Grenada Class of 2017 Encouraged to Climb From “Good to Great”

With an excellent education under their wings, sound advice to lean on and the world before them, greatness is within reach for the St. George’s University Class of 2017.

Such was explained by those who addressed the more than 300 graduates at this month’s commencement ceremony in Grenada, including an SGU alumnus who once stood in the graduates’ shoes. Joel Jack, BSc SGU ’03, an Assemblyman of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Keynote Speaker for the evening, implored his fellow alumni to find their passion, prepare for change, and embrace the future, citing Jim Collins’ inspirational book, “Good to Great.”

“When what you are deeply passionate about and what drives your economic engine come together, not only does your work move towards greatness but so too does your life,” said Mr. Jack, Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance and the Economy of THA. “For in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life.”

Blossom Philbert, 2017 SAS Valedictorian

Joining him in the family of SGU alumni were graduates representing 33 countries across the globe. The 2017 class included nearly 150 students from the School of Arts and Sciences and more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies. In addition, medical doctorates were conferred on 65 Caribbean graduates, with one new Grenadian veterinarian in attendance. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

In her address to the crowd, valedictorian Blossom Philbert, BSc ’17, also quoted Collins, saying “greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is a matter of conscious choice.” She went on to compare life to that of a book, but unlike the chapters of their textbooks, they could not flip forward to see how many more pages were left.

“My next chapter might last four years, whereas the person sitting next to me might write six chapters in four years,” Ms. Philbert said. “It matters not as along as those chapters are representative of the journey that leads to a life full of greatness, which will ultimately give a pleasant read when we flip back through its pages.”

Among the degrees conferred by the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Trevor Noel became the fifth student — and first Grenadian—to earn his Doctor of Philosophy at SGU. Dr. Noel was simultaneously inducted into the Gamma Kappa Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society for his extraordinary service to public health and invaluable contributions to the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF).

Dr. Rudi Webster

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Rudi Webster with its Distinguished Service Award for his work spanning the fields of medicine, sports, diplomacy, and politics. Dr. Webster was instrumental in establishing the Shell Cricket Academy at SGU, where he served as Academy Director – an endeavor which signified that SGU was not just a medical school but much more. Several of SGU’s Shell Academy graduates went on to play for the West Indies cricket team, including Darren Sammy, who captained the team to two consecutive T20 World Cups.

“To this year’s graduates, all that you have achieved so far shows what you have learned and what you have done,” stated Dr. Webster. “However, it does not reflect what you can learn, and what you can become. That should be your focus now.”

“Many of us in the Caribbean believe that we are not good enough and that something is missing. This is incredible because the secret to our success already lies within us—it’s called self-acceptance. That was the secret of the West Indies Cricket team’s 15 years of success,” added Dr. Webster. “Self-acceptance is going to be the key to your success and it differs from self-confidence. Although your self-confidence may fluctuate depending on your success or failure, self-acceptance means you value yourself as a worthwhile human being regardless of if you succeed or you fail. We in the Caribbean are just as smart and have just as much talent as anyone else in the world, and I have proven that.”

SGU Graduate’s Work to Appear in New York City’s Museum of Modern Art

Before Joanne Caring, MD SGU ’86, began her career as an award-winning psychiatrist, she was an art student at Cornell University. Almost 40 years since changing career paths, her life will come full circle.

Dr. Caring has been friends with Louise Lawler, now an internationally renowned artist and photographer, since their undergraduate years in Ithaca. Together, they created artwork under the joint pseudonym, The Roseprint Detective Club, after college. Their joint effort from 1972, “Untitled,” is considered a seminal piece in Ms. Lawler’s career and will be on display at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City from April 30 to July 30 as part of “Why Pictures Now,” the first New York museum survey for Ms. Lawler.

Dr. Caring, a St. George’s University graduate who is now an Attending Psychiatrist at Metropolitan Hospital and an Assistant Professor at New York Medical College, will join Ms. Lawler at the exhibit’s opening on April 25.

“I knew that Louise was going to have the show at MoMA, but I didn’t know how far back they were going to go,” Dr. Caring said. “When I found out our piece was going to be included, it was very exciting. We did a lot of this kind of work together.”

“Untitled” is a 24-page book that features a series of sayings printed on slips of paper, similar to those found in fortune cookies. Examples include “’If you don’t listen’ said the sheriff, ‘I’ll fall’” and “New shoes, blue shoes, red and pink and blue shoes, tell me what would you choose, if you were to buy.” According to MoMA, the “sly, self-effacing, oddly humorous book of misdirection and nonspecific readings … cunningly embodies how an artist’s book can be a locus for engagement between artists and readers.”

