Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) has announced a new partnership with Bethune-Cookman University to expand educational access for aspiring medical students.

Minority Bethune-Cookman students and alumni who meet RUSM’s program requirements will be eligible for direct admission and scholarships to RUSM to pursue a medical degree.

The scholarship is available to Bethune-Cookman pre-health medical students and alumni, up to five years after graduation, and will cover tuition and housing for the first semester, and the flight to attend the first semester. RUSM will also cover the travel and housing costs of recipients who visit the campus in Barbados prior to the start of the program to experience a day in the life of a RUSM student.

RUSM is working to diversify the healthcare workforce and advance health equity by training students who represent the communities they serve.

Business Wire reports that the U.S. could see an estimated shortage of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033. RUSM is preparing a workforce to fill that shortage by achieving strong residency placements with a 95% first-time eligible residency attainment rate for 2021-22 graduates and expected graduates. In 2022, 73 Black and 43 Latinx RUSM graduates secured residency positions.

“RUSM is committed to advancing representation in medicine and preparing future physicians who will contribute to a just and effective healthcare system for those in the communities they serve,” said Heidi Chumley, M.D., M.B.A, dean of RUSM. “This partnership with B-CU supports our shared goal of expanding educational access and opportunity, to ensure a pathway for potential doctors from diverse backgrounds to pursue their passion.”

Representation matters; diversifying the profession increases health equity and improves patient outcomes and the physician workforce is far from reflecting the patient community it serves.”

– Heidi Chumley, RUSM Dean

According to Business Wire, in 2021-2022, U.S. medical school matriculants were 11.3% Black or African American, not yet mirroring the total U.S. population at 14.2%. RUSM’s student population is diverse with 16% Black or African American and has been able to outpace U.S. medical schools in graduating more Black physicians than any U.S. medical school.

Dr. Lawrence M. Drive, Bethune-Cookman interim president reflects on the history and legacy of the university, “A century ago, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune founded a hospital and created the only training school for African American nurses on the east coast. Today, we are reimagining her legacy for the 21st century by creating new opportunities in medicine for our students and alumni.”

“This is the first of many new partnerships and programs to give our students access to more high-skill, high-paying careers. With direct admission and scholarships at RUSM, our students have new ways to build their competencies and use their gifts, talents, and experiences to selflessly change the world for the better” said Drive.

Dr. Christopher Davis, associate professor of biology and chemistry at Bethune-Cookman University spoke highly of the RUSM faculty, “While on the campus in Barbados, I was able to interact with faculty who blew me away with the level of passion, excitement, and commitment they have toward their students,” said Dr. Christopher Davis, associate professor of biology and chemistry at Bethune-Cookman University.

“Their facilities and classrooms are innovative, engaging, and interactive. RUSM students are provided with an exceptional environment to learn and immerse themselves in medicine, and the faculty are invested in their students to help them on a path to success after graduation” said Davis.