St. George’s University Graduates Celebrate Match Day 2018

Match Day 2018 has long been circled on the calendars of St. George’s University School of Medicine graduates. On Friday, the wait was over, and the celebration commenced.

Hundreds of SGU grads matched into highly competitive programs across the country, including in such fields as diagnostic radiology, anesthesiology, neurology, surgery, emergency medicine, and pediatrics, among others.

Click here for a full list of 2018 residency appointments

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, toasted the more than 150 newly matched residents who convened at SGU’s annual Match Day Luncheon in New York City. Among them were Phoebe and Tommy Martin, MD SGU ’18, who will begin their residency at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock this summer. The two met as students in Grenada, and were thrilled to match into their top-choice program through the couples match.

“It’s a dream come true to go to such an incredible hospital facility, and to be able to go there together,” Tommy Martin said. “We’re ecstatic. We could not be happier.”

Pauline Nguyen, MD SGU ’18, was with her boyfriend and his father when news arrived that she had secured an OB/GYN residency at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey.

“Once I saw OB/GYN, I was speechless,” she said. “It was the most incredible moment of my life.”

As they begin residency this summer, the 2018 class will join the more than 15,000 physician graduates of SGU, who have gone on to practice in all 50 US states, as well as around the world. Look for complete coverage of Match Day 2018 on the SGU website and across all of SGU’s social media channels.

– Brett Mauser

SGU Students Match Into Competitive Canadian Residency Programs

The annual celebration that is the residency match season kicked off on March 1 when 10 St. George’s University students learned that they had secured first-year residency positions in Canada through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

The 2018 SGU graduates will complete their postgraduate training in internal medicine, family medicine, and psychiatry at such programs as McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Manitoba, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Toronto. A second match iteration will take place next month. Match Day in the United States will take place on Friday, March 16.

“We congratulate the students who will begin their medical careers in Canada this summer,” said St. George’s University President G. Richard Olds. “Their work ethic and commitment to medicine have helped equip them with the knowledge and skills to make a significant impact on the communities in which they’ll practice.”

Natalia Reiner, MD SGU ’18 (expected), described herself as “over the moon” upon discovering that she had matched into an internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto, her top-choice program. Earlier in the week, the McGill University graduate had made a list of people to call when the news came, and immediately went to work on it, beginning with her parents, boyfriend, and four siblings, all of whom are back in Canada.

To build up her clinical experience, Dr. Reiner completed three observerships in Ontario and Quebec, in turn building a network of mentors and advocates along the way. She plans to enter U of T’s Eliot Phillipson Clinician-Educator Training Program, and looks forward to giving back to the community not only as a clinician but as a teacher.

“Toronto has a reputation of really focusing on education and academics, and I like that kind of learning environment,” she said.

Jonathan Phang, MD SGU ’18 (expected), and his mother rejoiced when they found out that he was headed to Saskatoon this summer to begin his residency at the University of Saskatchewan. He chose the U of S program for its “supportive environment” and “strength and unity within the entire staff.”

“I had to reread the email a couple times,” said Dr. Phang, who grew up in Vancouver. “Leading up to the noon deadline, it was a roller coaster of emotions, and we were both relieved, excited, and really happy.”

Dr. Phang began to steer his career toward psychiatry during his third-year core rotations in New York, and worked toward that during his fourth-year electives in California, Georgia, Nevada, New York and New Jersey, as well as Vancouver.

“Because I rotated through various parts of the US and Canada, it exposed me to patients from all kinds of backgrounds,” he said. “I think that experience will have prepared me well for what’s to come in residency.”

More than 1,350 Canadians have graduated from the School of Medicine since it opened in 1977, with more than 630 currently enrolled at SGU. Students have a proven track record of success on the United States Medical Licensing Examinations as well. In 2017, first-time test takers from Canada registered a 97 percent pass rate on the USMLE I, with a highly competitive mean score of 230.

SVM Alumni Study Soft Tissue Surgery at Continuing Ed Conference

Since opening in 1999, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine has graduated more than 1,400 veterinarians who have practiced all over the world. In October, its Alumni Association, the SVMAA, welcomed back many of them for a continuing education conference reviewing methods in soft tissue surgery.

