For the Love of Grenada: SGU Students Present EC$1 Million Donation of Medical Supplies from Project C.U.R.E.

St. George’s University students and administration hold a press conference with the Government of Grenada to announce the donation of EC$1 million worth of medical supplies from US-based healthcare non-profit Project C.U.R.E. The donation was spearheaded by medical students from the SGU Global Surgery Club and involved two years of preparation, fundraising, and logistics.

After two years of fundraising and preparation, students from St. George’s University Global Surgery Club recently presented a donation of medical supplies and equipment valued at EC$1 million to the Government of Grenada from US-based medical non-profit Project C.U.R.E. (Commission on Urgent Relief and Equipment).

“We are extremely grateful to have received this gift,” stated Pauline Peters, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, Grenada. “We all know the challenges that Grenada faces in regard to resources, so whatever partnership or collaboration we can foster with generous donors we’re more than willing to do so. This donation will go a long way in supporting the transformation of health care in Grenada by ensuring that all of our hospitals and health centers are fully equipped and stocked with the necessary medical supplies and equipment to provide essential health services.”

The 40-foot container packed with much needed healthcare provisions will be used to furnish a new operating room and intensive care unit at the Grenada General Hospital, as well disbursed to surrounding clinics. These vital supplies range from operating tables and orthopedic surgery packs to sutures, scalpels, and basic IV lines and fluids.

“The way in which this donation can affect people’s lives is almost without limits. After surveying some of the items donated, I can just imagine that thousands of Grenadian lives are going to be positively impacted by such a large contribution to our healthcare system,” commended Dr. George Mitchell, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Grenada. “This donation will serve as a testament to just how much can be accomplished in the spirit of collaboration. I really want to thank SGU Global Surgery Club and I know that the ultimate beneficiary is going to be the people of Grenada.”

The brainchild of SGU Global Surgery Club Past President, Joshua Carlson, along with current President Amanda Hughes initiated contact with Project C.U.R.E. and were instrumental in leading the coordination efforts to make this donation possible. Working closely with the Ministry of Health, Medicine with a Mission, D’Amore Personal Injury Law LLC, and other SGU student organizations, the group was able to raise approximately US$20,000 toward covering the cost of shipment, logistics, and administrative expenses involved in bringing the container of supplies to Grenada.

“This project started with an email from Project C.U.R.E. asking us to meet the CEO, in order to provide medical and surgical supplies. More importantly, it stemmed from a desire to give back to a country that opened its doors to us, so we could attend a university that allowed us to achieve our dreams,” said Mr. Carlson. “This was a massive team effort and, along with the help of the amazing leadership of the SGU administration, we are honored to be able to give back to the people of Grenada in some tangible way. We just had the vision, but it was an incredible collaboration that made this donation a reality.”

“This all began with a single idea, but it was a team spirit that made it happen, with the public and private sectors and NGOs all working together,” commented Dr. C.V. Rao, Dean of Students, SGU. “Looking around at all of these boxes filled with medical supplies, I feel excited for the patients, Grenada’s citizens, and its visitors. This will have a definite impact, and all of that was possible because of our wonderful students. I am extremely proud of them.”

According to Dr. Rao, this is just the beginning. In two years, a study will examine how the supplies were utilized. He hopes that it will encourage other donors to give generously in the future.

“I’m thrilled about what’s happening,” Dr. Rao said. “It really will make a difference.”

SOM Alumni Association CME Examines the Art of Medicine

The science of medicine has produced miracles in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Yet, it is the art of medicine which remains the medium through which illness and suffering are relieved. This was the focus at this spring’s School of Medicine Alumni Association (SOMAA) continuing medical education conference in Grenada.

Titled “The Art of Medicine,” the four-day conference was held in association with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). It featured prominent SOM alumni and faculty presenters who covered an array of topics such as new strategies and treatment for atrial fibrillation, the downside of mechanical ventilation, a discussion on high flow oxygen therapy, and how to use ultrasound to improve patient safety.

“Despite the enormous advances in the science of medicine, being a physician also entails the art of medicine—the interpersonal contact between patient and physician which remains a keystone of medical care,” said SOMAA President Bruce Bonanno, MD SGU ’83. “This conference provides not only education for physicians and other health care professionals but a way for our alumni to also get back to the beautiful island of Grenada to rekindle their love for the school, the people, and the island.”