The Roseprint Detective Club’s work has been displayed at art shows in New York City, Washington DC, and Pamplona, Spain. Although Dr. Caring no longer creates art herself, she looks back fondly on her time as an art student at Cornell, where she earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts before going on to obtain her master’s degree from Hunter College. She taught art in college for three years before accepting a media fellowship at a psychiatric clinic, which ended up being her segue to a career in medicine. Following the fellowship, she created video content at a psychiatric hospital and became fascinated by the research that doctors were conducting, leading her to enter into the field herself. She applied to and enrolled at SGU in the fall of 1982.

Since graduating, Dr. Caring has enjoyed a three-decade-long career in psychiatry, arriving at Metropolitan Hospital as a resident in 1987 before accepting an attending position in 1991. She was Unit Chief of the Community Support Services Psychiatric Day Treatment Program for 26 years. She has also been a Guest Editor of Psychiatric Annals and is board certified in psychiatry. For her work, she has received the Behavioral Health Best Practices Award and Behavioral Health Recognition Award from NYC Health + Hospitals.

“I couldn’t have had this career without SGU,” said Dr. Caring, who is also a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association.

She looks forward to welcoming friends from all over the country to New York for the exhibit. Tickets to view “Why Pictures Now” and other exhibits can be purchased on the MoMA website.

British Monarchy Honors St. George’s University Clinical Professor for Outstanding Service to Grenadian Health Care

Dr. Beverly Nelson, MD SGU ’86 and Clinical Associate Professor, is awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Beverly Nelson, MD SGU ’86, an Associate Professor at St. George’s University and a pioneer in pediatrics in Grenada, was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Charles, Prince of Wales, on February 3 at Buckingham Palace.

Dr. Nelson is the founding Chairperson of the Children’s Health Organization Relief and Educational Services (CHORES) support group in Grenada, which has arranged physician visits to provide sub-specialty care for the community since 1989. CHORES collaborated with the Grenada Heart Foundation to eradicate rheumatic fever, which once had a high incidence in Grenada.

Dr. Nelson also serves as Co-Chair of Pediatrics and Consultant Pediatrician for Ministry of Health Grenada, while also teaching SGU medical students as a Clinical Associate Professor. In spite of her lengthy service to her country and alma mater, she described herself as being “awe-struck” last June when she was hand-delivered a letter from the office of the Governor General of Grenada, Dame Cécile La Grenade, and learned of her selection for the CBE.

“I was shocked,” Dr. Nelson said. “I get up in the morning, and I do what I do because I love it. I never expect any credit, certainly not of this magnitude.”

Last month at Buckingham Palace, Dr. Nelson joined 16 other awardees at the investiture ceremony, as well as one of just two women. Prince Charles presented her with a medal for the CBE, which ranks behind only knighthood (KBE) and damehood (DBE) among Order of the British Empire honors.

“He was so cordial and welcoming,” Dr. Nelson said of the prince. “He asked me about Grenada, thanked me for coming a great distance, and said he wanted to return to Grenada. He also spoke about Prince Harry’s recent visit. The conversation was so comfortable.”

Dr. Nelson attended St. George’s University on full scholarship beginning in 1982, and graduated in June 1986. She completed her pediatrics residency at Brooklyn Hospital in New York, finishing as Chief Resident, before returning to Grenada to begin her pediatrics career.

Noticing a drastic lack of sub-specialty care, Dr. Nelson met with CHORES members in Jacksonville, Florida, and was able to arrange the first CHORES visit to Grenada in 1989. Four years later, CHORES Support Grenada was formed in 1993, with Dr. Nelson serving as Chair. More than three decades later, CHORES continues to welcome specialists to Grenada three times per year, providing no-cost health care – including cardiology, surgery, pediatrics, prosthetics, and more. It also raises funds for patients to fly to the United States for additional care.

“CHORES hasn’t prospered because of myself alone. It has been a team approach,” Dr. Nelson said. “Together we have recruited the support from local persons and businesses to support the endeavor, and because of this conglomerate of persons coming together, we’re still here today.”

On a broader scale, Dr. Nelson points to the rheumatic fever eradication as CHORES’ and Grenada’s crowning achievement.

“We recognized we had to do something, so we joined forces with the Grenada Heart Foundation and worked hard to sensitize the nation as a whole through media and billboards to make sure that persons knew that sore throats can kill or change lives forever. Sore throats must be treated,” Dr. Nelson said.

Dr. Nelson is “very thankful” for her country’s acknowledgment of her contributions to medicine in Grenada. From 1994-1999, she was the only pediatrician on the island, and served terms as President and Secretary of the Grenada Medical Association (GMA), orchestrated with members on the new adoption law as part of the Adoption Board, and is a current member of the Grenada Medical and Dental Council. Her honor comes a year after Dr. Chamarthy Subbarao, Professor of Clinical Skills at SGU, was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to Grenada.

