Amazing Alumni: Dr. Elle Ross

Dr. Elle Ross credits the Colorado State University anatomy program for preparing her for medical school. This photo shows a CSU student working in the anatomy lab. (John Eisele/CSU Photography)

Dr. Elle Ross, B.S., Mathematics, ’91; M.Ed., Vocational Education, ’97; Ph.D., Education and Human Resource Studies, ’00; M.S., Biomedical Sciences, ’07

Dr. Elle Ross found her calling as a physician after earning degrees in education, but a personal loss caused her to rethink her path. She now practices internal medicine in Tucson and teaches at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

From education studies to medical school

“As a physician today, I realize looking back that I was not your typical “Plan B” master’s student.  I had a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s and Ph.D. in education. Prior to Plan B, I was more interested in policy and administration than I ever was in the hard sciences. But a few years after I completed my Ph.D., my sister passed away from aplastic anemia. Bearing witness to her disease and her treatments had an immense impact on me, and I decided I wanted to become a physician.

“Since my background was so disparate, I decided to enter a new program at Colorado State University, the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (also called Plan B or MS-Pro). The one-year graduate program provided the foundational elements of medicine through human anatomy, physiology and neuroscience, which not only greatly aided me in gaining acceptance into medical school but also provided me with a higher level of knowledge with which to complete medical school.”

Exceptional preparation at CSU

Mark Frasier taught anatomy and neurobiology in the CSU Department of Biomedical Sciences for 33 years. (CSU photo)

“As one of the Master of Science in Biomedical Science advisors, Mark Frasier made human anatomy fascinating and understandable and retainable. His ability to engage students through dynamic teaching methods and enthusiasm greatly enhanced the subject of anatomy for his students.

“A second aspect of the Plan B program that has left an indelible impression upon me is Dr. Fails’ neuroanatomy classes, which continue to be an integral part of how I practice medicine today.  Dr. Fails prepared her graduate students to a level beyond that of some medical schools. Her didactics and ability to integrate multiple instructional techniques with seminal medical cases, is truly exceptional.

“In turn, my experience in the master’s program afforded me the opportunity to meet with the dean of admissions for the new medical school in Colorado, Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. The initial meeting ended up with my acceptance into the inaugural class of RVU-COM.

“Many of my master’s classmates were in the program with me, and we were all a step ahead on the anatomy and physiology material. Because we had received strong training in our master’s program, we were able to be resources for our classmates, especially with the stressful anatomy coursework.

woman in classroom
Dr. Anna Fails teaches anatomy at Colorado State University. (CVMBS photo)

“My internship and residency in Internal Medicine was completed at Midwestern University. Currently, I am a licensed, board-certified Internal Medicine Physician at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson, and the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson.

“As attending physician and assistant professor, I practice medicine, in both inpatient and outpatient settings, perform research and train medical students and resident physicians.

“One of the things I hope to contribute to in the future is the methodology by which our medical students are taught and trained. Drawing back upon my degrees in higher education, as well as what I learned in the Plan B program I think a lot about how to make medical school, internship, and residency more effective, efficient, and cogent.”