For Jack Davidoff, MD SGU ’88, and his wife Tracey Davidoff neé Quail, MD SGU ’90, this was their second time returning to Grenada since earning their medical degrees at St. George’s University almost three decades ago. After attending last year’s CME held as part of SGU’s 40th anniversary celebrations, the couple was so impressed with the advances made at the University, they felt compelled to return again this year.

“Our first visit back last year was very emotional for us. It’s not just the school that gave us our start but it’s also the people that welcomed us to their island,” commented Dr. Jack Davidoff, an emergency medicine physician. “The True Blue campus is outstanding. Our three daughters are all in college and, of all the college campuses we’ve visited in the US, nothing compares to SGU.”

“With our second visit, we wanted to focus more on giving back in a teaching way,” said Dr. Tracey Davidoff, Vice President of the College of Urgent Care Medicine. “My husband has a vision of improving emergency medical services in Grenada and we wanted to make some connections on island and figure out the best way to do that.”

The 2nd annual SOMAA CME grew in participation since last year with more than 60 attendees, 50 of whom were SGU alumni, as well as 14 Grenadian physicians who practice locally. Additionally, their time in Grenada wasn’t only about lectures and education, the SOMAA provided plenty of opportunities to experience a taste of culture and hospitality on the island many called home during their studies. The group enjoyed a sightseeing tour of Grenada’s natural beauty; lunch at Belmont Estate, a fully functional and historic plantation; a shopping tour of Grenada’s capital, St. George’s; a Catamaran VIP day cruise including snorkeling and a visit to the Underwater Sculpture Park and Hog Island; and a closing sunset dinner at Louis and Marion Modica Hall.

“CME conferences present an opportunity for our graduates to come back to the island to reunite with classmates, friends, faculty and the community, and at the same time partake in a valuable and often needed continuing education component for their careers,” stated Brendon La Grenade, Vice Provost for Institutional Advancement, SGU. “CMEs are usually conducted in fun places, and SGU and Grenada offer exceptional facilities and a stellar location to achieve just that.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Clean Sweep for Hillsborough Secondary School at SGU Knowledge Bowl

Holding the record for both the most victories and the only institution to three-peat in the SGU Knowledge Bowl competition, the pressure to win was on for Presentation Brothers College (PBC). However, finals newcomer Hillsborough Secondary School (HSS) dominated this season, defeating the five-time champion and earning their first-ever win.

The final match held at SGU’s Charter Hall on April 14, seemed like a battle between David and Goliath as the winningest team in the secondary school competition, PBC, was the crowd favorite to win. Nevertheless, it was the underdog HSS, who had not lost a single match throughout the entire season that came out on top. With only a handful of supporters in the audience but hundreds more cheering them on from Grenada’s sister island, Carriacou, HSS continued its dominance, remaining undefeated in Season 13.

“Over the last 13 years, this competition has been embraced by the schools, corporate Grenada, and the general public. There have been continuous improvements to ensure that this important feature of the academic calendar gets the respect that it deserves,” stated Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrollment Planning, SGU. “SGU Knowledge Bowl has cemented itself within the Grenadian community, and along with the involvement of our corporate partners, who play a key role in its success, SGU Knowledge Bowl is testimony to our shared commitment to academic success and youth development in general.”

For its school, the HSS team was presented with the coveted Knowledge Bowl Challenge trophy and awarded $15,000 from St. George’s University. Additionally, each of the five team members—Lené Mitchell, Roshaun Lendore, Anthony Matherson, Teja Patrice, and Cristel Belmar—received a laptop and six months complimentary broadband service from FLOW, along with $500 in a Super Starter Investment Plan from Grenada Co-operative Bank, a certificate of distinction and a supply of Ribena from Geo F. Huggins. Their coaches were awarded a laptop and six months complimentary broadband service from FLOW, $500 in a Super Starter Investment Plan from Grenada Co-operative Bank and each received a two-night stay for two at Spice Isle Beach Resort or Maca Bana Resort.

SGU Knowledge Bowl remains a source of great anticipation, garnering huge support each year as students, faculty, and fans come out to cheer for their favorite teams. The high-profile quiz competition continues to encourage and promote friendly competition between Grenada’s secondary schools, while also serving as an excellent preparatory tool for their CSEC exams. In addition to primary sponsorships from St. George’s University and FLOW, local businesses Grenada Co-operative Bank, George F. Huggins, and Glenelg Spring Water sponsor the SGU Knowledge Bowl, which is regarded as the “Intercol of Academia.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Wildlife Conservationist Envisions a Future for Tigers in Northeast Asia

At present, the Siberian tiger is at the tipping point for its recovery or extinction, this according to Dr. Dale Miquelle, Director for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Russia Program. With an estimated 3,500 tigers remaining in the world today, the goal of conservationists is to double that number by 2020, while the cost of inaction would mean their extinction by 2040.

