This week, hundreds of RUSM students participated in a long-standing tradition, the White Coat Ceremony, at the St. Kitts Marriott Spa Resort. The ritual is a rite of passage for aspiring physicians as they begin their medical education journey. The cherished ceremony took on special significance as the event represented a return to normalcy after Hurricane Maria disrupted the Fall 2017 semester, causing RUSM to evacuate from the Dominica campus more than 1,300 of its students, staff, faculty and their family members.
“The white coats given out today are a badge of honor for our students,” said Stanley White, PhD, senior associate dean at RUSM. “It is our students’ reward for their resiliency, focus and commitment to their future profession.”
The resilience of the RUSM community was a common theme during the ceremony that was also echoed during the keynote address given by RUSM alumnus Andrew Crighton, MD, vice president and chief medical officer at Prudential Financial. “I want to acknowledge this tremendous undertaking. You overcame a challenge that you will tell stories about,” said Dr. Crighton. “You have shown a resilience and flexibility to take advantage of the opportunities that came to you here.”
Five weeks ago, RUSM resumed its medical sciences course of instruction on a ship ported off St. Kitts. The university and its parent company Adtalem Global Education are assessing the damage to the RUSM Dominica campus. RUSM plans to temporarily continue its medical sciences instruction for the January semester at Lincoln Memorial University in Knoxville, Tennessee, and efforts are underway to secure all necessary regulatory approvals.