Class of 2018 Encouraged to be Fearless in Pursuit of Greatness

Face your fears and press on with courage. That was the advice of Dr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s 2018 Grenada commencement.

Serving the Government of Grenada for 22 years, 14 of which as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Governor Antoine’s advice to the graduating class on how to become valuable contributors to their community by serving humanity rang true even more so because of the life he has led. Having received The Order of Grenada Gold Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding service to Grenada, Governor Antoine’s life serves as a shining example of just that.

“Graduands, I charge you today to become people of value. So how does one become a person of value?” asked Governor Antoine. “First, focus on service by making it one of your top life values.  Second, develop a flexible skillset to stay relevant. You must keep learning. Remember, you cannot lead if you do not read. Third, face your fears. Consider this question: what would you do if you were not afraid? May God guide and bless you on your journey to make a difference and help change our region and our world.”

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Grenada and to St. George’s University through his service on the Monitoring Committee, the University also conferred Governor Antoine with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Representing 28 countries from across the globe, the almost 400 graduates from the Class of 2018 in attendance at the Grenada ceremony, included nearly 200 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies, and 74 new physicians graduating from the School of Medicine. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Echoing the keynote speaker’s message about fearlessness in her valedictory address, Haley Noel, BSc ’18, reminded her fellow students that although today signaled the start of a new journey in their lives, they were well prepared to go out into the world and apply the skills and toolsets they acquired at SGU.

“Fellow graduands, we can do anything. We are not afraid of the challenges that are to come. We are part of a generation that is changing the course of history,” stated Ms. Noel. “I challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so you will be successful. So, Class of 2018, let us commit ourselves to the belief that we can accomplish anything and work every day to do so.”

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Theodore Hollis with its highest award for service to the University, The Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hollis first came to St. George’s University as a Visiting Professor in Physiology in 1979, while serving with great distinction for a quarter of a century as Professor of Physiology at Penn State University. He then joined SGU full time in 1995 as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies. He served as the Dean of Graduate Studies until 2003 and as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences until 2017, making numerous important contributions to the University during his tenure.

“I came to Grenada 25 years ago, and this country embraced me and I it. Soon, I realized that the beauty of Grenada is not just the beauty of the country but the beauty of the people,” said Dr. Hollis. “My SGU family has made me feel at home here—it has been a pleasure working with you, for you, and sometimes helping you. I really believe that my change in career to come here might have actually prolonged my life. So, I accept this medal with great humility and thank all of you very much.”

Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher Appointed New School of Arts and Sciences Dean

Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher

A longtime esteemed member of the St. George’s University faculty and community, Dr. Andrea Easter-Pilcher was recently appointed the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. With the appointment, Dr. Easter-Pilcher envisions fostering a culture that is rich in diversity, engagement, and harmony and facilitating an exceptional curriculum leading to student success and lifetime learning.

“An important way that the School of Arts and Sciences contributes to the richness of the local urban and regional culture is through participation of faculty, staff, students and alumni in outreach efforts to the community,” stated Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “Facilitating these kinds of outreach efforts— through student internships, alumni activities, the Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) student group activities, and faculty research and service—is an important plank in my leadership philosophy and a win for SAS, SGU, and the community.”

As Dean, Dr. Easter-Pilcher will oversee all aspects of the SAS, including its undergraduate, dual degree, postbaccalaureate, and certificate programs. She will serve on the SGU Council of Deans committee reporting directly to Dr. Glen Jacobs, Interim Provost, and will also continue to teach biology. She has significant field expertise in study design, sampling of ecological systems, and multivariate ecological data analysis, and these methodologies are key components of her upper-level courses.

Dr. Easter-Pilcher joined SGU in 2009 when she was named Professor and Chair of the Department of Biology, Ecology, and Conservation. She has also been a cooperating faculty member of the School of Veterinary Medicine. During her tenure, Dr. Easter-Pilcher’s tutelage has gained the praise of the University’s student organizations. In 2012, the USGA presented her with the Faculty Teaching and Mentoring Award in the biological sciences, and in 2015, she was given the Outstanding Teacher Award for her exceptional teaching and commitment to students.