In his recent lecture at St. George’s University, titled, “Dreaming of Donuts: A vision of tiger conservation in northeast Asia”, Dr. Miquelle pointed to poaching, loss of prey, and habitat loss/degradation as the primary reasons for the tiger’s decline. However, Dr. Miquelle believes that the Siberian tiger can be saved, detailing a plan for tiger conservation in northeast Asia.

“First, we should let ‘good’ science drive policy decisions, then secure source sites or protected areas for tigers, as well as secure habitat/populations outside of these protected areas because they represent the majority of tiger habitat,” advised Dr. Miquelle. “We also need to resolve tiger-human conflicts—these conflicts between people and tigers remove animals from the wild and turn public opinion against tigers.”

“Lastly, we need to expand tiger habitat/tiger distribution, and train the next generation of conservationists,” added Dr. Miquelle. “In the Russian Far East and northeast China, there are very few young biologists/conservationists. In Russia especially, the next generation is missing. Hence, we seek to identify, support, and train the next generation of specialists, and provide them stimuli to stay involved.”

Dr. Dale Miquelle was invited to the True Blue campus by the Department of Biology, Ecology and Conservation in the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS). Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Interim Dean of SAS, met Dr. Miquelle during a two-month sabbatical trip to Siberia and the Russian Far East as Visiting Scientists in 2015. Housed for five weeks in the WCS house in the small village of Terney on the Sea of Japan, she spent time in the field with Dr. Miquelle and other Siberian tiger, leopard, and Musk deer biologists at this biosphere reserve, which is the last stronghold for the Siberian tigers.

“We are preparing our Marine, Wildlife and Conservation Biology students for work on the global stage, as our graduates hail from Grenada, other Caribbean countries, the US, Canada, and Europe,” stated Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “Likewise, Dr. Miquelle knows how to succeed on that level, by leveraging funds, building local professional capacity, and implementing data-driven programs, all in difficult international political environments.

“Hosting someone of Dr. Miquelle’s caliber, in the wildlife and conservation biology sciences, is a testament to SGU’s intellectual breadth and global reach and is a tremendous benefit for our students and the SGU community,” she continued. “We were indeed fortunate to have Dr. Miquelle with us here at SGU.”

Trained as a biologist at Yale, University of Minnesota, and University of Idaho, Dr. Miquelle focused on moose in Minnesota and Alaska for his degrees. However, working for a year on the Tiger Ecology Project in Chitwan National Park, Nepal, with a Smithsonian-led tiger research team changed his focus and cemented his interest in both international conservation efforts and large carnivore research. In 1992, he led the field team of a joint Russian-American Siberian Tiger Project, during which time he became a passionate conservationist, using science as a platform for policy change, working in both China and Russia to ensure a future for big cats.

Currently, Dr. Miquelle also serves as Coordinator for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Tiger Program, coordinating research and conservation actions to protect large carnivores and the ecosystems upon which they depend, focusing mainly in northeast Asia.

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Marine and Wildlife Students Help Recovery Efforts in Dominica

Dominica—the first island hit by the full category-five force of Hurricane Maria last September—continues to call upon its Caribbean neighbors during its ongoing recovery efforts. Answering that call was a seven-member team from the Marine and Wildlife Department at St. George’s University. The group, comprised of two faculty lecturers and five students, spent 10 days in Dominica, lending its expertise in its post-hurricane ecology impact assessment of the country’s forest and endemic parrots, Amazona Imperialis and Amazona Arausiaca.

“As one might expect after a hurricane, the government’s resources are really stretched thin in regard to man power, so Dominica appreciates all the assistance it can get,” said Stephen Nimrod, lecturer at SGU. “Following a natural disaster, we now have the opportunity to document and measure the time it takes for forest regeneration and wildlife recovery. This is the kind of technical assistance that SGU was there to provide.”

Aiding the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Parks, the SGU team conducted rapid assessment surveys while collecting quantitative data detailing the extent of the damage done by the hurricane. Additionally, the team documented the hurricane’s impact on Dominica’s flagship species, the Imperial Parrot. Most of the bird’s natural habitat had been destroyed, forcing it to leave the forest in search of food in the nearby villages.

