Ross University School of Medicine and Oakwood University partner to increase physician diversity in the US

October 28, 2019
Ross and Oakwood leaders signing partnership agreements

Schools create pathway program for graduates of the HBCU to attend medical school

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Oct. 28, 2019 — African Americans make up only six percenti of U.S. physicians. With the goal of driving diversity among U.S. physicians, Oakwood University and Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) announced a new agreement to help more African Americans attend medical school.

The agreement was signed Thursday, October 24, at Oakwood’s campus by Leslie N. Pollard, Ph.D., D.Min., MBA., president of Oakwood University, and William F. Owen, M.D., FACP, dean and chancellor of RUSM. Oakwood and RUSM are establishing an educational pathway program, making it easier for Oakwood graduates to study medicine at RUSM. Qualified Oakwood students who earn full acceptance into the medical school will receive a scholarship covering full tuition for the first semester.

Oakwood University has consistently been a top producer of Blacks that are accepted and go on to attend medical school. Oakwood is currently the fifth ranking Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the U.S., according to the American Association of American Medical Colleges and as reported by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. Oakwood is coupling the longstanding excellence of its pre-med program with its UNCF grant-supported Career Pathways Initiative to grow its relationships with institutions such as RUSM. Developing partnerships such as this will provide additional opportunities for continued student success and professional growth.

“We engage this hopeful relationship with Ross University School of Medicine on behalf of interested Oakwood students. Our students will join the generations that have been blessed through their work," said Oakwood University President Leslie Pollard.

“African-American doctors are woefully underrepresented in the physician workforce, leading fewer African Americans to see a doctor,” said RUSM Dean and Chancellor, William F. Owen, Jr., M.D., FACP. “This has significant negative healthcare outcomes in communities already prone to high rates of chronic diseases. Working with Oakwood and other HBCUs, using novel student engagements, validated support programs and senior-level commitments to success, we’re working to address that long overdue challenge to increase the diversity of our nation’s physicians.”

As part of its continued commitment to addressing diversity, RUSM’s parent company, Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), signed on to the HBCU Partnership Challenge created by the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus, pledging to invest in creating strategic collaborations with HBCUs and working to increase diversity in key workforce sectors. Over the past year, RUSM has announced six similar agreements with minority serving institutions, including Charles R. Drew University, Dillard University, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, Tuskegee University, Saint Peter’s University and California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Having recently celebrated its 40th anniversary, RUSM’s 14,000-plus diverse alumni practice medicine throughout North America and across all specialties, including a high percentage of graduates who enter the in-demand field of primary care. More than a quarter of RUSM students identify as black or Hispanic, with RUSM earning a 96 percent USMLE Step 1 first-time pass rate in 2018. RUSM also achieved a 92 percent residency attainment rate for first-time-eligible 2018-2019 graduates, and of the 647 RUSM medical students who attained residency in March of 2019, 82 were black and 61 were Hispanic.

i U.S. Census, 2016 American Community Survey, PUMS 1-year estimate

About Oakwood University
Oakwood University, a historically Black SDA institution of higher learning, offers quality Christian Education that emphasizes academic excellence, promotes the harmonious development of mind, body, and spirit, and prepares leaders in service for God and humanity. The school's motto, shared by faculty and students, is: Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve. In everything it does, it believes and practices God First, its current slogan. Consistent with its Mission Statement, Oakwood University is in the business of transforming lives – both for now and, more importantly, for eternity. Founded in 1896, Oakwood University is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC). More information about Oakwood can be found on their website at

About Ross University School of Medicine
Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) is an institution of Adtalem Global Education (NYSE: ATGE), a global education provider headquartered in the United States. Founded in 1978 and located in Barbados, RUSM has more than 14,000 alumni and is committed to educating a diverse group of skilled physicians. RUSM is accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). For more information, please visit and follow RUSM on Twitter (@RossMedSchool), Instagram (@rossmedschool) and Facebook (@RossMedSchool).

About Adtalem Global Education
The purpose of Adtalem Global Education is to empower students to achieve their goals, find success, and make inspiring contributions to our global community. Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE: ATGE) is a leading workforce solutions provider and the parent organization of American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Becker Professional Education, Chamberlain University, EduPristine, OnCourse Learning, Ross University School of Medicine and Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. For more information, please visit and follow us on Twitter (@adtalemglobal) and LinkedIn.

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