Leaving a Lasting Impact

Ross Student Helps Organize EMT Training for Dominican Fire Brigade


(North Brunswick, NJ)—A fourth-semester medical student at Ross University School of Medicine, Ryan Grieco is making a lasting impact in Dominica by helping to organize and run a training program for local firemen who are eager to become emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

As president of the Ross Emergency Medicine Association (REMA), Ryan has helped to completely revamp the Portsmouth Fire Department Project into an initiative that seeks to offer formal EMT training to Dominicans. This program includes about 10 to 12 students who do everything from fundraising to teaching classes to conducting research on how creating an organized EMT program in the country may improve mortality rates.

“I’m very proud of this project,” Ryan explained. “Before REMA’s involvement our sister organization, Ross Emergency Medical Services [EMS], was working with the Portsmouth Fire Brigade, but it wasn’t very organized because they were trying to run it with just a couple of people. I thought it would be helpful to have more people involved so I created a subcommittee of REMA that is also dedicated to this project.”

He continued, “The goal was to start small. We can’t tackle the entire country all at once so we decided to start with the firehouse in Portsmouth and assist with their training and help get them some supplies through donations and things like that. It looks like we’re going to be completely up and running this semester.”

Because the Portsmouth Fire Department Project is student-run, the participants cannot receive official EMT certification, according to Ryan; however, he hopes this will change as the program continues to develop.

“In Dominica, there are a few people who were trained as EMTs in other locations—but for the most part the firemen here have very limited, if any, EMT training and they are very eager to organize their own EMS program on the island. We’re trying to help them achieve that,” he said.

As president of REMA, Ryan has also organized and coordinated events including two academic lectures, an electrocardiogram workshop, an airway workshop and an advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) workshop using the STAN high fidelity patient simulators.

“One of things I really wanted to do was create additional opportunities for students to get more hands-on experience in their first and second semesters. We proposed sending a few students with Dean Coleman on her monthly visit to a local diabetes clinic. So now she takes four or five students who are able to shadow her and check things like blood sugar, hemoglobin and cholesterol levels,” he said.

In addition to his work with REMA, Ryan is also a supervisor for Ross EMS and provides emergency medical care to members of the Ross community who are ill or injured outside of the medical clinic’s operating hours.

“I think that my involvement with REMA and Ross EMS will really help me later on,” he said. “A lot of medicine involves teaching and having an appreciation for that will be a huge benefit for me. Before I came here I was a field training officer so I had some teaching experience, but nothing like the more formalized instruction that I’ve done at Ross.”

Ryan decided to take the next step and become a physician while he was enrolled in paramedic school in the States.

“I decided to leave paramedic school and come to Ross because I wanted to go all the way with my medical training,” he said. “I’m open to many different things in clinical medicine, but if I’m lucky enough I’d like to go into emergency medicine. Nothing really interests me the way that it does.”

About Ross University School of Medicine
Ross University, founded in 1978, is a provider of medical and veterinary education offering doctor of medicine and doctor of veterinary medicine degree programs. The School of Medicine is located in Dominica, West Indies, with a new location in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The School of Veterinary Medicine is located in St. Kitts. The first four semesters of pre-clinical training are taught in Dominica over a 16-month period. Students complete their fifth semester, Advanced Introduction to Clinical Medicine, in Miami, Florida; Saginaw, Michigan; or Dominica. Semesters six through ten consist of core and elective clinical rotations in U.S. affiliated teaching hospitals. Ross University graduates are eligible to practice medicine in all 50 U.S. states, Canada and Puerto Rico upon successful completion of the requisite licensing examinations.
Ross University’s administrative offices are located in North Brunswick, NJ. For more information about Ross University, visit or call 732.509.4600.