“Our focus while there was on the regeneration of the forest and the conservation of the island’s native parrot,” added Mr. Nimrod. “The data collected will be analyzed and compiled into a comprehensive report together with real-time recommendations as a guide forward. This includes continuous monitoring of the rainforest and the change in behavior of the island’s endangered parrots in particular. We hope that by recording these lessons learned in Dominica, we can now create a network that will be beneficial to other islands going through the recovery process.”

Unsurprisingly, the mission was met with a few challenges. Much of Dominica’s population was left stranded without power, running water, or communications. The island was stripped of vegetation, and according to team leader Leon Radix, approximately 60 percent of its rainforests have vanished.

“Dominica markets itself as the Nature Island of the Caribbean so therefore its forest is one of its major resources,” stated Mr. Radix, lecturer at SGU. “However, following the passage of Hurricane Maria, as you can imagine, conditions on the ground are not good. Many vehicles were damaged and the road network is broken, making it time consuming for us to arrive at the various sites, which resulted in limited time for us to work in the field. Generally speaking, we can see that the island has been ravaged.”

“When we got there, it was clear that the people were still traumatized,” commented fourth-year marine and wildlife biology student Quincy Augustine. Yet, armed with their binoculars, field vests, and notebooks, the team quickly went to work conducting wildlife surveys and generating a post-hurricane impact assessment of the area in Dominica. “Overall, the trip was a really good experience,” added classmate Amonie Holas, also a fourth-year marine and wildlife biology student. “We got to apply the various skills and methods that we learned from our courses here at SGU into a professional setting, and working with different people from the same field was really inspiring.”

Funded by the Office of the Dean within St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences, GAEA Conservation and EC $4,000 in funds raised by Education Conservation Outreach (ECO), the Dominica outreach provided an opportunity for SGU students to gain invaluable real-life experience with wildlife rescue work and a glimpse into their future careers in conservation.

“Being a part of the outreach in Dominica will serve as both hands-on training in the field and will also elevate the status of our students, especially when sending out their resumes,” said Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher, Interim Dean, School of Arts and Sciences, SGU. “Highlighting that they were involved with the recovery efforts on the ground will be extremely beneficial for them. SGU had a big role to play in that. The fact that the University provides funding for student development speaks volumes about its commitment to the international education of its students.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Celebrating 10 Years of Beyond Spice Family Weekend

Photo: Visiting families gather at the University Club for a Family Weekend Sunset BBQ.

Edie Reeves left her home in Nashville, Tennessee and traveled over 2,000 miles to visit her son, Cody, a first-term student at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. Not only was it her first time visiting Grenada, it was her first time out of the country. Still, she made the journey, along with many other families from North America, the Caribbean, and Europe to attend SGU’s 15th Beyond Spice Family Weekend.

“This experience has been phenomenal. It’s more than I ever thought it would be,” said Mrs. Reeves. “From exploring the island on the heritage tour to witnessing my son put on his white coat, I could not be prouder of him. I would recommend that all parents check out SGU’s Family Weekend.”

Celebrating its 10th year since establishing Family Weekend, SGU continually looks forward to opening its doors to host students’ families who’ve come to visit the country and campus that their students now call home. The bi-annual family weekend festivities include guided campus tours; a historical sightseeing tour of Fort Frederick, the famous Grand Etang Lake, and the 30-foot Annandale Waterfalls; and lunch at Belmont Estate, a fully functional and historic plantation, among other activities.

Photo: An aerial view of Grand Etang Lake, one of the tour stops during Family Weekend.

Additionally, SGU family members are not one-time visitors. Anna and Anthony Rubano made a second trip from Bethlehem, Connecticut to visit their son, John, an incoming med student, who followed in the footsteps of his cousin, Nicholas Verdura, MD SGU ‘05. The couple arrived a week in advance to soak up as much sun, sea, and sand in the Isle of Spice before attending the momentous School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.

“We’ve visited Grenada twice now; the campus is beautiful and every time we come back it seems to be expanding” said Mrs. Rubano. “It’s been an emotional day, but we are very proud of our son because he has worked so hard to get here. He learned about SGU through his cousin, who’s a surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgery. After shadowing him for some time, John decided that he also wanted to become a doctor at SGU.”

Yet, Family Weekend is not a venture that only benefits SGU but has a large impact on the Grenadian economy as well, since many family members stay at local hotels, purchase handmade items from local vendors, and dine in local restaurants.

