May 01, 2011

 

 Get to know your neighbor

posted April 18, 2011 
 

Ross is located on a two-tiered, 55-acre campus just off the Caribbean Sea in Basseterre, St. Kitts. The islands of St. Kitts and nearby Nevis form a single island nation.

The 28-building campus at RUSVM includes a clinical skills laboratory, a 150-person residence hall for first-semester students, a toxic plant garden, two large lecture halls that can seat up to 180 students each, and the Veterinary Teaching Hospital. There are approximately 225 staff members.

Also on campus are extensive large animal paddocks and kennels as well as 30 acres of pastureland in which upward of 300 animals reside—mostly donkeys, sheep, cows, dogs, and cats, along with eight horses.

Since opening in 1982, RUSVM has operated under the so-called Caribbean, or collaborative, model of veterinary education.

During their first three years, students complete their pre-clinical curriculum in seven 15-week semesters—three semesters a year—on the St. Kitts campus. Those 28 months are enhanced by hands-on clinical experience. Students are taught by 77 full-time faculty members, 23 of whom are board-certified.

Each student then completes a final year of clinical rotations at one of 22 U.S., AVMA Council on Education-accredited veterinary schools.

Ross' current enrollment is approximately 1,000 students, of whom about 70 percent are female. A new class is admitted at the beginning of each semester: September, January, and May. The average class size is 135; the most recent class, admitted in January, has 138 students, according to Dr. Gilbert A. Burns, dean for faculty and academic programs.

About 98 percent of RUSVM students are American or Canadian citizens who return to North America to become licensed and pursue careers. The school has graduated more than 2,500 veterinarians and claims to add an average of 194 veterinarians into the workforce every year.

Now that Ross has been accredited by the COE, students no longer must go through one of the two programs designed to measure educational equivalence: the Educational Commission for Foreign Veterinary Graduates program, administered by the AVMA, or the American Association of Veterinary State Boards' Program for the Assessment of Veterinary Education Equivalence.

Ross students still must pass the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination if they want to practice in the United States or in another licensing jurisdiction in North America.

On average, the AAVSB issues more than 200 PAVE certificates annually, but it does not disclose information about the candidates, such as how many students from a given school enter the program or receive a certificate.

Regarding the ECFVG program, approximately 4,700 ECFVG certificates have been awarded since the program began in 1974; 2,000 of these were issued to U.S. citizens. There are currently 1,800 foreign graduates enrolled in the ECFVG program. On average, the ECFVG awards 300 certificates annually, 110 to U.S. citizens.

Each year, approximately 100 ECFVG certificates have been awarded to graduates of the veterinary schools at Ross and St. George's University, Grenada, West Indies. The ECFVG has awarded about 1,650 certificates to Caribbean graduates since its inception; 1,450 of those went to U.S. citizens.