Dr. Easter-Pilcher is an advocate of student internships and undergraduate research and has co-authored several publications with her undergraduate students in refereed scientific journals. In addition, several of her students have presented their research at professional meetings.

“From my perspective as the incoming Dean of SAS, everything that we do as faculty is about leveraging outstanding student performance and facilitating the success of our undergraduate and graduate students,” said Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “It’s about their success while in school, as well as facilitating their futures as engaged global citizens.”

Dr. Easter-Pilcher earned a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME, a MSc in Wildlife Biology from the University of Montana, Missoula, MT, and in 1993 earned a PhD in Conservation Biology with a supporting doctoral field in Statistics from Montana State University, Bozeman, MT. In 1995, Dr. Easter-Pilcher was awarded a Postdoctoral Research Appointment in Wildlife Ecology from Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.

Dr. Easter-Pilcher came to SGU from her post at the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Montana-Western (UMW), where she served as Professor of Wildlife and Conservation Ecology for 12 years and chaired the department for two years. While at UMW, Dr. Easter-Pilcher developed a very successful wildlife biology and conservation ecology program for undergraduate students. She developed several new courses to enhance the new wildlife biology and conservation ecology program including a field-based wildlife biology course, a conservation biology course with a field component, a natural resource issues course, and a general wildlife course for non-science majors.

Dr. Easter-Pilcher’s deep commitment to the conservation and restoration of threatened species and ecosystems, is a passion that has taken her all over the world for her research. She recently traveled to Siberia and the Russian Far East on a two-month sabbatical trip as a visiting scientist, where she and her husband spent time in the field with biologists studying Siberian tigers, Amur leopards, and musk deer.

“We recently had our first and very successful SAS Evening of Research, which was a clear reminder to all of us that research is indeed a significant piece of what drives and motivates SAS faculty,” said Dr. Easter-Pilcher. “It was stimulating to share the research being done by individuals and teams across all of the departments and for all of us to debate and discuss that research. We plan to do more of this kind of academic socializing next term and into the future.

“The School of Arts and Sciences is at the heart of this University,” she added. “I am beyond proud to have been selected to be the team leader of this school and of these thoughtful, wise, and engaged faculty.”

St. George’s University Hosts First International Meeting of NIH Fogarty Program Administrators

This week, St. George’s University will host a conference for the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center grant administrators—the first ever outside the United States.

“We’re thrilled to host this year’s Fogarty International Center administrators meeting,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This meeting is an opportunity for the world’s leading minds to collaborate and continue their efforts to produce revolutionary research on global health. It’s an honor for St. George’s to facilitate that work.”

Attendees will hear from a number of Fogarty grantees and will discuss a number of global public health initiatives.

Several St. George’s faculty members have received funding from the Fogarty International Center. Among them is Dr. Randall Waechter, Assistant Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Associate Director of Research at SGU. He’s also Grants Administrator of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation.

In 2016, Dr. Waechter and Dr. Angelle Desiree LaBeaud of Stanford received a grant to investigate the threat of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, on children born during the outbreak in Grenada in 2014. Their work focused on how this disease may affect neurodevelopment in infants exposed to Chikungunya in tropical regions.

In 2014, St. George’s University Professor Cheryl Macpherson partnered with Fogarty grantee Sean Philpott of Union Graduate College (now merged with Clarkson University) on the “Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative”—a suite of graduate-level online and onsite bioethics courses for middle and low-income students across the Caribbean.

“At St. George’s University, we share the Fogarty International Center’s commitment to carrying out research that improves the lives of people worldwide while building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries,” said Dr. Waechter, the lead organizer of this year’s Fogarty administrators meeting. “We’re honored to welcome the Fogarty administrators to Grenada and to help advance the Center’s important work.”

AMSA SGU Donates EC$15,000 to Grenada Heart Foundation

St. George’s University’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) recently presented a donation of EC$15,000 to the Grenada Heart Foundation (GHF)—the latest in a decades-long partnership to help provide lifesaving interventional cardiac procedures to the most vulnerable.

