Ross University Blog

SCHOLARSHIPS: Student Inspired to Help Children in Underserved Communities

March 10, 2017

Rutuja Bhalerao, Ross student and recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award

Rutuja Bhalerao, Ross student and recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award

At the time, Rutuja Bhalerao didn’t know that the frequent relocations she had throughout her childhood along with her family would lead to the pursuit of a career in medicine. But looking back, it’s made all the difference.

A 2015 graduate of the University of California-Irvine, Rutuja is a recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award, a Ross scholarship that recognizes students who have made significant contributions to their communities through volunteer work or research. Here, Rutuja talks about why she chose Ross, first impressions and her passion for pediatrics.

What inspired you to pursue your MD?

While growing up, I had the opportunity to live in many different places that helped expose me to different cultures, such as India, Philadelphia, Oklahoma, as well as California. Living in some of the rural communities had provided me with an eye-opening experience as to the need for primary healthcare. While gaining exposure to the medical field during my undergraduate career, my interest in pursuing medicine grew, specifically in pediatrics. In addition, I have always wanted to travel and eventually become involved with Doctors Without Borders. Upon graduation, I hope to pursue that dream so that I am able to do my part in helping many of the underserved communities that I have come across while constantly moving.

Any memorable experiences with pediatrics before medical school?

I served as a board member of an organization called Team Kid Power (KiPOW), which provides early nutritional education in low-income area elementary schools, as a preventative measure against childhood obesity. Each week, I’d go into classrooms and give an interactive lesson on healthy eating and living habits, as well as exercise and eat lunch with them, which helped them learn by example.

My work truly came to fruition when the mother of a student, Mia, thanked me for helping her daughter understand the importance of healthy eating. That was when I realized that I really could make a difference in these children’s lifestyles, and those of their families.

Why did you choose Ross?

My brother is a fourth-year Ross student, and I’d also heard from multiple people about how Ross provides an excellent education and prepares you well for the USMLE®. And the beautiful location of Dominica was a plus!

First impressions of Ross?

My experience has been exceptional so far. Both the faculty and students are eager to make sure that you understand the material. Ross provides you resources that you may need to make sure you’re succeeding and that you’re comfortable while you’re here in Dominica. For example, they have a mentorship program where you are paired with a professor to make sure you’re on track. I’ve also been able to explore the island, from visiting the landmarks and beaches to enjoying local food and tea. I’ve truly received a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

What makes you proud to be a Ross student?

I’m inspired by the fact that students and faculty take the time to go to local clinics to offer health care and look out for their community. As we’re pursuing medical education abroad, we’re provided with new experiences every day, which allow us to grow, learn and adapt in a community that we now call home.

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Tags: California , Pediatrics , Students , Scholarships

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SCHOLARSHIPS: Becoming Someone Who Has the Power to Help

February 22, 2017

Roma Nagin, Ross student and recipient of the Opportunity Scholarship

Roma Nagin, Ross student and recipient of the Opportunity Scholarship

Roma Nagin knew she was ready to start her journey towards becoming a physician. All she needed was a chance.

And now, as a first-semester student at Ross and the recipient of an Opportunity Scholarship, this Surrey, British Columbia native is on her way to making it happen.

Roma’s journey into medicine has been more than a decade in the making. When she was 12 years old, a close family member had to be rushed to the hospital—an experience that left her feeling completely powerless. “I had no idea how to help her, and I never wanted to be in that position again,” said Roma.

But in the midst of her fear, a thought struck her: Maybe, one day, she could be someone who did have the power to help.

“That’s when I first thought about pursuing a career in medicine,” Roma said.

For the next several years, Roma did her due diligence—and then some—in an effort to confirm whether medicine truly was the best fit for her. In her science classes, she found herself especially fascinated by the human body and the myriad ways it adapts to survive. That was a good sign. But Roma knew this decision “wasn’t one to be taken lightly,” and figured some real-world experience would be the true test.

