Young Grenadians Turn Out in Record Numbers for SGU’s 2017 Career Day

Ten years since its inception, the St. George’s University and Rotaract Club of Grenada Career Day continues to be a success story, this year attracting more than 1,600 secondary school students and young adults from all over the country to the University’s True Blue campus.

Offering more career presentations than ever before, Career Day shined a light on fields such as luxury yachting, architectural design, accounting and finance, culinary arts, environmental sciences, physiotherapy, and public relations. In addition, Career Day representatives provided guidance on how to finance higher education, how to prepare for interviews, and how to dress appropriately in the workplace.

“St. George’s University provides an ideal venue to offer this kind of guidance to students in answering the oft-difficult question of what career to choose and empowering them to make that choice,” said Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrollment Planning at SGU. “It is critical for our young Grenadians to think beyond a secondary education and to seek careers that utilize both their interests and strengths as they continue to develop for themselves, their families, and their country.”

In a continued effort to provide students the opportunity to experience more than the usual two presentations, this year’s Career Day also implemented for the first time the Career Track System. Four different career tracks were set up in each of the major halls on campus and students would remain seated as they listened to presentations in subjects related to their chosen field. The new system was effective in cutting down on assembly time, as students didn’t have to scour the entire campus to get to their different career listings. Another first was the introduction of the School of Arts and Sciences Alumni Interactive Session, which gave the students a break between each session and the chance to connect with SGU alumni.

Additional contributors to Career Day’s success were the Radioactive Grenada youth group, who served as both support staff and recorded the event’s welcome message. SGU’s Psychological Services Center (PSC) were also on hand to conduct student surveys to assess which personality traits would lend themselves to different types of careers.

Mr. Dowe once again led the ever-popular informative and interactive session for parents, for which attendance more than doubled that of the 2016 session.

“The parents’ session was very valuable, especially the 10 steps on helping your child choose a career path,” shared Cecil Noel. The retired Cable and Wireless representative was integral in setting up most of SGU’s telecommunications at the school’s inception and admits his bias in gladly sending his daughter to SGU. “I’ve always longed for the day that the University would be offering more than just a degree in medicine, and now with the School of Arts and Sciences, when the time comes, my daughter can reap the benefits of that.”

As the largest private employer in Grenada, the University continues to fulfill its mandate of being a good corporate citizen by taking the opportunity to expose these students to options beyond the traditional. With Career Day 2017, SGU hoped to assist students in making informed career choices and motivating them along their journey towards educational and career fulfillment.

Brooklyn Hospital Foundation to Honor St. George’s University Founders Charles Modica and Patrick Adams

On September 27, the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation will honor St. George’s University founders Charles Modica and Patrick Adams for their substantial contributions to the hospital and the broader medical education community at its 29th annual Founders Ball.

“As a native New Yorker, I feel particularly fortunate to be honored by the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation,” Modica said. “St. George’s University and The Brooklyn Hospital Center have been friends and partners for years, and we’re grateful for the high-quality residency training that the hospital has provided to hundreds of our graduates.”

From left to right, St. George’s University founders Edward McGowan, Louis Modica, Patrick Adams and Charles Modica.

Modica serves as Chairman of St. George’s Board of Trustees and Chancellor; Adams is a Trustee and officer. Over the past 40 years, St. George’s has developed into an international education center, graduating over 15,000 physicians who have gone on to practice in all 50 states and over 50 countries.

St. George’s University is the fourth-largest source of licensed physicians to the United States, and the number-one provider of doctors into U.S. first-year residencies. In 2017, more than 900 of its graduates took residencies in the United States, three-quarters of them in primary care. The Brooklyn Hospital Center will host 32 St. George’s University graduates for first-year residencies this year.

“Charles and Patrick have helped open up opportunities for our graduates in hospitals worldwide,” said St. George’s University Chief Executive Officer Andrew Sussman, MD. “That is exemplified by St. George’s relationship with The Brooklyn Hospital Center. Many SGU students have gained valuable experience at TBHC by training alongside top-notch doctors and nurses, and caring for local patients.”

Modica and Adams are two of the four honorees at this year’s Founders Ball, which will feature football legend Joe Namath as a special guest.

“Our mission in founding St. George’s was to change the status quo in medical education, and we’ve been doing that for 40 years,” Adams said. “Our graduates have made a difference in countless communities around the world—including Brooklyn. I share the Brooklyn Hospital Foundation’s recognition with them and with the entire St. George’s community.”

Chancellor Charles Modica and Patrick Adams cut the ribbon to officially open SGU’s largest auditorium, Patrick F. Adams Hall, in March 2011.

