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Leaving her hometown for the first time, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) second-semester student Kadie Stephens said her jitters subsided once she received warm welcomes from Barbados residents and RUSM staff. And by mid-May, two weeks into her new digs, she created buzz on her social media page — “Over the moon excited to be back to classes IN PERSON! What a crazy feeling to see professors and friends in real life when you’ve only ‘met’ them over Zoom. Great session with great people and excited for what is to come!”

Kadie is ready to plunge into her new adventure, even though it’s apart from her newlywed husband, pooches and a home in Indiana. “This last year has taught me how to be more flexible and just roll with things. Coming to this beautiful tropical island has been such a comforting experience. Everything was mapped out really well; there was no ambiguity about where to go. I was joking that it felt like summer camp… everyone was so nice, explaining where to go and what to do and then there was a bus waiting for you.”

Kadie Stephens

After quarantine, Kadie and her husband (who helped her move in) masked up and spent a week traveling around the island, visiting the beach and learning Barbados history from some of the natives. “I’m impressed with this island and how the government is really on top of things.” She encourages fellow students to join her. “Keep an open mind. We’re going to be physicians and seeing our patients in person so it’s important to be in person now while we’re learning.”

 

RUSM: The Right Fit

Kadie earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and neuroscience and a master’s degree in exercise physiology but claims her first semester at RUSM beat all expectations. “It’s focused on exactly what I’m interested in, and I can already tell RUSM is doing their best to prepare students. In my interview, there were personal, thought-provoking questions that included ethics. And instead of 50 pounds of books, everything is on this giant iPad®. The resources are amazing.”

Initially interested in becoming a physician’s assistant, Kadie’s work as a patient care technician redirected her career. “I figured out I would be better suited in a role as a physician than a physician’s assistant because I am an extraverted person and want to take a leadership role. Plus, I like the team aspect and collaborating with everyone.”

Years ago, a tough medical situation with her grandpa taught Kadie the importance of providing education and care for future patients as well as their families. “If you don’t have a family member in healthcare, patients can get the short end of the stick. I want to try and bridge that gap so there are better outcomes.” The adventure seeker who enjoys outdoor activities is not sure of a specialty yet but is intrigued with the “fast-paced go-go-go of emergency medicine and surgery.”

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She’s also interested in giving back. Last year, Kadie founded a custom-cup company called K-Squared Co, and created “Tumblers for Timmy” to sell during a two-week fundraiser to support Timmy Global Health (TGH), a nonprofit health organization that empowers communities to improve health care. She donated 100% of the proceeds to TGH and can’t wait to do more. “Timmy is an organization that I was heavily involved in during my undergrad career and my master’s degree and hope to be involved with again in the future as a physician.”

 

Learn More

Please visit our Return-to-Campus webpage to learn more about in-person learning in Barbados. To begin your medical education, visit RUSM.

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.