largest voluntary nonprofit teaching hospitals and a regional tertiary care center. Brookdale provides general and specialized inpatient care to thousands of people every year. It provides 24-hour emergency services, numerous outpatient programs and long-term specialty care.
RUSM clinical students can complete their internal medicine, surgery, and pediatrics cores at Brookdale.
Brookdale at a Glance
- One of Brooklyn's largest full-service Emergency Departments (ED)
- 530-bed not-for-profit teaching hospital
- Home to a Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory featuring high-tech imaging equipment
- A regionally recognized Level I Trauma Center
- A New York State Department of Health-designated Stroke Center
- Brookdale's Schulman and Scachne Institute for Nursing and Rehabilitation specializes in rehabilitative medicine and long-term specialty care
- Pediatric department provides a wide range of services for children from birth to adolescence, as well as a pediatric sleep center for children with sleep disorders and comprehensive pediatric oncology and sickle cell disease divisions
Detailed Look: Hoboken University Medical Center
Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) provides advanced medical technologies in support of its medical staff, nursing team, and other caregivers, to enable quality care to citizens of Hoboken and the surrounding communities.
RUSM clinical students can complete their family medicine cores at HUMC.
HUMC at a Glance
- A 333-bed hospital with a 34-bay ED
- Has been awarded the Silver Award from the American Heart and Stroke Association for dedication to improving quality of care for stroke patients
- Was ranked in the top ten in for care quality among all hospitals in the state of New Jersey with 350 beds or fewer
- Features a dedicated OB/GYN ED
- Specialties include inpatient rehabilitation, transitional care, and child/adult behavioral health
- Includes divisions for women's care, wound care, and numerous surgical subspecialties
Detailed Look: St. John's Episcopal Hospital
St. John's Episcopal Hospital (SJEH) serves the entirety of the Rockaway and Five Towns communities in New York.
RUSM clinical students can complete their OB/GYN and psychiatry cores at SJEH.
SJEH at a Glance
- SJEH's Department of Psychiatry provides the community with comprehensive psychiatric and mental health care services
- Psychiatry services include a wide range of inpatient and outpatient programs for short- and long-term needs for all ages
- Offers two dedicated inpatient units for admitted psychiatric patients, each with a chief psychiatrist, a dedicated psychiatrist, and a staff of nurses, psychologists, and social workers
- Includes 18 beds for general psych unit, and 25 beds primarily for geriatric patients
- SJEH's OB/GYN Department provides comprehensive care for women of all ages
- OB/GYN services includes well-woman visits and screenings, routine and high-risk obstetrics, reproductive endocrinology/infertility services, minimally invasive surgery, and gynecological oncology
Program ACGME Approvals and Notes About Licensure
- Brookdale is actively involved as a major teaching hospital, sponsoring Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved programs in internal medicine, surgery and pediatrics.
- HUMC is actively involved as a major teaching hospital, sponsoring Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved program in family medicine.
- SJEH is actively involved as a major teaching hospital sponsoring Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved programs in psychiatry.
- All rotations meet the requirements for the California Business and Professional Code for residency training and licensure.
- SJEH is a participating hospital under the ACGME-approved program in family medicine at South Nassau Communities Hospital. OB/GYN falls under the family medicine umbrella.
- Texas requires that rotations be completed at a hospital where a residency program is in place for that specialty (either ACGME or AOA). Internal medicine, surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry and family medicine meet this requirement. Ultimately, RUSM graduates can obtain licensure in Texas after completion of an ACGME-approved residency program and obtaining board certification in that specialty.
January 06, 2016
A new article in the Newark Star-Ledger, the flagship newspaper of the state of New Jersey, reports that doctors from international medical schools comprise over 38% of the Garden State’s physician workforce. This is the highest percentage of international medical graduates (IMGs) in the U.S., ranking just ahead of New York and Florida.*
Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has been a mainstay in the New York City metro area for nearly 40 years, and annually admits and graduates students from the area. Over the last five years, RUSM graduates have attained over 200 residency positions in New Jersey alone, providing an additional boost to the state’s physician ranks along with the state’s local medical schools.
