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

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

Increasing Patient Safety by Reducing Medical Errors

To prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality, health professionals must have both an understanding of systems and a commitment to their improvement, this according to Dr. Abbas Hyderi, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at University of Illinois (UIC) College of Medicine and keynote speaker at the 24th Annual Geoffrey Bourne Memorial Lecture.

Dr. Hyderi, who also serves as Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at UIC, gave a lively presentation titled “Implementing the AAMC EPA #13: Identify systems failures and contribute to a culture of safety and improvement” at Bourne Lecture Hall to a group of physicians and health care administrators attending SGU’s annual clinical meetings that week.

“The goal here is to increase both the preparedness of interns from day one, as well as patient safety, by decreasing the ‘July phenomenon’,” said Dr. Hyderi. “Though there is some conflicting data, evidence shows that in the month of July there is an increase in the risk of medical errors that occur in association with this time of year in which US medical school graduates begin their residencies.”

Describing Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) as units of professional practice, Dr. Hyderi goes on to define these activities as tasks or responsibilities to be entrusted to the unsupervised execution by a trainee once he or she has attained specific competence.

EPA 13 in particular focuses on the expected behaviors of an entrustable learner, including their ability to recognize and report patient safety concerns in a timely manner using existing system reporting structures; to speak up and find actual and potential errors, even against hierarchy; to identify and reflect on the element of personal responsibility for errors; and to recognize causes of lapses, such as fatigue, and modify behavior or seek help.

“EPA 13 is the most aspirational of all the EPAs and could be the biggest game changer in medical education,” stated Dr. Hyderi. “Our hope is that changing our educational and clinical learning environments and systems to create a ‘speak up’ culture will support students to work on systems and not just in systems. Also, this EPA highlights that the self-regulated learning cycle is analogous to the quality improvement cycle and so students will be able to reflect on both their personal and systems contributions to medical errors and continuously improve.”

In his lecture, Dr. Hyderi also considered some of the opportunities for and barriers to incorporating EPA 13 into a school’s medical curriculum, which include the vulnerability, concerns, and hesitance that interns feel when considering when to “speak up”, and the need for more faculty champions and staff support dedicated to EPA projects. Yet, he firmly believes that EPA 13 can serve as a guide to better train students in order to significantly reduce medical errors from the very start of their internship.

“I believe we do not do enough direct observation of nor provide feedback on clinical skills training of students by the time they graduate medical school,” added Dr. Hyderi. “The goal of the five-year project is to test the feasibility of the framework, develop strategies for instruction and assessment, and vet ‘entrustment’ approaches with students being better prepared to successfully transition to graduate medical education.”

In addition to his roles at UIC, Dr. Hyderi is also actively engaged in educational research and scholarship including being the Co-Chair of the Provost’s Strategic Planning Task Force on Interprofessional Education (IPE), as well as Co-Principal Investigator for the primary care residency expansion grant for the UIC Family Medicine Residency. Currently, he is the Chair of the College-wide Curriculum Transformation Task Force and the Chicago campus lead for the prestigious five-year Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (CEPAER) Project and was part of the team that represented the College at Harvard’s Shapiro Institute Millennium Conference focused on post-clerkship curriculum.

Dr. Hyderi joins a distinguished list of Bourne speakers that includes Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and neurology pioneer Lord Walton of Detchant. The lecture series is named for St. George’s University’s first Vice Chancellor, Dr. Geoffrey H. Bourne, an educator, scientist, writer, and visionary who helped guide the University in its early development.

– 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.

A Step Forward for Aspiring Physicians—and a Familiar Setting for Some

New students at the January 2018 SGUSOM White Coat Ceremony.

More than three decades since earning their own medical degrees at St. George’s University, Matthew Coppola, MD SGU ’84, and his wife Carmela Coppola (née Carpanzano), MD SGU ’84, proudly sat in attendance as their son, Matt, took his first step into the medical profession at the Spring 2018 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.

“Almost 40 years ago, I met my wife in the mailroom at SGU,” said Dr. Coppola, an internal medicine specialist in Pittsburgh, PA. “Six kids later, my son, Matt, is literally following in our footsteps and hopefully will take over my practice one day.”