St. George’s University Partners with Larkin University for Combined Degree Program

St. George’s University has partnered with Larkin University in Miami to create a program that will grant qualified Larkin students admission to SGU’s School of Medicine upon completion of a master’s program in biomedical sciences.

“Our new program will attract students with unique educational backgrounds who are passionate about medicine—and who will thrive at St. George’s,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “Doctors who have already earned a master’s in biomedical sciences will be well-positioned to become trailblazers in the scientific community.”

Founded in 2013 as Larkin Health Sciences Institute, Larkin is a graduate school that specializes in biomedical sciences and pharmacology. With this new agreement, students who express interest in the combined degree program are admitted to the St. George’s University’s Doctor of Medicine program with the requisite GPA and MCAT scores, a letter of recommendation, and an interview. Admitted students will enter the first year of the MD program immediately after completing their master’s degree.

This new partnership bolsters a network of collaborations between SGU and universities and hospitals throughout Florida. Since 2010, nearly 200 SGU students have matched for residencies in Florida. In 2017, 36 students began residencies in hospitals throughout the state.

“We look forward to welcoming these students,” said Dr. Olds. “We’re confident that they will bring new perspective to our classrooms and become dedicated physicians when they graduate.”

New Beginnings at the School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony

At the Fall 2017 School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony, St. George’s University welcomed a new dean, a new class of students, and the return of a graduate who had navigated the course on which they were about to embark.

Alumnus and Master of Ceremonies Emily Turitto, DVM SGU ’15, counselled the incoming class on the importance of reciting the Oath of Professional Commitment.

“Today you’re not only receiving your white coat but you’re also taking your veterinary oath which is a very big commitment,” said Dr. Turitto, an Instructor in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at SGU. “At the time I took mine, I thought it was exciting, but I didn’t really understand the responsibility and accountability that I would have for animal welfare for the rest of my life.

“Please take your veterinary oath seriously because at some point you will question that oath and whether or not you’re making a real difference,” she added. “You will be given the training, support and knowledge to bring animals into the world, prevent diseases not only for animals but for humans, cure cancer, save lives, and extend the life of man’s best friend. Once you have the best interest of the animals at heart, you can be unstoppable.”

Attending his first-ever White Coat Ceremony at St. George’s University was Dr. Neil C. Olson, newly appointed Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. He welcomed and congratulated the students on this next step in realizing their dream of becoming a veterinarian.

“To the Class of 2021 there are many aspects of becoming a veterinarian that you will encounter that go beyond the diagnosis and treatment of animal maladies and preventive care,” Dr. Olson said. “You will interact with academic faculty, clients, referring vets, donors and hospital staff all of whom play an important role in the functionality of practicing veterinary medicine.

“I would argue that the vet profession is very much a people-oriented profession. Your success as a veterinarian will have more to do with your interactions with people than any other single variable. I look forward to greeting you on your graduation day and working with you as future alumni as we navigate through the challenges and opportunities that surface in our changing environment.”

The Dean also took the opportunity to introduce Dr. Kent Hoblet, Professor and Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University (MSU). Since 2006, as Dean, he has provided expert leadership of both the College and its 509(a)(2) not-for-profit corporation, MSU Clinical Outreach Services, with clinical service and teaching operations at Animal Emergency and Referral Center (Jackson) and Veterinary Neurology and Imaging Center (Starkville).

“Keep a positive attitude, make every day count, keep an open mind to opportunities, and remember that the world needs you as highly qualified doctors of veterinary medicine,” Dr. Hoblet said.

Among the proud family members and friends also in attendance at this term’s SVM White Coat Ceremony was Dr. David Mordasky, a mixed animal practitioner who, along with his wife, Judith, founded Stafford Veterinary Center and Willington Veterinary Center in Connecticut. A practicing veterinarian for more than 40 years, Dr. Mordasky has six children, five of whom have careers ranging from attorney to civil engineer. However, it was his youngest son, Andrew, who made the decision to follow in his dad’s footsteps. The proud father coated his son on stage during the ceremony.

“My father has been a big part of my education, and to have him be able to coat me on such a significant day in my life just makes it all the more special,” said Andrew Mordasky. “I would go to work with him and I always enjoyed spending that time together and witnessing firsthand what being a veterinarian was all about. In fact, I learned about St. George’s through three SGU grads, two of which worked as associates at my dad’s office. They were instrumental in steering me toward SGU.”

He hopes to join the more than 1,400 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.

Class of 2021 Officially Enters Medical Profession at Fall 2017 White Coat Ceremony

The White Coat Ceremony was underway, and St. George’s University alumni Nina Kayeum, MD SGU ’90, and her husband Paul Capelli, MD SGU ’90, sat front and center. Nearly three decades since earning their own degrees, they were there to support their daughter, Trina, on her big day—the first step in her own path to becoming a physician.

