Ross University School of Medicine

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Ross University School of Medicine
Ross University School of Medicine logo.
Motto Dedita scientiae medendi
Motto in English
Dedicated to the science of healing
Type Private, for-profit
Established 1978 (1978)
Dean William Owen, M.D.
Students 3551+[1]
Location Portsmouth, Dominica
Nickname Ross

Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is a private international medical school in Portsmouth, Dominica. It was founded in 1978, with its main campus located in the Commonwealth of Dominica, and separate administrative bases in Iselin, New Jersey and Miramar, Florida in the United States. 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.[2][3] 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.[4] The officials released a report stating that RUSM at that time had nearly no admissions standards, and that the school was in the business of providing medical degrees to "everyone that wants one."[4] RUSM agreed to implement a number of changes recommended by the board and has since graduated over 11,000 practicing physicians.[4]

In the late 1990s, RUSM expressed interest in opening a new medical school in Casper, in the U.S. state of Wyoming, but accreditation was denied by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the organization that accredits MD-granting medical schools in the United States.[5] 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.[5] In 2003, RUSM was acquired by DeVry Education Group.[6]

On September 18, 2017, the university was significantly impacted when Hurricane Maria made landfall on the island of Dominica as a category 5 hurricane. The hurricane knocked out communications, effectively isolating RUSM from the outside world. The campus suffered moderate damage from the effects of Maria, while the island of Dominica was said to be almost completely destroyed.[7] It was reported that there were no fatalities or major injuries among students and faculty. The U.S. Department of State and the U.S. military played key roles in the evacuation of students off of Dominica.[8] The hurricane was Dominica's first category 5 hurricane and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the history of the island, surpassing the 1979 category 4 Hurricane David.[9]

In October 2017, the university announced that classes for the fall semester would resume mid-October aboard the GNV Excellent, a luxury Italian cruise liner. The ship will be docked off the coast of the island of St. Kitts and is being reconfigured as as educational venue.[10]


RUSM has been accredited and recognized by the following agencies[11]:

The university has also received state-specific accreditation from California, New York, New Jersey, and Florida, allowing medical graduates to obtain licensure in all 50 states. Graduates are also eligible to obtain licensure in Canada.[12]


Portsmouth, Dominica, where students complete their basic sciences.

The Ross University School of Medicine pre-clinical campus is located in Portsmouth, Dominica. The campus features a medical and anatomical imaging laboratory, a simulation center, and classrooms equipped with several plasma screens and projection equipment. In May 2015, Ross officially opened a new Student Center, a 50,000 square foot facility housing a new library, student study spaces, student services departments, and other spaces.[13] The cost of the project was estimated at $18 million.[14] The building itself is designed to withstand category five hurricanes.


The university does not offer traditional dormitory housing options. Most students typically live in off-campus university-approved apartment buildings and complexes, selected from an internal housing database. The university also oversees a housing complex known as Ross University Housing, which features studio-style single-occupancy units.


The university 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.[15] 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.

Clinical training[edit]

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.[16] 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.[17] 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)[edit]

Prior to starting clerkships for the third and fourth years of the MD program, students are required to complete a six-week clinical semester known as Internal Medicine Foundations (IMF) in Miramar, 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.[18] Students have to option to enter clerkships in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom.

Academic outcomes[edit]

In 2014, students of RUSM achieved a first-time pass rate of 97% for the USMLE Step 1, surpassing the U.S. allopathic medical student pass rate of 96%, as well as the U.S. osteopathic rate of 93% for the same year. By comparison, the average first-time pass rate among all international medical graduates around the world was 78% for that same year.[19]

According to the National Resident Match Program (NRMP), 595 medical students from Dominica, out of a total of 1100 students who applied for 2013, matched into their preferred residency specialty, a match rate of 55% to their first ranked specialty.[20] However, the university, which considers all students that matched into any residency program on their first attempt, reported a match rate of 88% in 2015.[21] In 2016, the university reported a residency match rate of 86% among first-time eligible applicants.[22]


Since opening in 1978, over 13,000 students have graduated from the university and are currently practicing in all 50 states of the U.S., in addition to Canada and other countries as well.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Student Consumer Information". Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  2. ^ Beall, Pat (21 March 2011). "Entrepreneur, part-time Palm Beacher Robert Ross dies at age 92". The Palm Beach Post. 
  3. ^ Martin, Douglas (21 March 2011). "Robert Ross, Global Deal Maker, Dies at 92". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ a b c Jacobs, Paul (13 September 1985). "State Dubious, Will Monitor Caribbean Medical Schools". The Los Angeles Times. 
  5. ^ a b Wright, Elizabeth (June 27, 1999). "U.S. Resists For-Profit Medical School". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ Roach, Ronald (8 May 2003). "DeVry to Purchase Caribbean Medical School". Diverse Education. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 
  7. ^
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  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Ross University Opens New Student Center". Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica. May 19, 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015. 
  14. ^ "Blog - Ross University School of Medicine - CAMPUS EXPANSION: Officials Tour New Student Center Site". Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  15. ^ "Ross University School of Medicine - Caribbean Medical Schools". Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  16. ^ Hundley, Kris (25 December 2009). "Investigators want to know if the quality of offshore medical schools justifies the cost". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 19 November 2013. 
  17. ^ Schmitt, Kellie (29 May 2002). "Supervisors approve $35 million deal with Caribbean medical school". Retrieved 9 October 2014. 
  18. ^ "Ross University School of Medicine - Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine". Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "University Facts & Figures". Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "About Ross University - Medical School in the Caribbean". Retrieved 3 February 2017. 
  24. ^ "Michael Williams Officially Named President of UNT Health Science Center". Market Watch. 12 July 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2014. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 15°33′25″N 61°27′30″W / 15.556995°N 61.458431°W / 15.556995; -61.458431