“Many Ross University School of Medicine students call New Jersey home and choose to return to the state to complete their residency training,” said Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, dean and chancellor of RUSM, in the article.
*These data, and much more information on the makeup of the United States physician workforce, are available in the 2015 State Physician Workforce Data Book, a publication of the Center for Workforce Studies at the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Other state-by-state RUSM content and information
- RUSM Information By State: New Jersey
- RUSM Information By State: New York
- RUSM Information By State: Pennsylvania
- Other RUSM State-by-State Information
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!
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
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
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
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
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
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
The first time Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) clinical student Marc Katz submitted a piece of his writing to KevinMD.com—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
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
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
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
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
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
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
“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
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
November 03, 2015
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. Students will also complete family medicine clinical rotations at Hoboken University Medical Center, Internal Medicine at Raritan Bay Medical Center, and Psychiatry at Bergen Regional Medical Center.
- Queen’s Hospital in Romford is actively involved as a major teaching hospital sponsoring educational programs in surgery, pediatrics, and OB/GYN.
- Hoboken University Medical Center is actively involved as a major teaching hospital sponsoring Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved programs in family medicine.
- Raritan Bay Medical Center is actively involved as a major teaching hospital sponsoring Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved programs in internal medicine.
- Bergen Regional Medical Center is actively involved as a major teaching hospital sponsoring Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-approved programs in psychiatry.
- Due to reciprocity of medical school quality, teaching, etc., UK cores are considered equivalent to USA ACGME-accredited rotations (although not technically “Greenbook”). Therefore, students who complete some or all their cores in the UK are eligible for licensure in the USA.
Other articles about medical school you might like
- FAQS AND LIST: Ross University School of Medicine Hospital Affiliations
- STUDENT SUPPORT: The ROSS Model
- CLOSER LOOK: Making Our Strong Clinical Program Even Stronger
- NEW AFFILIATE: RUSM Announces New Clinical Agreement with Western Connecticut Health Network
- CLINICAL SPOTLIGHT: St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital
October 14, 2015
RUSM Alumna Nicole Saphier, MD, will give opening remarks at the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk on Oct. 25 in Pennsauken, NJ. RUSM is a corporate sponsor for the event.
During National Breast Cancer Awareness Month many Americans, particularly women, are reminded about the importance of early detection to win the fight against the deadly disease that, according to the American Cancer Society, will claim the lives of about 40,290 in 2015. Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) alumna (class of 2008) Nicole Saphier, MD, is a radiologist who is at the forefront of the cause and has spent much of her career advocating for policy changes that will help women, and men alike, make informed decisions about their breast health.
Saphier's advocacy for breast health began when she learned about breast density legislation while completing a Women's Oncologic Imaging fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Dense breast tissue is comprised of less fat and more connective tissue which appears white on a mammogram. The challenge is that cancerous tumors appear white on a mammogram as well.
"The concept really reached my heart," says Saphier. "Many women were obtaining mammograms and when they were told they were normal, they would ignore a lump they subsequently found in their breasts because they had complete faith in their mammograms."
Following her fellowship, Saphier focused much of her career working to help women better understand the risks associated with breast density. She is known for leading the way among physicians to pass the Arizona State Breast Density Notification Law in her home state. The law requires physicians to inform their patients who have undergone a mammography and were found to have dense breast tissue. Currently, 24 states have enacted the law and breast density notification legislation is at the federal level.
After relocating to New Jersey, Saphier now sits on the executive committee and legislative subcommittee of the state’s radiological society. She also has been appointed to the New Jersey Department of Health Breast Imaging Work Group where she is working to revise the state’s breast density notification letter that is sent to patients.
Saphier’s commitment to the fight against breast cancer is fueled by her grandmother’s experience. “My grandmother, who I affectionately called 'Mommom,’ did not pursue the lump in her breast because she was embarrassed to get examined by her physician,” says Saphier. “I attempt to see my patients and explain everything to them best as possible so they never feel uncomfortable coming to see me about their breasts. I want them to feel empowered and be in control of their healthcare.”