The two-day conference featured presentations by Dr. Karen Tobias, Professor of Small Animal Surgery at the University of Tennessee. Internationally recognized for her work on portosystemic shunts in dogs, Dr. Tobias shared her expertise on making these surgeries easier and more successful, while also enjoying the campus and island that provides training for many of the clinical students she sees at U of T.

“I like to give practical and up-to-date information. Also, because I’m a book editor and author, I get to see some of the more recent information that comes in; it’s nice to be able to share that with other veterinarians,” said Dr. Tobias. “These lectures provide some of the newer literature regarding the effects of ovariohysterectomy and castration on dogs and cats. I also discussed surgical techniques for treating common canine and feline head and neck conditions, and inexpensive, effective methods for wound management, particularly in farm animals.”

Dr. Tobias has spent over 17 years of her 30-year veterinary medical career at the University of Tennessee, and has written more than 100 scientific articles and book chapters. She is also the author of the textbook, Manual of Small Animal Soft Tissue Surgery; co-author of Atlas of Ear Diseases of the Dog and Cat; and co-editor of the textbook, Veterinary Surgery: Small Animal.

“The SGUSVM Continuing Education events are a fantastic opportunity for our alumni to return to Grenada for a weekend of high-quality CE, fun, and nostalgia,” said Dr. Tara Paterson, SVMAA President. “Our alumni attendees love visiting all of their favorite spots and celebrating 40 years of growth at SGU, all while mixing in a little learning. This fall, we were fortunate to have Dr. Tobias as our presenter. It doesn’t get better than that.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Off-Duty MD Grad Treats Casualties During Las Vegas Shooting Tragedy

Adiofel Mark Mendoza, MD SGU ’14 (right), with family in Las Vegas

First he witnessed two ambulances screaming down Las Vegas Boulevard, and over the next five minutes or so, three or four more zoomed past. Adiofel Mark Mendoza, MD SGU ’14, thought it unusual for a Sunday night—even in Las Vegas, where he was wrapping up a five-day vacation with family.

Dr. Mendoza checked the local dispatcher feed and pieced together information on an active shooter situation just four blocks south—at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

That’s when he, like many off-duty service workers, sprung into action. Dr. Mendoza raced to the scene and helped set up a triage center for injured concert goers about 1,000 feet from the site of the tragedy. Over the next six to eight hours, he treated approximately 20 patients who had been injured during the massacre, which left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured.

Dr. Mendoza—who is a full-time hospitalist at Summit Medical Group in New Jersey—confessed that he feels fortunate to have been able to help, but upset that such an event required it.

“I was honored to be there,” he said. “I’m glad there was something that I could do, and that I had the training, unfortunately, that was needed.

“It was a group effort. It was amazing how people were just running up to us asking what they could do, how they could help – nurses who were off duty, EMTs, off-duty or retired law enforcement, ex-military. A lot of people saved a lot of lives and did more courageous things than I did.”

Upon learning of the active situation outside the Mandalay Bay, Dr. Mendoza took a cab as close to the site as he could get before approaching it on foot. En route, he encountered a young woman bleeding from her pelvis, and her boyfriend who had been shot in the shoulder. After providing immediate treatment, Dr. Mendoza flagged down two ambulances and directed the drivers to rush the couple to the nearest trauma center immediately.

He then boarded an ambulance and, amid the chaos, made his way to the main command center—a circle of approximately 30 ambulances and fire trucks on Las Vegas Boulevard that allowed medical personnel to safely treat casualties. Injured concert goers slowly began to trickle in, many on makeshift wheelchairs—office chairs that had been borrowed from nearby businesses. They were treated for both physical and mental trauma.

“Truthfully, it was like being in the emergency room, just on a mass scale,” he said. “It was like being on the job. I’ve gone through a range of emotions and when people asked me about what happened, I really didn’t know what to say. I’m just thankful that I was there and that could help out in some way.”

