Checking the Pulse EPISODE 1: Introducing the MD PROGRAM
Welcome to Ross University School of Medicine! This episode is an introduction to our MD program, covering who we are, our timeline, location, curriculum, rotations, and outcomes, like board pass rates and residency matches.
Milena Garcia: Hello Future Rossies and premed explorers! This is Milena Garcia, your host for Ross University Checking the Pulse, a premed podcast. This is our minipodcast featuring facts and information about our medical program, insights from currents students and tips from practicing physicians.
Each week this podcast will be broken down in small episodes, focusing on one aspect of our program, also having guests talk about their own experiences as students and as doctors.
Since this is our first episode, Today’s theme will be an introduction of our medical program. So you always wanted to be a physician, but your plan of being accepted to a US school didn’t quite work as you had hoped? What are you going to do? Are you giving up? Or are you going to find another alternative to pursue your dream? Do you think that “C” in Organic Chemistry means you can’t be a good Dr? Are you willing to work hard to make it work, no matter was it takes?
If you can relate to any of this, then you are in the right place. I’m here to tell you how you can accomplish your goal and become a physician.
Maybe you are already familiar with us, or maybe you just started researching around…. In this episode, I will talk about our MD program, who we are, the timeline, the pre-clinical curriculum, rotations and some outcomes, like the board pass rates and residency match rates. I’ll give you an overview of the frequently asked questions. And then we’ll break this information down in future episodes.
Are you ready to start your journey to medical school? Let’s do this, together.
History of Ross University School of Medicine
Ross University School of Medicine was established in 1978 on the island of Dominica. In 2019 our campus moved to the island of Barbados. Part of our program is done in Barbados, in the Caribbean, and part of the program is done in the US.
When you google our program, you will see our address in Miramar FL. This may be a bit confusing, and maybe throw you off. We do have faculty, staff and students in different places. Our main office is in FL, our main campus is in Barbados, we have several Admissions representatives around the US and Canada and we have clinical students in many different states. Graduation is usually in FL.
Even though we may all be spread out, at Ross, we share a mutual goal to provide an exceptional medical education to our students. We offer an intense, four-year MD program taught by a faculty whose main responsibility is to teach.
We follow an equivalent academic curriculum to the US schools. 85% of our student body is US citizens or permanent residents, 8% of our students are Canadians and about 7% are from other countries. This means the great majority of our graduates will be applying for residency in the US and Canada, that’s why we prepare you the same way, so you are on par when you take the same board exams.
Because of the way our curriculum is designed, you will have eligibility to practice in all 50 states and all Canadian provinces. There is nothing different that our students need to take, no foreign license exams…. It’s the same boards exams that any US MD program also takes. They are called USMLE (which stands for US medical licensing exams) – 2 of them, Steps 1 and 2, are during medical school – and these are the same, no matter what allopathic school you attend. Step 3 is during Residency (which is after medical school), so that one will be based on the residency that you choose.
RUSM MD Program Admissions
OK, the most frequently asked questions I get are about Admissions, so let’s start there. The reality is that Admissions in the US and Canada has become a numbers game. There is simply not enough spots available for the amount of applicants. If you’re wondering, for example in the US, for the past 5 years, there have been between 50-52 thousand applicants for US medical schools. For these 52 thousand applicants, there are about 22 thousand spots. That’s your competition. (For my Canadian Future Rossies, I plan to do an episode just for you! I’ll bring in my colleague, the Director of Admissions for Canada, to make an ALL-Canadian episode).
Back to our math problem: we now have almost more than double the amount of applicants per spots available. Keep in mind that doesn’t mean it’s “1 in 2 chance” – it’s the top 22 thousand applicants, right? Make sense?
OK, quick parenthesis, next episode I’ll talk about our Admissions Process here at Ross, including Admissions criteria, pre requisites, what we look for and how the process works. So don’t forget to follow us.
At Ross, we believe there is more to you than your GPA and MCAT. We want to hear your story. We offer the opportunity for students with the requisite ability, the desire and the character to pursue their dream to become a physician. We have over 15000 graduates already practicing in the US and Canada, which means we know how to get you there successfully. The path to residency is not a mystery to us.