Although Saphier acknowledges that mammography is imperfect, she states that mammography is still the best screening modality for all types of breast density. “The addition of ultrasound, MRI and digital tomosynthesis (3-D imaging of the breast using X-rays) can help what mammography misses but mammography itself should not be replaced,” says Saphier. “MRI and ultrasound will not see the subtle calcifications that can indicate early invasive malignancy.”
Being able to detect those subtle calcifications gets to the heart of why Saphier chose to specialize in radiology. “Throughout my clinical rotations it became apparent to me that many of the specialties were based on an opinion, varied from individual to individual, and heavily relied on patient complaints,” says Saphier. “I chose radiology because I like the objective nature of it. Findings on an X-ray, MRI and through other imaging techniques are factual, so the subjectivity of it all is lessened.”
For students who may be deciding on which specialty to pursue, Saphier advises those who are considering radiology that it’s crucial to stay current on literature and research as “it requires constant reading beyond training.”
You can learn more about Saphier’s experience at www.nicolesaphiermd.com, including information about a book she is in the process of writing. Drawing upon her own experience as a single mom of a four year-old who decided to pursue a medical degree abroad, Saphier will tell real stories about women who chose the path less traveled.
Other Articles That You May Like
- RUSM Joins American Cancer Society to Battle Breast Cancer
- Grad Reflects on Medical Relief Work
- From Texas to Kenya, a Physician Focuses on Providing Medical Care to Under-Served Communities
- RUSM and Camden Riversharks Join to Encourage Healthy Living in South Jersey
- Medical Missions Trip Tests RUSM Student
April 16, 2015
He already knew where he’d matched for his internal medicine residency: at his first-choice pick of Overlook Medical Center in Summit, NJ. So for Michael McEntee, MD, a 2014 Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) graduate, the congratulatory phone call he got from Overlook’s residency program coordinator later that day was just the icing on the cake.
“It was fantastic,” says Dr. McEntee, who was able to recall exactly when he got that phone call—shortly after 2 PM on Friday, March 20, 2015 (Match Day), just after he’d gotten back from work. “She [the coordinator] heard the elation in my voice—she said that they [Overlook] always know, after they hear how excited a new resident is, that they chose the right person for that residency program.”
Overlook Medical Center is just about 30 miles away from his hometown of North Brunswick, NJ.
“Ever since I enrolled, I knew that I was trying to match to a residency in New Jersey, to be close to home,” he says.
“Everything Happens for a Reason”
Interestingly, Dr. McEntee started out his medical career caring not for humans, but for their animal companions. He’d always been a science-minded student while pursuing his undergraduate at Rutgers University, but—speaking candidly—he “never really expected to go as far as getting my medical degree.”
“My MCAT scores were fine, but my GPA wasn’t the greatest,” he says. “And I remember getting a lot of flak from counselors at Rutgers when I was speaking with them about attending medical school. They though it was an unattainable goal…were pushing me in a different direction.”
As it turned out, Dr. McEntee found work—both during and after his time at Rutgers, from which he graduated in 2009—as a veterinary technician. “And the more I worked there, the more I enjoyed the clinical aspect of medicine,” he says. As it turned out, he ended up injuring his hand in 2011 (a severed tendon), which meant he needed to take some time off from work for rehabilitation.
“That’s what kind of spurred me to apply,” he says, thoughtfully. “Everything happens for a reason, right?”
Dr. McEntee, while still an undergrad at Rutgers, had noticed RUSM posters hanging up around campus, and—perhaps recalling what his counselors had told him—decided to submit his application.
“Ross was the only school that I applied to,” he says. “I was just happy to have the opportunity.”
The process moved quickly—he’d interviewed in September 2010, was accepted a month later in October, and soon landed on the island of Dominica in January 2011 to start RUSM’s Foundations of Medicine (basic sciences) curriculum.
