Father and Son Conduct Podiatric Clinic

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Nursing staff from St. George’s General Hospital and representatives from the Ministry of Healthpose for a group photo with Dr. Jay Helman at the Ministerial Complex.

More than 120 Grenadians took advantage of free foot care during a week-long podiatry clinic held at the Tivoli Health Center and St. George’s University Health Services Clinic in Grenada, West Indies. Dr. Robert Helman, a 1997 graduate of the St. George’s School of Medicine, has been volunteering his services to the people of Grenada since 2003. During one of his customary visits to the island, he revealed that his father, Dr. Jay Helman, was a podiatrist—a class of doctors not commonly found in Grenada. When his services were requested, Dr. Jay Helman was thrilled at the opportunity to give back to Grenada and to the University responsible for his son’s successful career in medicine. The father son duo has been conducting clinic visits ever since.

During the podiatry clinic in December, nearly 90 percent of those who sought health care required wound care. Nurses and practitioners provided compression dressing in order to speed up the rate at which the wound heals. Dr. Jay Helman took the opportunity to meet with nurses and present a lecture on how to prevent and treat wounds. “The nursing staff is caring; they are interested and they are very competent,” he described. “The problem is that they don’t often have the things they need. I try to bring down as many wound-care supplies as I can, but unfortunately supplies do run out. What I try to do when I’m in these clinics, with these nurses, is to try to teach them how to make use of what we have and improvise with available materials.”

For Dr. Robert Helman the visit served as an opportunity to exchange current medical knowledge and procedures with practitioners on the island. As the Director of Emergency Medicine at Peninsula Hospital Center in New York City, he has dealt with a wide range of medical emergency situations —from gun shot wounds to strokes and heart attacks. Because of his specialization in emergency medicine, Dr. Robert Helman e took the opportunity delivered lectures about the field to the physicians at the Casualty (Accident & Emergency) Department of the General Hospital in Grenada. “I’ve been well-received, and I’ve gotten to know them (medical practitioners) very well. We have both learned a lot from each other so it’s been a really great experience. It’s quite rewarding.”

The week-long podiatry clinic was organized through the Virtual Hospital Program which enables St. George’s University alumni and friends to aid the Ministry of Health and government of Grenada in improving healthcare in the country. Coordinator of the Virtual Hospital Program, Mr. Brendon La Grenade, comments, “We at SGU are thankful to the vast network of friends and associates volunteering their time and expertise to this venture as we continue to work hand-in-hand towards the goal of top-notch healthcare delivery here in Grenada.” In addition to clinics, the program involves mentoring, lectures, and teaching workshops for nurses and doctors.

Dr. Jay Helman provides tips for good foot health, “The first thing is to complete self-examination daily. If you notice your legs swelling at the end of the day, you need to get your feet elevated—not just off the ground but higher than your chest to get the blood flowing again.” Ultimately, the father and son team hope to establish a wound care team of visiting and local medical personnel—both physicians and nurses—to help care for patients and reduce the number of amputations by at least 50 percent. Dr. Jay Helman explains, “The cost—economic, psychological and physical— both to the individual and their families is enormous. If we can help prevent amputations with the preventive care offered in this clinic, we can save a lot of limbs and a lot of heartache.” The Helmans, along with the Virtual Hospital Program and Ministry of Health, once again demonstrate how the University and Grenadian people stand to benefit by working together.

The University is grateful to Drs. Jay and Robert Helman and family, St. George’s University Virtual Hospital Coordinator Brendon La Grenade, Grenada’s Ministry of Health, as well as the participating clinics, nurses, doctors, patients, and all stakeholders who were involved in making this year’s clinic a success.

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Fall 2010 ICSA Culture Show: “Taal, a Beat of Passion”

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This November, the Indian Cultural Student Association (ICSA) held its semi-annual cultural show, “Taal, a Beat of Passion.” The collaboration and camaraderie between students of different nationalities and backgrounds to produce such a show speaks to the multicultural environment at St. George’s University. It was an event that brought a taste of India to all faculty, staff, students, as well as to the local community.

The show began with an introduction of the ICSA Fall 2010 board members Neha Rana, Priti Dave, Johnny Wu, Rushabh Shah, Simran Nahal, Satjit Sanghera, Prashanth Boddeti, and Kyrie Kanhai. President of ICSA, Neha Rana explained the importance of the event. “We are normally consumed by class and studying. The show allows students to share something beyond medical school that they enjoy with the SGU community.” One of the emcees of the cultural show, Ayanna Rocke agreed, “It is important to the Indian Student body as well as SGU to have a cultural show as it helps in a way to give the students a voice.”