Dr. Mendoza had been exposed to high-level trauma cases during his clinical training in New York City, Newark, and Chicago. He joined Summit Health after completing his internal medicine residency at New York University Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY this summer, and has his sights set on becoming a military doctor. He is currently in the middle of the review process to be commissioned in the United States Navy Reserves.

“During my training, I volunteered myself every time there was a trauma code because those are the cases I want to be involved in,” Dr. Mendoza said. I forced myself to be in those situations so I could desensitize myself and be in the right state of mind when I’m needed.”

“It’s very upsetting to see something like this,” he continued. “I don’t know how people could do this to each other. In the ER, you see accidents where people come in with broken bones and such, but this was intentional, and these were innocent people who just there on vacation. They in no way deserved this.”

DVM Grad Tackles Rabies at the Source in Malawi

At 10 minutes to eight in the morning, John Clark, DVM SGU ’12, and his crew pulled up to the village of Embangweni, located about 250 kilometers north of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, where Dr. Clark grew up. In the weeks prior, the local radio station had advertised why Dr. Clark’s charitable organization, the Community Health Coalition, had come—to administer free rabies vaccines for area animals.

Dr. Clark discovered a line of people and animals several hundred deep. They encountered the same response days later at their second clinic in Mufwe, Zambia—citizen after citizen awaiting important health care for their pets.

“Everybody was there waiting even before we arrived,” he said of the crowds. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Across the two communities, Dr. Clark, his wife Rachel, and veterinary assistants administered more than 542 rabies vaccines to area animals, helping to address a dire public health problem that spreads across the country and the continent.

Dr. Clark, who operates the Community Veterinary Clinic in Vero Beach, Florida, hopes that it is his first step of many in helping to eradicate rabies in Malawi. His desire is in line with how he arrived at St. George’s University—courtesy of a Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship, which are awarded to Commonwealth citizens who are committed to developing health care in their home country.

“It feels good to have spent the two days in Malawi and Zambia because it was an opportunity for us to give back to the community,” said Dr. Clark.

The 2012 SGU graduate modeled the mission after a vaccination program created by Dr. Guy Palmer, Founding Director of the Paul G. Allen School of Global Animal Health at Washington State University. The program aimed to create a rabies-free zone in Kenya and Tanzania that would encourage other regions to focus their attention on the disease as well.

Dr. Clark consulted with Dr. Palmer—who was also a keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s One Health One Medicine Symposium in October—and began to put together his own plan to vaccinate dogs in remote locations in Malawi and Zambia. While the vaccination mission was a step in the right direction, he even admitted it’s a small one. According to the WHO, it is necessary to vaccinate 70 percent of the dog population in an area to control rabies, which would require approximately 80,000 vaccines in northern Malawi alone per Dr. Clark.

However, plans are moving forward on a global scale. At a conference earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) established End Rabies Now, a framework strategy to eliminate the disease worldwide by 2030. The alliance hopes to attack the issue by providing affordable human vaccines and antibodies, prompt treatment of infected individuals, and widespread dog vaccinations.

Much of the focus is on Africa and Asia, where rabies causes tens of thousands of deaths each year. Since his mission, Dr. Clark has gained 501(c)(3) status for his organization and began laying the groundwork for SGU students to complete clinical rotations in Malawi. He plans to return there to provide many more rabies vaccinations in 2018.

“People are coming from the outside and trying to make a difference,” Dr. Clark said. “We made a dent. We will try again next year and just keep trying and trying. We hope to get bigger each year.”

St. George’s University Graduate Elected President of New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians

A primary care physician in the state for more than 30 years, Peter Carrazzone, MD SGU ’83, has been named President of the New Jersey Academy of Family Physicians (NJAFP), and will represent the membership and its best interests during his term of office.

Dr. Carrazzone practices family medicine with Vanguard Medical Group in North Haledon, NJ. He is also the Medical Director for the John Victor Machuga Diabetic Center at St. Joseph’s Wayne Hospital.

“I can promise this board will be focused and work tirelessly to improve the Academy and the landscape for family physicians in this state,” he said during his acceptance speech at the NJAFP’s Annual Scientific Assembly in Atlantic City on June 27.