The 2022 Grenada class joined its fellow students from SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who began their journey two weeks earlier at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. All together, this spring’s incoming SOM class welcomes aspiring physicians from 39 US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and 20 countries.

The Coppolas expect to make more frequent visits to the Spice Isle. In addition to Matt’s entry into the SOM program, the Coppolas’ daughter, Maria, has hopes of attending SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the near future. Carmela Coppola, who practices neonatology in Pittsburgh, had been back several times in the late 1980s and helped out at Grenada’s General Hospital. A few years ago, the entire family visited the island, and Matt and Maria got a firsthand look at the SGU experience by visiting the 2015 Med/Vet Summer Leadership Academy.

Also, returning to SGU was the evening’s master of ceremonies, Donielle Sliwa, MD/MPH SGU ’12, Chief Fellow in Hematology and Oncology at Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine in Massachusetts. Having sat in those same seats and made the same commitment at her own White Coat Ceremony 10 years prior, Dr. Sliwa knew exactly how the incoming class felt.

“At my White Coat Ceremony, I felt a great sense of pride in my decision to become a physician and an eagerness to contribute meaningfully to the rapidly changing landscape of health care,” said Dr. Sliwa. “SGU will now give you the tools and support you need to be successful in medical school, but in the end, your true success will come from your passion to fulfill your dream, your willingness to ask for help, your humility in expressing gratitude, and your perseverance when times get tough.”

Dr. Lee Miller

Dr. Lee Miller, Professor of Pediatrics and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was the evening’s keynote speaker. Addressing the future doctors, he shared five take-home messages centered on impact, exploration, balance, privilege, and pride.

“Don’t ever take for granted the amazing impact you will have in the lives of others. Explore as many arenas as possible to create your own recipe. Maintain balance to build resiliency and to keep yourself whole. And always remember what a privilege it is to wear that white coat and know how proud we are of you today.”

St. George’s University held a moment of silence to acknowledge the passing of Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who passed away on January 23 at the age of 92. A master diagnostician, Dr. Gold became an international leader and advocate for humanism in health care. Through his foundation, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, SGU established the White Coat Ceremony beginning in 1996, and welcomed both Dr. Gold and his wife, Sandra, to deliver the ceremony’s keynote address in 2005. In 2009, his foundation inspired SGU’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, through which preclinical students can engage in service activities for their communities.

In addition to serving as a rite of passage for aspiring physicians, the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies coincide with a weekend of activities that help make up Beyond Spice Family Weekend. The University’s bi-annual event welcomes students and family members to soak up nature and culture in Grenada.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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.

Class of 2022 Joins SGU Family at School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony

SGUSVM student Christian Small (center) joins the Class of 2020.

Emotions ran high for 10 members of the Small family, who traveled to Grenada from all over the United States to witness Christian Small and his classmates officially enter the veterinary medical profession at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony. As part of the ceremony, first-term students donned their white coats and recited the Oath of Professional Commitment.

“I’m a little overwhelmed right now but I am so proud of him, especially because I know the sacrifices it took for him to get here,” said his father, Christopher Small. “All the hard work he put in, being a student-athlete in undergrad, and then to graduate with honors was truly wonderful.

“As for him becoming a veterinarian, I always knew that there was something there because of his constant interest in animals as a kid. And knowing the kind of heart that he has, I think that he will be a very compassionate veterinarian.”

Sharing the Smalls’ joy was Ralph and Valerie Nahous, from Mt. Gay, St. George’s, who watched with pride as their daughter, Chelsea, was robed with her white coat. Although supportive of whatever field their daughter chose to pursue, the Nahouses were especially happy to see their daughter take the first step in her journey toward becoming the first veterinarian in the family.

“She has made me extremely proud. She has the ambition and drive to achieve all her goals in life,” extolled Mr. Nahous. “She is an inspiration to me by being so strong and having the will to go forward in the pursuit of what she wants. She is by far a better person than I am.”

Grenadian-born alumnus Rhea St. Louis, DVM SGU ’16, stood before the incoming class having graduated less than two years ago, presiding as Master of Ceremonies at the auspicious event. Now an Instructor in the Department
 of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology at the SVM, Dr. St. Louis urged the future veterinarians to make use of all the resources that SGU had to offer, just as she had done as a student.

