The rhythms of life, the words that shed light on underlying truth—these are well-studied tools among physicians. And for some Orlando doctors, including SGU grads Joseph and Stan Sujka, rhythms and words join forces and find their voice in poetry.
McLeod Physician Associates in Loris, SC, welcomed Michael McCaffrey, MD SGU ’88, to McLeod Seacoast Neurology. Dr. McCaffrey joined McLeod Loris Seacoast from Grand Strand Specialty Associates.
Alexandra McCollum, MD SGU ’05, joined Larchmont Pediatrics in her home state of California, and will split time between private practice and the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
University Hospitals Conneaut and Geneva medical centers welcomed Pranav Periyalwar, MD SGU ’09, to their medical staffs.
The New Hanover Regional Medical Center Physician Group welcomed vascular neurologist James S. McKinney, MD SGU ’04, who will care for inpatients at the medical center’s main campus and will also serve as the medical director of the NHRMC stroke program.
Ashley Kirkwood, MD SGU ’11, opened up her own private OB/GYN practice serving the Knox and La Porte communities in Michigan.
Medical oncologist Amir Harandi, MD SGU ’02, joined the Dyson Center for Cancer Care at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. Harandi has been a medical oncologist and hematologist since 2009, most recently at the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, Kentucky, where he also served on the faculty at the University of Louisville.
1997 SGU Graduate and Southside Hospital Physician Joins Dean’s Office
A 1997 St. George’s University graduate and longtime physician and educator at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, NY, Chris Magnifico has been appointed Assistant Dean of St. George’s University School of Medicine.
“We are excited to officially welcome Dr. Magnifico to the dean’s office,” said Dr. Stephen Weitzman, Dean, St. George’s University School of Medicine. “As an SGU graduate himself, he has navigated the course from student to physician, which gives him the ideal vantage point from which to help lead the University in the coming years. In addition, his background in technology and computer programming will prove to be a tremendous asset for us as we integrate the newest and most exciting technological advances into our curriculum.”
In addition to his role as a Hospitalist and Hospice and Palliative Care Committee Attending, Dr. Magnifico is the Director of Hospital Medical Education and an Associate Professor of Family Practice at Southside, a 341-bed hospital that is part of the North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System. As Assistant Dean, Dr. Magnifico hopes to develop the technological aspects of the medical curriculum, making coursework and evaluations more computer-based, and strengthening the third- and fourth year core training.
Over the years, Dr. Magnifico has given back to his alma mater, teaching scores of SGU clinical students and residents. He looks forward to helping set the course for students to develop their skills and knowledge on their way to making an impact on health care.
“SGU has done wonders for me,” Dr. Magnifico said. “Without SGU, I would not be in the position I am today, truly enjoying life, teaching new doctors and residents, and giving optimal care in a primary care setting. I wish that for each and every student that pursues a career in medicine, and look forward to working with Dr. Weitzman and the University’s faculty and staff to continue providing an experience for students that will prepare them for their futures in health care.”
Dr. Magnifico came to SGU from Stony Brook University, from which he earned his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry. After two years of basic science training, he went on to complete his clinical rotations in New York at Jamaica Hospital, Maimonides Medical Center, as well as at Southside. He continued on with Southside thereafter, completing his family practice residency there in 2000.
Having been with the hospital for more than 18 years, Dr. Magnifico has valued the opportunity to treat members of the community in which he was raised.
“As a primary care doctor, I’ve taken care of family members, friends’ family members, staff members in the hospital, and tens of thousands of community members,” he said. “You really get to know your community.”
In addition to working at Southside, Dr. Magnifico has been an Associate Professor and HIV Specialist at Brentwood Family Health Center, and treats patients at the Momentum Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center. He is board certified by the American Academy of Family Practice and by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association.
Newest Crop of St. George’s University Physicians Represents 41 Countries
At the 40th St. George’s University School of Medicine commencement ceremony on June 17, more than 900 students were conferred Doctor of Medicine degrees at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. The Class of 2015 represents 41 countries, including 39 US states, the newest physicians joining more than 12,000 SGU graduates who have been licensed to practice medicine in more than 50 countries around the world.
“When we first met you at your White Coat Ceremony in Grenada, we felt that each and every one of your had the capability and capacity to fulfill your dreams,” said Dr. Charles R. Modica, St. George’s University Chancellor. “You persevered, you stood fast, you studied hard, and you didn’t let go, and as a result, here you are. We are very proud to be here with you today, and know that you will continue to make a difference in health care.”
Although commencement marked the end of one chapter in their journey, Allen Pensick, St. George’s University Provost, encouraged the graduates to use it as a foundation for the rest of their medical careers.
“Today is a celebration of you now being equipped with the basic skills that you will need for the world you are entering,” Dr. Pensick said. “It’s up to you to continue learning to keep pace with the rapidly changing world around us. You must demonstrate your ability to learn in the fields that you choose. Today is about recognizing the ability to embrace the opportunities that are ahead of you.”
Mohammed Elshorafa, MD SGU ’15, is excited for what lies ahead. He will begin a child neurology residency at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System this summer. He reveled in the moment with his family outside Lincoln Center.