Dances of the night ranged from classical to bhangra to hip hop. A semi-classical dance was followed by fusion hip-hop, bhangra, and Bollywood dance performances. Neha describes the audience and recalled, “Charter Hall was completely packed with people standing in the aisles to catch a glimpse of the performers. Members from the entire SGU community were in attendance, ranging from professors and their families to students and local vendors.”

Overall, the ICSA was successful in showcasing the talents of the entire student body as well as bringing traditional Indian culture to share with the St. George’s University community. As fifth term medical student, Satjit Sanghera explains, “ Not only was it a night of tradition, entertainment, culture and rhythm, but also a night in which the SGU community came together under one roof to watch students showcase talent that is often buried deep in the blur of medical school.”

ICSA is one of the largest student organizations at St. George’s University. It was founded in 1996 to share the Indian culture with the entire University and Grenada. ICSA hosts several events throughout the year including Holi, Diwali, dance classes, semiannual theme-based parties, and the ICSA Cultural Show.

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Seven Students Awarded Veterinary Mentor Scholarships

Since its inception in 1999, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine has trained more than 550 veterinarians—the majority of whom are in private practice in countries around the world. Every year the School of Veterinary Medicine awards Veterinary Mentor Scholarships as a means to give back to the field of veterinary medicine and support the hard-working and dedicated students who come to Grenada with the dream of becoming veterinarians.

This year’s seven winners from the entering class of August 2010 hail from the United States, Canada and Ireland. The 2010 Veterinary Mentor Scholarship winners are:

  • Kristen Barnes
  • Kristen Cash
  • Erin Cooper
  • Alicia Chivers
  • Lorenza Malaguti
  • Jaclyn Piet
  • Sara Twerdok

Each scholarship recipient is nominated by a practicing veterinarian who feels strongly that his or her protégé has shown academic excellence and has proven dedication to the veterinary medical profession.

Kristen Cash is one such student, having spent six years working with her mentor, veterinarian Dr. Robert Pfister.

“This scholarship has given me an amazing opportunity that I may not have had otherwise. It enabled me to have the opportunity to share one of the biggest moments of my life with two of the most influential people in my life. I would not be where I am if it weren’t for the constant encouragement and support given to me by Dr. Pfister and his wife Dr. Hurley.”

The Veterinary Mentor Scholarship awards between 20 to 40 percent of the full-tuition of the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program to accepted students. To apply, students must be nominated by a licensed veterinarian who can answer questions about the commitment and compassion of the prospective student to the veterinary profession. In addition to the partial tuition scholarships, winners are encouraged to invite their mentors to Grenada to witness the White Coat Ceremony, a trip paid for by St. George’s University. The White Coat Ceremony is an important moment in a veterinarian’s career as it marks a student’s formal entry into the profession.

Dr. Pfister is most excited his protégé now has the opportunity to attend an “international school that will open her eyes, providing a worldly experience that will educate her beyond just medical school.” He is confident that in her years ahead she will make St. George’s University proud as well.

St. George’s offers a wide range of academic and needs-based scholarship opportunities to help ensure that the unique international education St. George’s provides remains available to the best and brightest students—regardless of circumstance. The Veterinary Mentor Scholarship is just one way that St. George’s gives back to the veterinary medical profession that has so generously embraced the University and its educational mission since the school welcomed its first class in September 1999.

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Sport for Health Initiative Seeks to Inspire Healthier Generation of Caribbean Youth

Grenada Olympic Athletes to Become Sporting Ambassadors at Secondary School Sports Days

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The Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF ), the research institute at St George’s University, Grenada, is encouraging a “Sport for Health in the Caribbean” initiative in hopes to “inspire a healthier generation of Caribbean youth.” The campaign has been endorsed by Grenada’s National Olympic Committee and the Government of Grenada, Ministry of Sports.

Sport for Health will make its debut in Grenada, and will be spread to the rest of the Caribbean with activities geared to addressing the growing burden of childhood obesity and the chronic growth of non- communicable diseases, including diabetes, and promote a healthier philosophy among children and their families. As a first step, Grenada’s Olympic athletes will be asked to become sporting ambassadors at sports days to he held in all Grenada’s secondary schools in the coming year.

