Looking Back and Moving Forward: Dean's Year-End Message


The following letter was sent to faculty, staff, and alumni by Dr. Joseph A. Flaherty, Dean and Chancellor of Ross University School of Medicine.

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff, and Alumni,

As members of the Ross University School of Medicine (Ross) community, we are part of a proud and noble tradition.This tradition brings many of our aspiring physicians to Ross, to do what it takes to learn, to persevere, and to succeed. This tradition also attracts faculty to our institution, motivates them each and every day to do the best they can do to mentor our students, and inspires our staff to provide the service and support to help our students realize their dreams.

Commitment, dedication, and resilience are the attributes that have enabled this tradition to stand the test of time and serve so many. As 2012 comes to a close and 2013 begins, I want to personally thank all of you for all you have done and continue to do in support of the Ross mission. I also want to highlight just a few ways that, together, we are carrying that mission forward.

  • In June, 834 Ross students were awarded Doctor of Medicine degrees. Given what we know about the need for skilled healthcare providers in our states, our cities, and our small towns, this is not an inconsequential number. Ross students continue to provide the backbone of the U.S. healthcare system.
  • We made progress in one of our main goals: to increase the quality and quantity of clinical clerkship opportunities. In May, we added Kern Medical Center in California, the largest clinical affiliation in the history of our school. Since then we have added or expanded our affiliations with Atlanta Medical Center in Georgia, Vanguard MacNeal Hospital in Illinois, and Cleveland Clinic in Florida.
  • The Ross leadership has been taken to a new level, with the appointments of Dr. Alison Dobbie, senior associate dean for medical education, and Dr. Paula Wales, senior associate dean for student affairs. Both of these new leaders joined Ross from esteemed medical schools in the U.S. Both have expressed to me that what brought them to Ross is our mission and the passion of our students.
  • In Dominica, we have embarked on a major campus renovation that will include a new student center that will house our library, new study and advising space, and new student amenities.
  • Our students in Dominica continue to set a high standard for personal and professional contribution to the society in which they live. There is a myth that students at Ross have time for little else beyond attending class and studying. Yet there are 46 student organizations that provide tremendous support to the local community and one another. Amidst everything, I believe we need to keep that up. That’s a big part of what and who we are at Ross.
  • In October, the Dominica Medical Board, the chief local board that accredits our institution, reaffirmed the strength of Ross’s mission and programs, granting a five-year re-accreditation.
  • Over the course of the year, we enacted a very important transition of our student services, including the offices of Student Service, Clinical Placement and Operations, and Student Professional Development. These departments have moved from New Jersey to our Miramar campus. The purpose of this transition was to create more efficient and student-friendly services to assist students through each stage of the journey to become physicians.
  • And finally, Ross students taking the USMLE Step 1 examination in calendar year 2012 have achieved a first-time pass rate of 97%. Step 1 is one of the most important factors in residency placement for students. We are extremely proud of our students and our faculty.

The year 2012 has truly been a special one at Ross. But what does it mean? I like to say that Ross and its students are a perfect match. As an institution, we provide an opportunity for an incredibly dedicated set of students to succeed in fulfilling the dream to become a physician. I think that particular match is something we should be proud of.

I congratulate the entire RUSM family on a job well done. Let us continue to build on this foundation moving forward.


Joseph A. Flaherty, MD
Dean and Chancellor