So she spent the next several years volunteering at three local hospitals. There, she did everything from helping families find loved ones in the emergency department, to leading exercise groups for patients in the transitional care unit. Meanwhile, Roma studied biology at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver and worked as a laboratory research assistant at UBC’s Biomedical Research Centre.

The verdict? There was no denying it—she was ready to take the next step and pursue her MD.

Roma was attracted to Ross for a number of reasons, including residency placement rates, organizations like the Canadian Student Society, and the positive firsthand accounts from friends already studying at Ross. And now that she’s been in Dominica for nearly two months, she’s found even more to love about it.

“So far, one of my favorite areas is the anatomy lab,” Roma said. “We get hands-on experience with dissecting cadavers and learning the material up close. Plus, Ross provides us early training in clinical skills that we’ll use in our rotations—not to mention, the rest of our lives.”

She added, “The community here is so kind that you can ask anyone for help and they’d be willing to go out of their way to help you, whether they’re a student or a professor. And I’ve already made so many good friends that I know will last a lifetime.”

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SCHOLARSHIPS: It's Only Been a Month, but Ross Is Already Her Community

January 30, 2017

Martina Tripcovici, recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award, at the White Coat Ceremony

Martina Tripcovici, recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award, at the White Coat Ceremony

When Martina Tripcovici was young, she imagined herself in all the usual far-flung careers, such as an astronaut, doctor or lawyer. Meanwhile, her parents, a business owner and company director, planted the seed of going into business. But as it turned out, only one of those professions would stick with Martina—and deepen into her life’s calling.

Growing up, Martina had a natural curiosity about the world and people around her. Captivated by her science classes in school, she would read up on concepts that piqued her interest. In particular, she found herself fascinated by the human body and disease. When friends came to her with their health and medical questions, from “I don’t know why my foot hurts…” to “My mom has a headache that won’t go away…” Martina was happy to look it up.

It didn’t take long for her to realize that maybe being a doctor wasn’t just a childhood dream.

Fast-forward a few years, and this Quebec native is on her way to making that dream a reality. Martina is the recipient of a Community Health Leadership Award, a scholarship that recognizes students who have made significant contributions to their communities through volunteer work or research.

“Pursuing my MD at Ross complements my drive to always be the best at what I do,” said Martina. “I want to push myself out of my comfort zone and be in an environment where I know I will thrive in becoming a physician.”

The Road to Medical School

Martina’s ambition flourished during college at New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, where she earned a full athletic scholarship as an NCAA Division I tennis player. Amid a demanding tennis schedule, she pursed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in environmental science—and earned Dean’s List honors throughout her college career. In addition, she shadowed a local orthopedic surgeon in Livingston, N.J., and spent a summer volunteering at Pierre-Le Gardeur Hospital in her hometown of Terrebonne, Quebec.

After graduating from NJIT, she decided to further strengthen her clinical experience by taking on a research assistant position at Sainte-Justine Hospital in Montreal. Here, she had the opportunity to work closely with physicians on inflammable colon diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, in pediatric patients.

“I was able to interact with everyone there—patients, doctors, parents,” Martina said of her experience at Sainte-Justine. “I completely fell in love with it.”

Her passion for medicine confirmed, Martina began the application process for medical school. But her options were limited.

Most of the medical schools in Martina’s native Quebec conduct their curricula in French. While Martina spoke French very well, she had just spent her undergraduate years in New Jersey, learning the sciences in English. Attending a French-speaking medical school would mean having to translate her foundational knowledge—four years of complex, scientific education—just to get on a level playing field.  

In addition, medical schools in other Canadian provinces (that teach in in English) were extremely competitive. As Martina had completed her bachelor’s degree in the U.S., she would be considered an international applicant—making it even more difficult for her to gain admission.  

That’s when Martina began looking into Caribbean medical schools, where some of her friends had enrolled. One thing that drew her to Ross was the organ systems-based curriculum that organizes the teaching of medicine by systems within the body, like the digestive or respiratory systems. This approach, which mirrors how medicine is actually practiced, gives you a big-picture look at the physiological, anatomical, and biochemical processes of an organ system all at once.

