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RUSM LGBTQ+ Association
photo of student in white coat outside in Barbados

When third semester student Dannie Sieben, ’25 was accepted to Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), he hoped that RUSM would be an inclusive and welcoming campus. Not only did he find that to be true, but Dannie had the opportunity to build solidarity for the LGBTQIA+ campus community in the form of an organization.

“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex students look for medical schools that clearly have a diverse, equitable, and inclusive campus. We need to feel safe and accepted, but we also need a community from which to draw strength. RUSM supports LGBTQIA+ students in everything we do,” says Dannie. “I saw a need to make the LGBTQIA+ campus group more active and viable, so I got to work.”

Growing an organization

Dannie is president of the RUSM LGBTQ+ Doctors Association, with a board of six members and a faculty advisor, Dr. Stephanie Date, who facilitate a group of about forty members—and growing. The group was founded to create a community for the next generation of LGBTQIA+ physicians. “At first, people joined via word of mouth, but we have tabling events planned at the beginning of the semester, flyers, and a social media presence on InstagramTM to get the word out, peak interest, and grow the group. We have lots of activities planned and have all sexualities and gender identities represented. We’re a diverse group in every way—in race, age, and origin--and this includes our straight allies.”

Activities for fundraising, solidarity, and outreach

Working with RUSM Campus Life, the group has created White Coat pins that state, “You are Safe with Me”, and “pronoun pins”, which will be used for fundraising to assist partners in the Barbados community, such as Equals Barbados, which fights for LGBTQIA+ rights. Dannie explains that the pins are also a way to express solidarity with LGBTQIA+ patients.

Dannie also plans to work with the Student Government Association’s Diversity and Inclusion Chairperson to shape the RUSM curriculum. For example, integrating the use of desired pronouns to make situations more comfortable for students and patients. In addition, the organization is partnering with the RUSM Pediatrics Club to have a pediatrician present a seminar in July on providing a safe space for adolescents in healthcare settings. A sexual history workshop is also planned to guide inclusive conversations in patient scenarios. More group activities are in the works, including social events, outreach to faculty and alumni as well as to the Barbados community.

Plans for the future

Hoping to practice in Internal or Family Medicine, Dannie wants to continue the mission of the group while he is a student, which seeks to organize, defend, and serve the RUSM community as a whole, and promotes an all-inclusive and judgment-free organization that accepts everyone for who they are regardless of sexuality, gender, race, ethnicity, and religion. “As stated in our mission, our goal is to provide a safe space for LGBTQIA+ individuals and allies, as well as inform and educate the RUSM student body and reform the medical curriculum to equip new medical health leaders with knowledge, experience, and understanding to be advocates for LGBTQIA+ health equality. But most of all, we hope to make RUSM a space for students to be comfortable and excited to attend medical school here.”

To learn more about the group, contact them at

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In 2020, 91% of RUSM students passed the initial step of the United States Medical Licensing Examination® (USMLE®) on the first attempt. And in 2022-2023, results show yet another strong year for RUSM with a 98% 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 2023-24 residency position out of all graduates or expected graduates in 2022-23 who were active applicants in the 2023 NRMP match or who attained a residency position outside the NRMP match.