Today we spotlight, Yana Puckett MD’12 MBA MPH MSc, one of our notable alumna that has and continues to make strides as a Chief Surgery Resident at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.  Dr. Puckett will soon go onto the University of Wisconsin, Madison in August as a Surgical Oncology Fellow.

Dr. Yana Puckett always had an interest in studying medicine but it wasn’t until she shadowed a doctor, that she switched her major to pre-med. After spending four years in the largest city in the United States at New York University for undergrad, she was drawn to Ross University School of Medicine for its program offering and community.

“At Ross University School of Medicine, you don’t have distractions so you are able to fully immerse yourself in your medical education and the RUSM community. RUSM offers a supportive ‘bubble.’ The faculty is very accessible to you and they offer one-on-one mentoring,” says Dr. Puckett.

Advice to Students – Look Ahead and Be Open-Minded

“Your first semester can seem overwhelming with the sheer volume of studying and coursework. But don’t lose sight of what comes next. I was very organized and planned ahead for my tests, clinicals and mapped out my medical education early in the process. This can seem daunting, but for me, this was crucial to my success,” continues Dr. Puckett.

Dr. Puckett adds, “Most importantly, be open to where your career takes you.”

Dr. Puckett originally planned to specialize in either Family Medicine or Pediatrics. It wasn’t until she realized her love for anatomy classes and dissection that she decided to pursue surgery.

Critical Hands-On Learning for Clerkships

Dr. Puckett recalls a memorable experience at Ross University School of Medicine during her fifth semester in clinicals. While still on-island at the local hospital, she was exposed to patient care and got valuable hands-on, practical experience. Starting clerkships in Florida at Ross University School of Medicine’s Internal Medicine Foundations program, she felt well prepared to learn in the hospital setting with doctors and patients.

“When I transitioned to my clerkships, I often heard that Ross University School of Medicine students were a different breed of ‘go-getters,’ with grit and resilience. And I saw that in myself and with my student peers. Ross University School of Medicine grooms doctors to be compassionate, conscientious and resourceful.”

Journey to Chief Resident

After graduating from Ross University School of Medicine, Dr. Puckett started residency at Texas Tech University at Lubbock in general surgery. She moved to St. Louis University for a research fellowship for two years before returning to Texas Tech to finish her residency and was nominated to serve as Chief Resident in her fifth year.

Career Aspirations

For Dr. Puckett, learning and teaching are true passions. She holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Texas Tech and a Master’s degree in both Public Health and Health Outcomes Research from St. Louis University. Additionally, Puckett has been published in nearly 30 articles and authored a book, Absite Study Plan for the 99th Percentile: For the Chief Resident. Dr. Puckett plans to pursue academic surgery in a research-based program focused on the link between nutrition and cancer. She will be moving to Madison, Wisconsin in August of 2019 to start her Surgical Oncology Fellowship.

“I had an incredible experience at Ross University School of Medicine. It transformed my life and I became a surgeon because of Ross University School of Medicine. Next, I’m going to support cancer research in an Oncology/Surgery and hope to truly make a difference in people’s lives.”

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 91% 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.