More Than 860 St. George’s University Graduates Garner US Residency Positions on Match Day 2017

Match Day was yet another success for St. George’s University and its graduates, with more than 860 students and alumni securing first-year residency positions at highly competitive programs across the United States through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

SGU alumni will report to PGY1 residency programs in the following specialties this summer: anesthesiology, child neurology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/neurology, internal medicine/pediatrics, neurological surgery, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, pathology, pediatrics, pediatrics/emergency medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, surgery, thoracic surgery, urology, and vascular surgery. Residencies were secured across the United States as well as in the District of Columbia. In addition to Match Day, one student matched in January’s San Francisco Match, and seven more through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) earlier this month.

“We applaud the 2017 class for its dedication and drive, from the first day of basic sciences to their clinical rotations,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President and CEO of St. George’s University. “We look forward to seeing them enjoy long and successful careers in their chosen field, providing high-quality health care for communities throughout the United States and Canada. I also wish to congratulate the hundreds of graduates who are planning to train internationally.”

Many SGU graduates obtained positions in their top-choice positions and at highly competitive programs. Among them was Spencer Leong, who matched into the internal medicine residency program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“I would have been happy going to any of the programs I had on my rank list, but Tennessee was my first choice,” he said. “It’s a great IM program in a beautiful city along the river, and it’s just two hours from where my parents live. I’m really excited to officially finish my rotations in five weeks and to get started.”

Sannoor Surani described herself as “absolutely ecstatic” shortly after learning that she had secured an anesthesiology position at her top-choice program – Boston University Medical Center. Although she grew up in Texas, she looks forward to practicing in a city that she calls “the hub of medicine.”

“So many innovations come out of Boston, and the environment is so stimulating with so many brilliant minds,” she said. “It’s where I wanted to be, and I couldn’t be happier. If not for SGU, I wouldn’t be here because it gave me an opportunity that I didn’t otherwise have. It was a great experience, and it gave me all the tools and resources I needed to be successful.”

On Match Day, Dan O’Connor discovered that he will return to his native Minnesota this summer to begin a family medicine residency at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He had enjoyed his medicine rotation at St. Cloud, and interviewed for a residency position before leaving. It was and has always been his top choice.

“From when I first went to SGU, this has always been my dream,” O’Connor said. “I’ll be around my family and friends, and I’ll be doing what I love, so I’m very happy about it.”

Since opening in 1977, St. George’s University has graduated more than 14,000 physicians who have gone on to practice in all 50 US states and more than 50 countries worldwide. According to published information, SGU has placed more doctors in first-year postgraduate positions than any medical school in the last six years combined, including more than 880 placements at US and Canadian residency programs in 2016.

Stay tuned as SGU is learning each day about more postgraduate positions gained through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) or outside of the Match entirely. For a complete list of 2017 residency appointments to date, visit the SGU postgraduate appointment page.

Good Shepherd trains residents; some practice in East Texas 6/19/16

Nithin Nayini, MD SGU ’13, chose to start his career at Good Shepherd Medical Center in Texas as a hospitalist.

https://www.news-journal.com

Orlando medical examiner: ‘It looked like they just laid down’ 6/16/16

Joshua Stephany, MD SGU ’00, the Chief Medical Examiner in Florida District 9, is visited by CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta to discuss his role in overseeing the autopsy process following the Pulse tragedy in Orlando.

http://www.cnn.com

In Orlando, young Nebraska doctor found himself in trauma center full of ‘absolute chaos’ 6/14/16

Nicholas Sakis, MD SGU ’15, a surgery resident at Orlando Regional Medical Center, found himself in the throes of rescue efforts following the Pulse tragedy in Orlando.

http://www.starherald.com

Vo chosen as May Resident of the Month 5/19/16

Bradly Vo, MD SGU ’15, became the first-ever first-year resident to be named Resident of the Month at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

http://www.huntingtonnews.net

New OB/GYN Center at Summit opens in Wheatfield 5/12/16

The OB/GYN Center at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is now seeing patients at its recently opened second location. The center’s new office is called The OB/GYN Center at Summit and is in Suite 650 at the Summit Healthplex, 6934 Williams Road, Wheatfield. Three new full-time physicians, including Hannah Bailey, MD SGU ‘ 08, will soon bolster the medical staff there and at the OB/GYN Center’s Memorial Medical Center office to treat the growing number of women receiving care.

http://www.buffalonews.com

Wilson joins the Great Falls Clinic Surgery Department 4/13/16

Charles R. Wilson, MD SGU ’03, FACS, a board certified surgeon, joined the Great Falls Clinic. Wilson has more than seven years of experience in general surgery. He is a diplomat of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He brings additional expertise in advanced laparoscopic surgery.

http://www.greatfallstribune.com