“I’m overjoyed and overwhelmed,” said Dr. Kayeum, an internal medicine specialist in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. “I wouldn’t have believed it if someone had told me over 30 years ago that I would be coming to St. George’s not only to pursue my dream of medicine but that I would find my partner in life and then have a daughter who would also come here to pursue the same dream. I can’t thank SGU and the people of Grenada enough—they’ve basically shaped my future.”

Dr. Kayeum was later welcomed on stage to coat her daughter, who joined her Fall 2017 classmates in taking the Oath of Professional Commitment. Donning their white coats, the Class of 2021 joined its fellow students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who began their journey at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom two weeks prior.

“Having my mom put on my white coat was very emotional for me,” said Trina Capelli. “I feel both humbled and blessed to be here to have this opportunity not only to pursue my dream but to be following in both my parents’ footsteps. I decided very early on that I wanted to become a doctor and although I had different options of where I could attend medical school, growing up hearing stories about SGU and it being a part of my family’s history, I almost felt a calling to go here. I believe this is where I am meant to be.”

Delivering a very personal and energetic keynote address was Dr. Tochi Iroku-Malize, Chair and Professor of Family Medicine at Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine for Northwell Health in New York. She counseled the newly enrolled medical students that “with knowledge comes responsibility and accountability.” They were now taking on a major social responsibility, and with it a unique privilege that society bestows upon them as part of donning the white coat.

Echoing this sentiment was the evening’s master of ceremonies, Dr. Tita Castor, MD SGU ’88, Medical Director of Palliative Care Service, NYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

“This coat is laden with meaning,” she said. “With this coat, you will have the privilege and the burden of being part of people’s lives during their happiest and saddest moments, hearing their deepest hopes, fears, and secrets.”

In addition, the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies punctuated the first full day of activities of the University’s Beyond Spice Family Weekend. A customary element to each term in Grenada, students and family members get to soak up nature and culture on the Spice Isle prior to attending the special ceremony that marks their induction into the medical profession.

Global Students Celebrate Annual White Coat Ceremony at Northumbria University

St. George’s University medical students from across the globe were welcomed to Northumbria University on August 18 for the 10th annual White Coat Ceremony.

Students were presented with their White Coats by leading medical professionals, including keynote speaker and critical care trauma expert Daniel Herr, MD SGU ’82.

The students are part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP), which allows St. George’s University medical students to complete their first year at Northumbria University‘s campus in Newcastle. The program is an exciting option for students who want to gain an international perspective on global health care.

Dr. Daniel Herr, Associate Professor at St. George’s University and Chief of Critical Care Services at University of Maryland Medical Center, has a special interest in the use of hypothermia for resuscitation and in the avoidance and treatment of acute confusional states in the ICU.

“We are incredibly proud of our partnership with Northumbria University and it is very rewarding for us to see all the students attending the White Coat Ceremony today,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This is a significant milestone in the life of a doctor as it symbolizes their first step into the world of medicine. Dr. Herr’s speech was extremely moving, not only for students, but for the entire faculty. His career and his studies are an inspiration for all future doctors.”

The White Coat Ceremony is a longstanding tradition that began in 1993 at the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University, and is now seen at many universities around the world. It symbolizes the induction of students into the medical profession, and affirms their obligation of service to others.

Students will undergo their first year of studies at Northumbria University, with the remainder of their degrees being completed at St. George’s University, followed by clinical studies in the United States and NHS hospitals in the United Kingdom.

St. George’s University to Host Major International One Health One Medicine Symposium

Uniquely positioned to lead a discussion on collaborative, global health topics, St. George’s University is hosting a two-day One Health One Medicine Symposium on October 21 and 22. In addition to being a hub for international education across medicine, veterinary medicine, and public health, the University also holds the distinction of being a World Health Organization Collaborating Center on Environmental and Occupational Health. The speakers at the conference are pioneers and leaders in this field.

“One Health One Medicine is the convergence of human, animal, and ecosystem health, resulting in a joined-up approach between complementary sectors that, all too often, are practiced in a vacuum,” said Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development at SGU. “Each of these practices are inextricably connected, and by learning from each other and pooling resources, great progress can be made for the benefit of human and animal kind.”

St. George’s University’s OHOM initiative is aimed to help facilitate the further development of opportunities locally and, in collaboration with international institutions, to address global health challenges affecting the health of people, animals, and the environment. The initiative has evolved for 10 years, most recently to include a series of SGU-sponsored OHOM conferences, open access courses, and workshops, culminating in the upcoming symposium.