I’m going to try to give you a view of our program timeline via the podcast – you’re going to have to imagine what I’m saying now, so be prepared to be a little creative, let your imaginative juices flow. If you can picture this timeline, I think it will help you better understand our program, especially if you just recently found out about our school.
MD Program Curriculum
Our curriculum is divided in pre-clinical training (AKA Medical Sciences) and the clinical training (the rotations). There are 10 semesters total: 4 semesters for the medical sciences and 6 in clinical rotations. Like I mentioned before, our main campus is in Barbados. This is where you will be doing your first 4 semesters in medical school. Theoretically these are the first 2 years of medical. However, because of our accelerated program, the first 4 semesters can be done in 16 months.
Did I just say 2 years of school in 16 months? Yes, our program is year-round; we don’t stop for summers, so you can finish the first 2 years of medical school in less than 1.5 year.
Our Medical Sciences curriculum is organ systems-based, organized 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 of the physiological, anatomical, and biochemical processes of an organ system, all at once.
We support our curriculum with really nice and technologically advanced facilities (there are lots of videos on our youtube channel, so check them out) and we introduce hands-on work very early – like living anatomy and working with the human simulators.
We also emphasize small group learning, so you will be working in teams of 2-9 students.
During this time on campus, the students have support from the ATL faculty and staff. The Academy for Teaching and Learning is available for academic and psychological support. And we function like a normal campus so you will see all kinds of student organizations. They are usually sports related, interest related, religion/culture related, and an active Student Government Association.
After you finish the first 4 semesters, you will need to sit for the first USMLE (US Medical Licensing Exam) remember? This is the Step 1. Our Step 1 first time pass rate for 2019 was a 96.7% – you can always find the latest verified numbers on our website at www.medical.rossu.edu.
After successful completion of the Step 1, you are back in the US for all the clinical training. The clinical training is the last 6 semesters, for a total of 90 weeks.
We are affiliated with about 18 teaching hospitals in the US where you will be doing your clinical rotations. I’m going to refer you to our website for the specific list, but know that they are located in CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, Maryland, MI and NY/NJ area. And these are track rotations, which means, you will stay there for the remainder of the time. I’ll do a podcast on the clinical years later on too. And then that’s it! You sit for Step 2 and you graduate from medical school.
Take a deep breath, that’s a lot of information so far right?
OK, now that I have you graduated from medical school, here comes residency.
Our grads participate in the same MATCH as all the other US based students. This year, 2020, 589 current and former Ross graduates attained residencies in 24 disciplines. That’s a 95% match rate!!! (I strongly encourage you to look these up on our website www.medical.rossu.edu to see for yourself. There are 15 years of residency attainments listed online).
One last item I want to mention as part of our program intro to you is Financial Aid. It’s also one of the frequently asked questions, so I’m sure you are wondering. As a Ross student, you may participate in the US Federal Direct student loan program. That’s the FAFSA; if you are familiar with the FAFSA, it’s the same process for us. We also have several scholarships (you can see them on our website). If you have financial aid questions, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our Financial aid advisors are always ready to help! Their contact information is listed under Student Finance Resources page on our website as well.
OK, let me stop here to give you a chance to digest all this information. I know it was a lot, and I promise I will break this down in individual episodes in the future so don’t forget to follow us for more. In the meantime…
Milena Garcia: Thank you for listening to Ross University Checking the Pulse, a premed podcast. This is Milena Garcia, your host. This podcast is made for you, so let me know what topics you want us to cover on future episodes. Send me your comments, feedback and requests to firstname.lastname@example.org, definitely follow us on Instagram or Twitter (@RossMedSchool), or on Facebook. If you’re listening to this podcast on iTunes, I’m working my way to 5 starts so please send me your comments, let me know your ideas and questions. If you are on Spotify, remember to click on the “Follow” button to get our future episodes. All right, See you Future Rossies and premed explorers, next week!