Funds were raised at this year’s Valentine’s Day Date Auction, the group’s biggest and most popular fundraising event of the year. Featuring donations from local businesses and paired with students showcasing various talents, prizes including restaurant vouchers, two-night hotel stays, and a catamaran cruise were auctioned off as “dates” for potential bidders.

The evening included a fire-breather, a belly dancer, and several musicians and dancers.

“The fundraiser turned out to be really amazing. We raised more than we even expected,” said Sravan Vemuri, President of AMSA SGU. “The event was very well attended and full of excitement, with our wonderful and talented students giving their best to help fundraise for such a worthy cause..”

In the last five years alone, AMSA SGU has donated more than EC$100,000 to the GHF through a series of annual, student-organized, community-supported fundraising events. According to Devangi Dave, Secretary of AMSA SGU, its biggest draw, the Valentine’s Day Date Auction, has had “dates” go for four, five, or even 10 times their actual worth because of the audience’s willingness to support this worthwhile charity.

“The date auction is our best and biggest fundraiser,” added Ms. Dave, a fifth-term medical student. “It’s more of a way to engage the Grenadian community and get students excited about being a part of this very important cause, which is not only dear to us but also helps them get involved and give back to the people of the country that serves as their home away from home.”

The Grenada Heart Foundation was established in 1984 when St. George’s University was approached for assistance in obtaining heart surgery for a young Grenadian child. Since then, more than 300 children and young adults have received crucial cardiovascular care through direct funding and philanthropic partnerships.

Today, the GHF is administered by St. George’s University and is generously supported by corporate entities as well as civic and community organizations. All of its services are supported by donors, including the Government of Grenada, Rotary International, American Airlines, Caribbean Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Children’s Health Organization Relief and Educational Services (CHORES), and a network of generous hospitals at which the patients are treated.

“On behalf of the board of directors of the Grenada Heart Foundation, I thank AMSA at SGU profusely for the generous donation, which directly goes toward providing quality cardiac care to needy children,” commented Dr. Kesava Mandalaneni, Chair, Grenada Heart Foundation. “It is because of such selfless efforts of various organizations that GHF can provide life-saving services to patients including covering travel expenses so that they can receive the best care and treatment options available irrespective of their economic situation.”

The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Today, AMSA is a student-governed, national organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. AMSA members are medical students, premedical students, interns, residents, and practicing physicians. Founded in 1950, AMSA continues its commitment to improving medical training and has more than 62,000 national and international members.

Global Scholars Study Rheumatic Effects of Living at Altitude in Tanzania

Three St. George’s University medical students, all alumni of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP), recently took part in a research pilot project in Tanzania to test the effects of altitude on people living in different global regions.

Dr. Clive Kelly led the research and invited the alumni of the Northumbria-based program to join him in Tanzania after having taught them during their first year clinical selections in Newcastle. The KBTGSP provides students of St. George’s University on the Caribbean island of Grenada, to complete their first year of basic sciences at Northumbria as part of their medical degree.

Dr. Kelly, a Physician from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, developed an interest in researching cases of arthritis in East Africa after traveling in the region last year. He has been involved in a pilot study to assess the range and extent of locomotor disease in the hopes it will give insight into regional variations in rheumatic conditions and treatments.

The students—Zoe McKinnell, Gillian Richmond, and Renee Wong—are now in the fourth year of their medical degrees at SGU. In addition to the research pilot project, they took on the additional challenge of spending a week climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, where they participated in a comparative study with Dr. Kelly on the effect of physiological adaptations to altitude in climbers from different parts of the world.

During their trip, the students also assisted Dr. Kelly’s teaching programme for junior medical students at a Tanzanian hospital and joined classes with more senior students to expand their knowledge from the perspective of different healthcare systems.

“It was great to have Zoe, Gillian, and Renee involved in this international research project, both for their own development and for the contribution they made in the field,” said Dr. Kelly. “From a teaching point of view, it was invaluable to have them there and their input was crucial. We were teaching a class of 40 students and they helped by taking smaller groups on to wards with me to talk to and examine patients and test techniques. I wouldn’t have been able to teach such large classes without their assistance.”