A dinner at London’s historic House of Lords, co-hosted by Grenadian peer, Baroness Howells of St David’s and WINDREF’s President, Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, will be held this evening to raise funds for the campaign. Lord (Seb) Coe, Chairman of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and former double Olympic gold medallist, will speak on “Sport for Health in the Caribbean: The Inspiration of the Olympics”. Additionally, Professor Alan Fenwick of Tropical Parasitology at Imperial College, London, will speak at the dinner, describing the threat posed to the health of the region by Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)—a subject of concern for the Caribbean that WINDREF is currently addressing through its research. Tickets for the House of Lords dinner are sold out.

WINDREF’s support for Grenada’s Olympic team and “Sport for Health in the Caribbean” campaign initiatives align with its mission to advance health and environmental development through multi-disciplinary research and education programmes and to promote collaborative relationships between internationally recognised scholars, scientists, and charitable institutions. WINDREF was founded in 1994 and is located on St George’s University True Blue campus in Grenada.

Donations can be sent to Elliott Fox at Raitt Orr & Associates, 2 Vincent Street, London, SW1P 4LD, UK. Checks should be made out to WINDREF UK.

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The WINDREF Board with some of the attendees at the dinner from left to right: Trevor Noel, Karen Lawson, Royston La Hee, Lord Coe, Kirani James, Calum Macpherson, Lord Soulsby, Richard Summerfield, Margaret Lambert, Charles Modica, Baroness Howells, Patrick Orr.

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Annual Senior Medical Student’s Research Competition Underway

Submissions for the Second Annual Senior Research Medical Competition are due November 15. Winners will be announced by January 1, 2011.

While completing their clinical years at one of the University’s more than 60 affiliated hospitals and clinical centers across the United States and United Kingdom, many St. George’s University students participate in research projects and publish results during the course of their training. In support of these research initiatives, the Medical Student Research Institute (MSRI) of St. George’s University last year held the first of what is now an annual competition of research projects for senior medical students.

The Senior Medical Research Competition is a natural extension of the MSRI mission to encourage, support, facilitate and centralize medical student research throughout the School of Medicine. After soliciting research projects from students in their last year of clinical training, a panel of faculty judges select winning projects based on the originality, scientific merit and level of involvement of their respective presentations and/or papers. In 2009 five winners were selected, showcasing a variety of compelling research topics:

  • Kyle Smith for the “Effect of Location Drill Holes on the Bending Strength of Bovine Bone”
  • Supreet Singh Bindra for “Laparoscopic Appendectomy: Surgeon and patient-specific factors resulting in open conversion. “
  • Ahmad F Khalid for researching “Risk factors for emergency Caesarean section in a multiethnic environment”
  • Zachary Klaassen on “Thoracic outlet syndrome: An enigmatic neurological and vascular disorder.”
  • Ashish Jairath for research on “Active real time hematoma expansion in intracerebral hemorrhage in the presence of computed tomography angiographic spot sign.”

Dr. Stephen Weitzman, Dean of the School of Medicine, commented on the competition. “An outgrowth of the MSRI, this competition has proven to be enormously successful in building enthusiasm among our clinical students for research in medicine.”

St. George’s School of Medicine offered winners a complimentary trip to Grenada to present and discuss their research with faculty members and their peers during an annual faculty meetings week.

“The competition was met with enthusiasm by the students last year. They seemed happy to be able to return to Grenada to present their research to their teachers and mentors at St. George’s annual all-faculty meeting,” recalled Dr. Weitzman. “The School of Medicine is proud to be a part of this competition in support of the MSRI mission.”

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St. George’s University Welcomes Families to True Blue Campus

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Running from October 23rd to the 24th St. George’s University is hosting Beyond Spice, a weekend event where family members of enrolled students from the School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine are invited to visit St. George’s campus. A truly international weekend, families from the Caribbean, North America and Europe will converge on St. George’s picturesque True Blue Campus to learn about the University, spend time on campus and experience island life.

Only since 2008 has St. George’s hosted a family weekend and attendance has more than doubled over prior years. With this year as the largest yet, the event is expected to draw more than 200 hundred visitors to St. George’s and its surrounding communities.

