Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine (RUSVM) was founded in Dominica in 1982 by Robert Ross, an entrepreneur who had started a medical school several years earlier. In 1983 construction of dedicated vet school facilities began in St. Kitts and the students and faculty were later moved by boat to the island of St. Kitts.
The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is located in the Leeward Islands in the West Indies, and forms part of the British Commonwealth. The region is rich in contrasting ecosystems and socio-economic populations, public health issues, and close animal-human interactions characteristic of developing countries. Its location in the tropics, which will represent the world’s most populous region by 2050, makes it an ideal venue in which to study tropical and zoonotic diseases, wildlife and conservation medicine, and ecosystem health.
From humble beginnings, RUSVM now supports almost 350 faculty, support staff, researchers and over 1,000 students on a 55-acre campus, comprising lecture halls and classrooms serviced by the latest digital technologies, fully equipped laboratories and research facilities, a fully accredited preparatory school, residential halls overlooking the Caribbean, a student union and leisure and healthcare facilities, a veterinary clinic, and a farm.
The DVM degree program has trained more than 3,700 alumni from across the globe and first gained accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association in March 2011. The university allows students to enter the program in September, January, or May in a trimester system introduced by the school’s longest serving dean, Dr. Stan Dennis.
Originally modeled as a teaching-only school, a substantial strategic refresh was undertaken in 2012 by the newly appointed dean, Dr. Elaine Watson, resulting in a revised mission statement, while retaining the school’s traditional strength in clinical skills. Emphasis was placed on training of career-ready graduates through creation of a research-rich educational environment, focusing on One Health, specifically with reference to public health issues facing tropical countries. In support of this vision, the school is now concentrating on recruitment of international students to enrich the student body, and aid capacity-building efforts in areas where similar quality educational opportunities and infrastructure may not exist. In parallel, changes to the curriculum are being introduced to ensure value-for-money education, and to strengthen strategically important issues for society in the 21st century in food production, food safety and security, best preparing students as future professionals in a global marketplace.
Four research centers were created in 2014 in support of the university’s mission, and include a center dedicated to innovation in veterinary and medical education. Postgraduate programs were accredited in 2013, and RUSVM now offers integrated Masters and PhD degrees, and an online Masters in One Health.
- 1982 – RUSVM established by Dr. Robert Ross in Dominica, West Indies, Eastern Caribbean
- Dr. Bobby G. Brown appointed as inaugural Dean
- 1983 – RUSVM relocates to St. Kitts, West Indies
- 2000 – RUSVM sold to Leeds Equity Partners
- 2003 – RUSVM sold to DeVry Education Group
- 2008 – First research program initiated. Krista Keller, a sixth semester student and faculty mentors, Dr. Tammi Krecek and Dr. Kimberly Stewart, initiate a first-of-its-kind research project on the indigenous population of tortoises in St. Kitts
- 2009 - RUSVM hosted the Wider Caribbean Sea Turtle Conservation Network (WIDECAST) annual meeting
- The St. Kitts Sea Turtle Monitoring Network, directed by RUSVM faculty member Dr. Kimberly Stewart, was awarded a 2009 Tourism Award for being the most eco-friendly business in St. Kitts
- 2010 – Dr. Hamish Mohammed, assistant professor of epidemiology conducts the first mosquito survey in 30 years to update the findings of classic surveys performed in the 1970s and 1980s
- Ross University Veterinary Clinic is the first hospital outside of North America to receive accreditation from the American Animal Hospital Association
- Dr. Mark D. Freeman, RUSVM assistant professor of small animal surgery, is the first faculty member from a veterinary school outside the US to be presented the Student American Veterinary Medical Association’s Teaching Excellence Award
- New buildings completed including lecture halls, classrooms, and a large student union with terrace overlooking the Caribbean
- 2011 – Opening of the 20,660-square-foot Large Animal Complex featuring a large animal teaching center, medical records building, and large animal isolation unit.
- RUSVM is granted accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association under the leadership of Dr. David DeYoung
- 2012 – Dr. Mary Anna Thrall, RUSVM professor, receives the 2012 AAVMC Distinguished Teacher Award, presented by Zoetis, the most prestigious national teaching award in veterinary medicine
- RUSVM Josh Project is recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association for being the chapter to raise the most funds internationally, and placing RUSVM first in the 2012 Josh Challenge
- Partnership agreement and joint research projects initiated with the Moredun Research Institute
- 2013 – Dr. Kimberley Stewart, assistant professor, receives the national SAVMA Community Outreach Excellence Award recognizing the progress that has been made with sea turtle conservation
- RUSVM launches four research centers to support the university’s new mission, One Health Center for Zoonoses and Tropical Veterinary Medicine, Center for Integrative Mammalian Research, Center for Conservation Medicine and Ecosystem Health, Center for Research and Innovation in Veterinary and Medical Education
- RUSVM gains full accreditation for postgraduate programs, and launches its first postgraduate degrees at Masters and doctoral level
- Completion of two-story research building with vivarium, preparation room and cell tissue culture room
- Memorandum of Understanding with the Animal Medical Center, New York
- Masters and PhD Studentships initiated with The Roslin Institute, University of Vienna, Newcastle University, and the University of Montreal
- 2014 – Inaugural Student Research Day held at RUSVM. RUSVM is accepted as a chapter of the Phi Zeta Society
- RUSVM hosts the 2014 International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching (InVeST) conference in St. Kitts demonstrating the latest developments in models, mannequins and simulators within the field of veterinary clinical skills training
- RUSVM hosts its first Vet Camp for minority undergraduate students exposing students to campus life and veterinary experiences in the classroom and laboratory settings
- RUSVM welcomes its first international pre-veterinary student research interns, and research projects and posts initiated with Banfield and with the University of Copenhagen
- RUSVM hosts an international workshop on Arboviruses, and an International One Health Conference for discussions on improving health in the Caribbean and tropical regions worldwide
- RUSVM breaks ground on next phase of RUSVM’s research program, the construction of a 19,000 sq. ft. Research and Pathology Building featuring 11,000 sq. ft. of laboratory space, a necropsy facility, and vivarium