“The Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program was a great experience and the small group of 70 students meant we had a real community and support system,” said Ms. McKinnell. “It also gave me the opportunity to go to Tanzania, which turned out to be a big eye-opener. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to teach as well as learn while I was there.”

SGU student Gillian Richmond applied for the KBTGSP because she was interested in studying healthcare systems around the world.

“It was really interesting to go into a teaching hospital as an outsider and learn about healthcare in an international context,” Ms. Richmond said. “Joining SGU’s program at Northumbria University was the best decision I’ve made. I’ve made lifelong friends and my experience in Tanzania will be a helpful bridge to my teaching responsibilities as a resident next year.”

“I am grateful to Dr Kelly who helped us organize a teaching elective in Tanzania, where I was able to learn more than I could teach,” said Ms. Wong. “I was humbled every day by my patients, students, and colleagues.”

Building on this initial success, Dr. Kelly hopes to create an annual program for future students as the research project develops.

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

Veterinary Anesthesia Leaders From Around the World Descend on Grenada for AVA Meeting

St. George’s University served as the center of a worldwide veterinary anesthesia discussion as more than 100 veterinary experts traveled to Grenada for the semi-annual Association of Veterinary Anesthetists (AVA) conference. Customarily held in Europe where the organization was founded, the Spring 2018 meeting however marked the first time in the organization’s history that the conference was held in the Caribbean.

“We are very proud to be sponsoring this congress here in Grenada. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase not only SGU but also our beautiful island,” said Dr. Neil Olson, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “St. George’s provides the perfect platform for members of the veterinary anesthesia community to collaborate and offers great levels of exposure to different veterinary professionals from around the world. Hosting the AVA group also speaks to the quality of our vet school and to our presence throughout the globe.”

Themed “Anesthesia and Analgesia—Myths and Misconceptions,” the three-day conference featured lectures and abstract sessions from a wide range of delegates. Presentations included “Evaluating recovery of horses from anesthesia: moving beyond the subjective” by Dr. Stuart Clark-Price, Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine; “Safe anesthesia in young children: what really matters” by Prof. Markus Weiss, Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, University Children’s Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland; and “Pain in Mice and Man: Ironic Adventures in Translation” by Dr. Jeffrey Mogil, Canada Research Chair in the Genetics of Pain at McGill University.

“I’m increasingly speaking at veterinary meetings I presume because of the Mouse Grimace Scale, which has gotten me the attention of the veterinary research world,” stated Dr. Mogil. “Although most of my talks are to a human anesthesiologist audience, I enjoy even more speaking to veterinary groups than neurologists, psychologists, and anesthesiologists. This is because I get to see firsthand how interested people in other research communities are to what I study, and the questions and feedback are always completely different and usually more useful than what I get from the standard audiences.

“Additionally, this is also a lovely opportunity for me to branch out, and on the other hand, I get to give a veterinary audience like this something that is beyond the usual affair and hopefully useful for their thinking as well.”

Dr. Karin Kalchofner Guerrero, Associate Professor in Veterinary Anesthesia at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, served as Chair of the Local Organizing Committee, working diligently to arrange the meeting for which SGU and the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort in Grand Anse served as hosts.

“We are extremely pleased with the success of this event, which proved to be beneficial for both the AVA and SGU,” commented Dr. Guerrero. “We received plenty of positive feedback, with attendees complimenting our scientific program, the social events and of course the beauty and hospitality of Grenada. Additionally, many of our European participants were first-time visitors to Grenada and the Caribbean, therefore we hosted the first two days of the meeting on the SGU campus, giving them a chance to visit our picturesque University’s grounds and to interact with faculty, staff, and students.”

Usually convening in such locations as Paris, France; Helsinki, Finland; and most recently in Berlin, Germany, the AVA meeting provides a venue for veterinary interns, residents, and practitioners to exchange ideas, expand their knowledge, and develop new skills. The AVA Autumn 2018 meeting will be the World Congress of Veterinary Anesthesiology (WCVA), which takes place every three years and is scheduled for Venice, Italy, followed by the Spring 2019 meeting to be held in Bristol, United Kingdom.

– 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