“We love hosting SGU families during Family Weekend,” said Glenroy Boatswain, Online Marketing Manager, True Blue Bay Boutique Resort. “The influx of visitors to Grenada and to our hotel and restaurant in particular has provided a much-welcomed boost in our occupancy rates. We usually see a 15-to 20-percent increase.

“The families also seem to really enjoy our daily themes when dining at our restaurant, which include Tuesday Grenadian Night, with live steel pan music, and Mexicaribbean night on Fridays, serving up Mexican and Caribbean dishes and salsa dancing, which both seem to be a big hit.”

“It is heartening to see the growth of our Family Weekend activities. From inception, it was designed to give our visitors an opportunity to learn more about Grenada and the University along with having meaningful interactions with our top administrators,” stated Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrolment Planning. “The face-to-face engagements and sharing of stories has brought this part of our community closer together and argues well for building stronger relationships as we collectively support our students in realizing their various academic and professional aspirations.”

Family Weekend Fall 2018 is set for August 30 – September 2. Learn more about the festivities by visiting the Family Weekend webpage or by emailing familyweekend@sgu.edu.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Photo: Families gather for photographs following the January 2018 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.

Future Nurses Welcomed at Spring 2018 Induction Ceremony


Joining the largest group of health care professionals, the Class of 2021 was recently inducted into the School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Program at St. George’s University’s third Nursing Induction Ceremony.

The future nurses were presented with lamps, a symbol of the care and devotion administered by nurses, and recited the International Council of Nurses Pledge along with the practicing nurses in the audience.

“You have done well thus far; however, the journey continues,” said Kathleen Collier, MPH SGU ’09, Master of Ceremonies and Clinical and Simulation Instructor, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “Please understand that life is full of complexities and the road to success is never easy. There will be obstacles along the way, but don’t get bowed down to circumstances rather make circumstances bow down to your power and perseverance.”

These words resounded with Kalifha Morris, a new inductee of the SAS nursing program. Ms. Morris too faced tough circumstances that caused her to walk away from her dream of becoming a nurse 10 years ago. However, she didn’t let them defeat her. She moved from New York to Grenada and spent the next five years trying to get her start in the nursing profession.

“To get into the SGU nursing program has been like a dream come true. I feel like I am meant to be here, and I’ve got big plans for my nursing career,” said Ms. Morris. “I decided to become a nurse about 15 years ago because I found that I’m always helping somebody. I’m always putting the needs of others before myself, sometimes to my own detriment, but I can’t help it. I find that I always feel the desire to help someone in need.”

The evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Debra Porteous, Head of Nursing and Midwifery, Northumbria University, shared insight from her more than 35 years of experience teaching in a professional nursing/healthcare practice setting with the class of aspiring nurses. Relating the characteristics of a nurse in order to be successful, she stressed the importance of a caring nature, empathy, adaptability, communication, a strong work ethic, and both physical and mental endurance.

“Nursing is a truly inspiring and thoroughly rewarding career like no other,” she said. “However, for all of the amazing things we experience on a daily basis, there are also tough parts to deal with, like stress, long hours, and struggling to make time for family. Yet despite these struggles, nursing is full of exceptional people that do amazing life-changing work.”

“Nursing is a noble profession filled with wonderful people, and with the support of each other, you can go on providing great care to vulnerable patients all over the world,” added Dr. Porteous.

Uniquely structured, the nursing program at St. George’s provides an opportunity for students to be taught by professors from both the School of Medicine and the School of Arts and Sciences, as well as international visiting professors. In addition, student nurse training experiences include working at the Grenada General Hospital, lab work at SGU’s Simulation Center, and community-based learning opportunities. Currently in their third year, students of the Class of 2019 will end their training with the completion of regional and international licensing exams, and become fully fledged Registered Nurses as approved by the Caribbean Nursing Council.

Behavioral Sciences Professor Honored for Epilepsy Diagnosis Research

Another example of St. George’s University’s increased emphasis and commitment on research, the University’s Dr. Karen Blackmon was recently selected by the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) to receive the 2018 Laird S. Cermak Award, a distinction that recognizes the best research in the area of memory or memory disorders.

“It’s very encouraging to see that the research efforts of faculty and students at St. George’s University are being recognized internationally,” said Dr. Blackmon, an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences at SGU. “This award calls attention to an active and thriving research culture at SGU, and I am grateful to be a part of its continued advancement.”

