Fortune 500 Recognizes SGU School of Medicine Alumna as Outstanding Physician Citizen

Doctor Lisa Radix of Hopkinsville & Christian County Dialysis Recognized as Outstanding Physician Citizen

DaVita’s Outstanding Physician Citizen Program Highlights Physicians for Outstanding Patient Service

Hopkinsville, KY (March 2009) – DaVita Inc. (NYSE: DVA), one of the nation’s leading providers of kidney care services, today announced that Dr. Lisa Radix Medical Director, of the Hopkinsville & Christian CO. DaVita® dialysis centers, has been recognized as the divisional Outstanding Physician Citizen, receiving the  Doctor PEPper award, for the River Valley Division. The honor will be presented to Dr. Radix during a dinner celebration.

DaVita’s Doctor PEPper program seeks to recognize those physicians who exemplify DaVita’s mission and core values. The Patients Enriched by Partnershipsm (PEPsm) department is a department within DaVita that strives to involve patients and their families to educate and better their quality care. The doctors are nominated by Facility Administrators who feel the nominee is an integral part of the PEP program and their DaVita team. The doctors must have strong clinical results, actively participate in the Wall of Fame (a way to help DaVita patients and teammates to get to know one another by decorating a wall with photographs and fun facts), involve themselves in political action as well as being a strong member throughout the kidney care community. The doctors who are nominated enjoy the celebrations, games and events in the dialysis unit.

“Receiving the Doctor PEPper award is such an honor because it comes directly from the teammates I work with every day. I am very humbled by it.” said Dr. Radix, DaVita Medical Director. “The Doctor PEPper award also represents some of the aspects of patient-care that makes the practice of Nephrology so fulfilling.”

The Doctor PEPper program was founded in 2006, and promotes DaVita’s mission To Be the Provider, Partner and Employer of Choice, and core values, Service Excellence, Integrity, Team, Continuous Improvement, Accountability, Fulfillment, and Fun. At DaVita, that means high quality clinical care is generally coupled with a personalized approach.

DaVita, Patients Enriched by Partnership and PEP are trademarks or registered trademarks of DaVita Inc. All other trademarks are the properties of their respective owners.

About DaVita Inc.
DaVita Inc., a FORTUNE 500® company, is a leading provider of kidney care in the United States, providing dialysis services and education for patients with chronic kidney failure and end stage renal disease. DaVita manages more than 1,400 outpatient facilities and acute units in more than 700 hospitals located in 43 states and the District of Columbia, serving approximately 110,000 patients. As part of DaVita’s commitment to building a healthy, caring community, DaVita develops, participates in and donates to numerous programs dedicated to transforming communities and creating positive, sustainable change for children, families and our environment. For more information about DaVita, its kidney education materials, and its community programs, please visit

St. George’s University Vet Grad Obtains Competitive Surgical Residency

Nicole Salas has a promising future as a veterinary surgeon.  A 2005 St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine graduate, Nicole has earned a competitive surgical residency at the Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Langhorne, PA.

“I am very happy thus far and feel I have learned a tremendous amount in my two years post graduation, between my rotating internship at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in New York City and my surgical internship at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Florida,” Nicole says.

A native of Oxford, NJ, Nicole received an Animal Science degree at Cornell University.  She always knew she’d like to become a veterinarian, and looked to St. George’s University to help her prepare for her career.

“I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since I was four years old.  I’ve always loved animals and science,” says Nicole. “I am thankful St. George’s gave me this opportunity.”

After basic veterinary medical sciences at SGUSVM, Nicole was placed at North Carolina State University for the clinical part of her education.  In many ways, she felt better prepared than students from other schools, likely due to the hands-on training SGU students receive a year earlier than most students in other veterinary programs.

“St. George’s prepared us to be well-rounded veterinarians, despite our concentration in small or large animal medicine,“ Nicole says.

Nicole was also impressed with the professors at SGU: “They are always available, always willing to help you in any way they can,” she says. “Coming from a large university with teaching assistants, I was amazed to see that my professors had an open door policy, and would be willing to help and encourage me any way they could.”

Nicole’s potential was evident early on to SGU.  Jeffrey Bates, Veterinary Enrolment Manager at SGU, notes that “even though spots are very limited, having known Nicole for the past several years, it’s no surprise that she obtained a surgical residency.

“Her passion for and knowledge of veterinary medicine have always been strong, and with all of the hands-on experience our students receive, I knew St. George’s University would teach her the skills necessary to follow her lifelong dream,” he says.

In addition to the exceptional faculty, Nicole considered the Caribbean atmosphere a benefit.

“It was a relaxing atmosphere, despite the stress of class,” she says. “It really made me want to study, though most would think the opposite.  You’re in a place where there aren’t the everyday distractions of the mall, the movies, and the hustle and bustle.”

