In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2021-2022, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 95% first-time residency attainment rate thus far. Located on the island of Barbados and with a network of more than 15,000 alumni, RUSM is one of the largest providers of doctors for the U.S. healthcare system. RUSM graduates practice in all 50 states and in Puerto Rico.
Ashley Sebastian Begins the Path She Vowed to Take
As a recipient of the Dean’s Scholar Award and Opportunity Scholarship, both merit-based aid, Sebastian was acknowledged for the combination of her academic performance, service and exposure to medicine. For several years she volunteered at a community kitchen, the Nova Scotia Cancer Clinic and was involved in the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequalities and Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project) at Dalhousie University. Sebastian also served as the first research assistant at the William Osler Health System in Brampton, Ontario where she analyzed medical charts and physician processes to develop better practice outcomes. Additionally, Sebastian had the opportunity to shadow Dr. Subodh Verma who is a professor of surgery and pharmacology at the University of Toronto as well as cardiac surgeon at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto.
“That day, I made a vow to become a physician who would never leave anyone behind. My mission is to improve the quality of life for others by bridging the gap between social determinants adverse to health and health care delivery.”
Sebastian has known from an early age that she would become a physician. While on vacation with her family as a second-grader, a driver refused to stop the vehicle to assist a visibly hemorrhaging pedestrian, in spite of her pleas.
“That day, I made a vow to become a physician who would never leave anyone behind,” said Sebastian recalling how helpless and sad she felt. “My mission is to improve the quality of life for others by bridging the gap between social determinants adverse to health and health care delivery.”
Perhaps it was also the influence of her family that subconsciously inspired Sebastian to become a physician. Her grandfather, father, three uncles and a host of cousins all have careers in medicine.
“I have grown up in a family of physicians and realize that hard work and an ardent commitment to the sick are the cornerstones of the profession,” said Sebastian as she contemplated about the physician role models in her family. “From volunteering to help the homeless to sponsoring children in developing countries, my father, who is a physician, taught me the foundations of selflessness and altruism.”
Sebastian completed her undergraduate career at St. Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she received the 2014 Student Leadership Award for Science. In the same year she made the Dean’s List and was an active member of the university’s Caribbean Society. In 2015, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.