Students and faculty from the School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine host free wellness check-ups at a One Health One Medicine clinic in Grand Anse, Grenada.

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU, is also a professor in the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine as well as a tropical disease specialist who has worked on one health issues around the world. He views Grenada as the ideal location to examine issues related to the One Health One Medicine philosophy.

“It is fitting that SGU, an international center of excellence for medical training, is hosting a major conference on the importance of a global approach to human, animal, and ecosystem health,” said Dr. Olds. “Our student body, both past and present, come from all corners of the globe, and by creating a space for these experiences and ideas to come together, we will continue to drive progress in all areas of medicine.”

Distinguished international experts speaking at the event include:

  • Guy Palmer, DVM, PhD – Regents Professor of Pathology and Infectious Diseases, The Jan and Jack Creighton Endowed Chair & Senior Director of Global Health, Director of the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health, Washington State University, USA
  • Fitzroy Henry, PhD – College of Health Sciences, University of Technology, Jamaica, West Indies
  • Sarah Cleaveland, BVSC, PhD, FRS – Professor of Comparative Epidemiology, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary, and Life Sciences, Glasgow University, Scotland, UK
  • Chulathida Chomchai, MD – Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Mahidol University International College, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Summon Chomchai – Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand

A call for abstracts, to be considered by the symposium’s Scientific Advisory Committee, for oral and poster contributions to this symposium are now invited. More information and the template for the abstracts and poster presentations can be attained from Ms. Naomi Alexander.

To register for the symposium or to submit a research abstract for discussion, visit the One Health One Medicine webpage.

100 Wishes, 100 Flights, 100 Happy Kids

Is there anything better than taking a child facing his mortality and sweeping him into a moment of sheer joy and happiness?

Locally, at least 100 of the kids in the Make-A-Wish Foundation have dreamed of flying in a small plane, of feeling the wind on the wings, and the thrill of reaching new sights—snow, mountains, canyons, monkeys—that one would never see without this program and this plane.

Dr. Satesh Bidaisee, a Professor at St. George’s University and a volunteer pilot for Make-A-Wish International, has granted 100 of these wishes, treating children to new experiences throughout the Caribbean and South America.

“Completing 100 flights is great, and granting 100 wishes makes me want to do even more,” said Dr. Bidaisee. “As long as I am able to and those wishes exist, I will continue to share the joys and passions of aviation, especially with those for whom time may not be on their side.”

A cancer survivor himself, Dr. Bidaisee is not a stranger to intimations of mortality. In July 2015, he was diagnosed with testicular cancer. His experience and recovery prompted him to ramp up his involvement in Make-A-Wish and consider how he could best serve cancer patients, especially children who are going through chemotherapy and treatment surgeries. Since February 2016—post-cancer—Dr. Bidaisee has completed more than 50 percent of his flights.

“My life-changing events triggered my interest in this program because they reminded me of the fragility of life—you can be here today and gone tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve found a purpose beyond my own personal interests, education, and career. I’ve found that it is always the best use of my time to do something for someone else, especially for those whose time is measured and precious.”

Reciting some of his most memorable flights, Dr. Bidaisee shared the story of a 13-year-old boy with a brain tumor whose wish was to fly. The boy had never been inside an aircraft before and didn’t care where they went; he just wanted to experience flying. Another wish Dr. Bidaisee was able to grant was that of an elderly woman with ovarian cancer who had never traveled outside of her homeland, Trinidad, but wanted to see snow. He flew her to Merida in Venezuela in the mountain peaks, which was the closest place in South America to find snow. She was able to feel, walk, and play in the snow, which until then she had only seen on television.

Unfortunately, many of those people on Dr. Bidaisee’s Make-A-Wish flights have since passed away. In fact, for some it was literally their last wish. One of the losses that hit him the hardest was a 4-year-old boy with leukemia whose wish was to see a waterfall in the Amazon. Dr. Bidaisee flew the boy to the Kaieteur waterfall in Guyana—the closest he could find that resembled an Amazonian waterfall. Three weeks after that magical experience, the boy passed away after going through another cycle of chemotherapy.

“It’s hard, but at the same time, I really appreciate the fact that I was able to share that experience with him and to make his wish come true,” said Dr. Bidaisee. “And that probably matters more than anything. My own passion for aviation pales in comparison to my experiences with these kids in Make-A-Wish. I feel very privileged and honored to give them these experiences.”

As a global network, on average Make-A-Wish® grants a wish, every 34 minutes to a child suffering with serious health issues. These wishes come in all shapes and sizes. Some are heartfelt or jaw-dropping—others funny or tear-jerkers.