Nicole couldn’t be happier with her education. “I am going to be a veterinary surgeon and I love what I am doing,” says Nicole.  “St. George’s gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream.  The faculty prepared me to be an excellent veterinarian and the serene environment offered a wonderful place to study.”

“Who wouldn’t want to study in the Caribbean for three years?”

St. George’s University School of Medicine Grad Assists NYC Rescue

barbara2As an Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Fellow with the New York City Fire Department, Dr. Paul Barbara, SGUSOM Class of 2004, has been an active participant in numerous rescue situations in his native New York.  So upon receipt of a Multiple Casualty Incident (MCI) on the afternoon of January 15th, he prepared for an emergency situation without full knowledge of the scope of the issue.  By the initial reports however, many patients were potentially hurt and would likely require immediate physician care.

Accompanied by the Chief Medical Officer of FDNY EMS, Paul arrived at a scene most notably marked by his vision of the tail of US Airways Flight 1549surfacing New York’s Hudson River. The Airbus A320 was forced to make an emergency landing moments after takeoff from New York’s LaGuardia Airport when a bird strike caused loss of engine power.

Dr. Barbara, who began his EMS training as a volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) during his years in college, was then assigned to MERV 1, a Major Emergency Response Vehicle (MERV) in the fleet of FDNY EMS.  While inside this large bus-like vehicle, he would be able to treat up to 15 people at once.  The MERV was used for treatment and stabilization of any distressed passengers immediately coming from the harsh elements.  The air temperatures that day dipped to 6 degrees, but more dangerous were the frigid water temperatures from which these flight victims were being rescued.

Paul expressed that the personal challenge in such a chaotic situation is to not let your instinct and training overshadow your responsibility to perform your task at hand.  Dr. Barbara explained that with so many city, state and federal organizations descending upon the scene, it was imperative that each individual focus on their specific responsibility.  In addition to caring for four of the flight victims, Dr. Barbara and other members of his team surveyed the local emergency departments via phone and personal visits to help the EMS system properly account for the 155 passengers and crew who were taken to various metropolitan hospitals.  “While I would like to have done more that day, I realized the value of my responsibility.  I am grateful that there were no casualties, and consider this a valuable training exercise which will better prepare me for any future incidents of such caliber.”

Dr. Barbara’s dedication to serving his community stems from an upbringing which instilled this type of commitment and responsibility.  Both his father and mother, Gerard and Joanne, led by example as they impressed upon their children the importance of giving back. Paul’s father was a 31-year veteran of the FDNY and was one of the city’s highest ranking and most decorated fire chiefs.

Paul explained that his father was a tremendous advocate for education, believing that learning was a life long process. It was not until his final years at SGU that Dr. Barbara saw the similarities that their career paths had taken. “I always thought our career decisions were divergent, but in fact, as I progress with my career, I see the many convergent aspects,” he said.  Dr. Barbara expressed that his father’s commitment to civil service may or may not have guided his choice to practice Emergency Medicine, but it has certainly guided his aspirations to service the public through the delivery of quality medical care.

Dr. Barbara feels fortunate to be involved with the FDNY EMS during such a critical time.  FDNY is involved in significant changes which are currently assisting hospitals to improve the quality of patient care and timeliness of their response, pushing New York City EMS to the forefront of the national emergency medical services community.

As an EMS Fellow, Dr. Paul Barbara typically spends four out of five days each week serving the FDNY as an Emergency Medical Services Medical Director at 9 Metrotech Center in Brooklyn, New York.  He is also an Attending Physician in Emergency Medicine at Long Island Jewish Medical Center.  After graduating from St. George’s University School of Medicine in 2004, he served as Chief Resident in Emergency Medicine at The Brooklyn Hospital Center.  Dr. Barbara also maintains an active role within the SGU community.  This includes being a member of the Office of Career Guidance and Student Development (OCG), the Clinical Department of Emergency Medicine, St. George’s University’s Alumni Admission Mentor Program (AAMP), and also by attending Information Sessions and assisting in recruitment efforts.   Dr. Barbara holds St. George’s University and its faculty and staff near to his heart, and is grateful for the integral role the institution played in his career pursuit.

Paul and his wife have a seven-month old baby daughter and reside in Garden City, New York.

Honoring Dr. John Pryor

The St. George’s University community lost an exceptional member on Christmas Day when Dr. John Pryor was killed by enemy fire in Iraq while serving in the US Army Reserves as a combat surgeon. This was the second tour of duty for the 42 year old, who worked as a trauma surgeon at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He is survived by his wife, pediatrician Carmela Calvo, and their three young children. Dr. Pryor and Dr. Calvo attended St. George’s University from August 1990 through May 1992.

Dr. John Pryor and his family.

Dr. John Pryor and his family.