The Transition to Life in Dominica
Getting used to island life, he says, was something of an interesting transition—one that ended up benefiting him in the long run. “It was total culture shock,” he says. “I’d never been out of the states by myself before. When I first landed, I considered going home.”
He’s glad he didn’t. “Without a doubt, it’s something that has shaped who I am in a huge way—not just in my career, but how I interact with people on a daily basis,” he says of his time on the island. “I’m a better person all around—I’m calmer, I’m nicer, I’m more accepting. I’m just better. It’s strengthened me, given me real resolve, and makes me feel like I can handle any situation that’s put in front of me.”
RUSM’s organ systems-based curriculum—an approach to teaching that organizes courses by systems within the body, enabling students to see how these systems work together—served as the “backbone” of his education on the technologically advanced RUSM campus in Dominica, he says.
“I think it prepared us as well as any other students, and I’ve rotated with groups of American medical school students, plus students who went to DO schools,” he says. “I never felt like I was outdone, never felt there was a piece of education I didn’t have. In fact, many times I felt like I was more prepared.”
US Clinical Rotations—Close to Home
After completing his Foundations of Medicine coursework, Dr. McEntee left Dominica and flew back to the United States for clinical rotations. He participated in what RUSM calls “tracked” clinical rotations, meaning he was able to complete all of his core rotations at hospitals in New York, within the same general geographic area. In Dr. McEntee’s case, he completed every core rotation—save pediatrics—at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway, NY. “They were absolutely great to me,” says Dr. McEntee of that hospital. He was able to stay in New York for most of his elective rotations, too.
Given that the clinical side of medicine had appealed to him during his time as a vet tech, undergoing rotations in the US was an exciting, brave new world for Dr. McEntee. “It’s about showing you have the knowledge base to work, in a productive manner, as a member of a healthcare team,” he says. “In clinicals, they’ll let you go as far as you can.”
Though RUSM students generally get hands-on patient experience during their first few weeks on the island, clinical rotations take things to the next level. “You’ll do suturing, grand rounds…there’s a lot more,” he says. “If you’re spending a lot of face-time with the residents there and are showing the drive to learn, they’ll let you help in simple surgical procedures, hold tools, help close surgical sites, place central lines, teach you how to intubate—you name it, I’ve probably done it.”
Dr. McEntee credits RUSM’s clinical team, particularly Assistant Dean of Student Affairs Gary Belotzerkovsky, for supporting him every step of the way during his clinical experience.
“They went above and beyond to try and make everyone get exactly what they wanted,” he says of the team. “In fact, Gary personally helped me schedule one of my elective rotations. There was never a time that I felt someone wasn’t there either actively trying to address an issue or working on that issue and keeping us updated.”
A Successful Residency Match for McEntee
When he was devising his rank list—applicants need to submit a list of their preferred residency programs to the National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) after they register for the residency match—McEntee knew he’d be happy matching at any of the five programs he listed. Getting his top choice, he says, made him even happier.
“I’ve heard from my friends that [getting] your #1 or #2 [choice] is the norm,” he says.
Though he enjoyed all of the specialties he rotated through during his clinical years, there was something about internal medicine that he found fascinating. This factored in to his residency decision. “Internal medicine allows you to see a broad array of cases, but it’s also a lot more thought-process-involved,” he says. “You’ll get a lot of in-depth cases where you’re thinking about complicated pathologies, and it would allow me to seek a fellowship afterward.”
That fellowship, he says, would likely be in pulmonary and critical care, an area of medicine he became interested in when his mother was diagnosed with an “obscure form of pneumonia”, something physicians had been unable to fully diagnose at the time.
“I spent a lot of time in the ICU with her,” he says. “Just seeing how the ICU worked, the intricacies of her care—it really sparked an interest in me.”
For now, though, Dr. McEntee is happy to start the latest part of his path to practice.
“Ross provides you with an opportunity that a lot of other places may not give you,” he says. “And you can go as far as you’re willing to take yourself. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, there’s nothing you’ll need that Ross can’t provide.”
