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Kashif Ahmad 6

Growing up in the Middle East, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) Associate Dean for the Academic Learning Environment Kashif Ahmad, MBBS, MSc, MSc (MEdL), PhD, witnessed chronic diseases, cancer outbreaks and healthcare inequity that affected his family and community. He enrolled at medical school in Pakistan, ready to balance the scales, when his perspective of disparities broadened to include gaps in healthcare access, especially in nearby poverty-stricken areas. 

“I kept thinking, ‘How can I bring a change to healthcare?’ and when I saw the struggle and the lesser treatment of those in these deprived areas, I was inspired to become a doctor who could help fix the system,” Ahmad recalled. “Becoming a medical doctor would be a steppingstone for me to make a bigger impact than I could if I wasn’t in the field. And now, I encourage our students to take a stand and make a difference all over the world.”  

Since a young age, medicine intrigued Ahmad as did education and research. He vowed to combine his passions and find a position in which he could inspire others; he found that calling in higher education. “I think I have educator’s blood in me,” Ahmad joked, sharing details of his extended family’s role in education. “I want to empower students to become strong, humanistic doctors who can relate to patients in their care.”  

Great Family Memories 

The oldest of four said his childhood consisted of three important elements — school, homework and family. “I grew up in a safe environment with parents who were very present in our lives. Family meant everything.”  

Ahmad left his childhood home in Abu Dhabi at 18 years old and moved to Pakistan to begin medical school. Five years later, armed with a medical degree, he longed for more real-life experience and entered a master’s program in London. “It was the best time of my life because I could feel my eyes opening to the world. Through my travels, I experienced different cultures, learned new perspectives, appreciated the differences and saw a different path to education.”    

Before moving to Singapore to begin a PhD program as a research scholar, he met Amna, an arranged match organized by his brother. “She has been my rock-solid support and I owe my successes to her. She supported me through some of my toughest years and has sacrificed so much for me.” Now a father of two daughters, he hopes to instill values he learned from his parents — a strong sense of responsibility, respect for others and hard-working ethics. “I work harder to achieve more, and I never think I’m perfect because it’s only when you criticize yourself that you grow even more. I tell them not to be too hard on themselves. It’s ok to make mistakes as long as they learn from them.”  

Give Back to Others 

The lifelong learner hopes to continue mirroring the traits of his hero, Saint Mother Teresa. “She gave incredible service to humanity, had a wonderful demeanor and a saintly exuberance in everything she did.” To that end, Ahmad tries to model a positive mental attitude for RUSM students and colleagues. 

 

“I want to make a positive impact on people’s lives. If I can empower students and encourage them to feel good about themselves, that helps remove future barriers in their lives. I want to remind them to always take a moment to reflect on their day and how they can improve themselves tomorrow.” Reflecting on his own good fortunes, Ahmad said, “When you give and can see the impact you’re making — whether it’s knowledge, physical strength or emotional support — you bring positive energy into your world and to all those around you.”  

 

Dr. Ahmad’s Life Lessons  
  • Always Forgive — “when you forgive, you let go of things, give the other person an opportunity to grow and reflect on his/her mistake” 

  • Live and Let Live — “remember to give space to your spouse, friend, colleague” 

  • Help Others — “helping students is the most rewarding as they become future colleagues” 

 

Dr. Ahmad’s Claim to Fame 

Meeting the Pope and boxer Muhammad Ali — “I remember Muhammad Ali came to school in Abu Dhabi and shook my hand. In the Middle East, boxing is a huge sport; people cancel work to attend the event. Mr. Ali spent a lot of time with us and he was quite inspiring.” 

 

Dr. Ahmad’s Fun Facts 
  • Legacy — “To be remembered as a caring and supportive person. If I can connect with someone and have a positive impact on them, even if it’s a small act of kindness, then I’ve created a great legacy” 

  • How Others Describe Him — “carefree, humorous, sensitive, flexible, outgoing”  

  • Nickname — “students nicknamed me Kash but started writing the ‘s’ as a dollar sign to remind me to make the big bucks”   

  • Giving Back — career counseling in the community including tips on how to get into medical school; volunteering at his daughters’ school events 

  • Taking One for the Team — “at a social event in England, we started a pie-in-the-face contest to raise money for a cancer charity and the students bid the most on me” 

  • Getting Roasted — “in medical school, someone purposely gave me wrong directions to the principal’s office; I was late, so it made me sweat a little bit but then I smiled when I found out they were joking. And when he asked about study topics for a test, I gave him many more topics than were going to be covered. It’s all in good fun.”  

 

Dr. Ahmad’s Faves 
  • Movies — “Untouchables” and “The Shawshank Redemption” 

  • Actors — Kevin Costner and Harrison Ford, “Their timing and acting is so right on; they are so well-rounded” 

  • Water Sport — “I have loved swimming since the early 1980s” 

  • Fun — Board games like Scrabble and playing card games  

  • Traveling — “You can only learn certain things through travel because sometimes you have to have the experience,” he said recounting last year’s Italy trip with his daughter to meet the Pope 

 

ALL BUSINESS  

Responsibilities   

Oversees the Academic Learning Environment Department, including the Academy for Teaching and Learning (ATL), as well as Library Services, Mind Body Medicine and Office of Research. ATL supports the academic success of students by promoting lifelong learning skills and advocating for student-centered programs, faculty development and medical education research and scholarship. 

 

Education / Credentials / Distinctions  
  • Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) — Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Pakistan  

  • Master of Science (MSc) — Guy’s Hospital, King’s College Hospital and St. Thomas’ Hospital (GKT School of Medical Education), London, England   

     

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) — Chua Toh Hua Memorial Gold Medal recipient, National University of Singapore 

  • Master of Science in Medical Education Leadership (MSc MEdL) — College of Osteopathic Medicine, University of New England, Maine 

  • Co-authored a book; authored book chapters, theses and dozens of educational articles, conference proceedings and scientific papers  

  • Recipient of several honors and awards including 2019 Innovation in Education Award and back-to-back Golden Apple Awards from the University of Illinois College of Medicine 

  • Longtime member with several organizations:

    • International Association of Medical Science Educators

    • American Physiological Society   

    • American Association of University Professors  

    • American Association for the Advancement of Science  

    • Chicago Medical Society 

 

Strategic Business Priorities  
  • Provide customized academic support to address student needs that lead to greater academic success 

  • Provide leadership to enhance programming in advising, faculty development, research and library services 

  • Promote a culture of continuous quality improvement in RUSM academic learning environment 

 

 

Learn More

To begin your medical journey, visit RUSM. Visit the Get to Know Your Leaders page for additional profiles. 

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 96% 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.

*First time residency attainment rate is the percent of students attaining a 2022-23 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2021-22 who were active applicants in the 2022 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.