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Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has entered into an agreement with Tuskegee University in Alabama to increase diversity in medical schools, by increasing the number of African-American students who enter medical school at RUSM, and ultimately become physicians.

The United States is facing a critical absence of diversity in the medical field, and the disproportionately low number of African-American doctors is causing negative health outcomes in communities across the country. Reflecting its commitment to improve diversity in the medical field, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has entered into an agreement with Tuskegee University in Alabama to increase the number of African-American students who enter medical school at RUSM, and ultimately become physicians. This educational pathway allows qualified Tuskegee students who earn full acceptance into the medical school to receive a scholarship covering full tuition for the first semester. These students will spend the first two years of medical school at the RUSM campus in Barbados.

Cultural Diversity in Medical Care

RUSM is one of the more diverse medical schools, with a student population made up of  51 percent of students of color. With more than 14,000 alumni, RUSM graduates practice in direct patient care in all 50 states, including a high percentage of graduates who are in the essential field of primary care. African Americans make up only six percent of U.S. physicians. While most U.S. medical schools had an average of eight African-American graduates this past year, RUSM had more than 80.

“Significantly greater representation in medicine is imperative to the health of our communities and our nation, and RUSM’s unique impact and portable lessons on medical school diversity promise to reduce health disparities,” said RUSM Dean and Chancellor, Dr. William F. Owen, Jr., M.D., FACP. “We are pleased to partner with Tuskegee University. By increasing the participation of underrepresented Americans in health education we promulgate an opportunity to share in social justice for health.”

“This is an exciting partnership that I expect will yield tremendous dividends for everyone involved — especially for Tuskegee University’s students, whose broadening professional opportunities will also mean a more diverse medical workforce,” said Tuskegee University President Dr. Lily D. McNair. “I look forward to the wonderful opportunities for our students and our university, as Tuskegee gains a valuable academic partner.”

“The Alabama Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs applauds Tuskegee University and Ross University School of Medicine for tackling the long-standing lack of diversity in medicine. The adverse effects stemming from a lack of access to care and the pervasiveness of health inequality have long been felt, not only across Alabama, but nationwide,” said Nichelle Williams Nix, Director of Alabama’s Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs, which works with Tuskegee and the state’s other HBCUs to enhance their collective impact on Alabama’s economic and workforce development success.

RUSM’s Pledges to Increase Diversity in Healthcare

RUSM recently announced similar agreements with Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University and Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science. As part of its continued commitment to addressing diversity in the medical field, RUSM’s parent company, Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), signed on to the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Partnership Challenge created by the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, pledging to invest in creating strategic collaborations with HBCUs and working to increase diversity in key workforce sectors.

Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, RUSM is part of Adtalem Global Education’s medical and healthcare education vertical, which also includes American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine in Sint Maarten, Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine in St. Kitts, and Chamberlain University, the largest provider of nursing education in the United States. Adtalem is a mission-driven educator and workforce solutions provider with institutions and companies around the world, including the U.S., Caribbean, Europe, Asia and Brazil, and committed to furthering diversity in medical schools.

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.