“You are now part of an organization that is set up for you to succeed,” stated Dr. St. Louis. “You have excellent, accomplished professors who are also very approachable. I encourage you to utilize the facilities at SGU for your support. Please know that you are not alone, and no one expects you to do this all by yourself.”

Keynote Speaker Dr. Ronald K. Cott.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Ronald K. Cott, Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor and Advancement Consultant in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, welcomed and congratulated the students on taking the first step towards many new goals and aspirations. Choosing to relate a series of light-hearted and fun stories, he shared with them the keys to his successful 30 years of commitment to organized veterinary medicine with humor and some sound advice.

“Please remember that each day over the next four years, you will experience what I call “Cott’s Four Cs”: Challenge, Chance, Choice, and Change,” assured Dr. Cott. “You will undoubtedly have your challenges over the next four years; you will take some chances but don’t jeopardize your integrity; you will make some good and some bad choices; and you will change, which will be the marker of your growth within this profession. Embrace the 4 Cs—all of them—as they will help you grow and carry you forward.”

The Class of 2022 hopes to join more than 1,500 SVM graduates of SGU’s veterinary medical program, which accepted its first class in August 1999. The School has since gained full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Small Animal Clinic became the second practice outside the United States and Canada to earn American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Global Scholars Learn What It Means to Be a Doctor

Keith B. Taylor

In January, St. George’s University medical students in the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program were welcomed to Northumbria University to take part in the traditional White Coat Ceremony. Students were presented with their White Coats by leading medical professionals, including Master of Ceremonies Dr. Ranmith Perera and Keynote Speaker Dr. Linda de Cossart.

Ranmith Perera, MD SGU ’94, thanked the University for providing him with the opportunity to pursue his career in medicine. He spoke of losing hope when, in the early 1980s, the government of Sri Lanka closed down the North Colombo Medical School, where he was enrolled. But he explained, thanks to a special program established at SGU, Sri Lankan medical students were welcomed to Grenada to continue their studies.

Dr. Perera went on to outline his journey, beginning as a pathologist at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and Western General Hospital as a Senior House Officer in Histopathology, before becoming a Specialty Registrar in London at St. George’s Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. He is now a consultant pathologist in the Department of Cellular Pathology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest kidney transplant programmes in the UK.

His parting words outlined to the valuable contribution SGU’s students will make to society. “There is a global shortage of doctors, so work hard and hurry up. The world can’t wait.”

In her keynote address, Dr. Linda de Cossart spoke about what it means to be a doctor. “Is being a doctor just another job?” she asked—before highlighting the great responsibility the students will face following graduation. Being a doctor is different, she suggested, “because the patients you will meet will be vulnerable; often at one of the lowest points in their lives.”

Commenting on the role of technology in medicine, and the concerns within some parts of the medical community that automation may remove the need for doctors, Dr. de Cossart said, “technological prowess and scientific knowledge are essential, but the thing that will define you as a doctor is how you deal with patients.” She emphasized that, while doctors must be adaptable and stay on top of technological advancements, their role as a compassionate figure providing reassurance and dignity to patients is not under threat.

Dr. de Cossart recounted how she learned these lessons from personal experience. Having decided to become a vascular surgeon, she was set back early in her career when—having run into the operating theatre to assist in an ongoing procedure, she fainted. Struggling to come to terms with what had happened, it was months later when Dr. de Cossart was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease. While her recovery took a number of years, by seeking help and support from others, she went on to enjoy a long career—for 22 years as a Consultant Vascular and General Surgeon, and now as an Emeritus Consultant. In 1999, Dr. de Cossart was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons, where she served as Vice President—proving that even the greatest obstacles can be overcome.

“Surround yourself with help,” she implored the students. “You will need it.”

Lending the benefit of her experience as a world-leading surgeon, she cautioned the students to prepare for their first day as a qualified doctor. “You may feel ready, and you can have all the knowledge in the world. But until you are standing in front of a patient, having to make a decision that will impact their lives, you won’t know what it’s like.” Warning that this will be unnerving, she advised the students to embrace the responsibility. “Your professional development will be shaped by these experiences.”

“I hope some of the things I have said today have inspired you” were her parting words. The students’ applause confirmed that they had.