March 20, 2015
|Marcella Perez (above), set to graduate in May 2015, matched into the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School's Family Medicine Program.
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.
She earned her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, with a major in biomedical engineering and it was always her dream to become a physician. While she was always a good student, she said that her MCAT scores were disappointing, even after two attempts. RUSM gave her an opportunity to enroll and she proved that she was, indeed, a good student, achieving a high GPA and doing well on the United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step exams. “When you have a passion for the material you study, you’re able to do well,” she said.
While on the Dominica campus for the Foundations of Medicine portion of her medical education, Marcella explored the various areas of the profession by joining the student clubs devoted to pediatrics, ob-gyn, and surgery. “I had a great time on the island, hiking and exploring. I miss Dominica,” she said. “I got to participate in community clinics and that was really rewarding,” she noted. “It made me feel really good about why I chose to go into medicine.”
But it was not until Marcella did her second clinical rotation that she knew for sure what area she wanted to pursue. ”When I did my family medicine rotation, I fell in love. Being able to see patients of all ages, and being able to manage a wide variety of medical conditions is really special to family medicine,” she said. “I have a lot of different interests, and that’s one of the reasons I chose family medicine. Within the specialty I can strengthen my areas of interest such as women’s health and geriatrics, while still being a primary care physician and providing care in underserved areas.”
March 20, 2015
|Jairo Espinosa (above), slated to graduate RUSM in May 2015, just landed a surgery residency at Western Michigan University.
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.
“I’m interested in general surgery with a specialization in plastic surgery,” he said. “I appreciate the aspect of being the treatment as a surgeon, of being the last line of defense, and being everything you can be for a patient.” Specializing in plastic surgery is also “a lifestyle choice” for Jairo, who feels that a career in that field would afford him more family time. He said he would like to practice in Florida.
Jairo is nostalgic about his time in Dominica while studying the Foundations of Medicine portion of the curriculum. “It was unique,” he said. “My experience in Dominica is something that I would never want to give up. It truly made me into the person I am today. It was a priceless experience that I feel that I was very blessed to have.” He was active in several student sports groups, playing intramural soccer, football, volleyball and softball.
Born in New Jersey, the 27-year-old spent part of his childhood in Colombia. Relatives from Colombia will be attending his RUSM graduation, together with about 20 other family members. “I’m really thankful to RUSM for the opportunity,” he said. “I was determined to be the best.”
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:
- Dr. Palosha Ahmed – University of Chicago (Illinois)
- Dr. Richard Antonio – University of Tennessee Health Science Center (Tennessee)
- Dr. Patricia Feito – Bayfront Health (Florida)
- Dr. Jacob Flynn – Munson Healthcare Family Medicine Program (Michigan)
- Dr. Rubinder Malczewski – Rush-Copley Medical Center (Illinois)
- Dr. Vladimir Markovic – Centra State Family Medicine Residency Program (New Jersey)
- Drs. Adnan Ameer and Jaynesh Patel – UCSF-Fresno (California)
- Dr. Jaspreet Arora – Albany Medical College (New York)
- Dr. John Bello – Winthrop University Hospital (New York)
- Dr. Adam Gray – University of Kentucky College of Medicine (Kentucky)
- Dr. Prem Premkumar – University of Connecticut School of Medicine (Connecticut)
- Dr. Daniel Taramasco – Rochester General Hospital (New York)
- Dr. Vibhuti Agarwal – University of Florida College of Medicine - Jacksonville (Florida)
- Dr. Allison Altscher – East Carolina University (North Carolina)
News and perspectives from our campus, colleagues, and alumni
P R E V I O U S P O S T S
- MATCH: Alumni are a Match Made on Campus
- ADVICE: 10 Tips for Ross Clinical Students
- IN THE NEWS: CNN Highlights Image of Ross Alumna and Female Surgeon Peers
- MATCH: Q&A with Student Set to Begin an Internal Medicine Residency
- ALUMNI: Sheryl Recinos, MD, Charted a Bold Plan to Pursue Her Dream
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