A New York State licensed clinical neuropsychologist, Dr. Blackmon conducted this research along with her colleague, Dr. Thomas Thesen, an Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology, Neuroscience, and Behavioral Sciences at SGU, as well as Michelle Kruse, a third-year School of Medicine student currently on clinical rotations in New York.

Their work titled, “Temporal lobe gray-white blurring and Wada memory impairment in MRI-negative temporal lobe epilepsy,” utilized quantitative MRI technologies to characterize the neuroanatomical features of an epilepsy subtype that is challenging to diagnose and treat.

“Our research showed that subtle abnormalities at the cortical gray and white matter junction are associated with a distinct pattern of memory impairment, which could lead to improvements in diagnosis and surgical planning for people with this disorder,” added Dr. Blackmon. “We are hoping that our research demonstrates the value of combining MRI post-processing methods with neuropsychological assessment to increase precision in epilepsy diagnosis.”

The International Neuropsychological Society, founded in 1967, is a multi-disciplinary, non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing communication among the scientific disciplines which contribute to the understanding of brain-behavior relationships. INS holds two meetings per year that provide a venue for cognitive and clinical neuroscientists from around the world to share their research and increase their understanding of the driving forces behind cognition and behavior.

The award honors the contributions of Dr. Laird S. Cermak, the former Director of the Memory Disorders Research Center at Boston University and Editor of the journal Neuropsychology, who dedicated his career to studying cognitive impairments that result from brain damage.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Grenada Named “Destination of the Year” by Caribbean Journal

The sun rises over Grenada’s capital city of St. George’s.

Caribbean Journal has named Grenada as its 2017 Caribbean Destination of the Year, calling the Spice Isle “one of the region’s hottest places to visit.”

The Journal credited Grenada’s booming hotel development and a certain “x-factor” for earning its top billing in 2017. Visit caribbeanjournal.com to read more about the distinction and other travel award selections.

It is only the latest recognition for the island. In 2012, the Spice Isle took home two of Scuba Diving Magazine Reader’s Choice awards, finishing first in the Caribbean/Atlantic region in the “Advanced Diving” and “Wreck Diving” categories. A year later, National Geographic Traveler listed Grenada as one of its 20 “must-see places” to visit, calling its capital, St. George’s, “one of the prettiest towns in the Caribbean.”

Since 2008, Grenada has warmly welcomed thousands of visitors for St. George’s University bi-annual Family Weekend festivities, during which students’ families and friends get an insider’s look into life as an SGU student, learning about all that the campus and island have to offer.

Mini-Med School Plants Seeds for Grenada’s Future Physicians

Medical students can often point to the moment when their interest in medicine was sparked. By hosting a mini-medical school on general wellness and sickle cell disease for students from Westmorland Secondary School, the St. George’s University Chapter of the Student National Medical Association hoped to plant that seed in their minds and hearts as well.

During the visit, WSS students explored the field of medicine with interactive healthcare lessons, including learning how to take a pulse, identifying signs of anemia, and listening to a heartbeat.

“Children love this kind of hands-on approach to learning,” said Mrs. Meredith Swan-Sampson, Head of the Science Department at Westmorland Secondary School. “The mini-med school generated more interest in the medical field within the students by providing insight into the profession. Our students learned more about what it’s like becoming a doctor and all that it entails from a student perspective.”

In addition to a presentation on sickle cell disease by the members of SGU’s Internal Medicine Club, the students also learned about the components of the blood, conducted physical examinations, and received a lesson on how to perform CPR. At the end of the day, the visiting students took part in a mini-graduation ceremony, receiving certificates of participation and the added treat of being allowed to take photos in the white coats of the SNMA members.

“While in Grenada, we wanted to find more ways to interact with the youth and help encourage them to become doctors as well,” said Danae Brierre, SNMA President. “The purpose of SNMA-SGU Chapter is not only to promote medicine in the underserved communities but also to help influence the students of our host country through our outreach and education programs like the mini-med school. We’re here in Grenada becoming doctors and we want to show them that as Grenadians they too can become doctors here at SGU.”

With the mission of diversifying the face of medicine, SNMA chapters based at allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the US are designed to serve the health needs of underserved communities and communities of color. Additionally, SNMA is dedicated both to ensuring that medical education and services are culturally sensitive to the needs of diverse populations and to increasing the number of African-American, Latino, and other students of color entering and completing medical school.

– Ray-Donna Peters