Commenting on the growth of this event, Margaret Lambert, Dean of Enrolment Planning, said, “We look forward to this weekend because it gives us the opportunity to host student families from around the world. Many of our attendees stay at local hotels, visit areas merchants and dine in local restaurants. Our goal is to provide a wide range of activities, including opportunities for unstructured time where families can explore all Grenada and the University has to offer and hopefully make plans to visit again.”

Attendees at the event have the opportunity to tour the St. George’s campus, meet administrators and experience he beautiful island of Grenada with island tours, cultural performances and free time for exploring local venues. Visitors will get a taste of local culture with visits to local markets, restaurants and stays at some of the areas most beautiful hotels.

Russ Fielden, President of the Grenada Hotel and Tourism Association and Owner/Operator of True Blue Bay Resort is looking forward to hosting several St. George’s family members at his resort this weekend. “We’re looking forward to providing a relaxing environment for family members to vacation while visiting their St. George’s student. I also encourage them to take in the surrounding areas – as well as the north side of the island during their stay.” While known for its beautiful beaches, Grenada is also home to historic forts, impressive waterfalls and rum and nutmeg production facilities – all of which are accessible to tourists.

“Many families come back to the island at other times,” says Fielden, “and we look forward to developing lasting relationships with them and other members of the St. George’s University family.”

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St. George’s University Announces Post Baccalaureate Premedical Program

An Ideal Premedical Program for Motivated, Non-Traditional Medical School Students

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St. George’s University is excited to announce a new Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program designed to meet the needs of college graduates who wish to pursue a medical education but may not have taken the core science courses required for admission to the Doctor of Medicine program. Offered in St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences beginning with a charter class in August, 2011, the Post Baccalaureate Premedical Program is a 12 month pathway to the School of Medicine’s MD degree program.

The Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program is ideal for motivated students who do not have the required science foundation to enter the MD program. Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher to be eligible to apply for this program. Generally, the program is not intended for students who have applied to medical school in the past or have previously taken more than half of the science courses required for medical school.

Dr. Robert Jordan, St. George’s Associate Dean for Enrolment Planning and Admission is enthusiastic about the potential of the new program. “St. George’s new Postbaccalaureate premedical program provides non-traditional students, who after a obtaining a bachelors degree and working for a number of years, question their life goals and seek a way to enter the medical profession.”

The Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program permits students to complete the prerequisite science classes via an intense curriculum with a guaranteed pathway to medicine. Subsequent admission to the Doctor of Medicine program requires:

  • 3.5 GPA upon completion of the Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program
  • A passing score on the Postbaccalaureate Comprehensive Exam
  • Competitive MCAT score (North American candidates only), within 3 points of the average MCAT score for the entering class.
  • A recommendation from the Dean of Basic Sciences

“Students have the option to do a Postbaccalaureate in the states, but the appeal of direct entry into the St. George’s MD degree program and the international aspects of our university appeal to many students,” said Jordan. “We have had many students inquire about a Postbaccalaureate program at St. George’s and we are happy to now be able to offer this option.”

Students with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better are encouraged to apply. While not required as part of the application, volunteer work or employment in a health care setting is highly recommended.

Click here for the application for St. George’s Postbaccalaureate Premedical Program. If you have any questions about the program, please contact SGUEnrolment@sgu.edu.

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Grenada Admitted to International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations St. George’s University Sends Delegation to IFMSA General Assembly

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A delegation of St. George’s University medical students represented Grenada at the association’s General Assembly in Montreal where they were voted in to membership by current IFMSA National Member Organizations (NMOs). The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), an independent, non-governmental and non-political federation of medical students’ associations throughout the world, granted Grenada full membership in the organization this past August.

IFMSA is one of the largest and most active medical student organizations in the world representing more than 1.2 million medical students worldwide, including 97 National Member Organizations from 89 countries on six continents. Membership in the association provides St. George’s medical students with increased access to a range of opportunities, including projects and activities that provide students with exposure to global health issues, access to clinical and research exchanges around the world, and leadership opportunities within the association’s regional and international branches. Furthermore, Grenada’s IFMSA membership will assist St. George’s with its mission to provide students with a uniquely global medical education as membership raises the profile of Grenada with other NMO’s and helps attract students from around the world to Grenada for clinical and research exchanges.

