Ross University School of Medicine
Dedita scientiae medendi
Motto in English
|Dedicated to the science of healing|
|Dean||William Owen, M.D.|
Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is a private medical school located in Bridgetown, Barbados. Its main campus is in Barbados, and separate administrative offices are located in Iselin, New Jersey, and Miramar, Florida, in the United States. Prior to 2018, its main campus was in Portsmouth, Dominica but moved to its present location in Barbados in 2018. It is owned by Adtalem Global Education Inc., formerly DeVry Education Group, which purchased it in 2003.
The medical school was founded in 1978 as The University of Dominica School of Medicine by Robert Ross, an entrepreneur. At the time, it was housed in leased facilities at The Castaways Hotel, with an inaugural class of 11 students. In 1982, the University of Dominica School of Medicine formally changed its name to Ross University School of Medicine at the request of the government of Dominica.
In 1985, California state medical licensing officials (the Board of Medical Quality Assurance), began investigating RUSM, along with other medical schools located in the Caribbean. The officials released a report stating that RUSM had nearly no admissions standards, and that the school was in the business of providing medical degrees to "everyone that wants one." RUSM agreed to implement a number of changes recommended by the board and has since graduated over 11,000 practicing physicians.
In the late 1990s, RUSM expressed interest in opening a U.S.-based medical school in Casper, Wyoming, but accreditation was denied by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the organization that accredits MD-granting medical schools in the United States. Some local individuals welcomed the economic impact of a new medical school on the town, but critics questioned the quality of education at a for-profit institution. In 2003, RUSM was acquired by DeVry Education Group, which has since renamed itself Adtalem Global Education.
In 2017, RUSM hired a PR firm, Edelman, to enhance its image. Later that year, the school was impacted by Hurricane Maria, when the Category 5 storm made landfall on the island of Dominica. The hurricane knocked out communications, effectively isolating RUSM from the outside world. The campus suffered moderate damage from the effects of Maria. Students and faculty were located through a university-initiated roll call, and then were evacuated from the campus to the U.S. mainland. In October 2017, the university announced that classes for the fall semester would resume mid-October aboard the GNV Excellent, an Italian ferry that would be docked off the coast of the island of St. Kitts. The ship was reconfigured as an educational venue. In November 2017, Ross University School of Medicine relocated temporarily to Knoxville, Tennessee, for continuation of medical school classes. Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), based in Harrogate, Tennessee, and with operations in Knoxville, provided the operational capacity and the technical capabilities to support RUSM faculty, students, and staff.
Ross University School of Medicine permanently relocated from Dominica to Barbados for the beginning of the 2019 Spring semester due to extensive damage done at the prior campus in Dominica after Hurricane Maria.
International medical education collaborations
Ross collaborates with Dillard University, Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Tuskegee University to educate more African-American doctors in the United States of America.
According to the university's website, RUSM is accredited and recognized by the following agencies:
- National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) through the U.S. Department of Education, allowing American students to participate in the U.S. Federal Direct Student Loan Program
- Barbados Medical Council (BMC)
- Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and other Health Professions (CAAM-HP)
- General Medical Council of Great Britain
The university also has state-specific accreditation from California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida.
The Ross University School of Medicine pre-clinical campus is located at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre at Two Mile Hill in Barbados. The campus features a medical and anatomical imaging laboratory, a simulation center, and classrooms equipped with several plasma screens and projection equipment, similar to the previous campus in Dominica.
The university does not offer traditional dormitory housing options. Most students typically live in off-campus university-approved housing complex within The Villages of Coverley, which features has 2 bedroom, 3 bedroom, and 4 bedroom houses.
RUSM accepts students for three different entering classes per year: September, January and May. The fall entering class is typically the largest each year. Since September 2010, the university has followed an organ systems-based curriculum for its basic sciences. This is divided into two different tracks, known as "Accelerated Curriculum" and "Curriculum" as of May 2013. The accelerated curriculum track covers the basic sciences in 60 weeks of study (four semesters), while the Curriculum track covers the same material in 75 weeks (five semesters) with integrated study breaks. Both tracks share identical first semesters, allowing students more time to decide on the track they wish to pursue.
Unlike many American medical schools, Ross University does not own or affiliate with any particular primary teaching hospital. The university contracts with hospitals throughout the U.S. to accept and place students in clinical rotations. The Bakersfield Californian reported that Ross and Kern County in California agreed to a $35 million deal to enable Ross students to complete clinical rotations at Kern Medical Center. Upon completion of the curriculum, similar to that of U.S. medical schools, students must pass the USMLE Step 2 CS and USMLE Step 2 CK, prior to graduation.
Internal Medicine Foundations (IMF)
Prior to starting clerkships for the third and fourth years of the MD program, students must complete an eight-week clinical semester known as Internal Medicine Foundations (IMF) at the Cleveland Clinic Hospital located in Weston, Florida. Successful completion of this pre-clinical program is required prior to entry into a clerkship.
The university requires students to enter into "track" programs for clerkships, which would have most students complete core rotations at a single teaching hospital affiliate. The clerkship component of the program is currently composed of 48 weeks of required core rotations and 30 weeks of electives. Students have the option to enter clerkships in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom. RUSM has "leveraged residencies" in which it pays hospitals to accept their students for clinical clerkships.
In 2016, the university reported a residency match rate of 86% among first-time eligible applicants. In 2016, the university reported first-time pass rates for the USMLE Step 1, USMLE Step 2 CK, and USMLE Step 2 CS were 93%, 87%, and 94%, respectively.
RUSM has a self-reported USMLE Step 1 first-time pass rate of 96%.
Student loan debt
Since opening in 1978, over 13,000 students have graduated from the university.
- Henry Bello – shooter in the Bronx Lebanon Hospital attack on 30 June 2017
- Nicole Saphier
- Michael R. Williams – president of the University of North Texas Health Science Center
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