Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) collaborated with its sister institution, Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM), to host U.S. Ambassador Linda S. Taglialatela from the U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), on Friday, Nov.17, 2017. Ambassador Taglialatela was accompanied by Deputy Political Economic Counselor, Steve Simpson. The visit featured conversations with leadership of both RUSVM and RUSM on hurricane preparedness, and a tour of RUSM’s temporary campus on the cruise ship GNV Excellent, currently docked off St. Kitts until January.
In September, the RUSVM campus on St. Kitts experienced and endured two hurricanes, Irma and Maria. The RUSM campus and the island of Dominica suffered significant damage during Hurricane Maria, leading to the evacuation of more than 1,300 RUSM students, faculty and family members.
A cruise ship has been modified to accommodate RUSM academic instruction, recreation areas, dining and lodging facilities for the students. RUSM plans to continue its medical sciences instruction for the January semester at Lincoln Memorial University in Knoxville, Tennessee, and efforts are underway to secure all necessary regulatory approvals. Real estate teams from RUSM and parent company Adtalem Global Education are assessing the damage to the RUSM Dominica campus.
“Our RUSM students receiving their training in the basic medical sciences have persevered through extraordinary challenges presented by Hurricane Maria in Dominica,” said William F. Owen, Jr., MD, FACP, dean and chancellor at RUSM. “I am inspired by their resiliency and firm resolve to continue with their medical education. It is this strength of character that will help them attain rewarding and truly meaningful careers as physicians.”
“We are happy to welcome Ambassador Taglialatela and Deputy Political Economic Counselor Simpson to St. Kitts, and I sincerely appreciate the continued support and active role played by the U.S. Embassy and local government officials in St. Kitts in promoting a safe campus community, especially during challenging times,” said Dr. Sean Callanan, dean at RUSVM.
“The safety and security of American citizens is always a top priority for the U.S. Embassy,” said Ambassador Taglialatela. “We want to share as much information as we can to help U.S. citizens make wise and informed decisions during hurricane season and to educate themselves as to what actions to take in case of an emergency.”