Dr. Jerome E. Kurent
Monday, January 18, 2010 marked a celebration for St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) as it welcomed a new class of 382 medical students from 28 countries. Dr. Jerome E. Kurent, a gifted professor at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) for over 25 years and practicing physician, stressed the value of professionalism and ethics throughout his poignant Keynote Address. Dr. Alena Wade, a Grenadian graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine in 2005 and Instructor in its Department of Anatomical Sciences, was the Master of Ceremonies.
Chancellor Charles R. Modica welcomed the students and their families to St. George’s University and reassured them that while these are challenging times, the medical school is a very resilient and flourishing institution. Nearly to the day, the University celebrated 33 years in existence, having first opened its doors in 1977 to 216 medical students. The Chancellor expressed profound respect to the students for selecting such an admirable career, and urged them to focus on the ultimate goal of providing unquestionable ethical health care to the world.
This provided a fitting segue to the Keynote Address delivered by Dr. Jerome Kurent. Dr. Kurent challenged the newly inducted medical students to pursue a career founded on ethics and professionalism as he gave an address on the topic “Ethics, Professionalism, and the Evolving Patient Physician Relationship.”
After acknowledging and commending the sacrifices made by the students to reach this far, Dr. Kurent noted that anything is possible if they believe in what they do. The Keynote Speaker admonished the students to not take the profession for granted and to view it as an art rather than a science.
The humanistic approach, according to Dr. Kurent, distinguishes a doctor from a great medical physician. As an impassioned educator, he emphasized that integrity, passion, and genuine concern are of utmost importance. “We (professors and mentors) will care how much you know, after we know how much you care,” he said.
Dr. Kurent expressed the power of the patient-physician relationship is based on professionalism and an ethical framework of humanism in which love, charity, and wisdom prevails. In bringing the evolving medical profession to the global community he warns that it must be done ethically and professionally with honesty and respect.
Dr. Kurent told the students that amidst the medical evolution, they must always remember who and what they are. “There is always something we as physicians can do in a time of crisis, and although often dubbed healers, health care providers, physicians and now technicians, never loose sight of your duty to human health and life, but be guided by your own ethical and moral qualities,” he said.
After sharing some of his experiences as a physician, he beseeched the students, that if they should take anything from his address, it is to always put themselves in the shoes of their patient or to think of them as a loved one. With this, ethics and professionalism becomes second nature.
Dr. Jerome Kurent has held many key positions at Medical University of South Carolina. His first academic post in 1984 as Assistant Professor of Neurology progressed to Professor of Medicine; Professor of Neuroscience; and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in 2005. His talents have been recognized with numerous awards including the Faculty Award of Teaching Excellence and the Circle of Excellence Award for Didactic Teaching. He has also served MUSC in top administrative positions, including Acting Director, Center for the Study of Aging; Chair, Hospital Quality Improvement Committee; and member of the Medical Center Ethics Committee, a position which he continues to hold.
Dr. Kurent is board certified in psychiatry and neurology, neuromuscular medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, and pain medicine. His extensive knowledge of palliative care proved invaluable to St. George’s University and Grenada in a continued effort to address untreated pain among cancer patients in Grenada. In conjunction with the Ministry of Health in Grenada, Dr. Kurent conducted several successful educational workshops on pain relief, designed specifically for doctors and nurses employed by the Ministry of Health.
Dr. Kurent received his Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in 1971. He completed residencies in medicine and neurology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1995, Dr. Kurent received a Master of Public Health degree in Health Care Management from Harvard School of Public Health and completed a geriatric medicine fellowship at the Harvard Medical School the following year. He also completed fellowships in neuromuscular diseases and electromyography at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
He has received high praises as a physician, being recognized by Best Doctors in America for the past three consecutive years. He is a Fellow of both the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the American Academy of Neurology.
Dr. Kurent lectures extensively on palliative and end-of-life care, pain management, geriatric medicine, and geriatric neurology. He has co-authored a book titled A Clinician’s Guide to Palliative Care and has published numerous articles in peer reviewed journals.
Dr. Alena Wade
Dr. Alena Wade is a native Grenadian and began her relationship with St George’s University in 2000 when she started the Pre-Medical Sciences Program in the School of Arts and Sciences and continued on to the School of Medicine, obtaining her medical degree in 2005. She is one of three new Instructors in the Department of Anatomical Sciences.
After graduation, she completed her internship at the St. George’s General Hospital, Grenada and subsequently began work as a Clinical Tutor at St. George’s University School of Medicine. As a Clinical Tutor, Dr Wade was able to employ her clinical acumen to discuss clinical cases with students in Histology, Neuroscience, Embryology and Anatomy.
In 2009, Dr. Wade was hired as an Instructor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences and was able to begin developing her skills as a dissector. Dr Wade’s responsibilities include lecturing (both in the School of Arts and Sciences Pre- Medical Sciences program and in the School of Medicine Anatomy course) as well as training Clinical Tutors, a post she recently held. She feels that her position as an alumnus who has worked as a Clinical Tutor makes her eminently qualified to communicate with the students during lectures, small group sessions and lab sessions. She enjoys the time spent with students, encouraging them in the best way to approach and understand the material.
Dr. Wade is President of the Grenada Chapter of the St. George’s University School of Medicine Alumni Association and is an active member of the Grenada Medical Association.