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RUSM signs affiliation agreement to enhance clinical education

Ross University School of MedicineRoss University School of Medicine (RUSM) and Kern Medical Center (KMC) in Bakersfield, Calif. today announced a 10-year affiliation agreement to allocate, on an annual basis, a significant number of core clinical rotation slots to RUSM students. The affiliation, which will allow RUSM students placed at KMC to complete all of their third-year clinical rotations there over 48 consecutive weeks, is the largest clinical affiliation arrangement in RUSM’s history.

Kern Medical Center, established in 1867, is a 222-bed acute care teaching hospital owned and operated by the County of Kern. As the major healthcare provider serving a community of approximately 650,000 residents, KMC is an integral part of the local community. KMC provides care for more than 16,000 inpatients annually, and experiences 43,000 Emergency Room visits per year. In addition, KMC’s three federally qualified health centers serve 100,000 outpatients per year.

“This is a landmark development for Ross for many reasons, especially for the opportunity to work closely with an institution that shares our commitment to serving the local community,” said Joseph Flaherty, MD, dean and chancellor of RUSM.

“RUSM students who complete their rotations at Kern will not only benefit from learning from Kern’s great faculty and residents, but also gain an appreciation for the important role these community hospitals and their physicians play in the lives of local families.”

All of KMC’s core residency programs–Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, and Psychiatry–are accredited by the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). KMC’s affiliations with the University of California at Los Angeles, David Geffen School of Medicine and University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine ensure a significant depth and breadth of teaching resources, in addition to KMC’s 65 full-time faculty physicians.

Paul Hensler, FACHE, chief executive officer at KMC, said that RUSM is a partner that shares Kern Medical Center’s academic vision. The affiliation, he said, is geared to looking after the long-term sustainability of the local physician workforce.

“California in general and the San Joaquin Valley in particular are medically underserved. We believe that building a robust working relationship with RUSM will enable us to provide a superior clinical rotation experience with the potential to attract physicians to our community,” said Hensler.

Enrique Fernandez, MD, senior associate dean for clinical sciences at RUSM, said the new affiliation is great news for current students, seventeen percent of whom are from California. “Many of our students have already set a goal of returning to their home communities to practice medicine. This partnership will enable many of them to complete their clinical clerkships in California as well,” he said.

As part of the agreement, RUSM and KMC will offer scholarships to accepted RUSM students from Kern County, via the Kern Medical Center Foundation.

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