Peter Carrazzone, MD SGU ’83

The NJAFP, the largest primary care medical specialty society in the state, is comprised of more than 2,000 physicians statewide, and is a leader in health care practice transformation and advocacy. Dr. Carrazzone has chaired the Academy’s Government Affairs Committee for the past three years, and as President, pledged to represent all NJAFP members, from the debt-ridden family medicine resident, to the family physician working in academic medicine, to the solo and large group family physicians and more.

Dr. Carrazzone said he has two primary focuses for his tenure as president – addressing family medicine resident debt and loan forgiveness, and a thorough review of the state’s family practice bylaws. He said that New Jersey has been dubbed a “primary care desert,” with family physicians leaving the state to pursue higher-paying opportunities elsewhere. As a result, New Jersey has the second-highest cost of care per patient in the United States, yet ranks 49th according to quality-of-care metrics.

“For our patients, for our families, for the specialty of family medicine, this is the time we must be advocates,” he said. “This is the time we need to communicate to our legislators. This is the time our collective voice needs to be heard. This is the time to promote value and quality. This is the time to promote a stronger primary care infrastructure to insurances and our government. This is the time to cure a broken health care system. This is the time for family medicine.”

Upon graduating from SGU, Dr. Carrazzone completed his residency in family practice at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson. In addition to his longstanding tenure with Vanguard, he has taught at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

Dr. Carrazzone came to St. George’s University in 1979, and has used the experience as a foundation for his career in medicine. Although he has yet to return to Grenada since his basic science studies, he routinely guides his alma mater’s clinical students who rotate through St. Joseph’s. “It’s a strong academic program,” he said. “The students are bright and motivated, and I don’t see much of a difference between them and students coming from US schools.”

Class of 2017 Veterinarians Take Next Step in Their Journeys

Commencement marked the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another for St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine’s Class of 2017. Before setting off to begin their careers as practicing veterinarians, they convened on June 11 at Lincoln Center in New York City to celebrate their collective success.

This year’s class of veterinarians hailed from 10 countries, as far away as Taiwan, India, and Botswana. Among the 2017 graduates was Abigail Maynard, DVM SGU ’17, from Barbados, who became the first doctor in her family on Sunday. Dr. Maynard plans to go into mixed animal practice before joining the public health residency program at the University of Minnesota. At graduation, she was cheered on by her parents, grandmother, and godmother.

“I feel really overwhelmed right now. I just can’t believe that the dream that I’ve had since I was 6 years old is finally coming true,” shared Dr. Maynard. “I felt very prepared by SGU especially during my clinical year. Comparing myself to other clinical students, I felt there were definitely certain areas in which I was leagues ahead of them. Today, my classmates and I are reunited, and after all our hard work I’m just so happy that we are here to achieve our dreams together.”

Hooded by her uncle, Dr. Albert D. Franklin, a medical infirmary practitioner, an emotional Devan Sacknoff, DVM SGU ’17, became the first veterinarian in her family. Dr. Sacknoff, who admitted to eyeing a career in veterinary medicine since the fourth grade, was joined at David Geffen Hall by her parents, aunt, and uncle. After graduation, she is applying to be a general practitioner in Huntington Beach, California.

“It doesn’t seem real; I’m still in shock,” said Dr. Sacknoff. “It feels amazing to be here, and I’m so glad to see everyone again after being apart for a year.”

A new addition to the program, this year’s ceremony featured heartfelt words by a class member— Clarence Williams, DVM SGU ’17—who was nominated by the graduands to speak on their behalf. Currently working in a small animal clinic in south New Jersey in emergency and clinical care, Dr. Williams shared pleasant memories of their time in True Blue.

“We’ve been on a wonderful journey these past four years. It has been extremely tough. We’ve learned a lot of information and we’re going to have to continue to learn more information,” said Dr. Williams. “But despite all our sacrifices, we did it; we’re veterinarians now, we’re doctors. It’s still hard to believe, but we didn’t do it alone. We had help from our great professors and all these memories have helped me realize that we’ve been like a family—an SGU family.”