“Ross was one of the only schools that had a systems-based curriculum, and the class size was smaller than some other schools,” said Martina.

Finding a Home

Having arrived at Dominica several weeks ago, Martina is taking advantage of all that Ross has to offer. “The simulation center and anatomy lab are amazing,” Martina said. “You can do dissections; you can see everything. Many of my friends that are in medical school do not have the opportunity to dissect or even go into a simulation center this early, which restricts hands-on learning.”

And beyond the academics, Martina has found a home in the Ross community.

“There’s a great little community here,” she said. “We’re not a huge class, and everyone is super friendly. You’re all in the same boat. I got here on the 29th of December at 11 p.m., and by the 30th, I had met people who I think are going to be my best friends.”

Her advice for pre-med students? “Think about how you are as a person, and look for a school that you can relate to,” she said. “I’m a people person—I like to get to know my classmates and be part of a community. Ross has been an amazing experience for me.”

Have questions for Martina about her Ross experience? She encourages students considering Ross to reach out to her with any questions you may have. You can email her at

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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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SCHOLARSHIP: Student, Mother, Nurse Follows Childhood Dream to MD

July 13, 2016

Rewaida Hall, Class of 2020, recipient of the Eliza Ann Grier scholarship

Rewaida Hall, Class of 2020, recipient of the Eliza Ann Grier scholarship

On a visit to the doctor’s office at age 9, Rewaida Hall didn’t sit quietly on the exam table and wait for the medical staff to ask her questions. Instead, she informed the nurses and doctor that she already knew what had her under the weather: measles. She showed them the spots on her skin, rattled off the rest of her symptoms, and considered the matter settled.

“The doctor smiled and asked what I wanted to be when I grew up,” says Hall, “and I replied without hesitation, ‘a doctor.’”

It hardly needed to be said. Even without her self-diagnosis, Hall’s natural inclination to be a doctor was plain from the outset. She would gather the neighborhood kids and set up a mock hospital, analyzing their symptoms, providing a diagnosis and treating their illness with candy (much to her mother’s dismay). Then, when Hall entered secondary school, she followed an educational track designed for students with an interest in health science. When she received an assignment to interview a community figure who inspired her, she chose a physician.

It seemed all the pieces were falling into place. Until they weren’t.

A Dream Deferred

Hall grew up in an extended family setting in Ghana alongside her cousins and their respective families. As she was in the same age cohort as two of her male cousins, the three of them went through all their rites of passage together. However, Hall was designated the nurse of the family, while the two males had the choice of being a physician or an engineer.

So medicine was pushed to the back burner as Hall entered college at the University of Akron in Ohio. There, she discovered a burgeoning interest in geography and anthropology. Although she had pivoted outside of healthcare, Hall thought this might provide another avenue to make a positive difference in people’s lives—through building healthier communities. So she earned her bachelor’s degree in geography and planning, followed by two master’s degrees in geography and planning, and public administration.

Hall interned for the city of Akron in the planning department. But her hopes of satisfying the desire to have a direct impact on people quickly faded.

“I realized I couldn’t effect nearly as much change as I thought,” says Hall.

She returned to school yet again and completed the accelerated nursing program her family had always wanted. Working as a nurse in the clinical setting, she had much more direct interaction in caring for people. But at the same time, the constant contact with practicing physicians only exacerbated her feeling of discontent.

“Every day I worked with physicians and saw how much of a difference their knowledge and expertise made in patients’ lives,” Hall says. “That’s what convinced me I wouldn’t be satisfied until I had my MD.”

"Don't Let Anyone Say You Can't Do It"

Now, with the support of her husband and children, Hall is continuing the journey she started long ago to become a physician. She is the recipient of the Eliza Ann Grier scholarship, offered to incoming first-semester students from under-represented minority groups in the field of medicine.