“It’s more than just four years; it’s an entire life building up to this one moment,” Dr. Elshorafa. “It’s great to be here with family because they were right there with me every step of the way. There were some ups and downs, but it was an amazing experience to live and study in Grenada, and that we’re here at this point is just overwhelming.”
For Parker Jenkins, MD SGU ’15, the SGU experience has very much been a family affair as well. His wife, Ashley, earned her MD from SGU in 2013 and is now completing her residency in internal medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center Mountainside. Originally from Denham Springs, LA, Dr. Jenkins and his family, including daughter Jolee and Job, spent two years in Grenada during his basic science training.
“I learned a lot about medicine and a lot about patient care, and moreover, I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of,” Dr. Jenkins said. “I’m blessed to have had this opportunity and to have had my family with me to experience it.”
Astha Muttreja, MD SGU ’15, and Amika Bahri, MD SGU ’15, became friends through SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, for which students spend the first year of their studies at Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom. Dr. Muttreja returns home to begin an internal medicine residency at Stony Brook University, and Dr. Bahri will do the same, starting her family medicine residency at the University of Toronto.
“Stony Brook Hospital is great, so I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Dr. Muttreja said. “It’s such a blessing. There were times where you weren’t sure if you were going to make it, so to be standing here is amazing.”
“That we were able to experience three different health care systems over the course of our medical education was really invaluable,” Dr. Bahri said. “Getting to go back home was something I only dreamed about when started school at SGU, so to have it all work out in the end means everything to me.”
Before conferring Doctors of Medicine to the graduating class, SGU presented Honorary Doctorates of Human Letters to two American pioneers – Ellen Ratner and James Pinkerton. Dr. Ratner has been a longtime supporter of SGU, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF). She founded the non-profit organization Goats for the Old Goat, aimed at helping families in need in South Sudan. Dr. Pinkerton has been a political commentator, columnist, and White House advisor since the early 1980s, and serves as a member of the board of the Institute for Human Virology (IHV). In addition, he is an advocate for the Cure Strategy, a platform to encourage public policies that advance medical innovation and the development of lifesaving treatments.
Pardeep Athwal, MD SGU ’10, Unveils Orunje, A New Way for Patients to Be Seen Quickly
Patients can log in, explain what’s troubling them, and have an in-home appointment booked in minutes. That’s the basis behind Orunje, the new on-demand emergency health care website created by Pardeep Athwal, MD SGU ’10, that crowdsources physicians and nurse practitioners in Chicago so that patients are seen quickly and conveniently, without lengthy emergency room waits.
It’s motto? Feel Better. Now. Launched in March 2015, the Orunje network has already grown to approximately 40 physicians and nurse practitioners in downtown Chicago. Dr. Athwal and his team are hoping to expand it even further within the city as well as beyond city limits, providing 24-7 service in every major city in the United States.
“You can find a date, have a hairstylist come to your home, and even get on-demand cookies; why shouldn’t you be able to get on-demand health care at your convenience?” said Dr. Athwal, Orunje’s co-founder and chief executive officer.
The idea for the service stemmed from Dr. Athwal’s own experience. He graduated from St. George’s University in 2010, and during his diagnostic radiology residency at the University of Connecticut, he had hoped to book a standard physical with a nearby physician. However, with the heavy workload and odd hours that come with residency, he found it difficult.
“I didn’t know what to do, and I’m a physician, so I imagined a lot of other people had the same dilemma,” he said.
That’s when the pieces for Orunje began to come together. For its development, Dr. Athwal sought the assistance of another SGU graduate, Dr. Rajbeer Sangha, MD SGU ’10, and a PhD candidate at the University of Connecticut, Jiangwen Sun. Now with the program launched, those seeking medical attention can log on to Orunje.com, and submit an appointment request. Upon doing so, Orunje automatically notifies every provider within its network, increasing the likelihood of a patient securing a prompt, in-home appointment with a qualified physician or nurse practitioner. During the appointment, providers can address acute issues as well as refer the patient for bloodwork or to a specialist. Results from each appointment can be forwarded to the patient’s primary care physician upon request.
“Having that ability aids with the continuity of care, benefitting both the patient and the providers,” Dr. Athwal said.
For providers, Orunje exposes them to new patients and allows them to earn extra money without having to rearrange their schedule or career. An added benefit is that Orunje provides malpractice coverage for all providers at no additional charge.
To market the product, Dr. Athwal has leaned on the business experience he earned at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where he obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA), with an emphasis on health care leadership.
“Health care is a business, and it’s important to at least have a core understanding of the basic principles of business, whether it’s negotiations, finance, leadership management, or human resources,” Dr. Athwal said. “Getting an MBA really gave me a good foundation for knowing how to communicate with management and others who are on the patient care team.”
He is thankful for the foundation that St. George’s provided in helping build his career as a radiologist. With Orunje, he believes a new frontier in health care has been introduced to the city of Chicago.
“St. George’s University was a great opportunity to live abroad and to pursue my dream of becoming a physician,” Dr. Athwal said. “It prepped me well for my radiology residency, and I met some of my closest friends there. I really wouldn’t trade my experience at SGU for anything.”