“Make-A-Wish is actually the best purpose that I feel in my own life right now,” extolled Dr. Bidaisee. “It’s extremely fulfilling in life to match your passion with something that truly makes a difference and serves a greater purpose.”

St. George’s University Welcomes Charles Furey as Consultant in Canada

Charles Furey

Before embarking on a long career in government, Charles Furey served as a high school English and history teacher in his native Newfoundland. Thirty years later, he will help guide Canadian students toward their career goals once more, this time with St. George’s University.

In August, SGU welcomed Mr. Furey as a consultant to Canada. He adds to an experienced staff that also includes Sandra Banner, the former Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Resident Matching Service, who joined St. George’s University in April.

“Any new challenge is always exciting, and I’m really happy about working with Sandra, who has done an outstanding job,” he said.

At SGU, Mr. Furey will concentrate on three areas in his new position: recruitment, hospital electives, and government relations. He comes from a political family—his older brother, George, is the Speaker of the Senate in Canada. Charles Furey spent 15 years in government himself, winning five consecutive elections in Newfoundland and Labrador’s House of Assembly. He held such positions as Chief Electoral Officer; Minister of Tourism, Culture, and Recreation; Minister of Mines and Energy; and Minister of Industry, Trade, and Technology.

For 10 years, Mr. Furey was an independent consultant on advisory services, government relations, and strategy planning for a wide array of clients.

“SGU has such a great history, and I want to get into the hallways of power and explain what we’re doing to satisfy the demand for physicians, particularly in rural areas,” Mr. Furey said. “There’s a high demand that Canada can’t fill right now, and we have a great pool of students who can help.”

Mr. Furey’s career has returned to the education realm, which is where it began. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Education from St. Francis Xavier University and taught in Conche and Stephenville Crossing before turning his sights to politics. Recently, he learned about the medical landscape when his wife, Vanessa, now a neurologist at the University of Ottawa, pursued and obtained a Doctor of Medicine.

Mr. Furey also hopes to set up elective opportunities that will enhance the chances for Canadian students to receive clinical training in their home country. More than 180 SGU graduates are currently practicing in Canada, and Mr. Furey had the pleasure of meeting four of them at a recent information session in Toronto.

“I was absolutely floored by the quality of these graduates,” he remarked. “They were well-spoken, sharp on their feet, and transparent, and had all obtained fantastic residencies. They really lit up the room.”

Mr. Furey said he welcomes the opportunity to meet with more alumni, clinical students, and prospective students at upcoming SGU events, including in Vancouver, Halifax, Toronto, and Ottawa this fall.

“I look forward to opening the toolbox and seeing what we can do for students,” Mr. Furey said. “We’re providing exceptional teaching, and I want to tell the story about the many great Canadians who chose a different path.”

SGU Dean of Basic Sciences Elected President of American Association of Clinical Anatomists

As a medical student at the University of Warsaw, Marios Loukas joined the American Association of Clinical Anatomists in 1997. Since then, the Dean of Basic Sciences and Professor in the Department of Anatomical Sciences at St. George’s University has been committed to teaching and studying anatomy, calling it the “foundation knowledge” for all physicians, as well as the foundation for his own career in medicine, academia, and research.

At the AACA annual meeting in Minneapolis last month, the organization’s members elected Dr. Loukas as its 18th president, 20 years since his entry into the AACA. In his new role, Dr. Loukas hopes to expand the visibility of anatomists across the scientific community, improve faculty development, and increase student membership. In addition, he aims to create a clinical anatomists certificate program that recognizes individuals’ excellence and dedication in the field of clinical anatomy.

“In anatomy, you not only learn what makes up the human body, but you learn the clinical application behind every bone, organ, nerve, artery, and more,” said Dr. Loukas.

Through his affiliation with the AACA, he met Drs. Peter Abrahams, Vishnu Rao, and Robert Jordan, who invited him to join SGU as an Associate Professor of Anatomy in 2005. Dr. Loukas has ascended to his current roles within the Department, and also serves as the University’s Dean of Basic Sciences and Research.

While the study of anatomy dates back thousands of years, Dr. Loukas said the most contemporary method of studying human anatomy is imaging—specifically ultrasound—for which the human body “comes to life.” Beginning in 2011, SGU integrated ultrasound education in its curriculum, with training sessions complementing relevant material taught in lectures, wet labs, and small-group discussion sessions. An additional outcome of such integration is availability of research opportunities for students and faculty. This year, five SGU medical students presented ultrasound research at the AACA meeting, including second-year student Jenna Kroeker, who was recognized for the best clinical anatomy poster presentation among 120 submissions.