For Dr. Pryor, the experience of war was comparable to that of his position as an inner-city trauma surgeon, and he eloquently described the connections in an editorial published in The Washington Post titled “The War in West Philadelphia.” In it, he noted that in some ways Iraq was a calmer situation, as in war “soldiers die for freedom, for honor, for their country and for their buddies.” It was his dedication to these things that compelled Dr. Pryor to serve his country and provide soldiers with exceptional medical care in the most dire of situations.

John’s interest in pursuing a career in medicine started at an early age.  He became certified in CPR at the age of 14, joined the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Ambulance Corp. at 17, and became a NY State Emergency Medical Technician at 18. Upon completion of his undergraduate education in biochemistry at the University of NY at Binghamton and his preclinical studies St. George’s University, he went on to finish medical school at the State University of New York at Buffalo and pursued a surgical career, becoming the chief resident in surgery at the University at Buffalo. He then completed a fellowship in trauma surgery at the University of Pennsylvania and subsequently became the Director of the Trauma Service.

Dr. Rebecca G. Smith attended St. George’s University with Dr. Pryor and later became his colleague at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  Dr. Smith reflects on her association with Dr. Pryor:

I’ll never forget the first day I ran into John Pryor at the University of Penn… We hadn’t seen each other since the end of the second year of medical school in Grenada (1992). John quickly caught me up on his life and career since SGU. The highlights I recall included his marriage to Carmela Calvo, a classmate and friend from St. George’s University, and the birth of his three children. John summarized his and Carmela’s career paths since SGU. I wasn’t surprised that John chose a career in surgery since he had excelled in anatomy as a medical student. He even received recognition by our anatomy professors for his talent.

I would frequently run into John at UPenn, often at the coffee bar. Our conversations were less about his career and work at UPenn and more often about how Carmela and his children were doing – about his hopes to take his family back to Grenada to visit someday. They reminisced about their experiences at St. George’s University, where they first embarked on their successful careers in medicine. Of his time at SGU, Dr. Smith says:“it was John’s calm and caring demeanor that stood out and made him a shining star.”  

Dr. Smith relates a common patient at UPenn:

John consulted the symptom management team to help manage the pain of one of his patients. John thanked us for the recommendations, responding “whatever it takes to make her comfortable”.  My colleagues were impressed with his compassion and concern. Even in times of crisis, he was positive and reassuring.

Dr. Smith highlights Dr. John Pryor’s accomplishments and character, closing:

John’s commitment to his ideals and service to both the United States military troops in need of surgical treatment, as well as to the community of Philadelphia will be remembered, honored and modeled. He serves as an inspiration to those studying and or serving in the medical field today.  John’s calling to service exemplifies the true reason why most of us choose a career in medicine.  He didn’t give in to the pressure, but rose to the occasion to give of himself where he felt he was most needed.  His eyes always radiated pride when he spoke of Carmela and his children.  The medical community is now called to service to comfort John’s family in their time of loss, as well as thank John’s family for their unending support, encouragement and understanding that enabled John to become the dedicated and loyal person that he was.  John will always be remembered fondly by his classmates at St. George’s University.

The University community honors John and his family and extends their sincerest condolences to his family and friends. For more information, please visit and The Philadelphia Inquirer

(Dr. Smith currently serves as Assistant Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Chief of the Division of Cancer Rehabilitation.  Dr. Pryor was serving as Assistant Professor of Surgery and Director of The Trauma Program.)

Published on 12/30/08

St. George’ s University School of Medicine Grad Open Practice in Canada

The physician is setting up practice with Dr. Jim Dewar at the Medical Associates office at Charlotte Street and will see his first patients Jan. 26…..

Welland Tribune

St. George’s University School of Medicine Grad/Faculty Dr. Jennifer Rooney Now Published in Japanese

Dr. Jennifer Rooney, Assistant Professor at St. George’s University School of Medicine and SOM Class of 1999 graduate, received a terrific surprise in the mail last week when global education publishing house McGraw-Hill Medical forwarded a second edition of her USMLE Step 2 CS Checklist translated and printed in Japanese.

“This was an unexpected and exciting surprise,” said Dr. Rooney, whose original publication of this user-friendly preparatory book was first published by McGraw-Hill Medical in 2004 with a print run of 5,000 copies. Since then, a second edition was reprinted in 2007, and is now being distributed in Asia.

Dr. Rooney, originally from Scotland, explained that her decision to write the book occurred when the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and its territories, became mandatory for students from the United States in 2005. Prior to this, it was a requirement for foreign medical students only.

The USMLE Step 2 CS Checklist is a small, easy-to-carry, checklist format book designed for self-testing on the elements which appear on the USMLE Step 2 CS. The Step 2 assesses whether a student can apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of proper patient care under supervision and includes emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.
Rooney Book CoverDr. Rooney’s book focuses on several critical components which include patient-centered skills such as taking a complete health history, physical examination and write up. Also included in the book are 55 Clinical Cases which begin with a particular scenario, then provide a checklist for every item the student should consider regarding patient care, diagnosis and follow up.Dr. Rooney is pleased by the response to her book, which has been sold at the SGU on-campus bookstore, and looks forward to the USMLE Step 2 CS helping an increasingly broad group of medical students in years to come.