Although unable to attend the ceremony in person, Dr. Eduardo Durante, Senior Associate Dean, was awarded the Distinguished Service Award for his longtime contributions to SGU in small animal medicine and surgery at the Small Animal Clinic. During his tenure at SGU, Dr. Durante also served as Acting Dean in 2013, and Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Programs in SVM in 2010 and again in 2013.

SVM Dean Dr. Timothy Ogilvie, who accepted the award on Dr. Durante’s behalf, was also recognized by Chancellor Modica and President Olds for his outstanding service to the University during his three-year term. Dr. Neil C. Olson, the former Dean of University of Missouri School of Veterinary Medicine, will officially assume the same position at SGU on August 15.

Since opening its doors in 1999, SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine has graduated more than 1,200 veterinarians from 29 countries. These alumni have gone on to practice in 47 US states and 10 countries around the world.

Newest St. George’s University Physicians Rewarded For Their Commitment

From all around the world and all walks of life, the St. George’s University School of Medicine Class of 2017 came to Grenada to pursue their dreams of becoming a physician. On June 10 and 11 at Lincoln Center in New York City, they were rewarded for their commitment to their profession and their future, earning the degree of Doctor of Medicine at SGU’s commencement ceremony.

This year’s class is comprised of graduates from 86 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia. They join the more than 17,000 alumni of St. George’s University, including over 14,000 physicians.

“Graduates, this is truly your day, one in which we celebrate your accomplishments and pause for a moment to dream with you of your future,” said Dr. Joseph Childers, Provost. “As much as this ceremony symbolizes an end to your formal studies at SGU, it also signifies our faith in you, our unshakeable belief that you are moving forward fully prepared to handle the intellectual and professional challenges that you will inevitably face.”

2017 Caribbean medical school graduates read a professional oath.“On behalf of the faculty, staff, and administration of St. George’s University, I want to congratulate all of you in the graduating class of 2017,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President. “I also want to congratulate the other people in this audience, without whom this graduation would not have been possible – your family, friends, loved ones, and spouses. Thank you for making this day possible.”

The first to cross the stage on Saturday was Grace Lepis, MD SGU ’17, who was overjoyed to have matched into a categorical surgery residency at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ. Since completing her basic sciences in Grenada, she has returned to the island twice, including for her honeymoon.

“I love the island and I love the University,” Dr. Lepis said. “SGU gave me an opportunity that nobody else gave me. To be here at graduation is very exciting. It’s a humbling experience. We all worked very hard to get to this point, and I’m proud of myself and all of my classmates.”

Eight years ago, Janish Kothari, MD SGU ’17, watched his sister, Megha, graduate from SGU and move on to a career in gastroenterology. Her example and mentorship helped Dr. Kothari through the challenges of medical school. He will begin an internal medicine residency at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn this summer.International medical school graduate at commencement.

“Everything flew by so quickly,” Dr. Kothari said. “I remember getting off the plane in Grenada, and now I’m standing here with my robe and getting ready for residency. It’s a surreal moment. I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for me, and can sincerely say that SGU has prepared me for whatever challenges I may face. I wouldn’t change anything.”

In addressing the graduates and their families, Chancellor Modica took a moment to recognize Nelly Golarz de Bourne, the former Dean of Women and Chair of Histology at SGU and widow of the University’s first Vice Chancellor, Geoffrey Bourne. Dr. Golarz was on hand to watch her grandson, Dr. Gordon Bourne, take the Hippocratic Oath.

“Dr. Bourne and Dr. Golarz made this University what it is today, more than anyone, in the first 10 years of its existence,” Chancellor Modica said. “It’s a great honor to know that Geoffrey, looking down on us now, can see his grandson graduate.”

The Chancellor also awarded Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost Emeritus of St. George’s University, with a Distinguished Service Medal for his more than 30 years of service to the University and Grenadian community, including as Provost from 2004 to 2016. Dr. Pensick’s roles also included Dean of Basic and Allied Health Sciences, Chairman of the University Council of Deans, and Chairman of the School of Medicine Faculty Senate. Bell Hall, an iconic building on True Blue’s upper campus, was renamed Allen H. Pensick Hall in 2011.

