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.
Chief Resident Roberto Swazo, MD '15
When Dr. Roberto Swazo was 11 years old, he witnessed his mother courageously fight metastatic breast cancer. It was her unwavering will to live and perseverance to thrive, that deeply resonated with Roberto. During the course of his mother’s cancer treatments, he met several physicians that piqued his interest in internal medicine. Ultimately, is was his mother’s successful and passionate fight against cancer that inspired him to pursue a career in medicine.
After graduating from high school early, at 16 years old, Roberto immediately started college and also pursued amateur boxing, a slight distraction from his studies. Upon graduating from the Roosevelt University with a B.S. in Biology and minor in Chemistry, Roberto started engaging with medical schools in his hometown of Chicago. Most of the medical schools advised Dr. Swazo due to his young age and unconventional boxing hobby, he may not be mature to handle the rigors of medical school. On the recommendation of a fellow and older classmate, he discussed his predicament to either wait or possibly pursue another degree before applying to US medical schools. His friend advised him of RUSM’s incredible reputation and student stats, including United States Medical Licensing Examination® Step 1 pass rates and first time residency match. He reached out to Ross University School of Medicine and was promptly interviewed and accepted.
Dr. Swazo remembers landing in Dominica to start his Basic Sciences curriculum like it was yesterday. It initially took some time to acclimate to living and studying abroad, but as a medical student he was immersed in his studies and quickly adapted to the change. The first 18 months of medical school were the most challenging and emotionally taxing moments he’s endured, but they were also the most rewarding time of his life. He also made many close friends during his time in Dominica, in fact, four of them were groomsmen in his wedding.
Upon graduating from RUSM in May 2015, Dr. Swazo matched in Internal Medicine at the University of Arizona, School of Medicine – South Campus. Fundamentally, his interest in Internal Medicine began with his mother’s cancer fight, but it’s the vast array of patient encounters that Internal Medicine offers that solidified Roberto’s interest. Dr. Swazo believes that specializing in Internal Medicine exposes him to a variety of medical sub-specialties, in turn allowing him the create sustainable and long-term relationships with his patients in inpatient and outpatient care.
Recently graduating from his Internal Residency at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine at South Campus, Dr. Swazo has stepped into a new role as Chief Resident for the academic year. He plans on applying for Fellowships in Pulmonary and Critical Care, with the hopes of pursuing a career as Intensivist at an academic program in the near future. During his tenure as Chief Resident thus far, he’s come to admire the intricacies of the medical administrative roles in the hospital setting. A leadership role balancing clinical and administrative duties in a hospital is where Dr. Roberto Swazo hopes to be in the future with his wife, Brigitte, on the East Coast.