Ross University School of Medicine, Dominica

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. 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 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 announced plans to relocate temporarily to Knoxville, Tenn. for continuation of medical school classes. Lincoln Memorial University (LMU), based in Harrogate and with operations in Knoxville, will provide the necessary operational capacity and the technical capabilities to support RUSM faculty, students, and staff.

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. The cost of the project was estimated at $18 million.  The building itself is designed to withstand category five hurricanes.

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.  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.

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. In 2013 94% of fourth-year MD U.S. students earned a first-year match.  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. In 2016, the university reported a residency match rate of 86% among first-time eligible applicants. According to the US Department of Education, 70% of students completed the program on time in 2016 with a mean combined loan debt of $268,134.00 for U.S. borrowers. The first time pass rate for USMLE 1 has dropped from 63% to 47% since 2010.

Ross University School of Medicine uses electronic books (eBooks) for all of their semesters in Foundations of Medicine. Students are charged for the cost of their eBooks within the Educational Resource fee students pay every semester. In addition to the eBooks, the Educational Resource fee also includes additional course materials used throughout the student experience, online study materials, and covers fees required for background checks needed before students participate in clinical training. Ross has developed relationships with the publishers of the books to offer the eBooks at a reduced price.

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.

Ross students have the opportunity to participate in more than 40 clubs and organizations. No matter where your interest lies, you’re sure to find a group or activity to join—and if not, we encourage you to step up and start a new one. With a student body as diverse and spirited as ours, there’s always something new and interesting going on!

During this event, students don white coats—the garment traditionally worn by Doctors of Medicine—recite Ross’ Honor Pledge, and say the Morning Prayer of the Physician in unison. It officially marks your transition from prospective medical school student to physician-in-training.

Ceremonies are held for all three incoming classes and are attended by students’ family members and friends, in addition to Ross deans and faculty, university administrators, and local dignitaries.


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