SGU Grad Brings Hyperbaric Medicine to Grenada

Dr. Lutz ‘Joe’ Amechi, MD SGU ’93, resident physician and managing director of St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS), celebrates sustained efforts to expand healthcare services in Grenada, introducing the nation’s first hyperbaric chamber and a 64 slice CT machine. St. George’s University is partnering with SAMS to provide medical students with a clinical selective in hyperbaric medicine.

Rated among the top diving destinations in the world, Grenada regularly welcomes fervent divers and major diving clubs to its waters. However, with no hyperbaric chamber on island, the risk of decompression sickness—also known as divers’ disease or the bends—remains a constant threat.

An avid diver while attending St. George’s University, Lutz “Joe” Amechi, MD SGU ’93, often wondered what happened if divers were stricken with the bends, which can result in crippling injuries—even paralysis or death—due to arterial gas embolisms. More than two decades later, Dr. Amechi has helped secure Grenada’s first hyperbaric chamber at St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS) in hopes of significantly reducing the effects of dive-related injuries.

“For years, our career fishermen have been risking their lives diving for their livelihood in very dangerous conditions. With the nearest hyperbaric chamber located in Barbados, there was no means to treat the damages caused by dive injuries in a timely manner,” said Dr. Amechi, Managing Director and Resident Physician, SAMS. “Having a hyperbaric chamber on shore will give both our locals and our visitors tremendous confidence in our capabilities and support of our dive sector in Grenada.”

Additionally, SGU has partnered with SAMS in starting a selective in hyperbaric medicine, with the first group of students slated to participate this fall. As faculty advisor, Dr. Duncan Kirkby was instrumental in both acquiring and building an educational program around the hyperbaric chamber.

“One of our main goals is to make our students stand out,” said Dr. Kirkby, Professor of Neuroscience and Associate Dean of Students at SGU. “These selectives provide another avenue to help our students set themselves apart from every other medical student. We’re offering a dynamic way to augment the competitiveness of our graduates for residency.”

Also teaching the course in conjunction with SGU is Dr. Tyler Sexton, President and Chief Executive Officer of Caribbean Hyperbaric Medicine (CHM) and a former student of Dr. Kirkby. Working with SAMS to supply both the hyperbaric chamber and the medical knowhow, Dr. Sexton created CHM to focus directly on bringing these types of programs to the Caribbean.

“These courses enable students to become actual certified technicians, allowing them to move into the world of hyperbaric medicine. They can also choose to become an attending hyperbaric physician, giving them another pathway of using their education and furthering their career in medicine,” said Dr. Sexton. “This program doesn’t include just the coursework but the clinical hours as well that gives these students invaluable hands-on experience utilizing the hyperbaric chamber. This will open their eyes to the wound care component, to limb salvage, and reducing diabetic amputation rates. Hyperbaric medicine bridges a variety of specialties, including emergency medicine, surgery, and primary care. It gives them exposure to many areas and will help guide them to a fun and dynamic career as they move forward.”

According to Dr. Sexton, the fully remanufactured hyperbaric chamber is accredited by Divers Alert Network and is recognized by the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine. It has the capability of treating four patients at once and houses seven breathing systems. It can perform approximately 100,000 dives before having to replace any of its parts and is approved by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and 510(k) cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

Used to deliver hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT), the hyperbaric chamber was developed to treat underwater divers suffering from decompression sickness. It has since been approved for the treatment of air or gas embolisms, gangrenous digits and limbs, sickle cell disease, thermal burns, and other wounds that fail to heal through conventional treatment.

“The hyperbaric chamber will undoubtedly be useful in recompressing divers suffering from the bends but hyperbaric medicine extends far beyond that and is now used extensively in treating bone infections, ischemic strokes, diabetic foot ulcers and the list goes on,” added Dr. Amechi. “HBOT can cut the healing time by about a third to a half. Patients suffering with sickle cell disease, it shortens the length of the crisis and gets them back out much faster. With the hyperbaric chamber, recovery time is much quicker and the recovery percentage is much higher.”

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.”