“Don’t let anyone say you can’t do it because of your age, who you are or where you come from,” says Hall. “If you have the desire and are willing to put in the effort, you can do it.”

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ADMISSIONS: Check Out These Available Scholarships for Incoming September Students

July 06, 2016

Student Aly Klein (above) was recently awarded the Community Health Leadership Award for first semester. Learn about the award below. You can read Aly's story here.

We don’t want financial barriers to stand in the way of you achieving your dream and becoming a physician. Potential Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students may be eligible for scholarships to help offset the cost of medical school. See below for the lineup of scholarships available for admitted students who enroll in our September 2016 class, plus a few stories about some recent award/scholarship recipients.

Awards/Scholarships for Incoming First-Semester Students (Automatically Considered)

For the six scholarships detailed below, no application is necessary—you’ll be considered for these scholarships based on your medical school application materials.

Opportunity Scholarship

Merit-based $25,000 scholarship, offered based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Awarded in $5,000 increments over semesters 1 through 5.

Chancellor’s Academic Achievement Award

Merit-based $25,000 award, offered based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Awarded in even increments between semesters 1 and 2.

Canadian Founder Award

Merit-based $15,000 award, offered to Canadian students based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score.

Dean’s Academic Merit Scholarship

Merit-based $10,000 scholarship, offered based on minimum overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT score. Awarded in $2,500 increments over semesters 1 through 4.

Community Health Leadership Award

Merit-based $10,000 award, offered to students who have made significant community contributions through volunteer work and/or research and based on overall undergraduate GPA or MCAT scores.

Dean’s Scholar Award

Merit-based $3,000 award, offered based on overall undergraduate GPA, prerequisite GPA, and MCAT score.

Awards/Scholarships for Incoming First-Semester Students
(Short Award/Scholarship Application Required)

For the three awards/scholarships below, you’ll need to complete a short award/scholarship application, which you can find on the web page for the award you’re considering.

Alumni Legacy Scholarship

Merit-based scholarship that covers first-semester tuition. Applicants must have a letter of recommendation from a RUSM graduate. MCAT score, GPA, clinical experience, and special honors/recognition will be considered as criteria. Applicants who are not offered the Alumni Legacy Scholarship will automatically be offered a $500 Alumni Book Scholarship if they completed all initial eligibility requirements.

The deadline to apply for this scholarship is July 15, 2016.

Eliza Ann Grier Scholarship

Merit-based $20,000 scholarship offered to US citizens from under-represented minority groups in the field of medicine (African-American, Native American, or Hispanic-American). Overall undergraduate GPA, personal essay, and letters of recommendation will be considered.

The deadline to apply for this scholarship is July 15, 2016.

MERP Scholar Award

Merit-based $10,000 award offered to students who excelled academically and provided leadership to peers during the Medical Education Readiness Program (MERP). Eligibility criteria include overall MERP score, personal essay, and letters of recommendation from MERP peers/faculty.

Recommended Reading: Stories about Recent Award/Scholarship Recipients

  • “My dad always told me don’t be average. If you’re average—if you do the same things everyone else does and follow the masses—then you won’t go anywhere,” says Aly Klein, a recipient of the Community Health Leadership Award. It’s a message that he took to heart. Read Aly’s story here. 
  • At 14, Stacey Sassaman decided to pursue medicine when her grandfather was diagnosed with a rare, malignant brain tumor. “I wanted to understand the disease process. I wanted to help him and future patients,” said Sassaman. She received both the Community Health Leadership Award and the Dean’s Academic Merit awards. Read Stacey’s story here. 
  • Knowing firsthand what it’s like to grow up in an underserved community, Stephen Sebastian hopes to open a rural medical practice. He began the first step toward realizing his goal when he enrolled at RUSM in January 2015, receiving the Canadian Founder Award and Dean’s Academic Merit Scholarships. Read Stephen’s story here.

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SCHOLARSHIP: This Student Found Success Researching and Fighting Malaria. Here’s Why He Wanted More.