After her Residency in Family Practice at Albany Medical Center in New York, Dr. Rooney returned to St. George’s University in 2002 as a Clinical Tutor in the Pathology, Histology and Clinical Skills Departments, respectively. Dr. Rooney is now an Assistant Professor and Course Coordinator for Term 5 and 6 students in the Clinical Skills Department. Dr. Rooney‘s husband, Eric Williams, is also an integral member of the SGU community, serving the University as Supervisor of the Mail Department. They have two boys, ages two and three.

St. George’ s University School of Medicine Grad Solves Dangerous Fruit Mystery

By Lisa Sanders, M.D.

Dr. Jafer Jeelani attributes patient’s unusual and deadly symptoms to unripened ackee fruit….

The New York Times

Dr. David Reindl, Class of ’92, Arrives at Samaritan Medical Center

Dr. David Reindl, who arrived at SMC in early June, received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies….

NY, United States

Dr. Emily Iker, School of Medicine ’81, Selected President of the American Society of Lymphology (ASL)

eimly iker president aslDr. Emily Iker-d’Harnoncourt was recently named President of the American Society of Lymphology (ASL), a nationally recognized non-profit organization founded in 1996. In this position, her primary focus will be to educate key members of the healthcare profession on the importance of early diagnosis of lymphatic disorders and to establish uniformed guidelines for treatment, training, information and insurance regulations.

Dr. Iker is well versed in the field of lymphology, specializing in lymphedema – a chronic condition commonly seen in cancer patients, which results in extreme swelling of the limbs.  As Director and Founder of the Lymphedema Center in Santa Monica, CA, Dr. Iker has focused on the diagnosis, management and treatment of lymphatic disorders for over 15 years.  She is certified by Professor A. Leduc, PhD, a world renowned leader in the research and treatment of lymphedema. Dr. Iker is a member of many Lymphological Societies, including ISL and GEL, as well as both Slovak and Czech Lymphological Societies where she was awarded the Honorary Membership of the Lymphological Association of J.E. Purkyne, in 1999.

Dr. Iker is board certified by the American Boards of Holistic Medicine and is a staff member of Santa Monica – UCLA Medical Center.  She is not only the Director of the Lymphedema Center but a patient as well.  “Because I have the experience in lymphology as a hands-on MD for over a decade, and I am very active nationally and internationally as a teacher, lecturer and treating physician, I was selected for the position of President of the ASL.” She continued, “With early diagnosis and the uniformed guidelines for treatment we will see less complicated cases and better care for the lymphedema patients.”

Published on 3/1/08

School of Medicine Grad Shares Real-Life “CSI” Experiences

Dr. Julia de la Garza-Jordan, SOM ’00, is a medical examiner in New York City, one of the high profile posts in the country.

A 1991 graduate of Columbia University, Dr. de la Garza-Jordan recently addressed the Columbia University Club of Southwest Florida in Naples, FL. Dr. de la Garza-Jordan attracted the largest group of Columbia alumni ever to attend this event.

The lecture titled “A Day in the Life of a Medical Examiner” drew upon her varied and often “made-for-the-movies” experiences. The presentation addressed the many complexities of her career beginning with the cases themselves. Dr. de la Garza-Jordan explained that there is no shortage of challenges and unexpected elements including the detectives, fussy undertakers, forensic photographers and resistant families, making each day different from the next.

Clearly, her most compelling case is the recovery effort at the site of the New York Twin Towers. Dr. de la Garza credits her many colleagues from the Medical Examiner Office including Michelle Slone, also a SGUSOM graduate, for their tireless efforts in identifying the victims of this historic tragedy. She shared her first-hand perspective of the devastation and the remarkable collaboration within the various City of New York offices – an effort which continues to this day.

Dr. de la Garza points out an interesting fact about the 30 employed ME’s in the Medical Examiner Office of the City of New York: Only three are women, and each is a graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine. She is proud to be in such good company, and over the years has received praise from many experts in her field for the education and life experience provided by SGU.

Dr. Julia de la Garza-Jordan completed an anatomical and clinical pathology residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, Florida, and completed an Immunopathology Fellowship (transplant pathology) at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami. She also completed a Forensic Pathology Fellowship at Miami-Dade Medical Examiner in Florida.

Dr. de la Garza-Jordan resides in New York City with her husband Dr. Robert L. Jordan, SGUSOM’s Department Co-Chair of Anatomical Sciences and the University’s Associate Dean of Enrolment Planning for Admissions.