June 20, 2016

Bharath Balu has completed a Ph.D. and two post-doctoral fellowships, led an antimalarial drug discovery team as a research scientist, authored 22 research publications and secured a U.S. government patent for an anti-malaria technique. He’s earned degrees from or been employed at six higher education institutions. And yet, despite these outstanding accomplishments, Balu felt something was missing.

That something was an M.D. And that’s what led him to his seventh school affiliation: Ross University School of Medicine, where he enrolled this May with a Chancellor’s Academic Achievement scholarship.

We caught up with Balu to learn more about his unique background and what he hopes to accomplish as a physician.

RUSM: How did you become interested in malaria?

Balu: Growing up in India, I had malaria three times. It’s endemic in India, but it can be hard for people outside of tropical areas to appreciate how serious these diseases can be. It’s estimated that more than 300,000 children died of malaria in 2015. 

I was fortunate to have survived, but it takes a toll on you regardless. You lose 10-20 pounds within days, you become very weak, and it takes time to recover and continue a normal life.

Malaria is also very interesting scientifically. It’s a difficult disease to study, and I wanted a challenge. The malaria parasite is complicated because it changes form and completes the life cycle in two hosts—the mosquito and the human.

RUSM: You’ve come to RUSM with four degrees under your belt, not to mention an enormous amount of research experience. Can you describe your path?

Balu: I earned my bachelor’s degree in microbiology. I’ve been fascinated by microbes since high school. They’re devastating as infectious agents, but they’re also priceless tools for innovation, and provide the gateway for genetic engineering.

After completing my postgraduate degree in medical biotechnology, I was fortunate to get accepted to the University of Notre Dame Ph.D. program in infectious disease, which was renowned for malaria drug and vaccine research. That was where I and a few colleagues developed a method to manipulate the malaria parasite genome, which was patented.

RUSM: Tell us about this patent.

Balu: It’s an insertional mutagenesis technique to mutate the human malaria parasite. Essentially, it’s a way of transforming the genome to weaken the parasite and elicit information that can be used for drug or vaccine development. Many scientists had tried before, but had not succeeded.

RUSM: That’s quite an accomplishment.

Balu: It was very fulfilling. The process took about six years, with lots of hard work and persistence, and our work became well known in the malaria research community. But I didn’t feel like I was making a direct impact on human welfare. This invention is really a starting place to develop drugs and ways to inhibit the disease, all the way up to the pharmaceutical company to get it out to market. At that point, it’s very much out of my hands.

RUSM: Did you experience this same kind of frustration with your other research endeavors—feeling like you weren’t doing enough?

Balu: I really enjoyed the intellectual aspect of research as it’s directed towards helping others. But with science, it takes decades to make an impact on people. After my doctorate, I spent several years in research, and there were always roadblocks to the end result of helping people: competition for funding, logistics of long clinical trials, and the lack of public infrastructure in the tropical world to afford novel therapies. So I wanted to try clinical work in the hopes that it would be more satisfying.

RUSM: How did you go about finding clinical work?

Balu: I became a physician assistant, and I loved it. The patient interaction, going to work every day and really impacting people’s lives—it was such a huge difference for me. In science, I barely had any public interaction, but now patients were thanking me for the way I took care of them.

Still, I wanted a much deeper medical knowledge, and to become proficient in infectious disease medicine. And having had years of scientific research experience, I do miss that. I want to become a doctor so I can care for patients and do clinical research—have both the human interaction and the science. I would also love to teach and spread the knowledge.

RUSM: What made you choose RUSM?

Balu: I did well on my MCAT and applied to U.S. medical schools, but I didn’t get in. I was many years out of school and U.S. medical schools asked me to go back to school to finish the prerequisites again. So it seemed I had two choices: wait another year, reapply and hope I got in somewhere, or find a school that would appreciate my background and qualifications, and give me a chance to be an M.D. And I found that in Ross.

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SCHOLARSHIP: Living Abroad Since Age 15, Aly Klein Finds a Home at RUSM

May 20, 2016

Aly Klein at the RUSM White Coat Ceremony on May 13, 2016.

Aly Klein at the RUSM White Coat Ceremony on May 13, 2016.

“My dad always told me, ‘Don’t be average,’” Aly Klein recalls. “If you’re average—if you do the same things everyone else does and follow the masses—then you won’t go anywhere.”

It’s a message that Klein took to heart.

Born and raised in Brazil, Klein moved to the U.S. to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. Along the way, he became fluent in English, volunteered in emergency rooms and participated in neuroscience research. Now, at 23, Klein is starting at Ross University Medical School (RUSM) with a Community Health Leadership Award scholarship.

There’s a lot of words you could use to describe Aly Klein, but it’s safe to say “average” isn’t one of them.

Committing to Medicine

“I’ve always seen health care as a venue to help your friends, family, community, and get to know people of different cultures,” Klein says.

But his expectation for medical education didn’t match what was available to him in Brazil.

"Ross gave me this opportunity. And like everything else in my life, I'm not wasting any time in going forward with it and achieving my goals."

“In Brazil, students begin their professional programs—including medicine—immediately after high school. I don’t think 17- and 18-year-olds have seen enough of the world yet to be able to make that kind of decision,” Klein said. “You need to be certain that medicine is truly your path, and that you want to dedicate your life to it. That’s why I loved the U.S. model of exploring your skills and interests through a bachelor’s degree before starting medical school.”

At age 15, Klein moved away from his family and friends to spend a year of high school as a foreign exchange student in Texas. His commitment to his educational vision was so strong that he moved back to the U.S. after finishing high school in Brazil, to earn his bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas-San Antonio.

While in school, he volunteered at several hospitals in the emergency department—a field he’s gravitated towards ever since he was 14.

A Life-Altering Experience

In July 2007, 14-year-old Klein and his father flew to São Paulo, Brazil, for Klein’s student visa interview to become an exchange student. While waiting to board their flight back home, they heard an explosion from the other side of the airport.

An Airbus A320 had skidded off the runway, crossed the highway and crashed into a nearby office building and gas station. More than 180 people died in what would become the worst air traffic accident in Brazilian history.

In the ensuing chaos, Klein got separated from his father and stood alone, watching the emergency workers arrive at the wreckage. In the midst of a devastating scene, the emergency team was the one source of hope.

“Seeing the emergency crew respond to this horrible accident really opened my eyes to people dedicating their lives to serve those in need,” Klein says. “Their spirit and what they provided—help to people who needed it most—stayed with me.”

“The Best Place for Me”

It was that spirit that kept Klein coming back to the ER—first, as a medical scribe, before being promoted to night shift technician—until just before he left for Dominica.

“It was bittersweet to leave the hospital. I did a little bit of everything, so I got to know a lot of people,” Klein says. “I believe one of the best traits a physician can have is to be a great listener. Not just waiting for someone to finish so you can respond—but really listening.”

In fact, it was through conversations with a colleague at the hospital that Klein learned about RUSM. Having applied to U.S. medical schools without success, Klein was intrigued by the stories from his colleague, an RUSM alum who “had nothing but good things to say about Ross.”

“The more I researched RUSM, the more it seemed like the best place for me,” Klein says. “Diversity has played a huge role in my life—moving to the U.S., meeting new people, experiencing new cultures. RUSM has such a diverse class, and it’s an opportunity for me to take another step in my journey while living abroad again.”

Starting the Next Chapter

From left: Aly Klein, his son Charlie and wife Amber on Dominica.

Now, nearly a month into his time at Dominica, Klein has no regrets. With his wife Amber and three-month-old baby Charlie joining him on the island, he’s got all the support—and motivation—he needs.

“I think of my family at home in Brazil and my family here, and it makes me go that extra mile every day,” said Klein. “Ross gave me this opportunity. And like everything else in my life, I’m not wasting any time in going forward with it and achieving my goals.”

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