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IFMSA-Grenada’s External President, Alex Drossos commented on the vote for entry. “There was an immediate sense of excitement when the vote was completed and we heard the announcement that we were now full members of the IFMSA. But the hard work starts now. We need to grow our membership, start sending and accepting people for exchanges and forge relationships with other groups at St. George’s to do the good work of the IFMSA.”

It has taken IFMSA-Grenada the shortest possible time to become an NMO— one and a half years. The group took the first step towards membership when it became a candidate member in March 2009. In 2008, IFMSA-Grenada’s External President, Alex Drossos had been a part of the UK delegation representing the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars and Graduate Studies Programs and thereafter began pursuing membership for Grenada.

Representing Grenada at the General Counsel meeting, the delegation consisted of Alex Drossos, President External; Desiree Levyim, President Internal; Antonio Thomas, Director-at-Large and former President Internal; Tanvir Kahlon, National Exchanges Officer; Yon Chong, Secretary General; Sonia Voiculescu, Director-at-Large and former Secretary General; Rodney de Roché, VP Internal; and Olga Rodas, general delegate and former President of SGU student group Students for Global Health.

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Drossos expressed his gratitude on behalf of the group to Faculty Advisor, Dr. Calum Macpherson, as well as to Dr. Rao for his support, Dr. Rabie for his assistance in the group becoming a formal SGA club, and Dr. Margaret Lambert for her administrative support— especially in terms of getting a strong delegation to Montreal. He is also grateful for the delegates who traveled to Montreal, the executive members of IFMSA-Grenada who were not able to attend the General Assembly– Imran Ali, VP External; Ayan Sanyal, Director-at-Large and former Treasurer; and Francis Lim, the group’s current Treasurer.

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA), founded in May 1951, is an independent, non-governmental and non-political federation of medical students’ associations throughout the world. It is run for and by medical students on a non-profit basis and is officially recognized as a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) within the United Nations’ and recognized by the World Health Organization as the International Forum for medical students. It exists to serve medical students all over the world. IFMSA was established in the Netherlands as a charity organization.

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St. George’s Visiting Cardiology Program Offers Two Brothers New Lease on Life

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In July, St. George’s University alumnus (SGU 1999) Jason S. Finkelstein, MD, FACC, performed surgery on Grenada residents, brothers Arnold and Albert Collins, at his practice in Wise Country, Decatur, Texas.

Dr. Finkelstein, an interventional cardiologist with Advanced Heart Care and Wise Regional Health System (WRHS) spends time each year offering his cardiac care services to Grenada residents as a part of St. George’s University’s Visiting Cardiology Program. It was on one such visit this past May that he identified the brothers’ cases. The battery had died on Albert’s pacemaker, which had been installed in 2002 in Tampa, Florida, and he was in need of a replacement, while Arnold needed cardiac catheterization. Dr. Finkelstein invited them to fly to his practice where he would perform their surgeries at no cost to them.

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Both surgeries were performed by Dr. Finkelstein on the morning of July 2 with equipment provided by WRHS, with the assistance of Keith McIntosh, Director of the Cath Lab at WRHS, Lacretia Miles, and Trisha Simmons, for Albert’s surgery. Daniel Arranda, Damian Morales and Whitney Dean assisted for Arnold’s surgery. Both operations were successful and following their release from WRHS on July 3, the brothers went to La Quinta Inn of Decatur, which had donated one of their rooms for three nights so they could rest and recuperate.

To learn more about this story and Dr. Finkelstein, please see our video on You Tube, provided by WRHS, with the assistance of Keith McIntosh, Director of the Cath Lab at WRHS, Lacretia Miles, and Trisha Simmons, for Albert’s surgery. Daniel Arranda, Damian Morales and Whitney Dean assisted for Arnold’s surgery. Both operations were successful and following their release from WRHS on July 3, the brothers went to La Quinta Inn of Decatur, which had donated one of their rooms for three nights so they could rest and recuperate. To learn more about this story and Dr. Finkelstein, please see our video on You Tube, Healing Hearts with Dr. Jason Finkelstein. Healing Hearts with Dr. Jason Finkelstein.

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Seventy-Seven New Students Join SGUSVM

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The School of Veterinary Medicine, which has been a part of St. George’s University for 11 years, held its 23rd White Coat Ceremony on Tuesday, August 17 at the Bourne Lecture Hall. The 77 prospective veterinarians who were honored and welcomed in this ceremony came from ten countries: the US, UK, Canada, Guyana, Jamaica, Botswana, Mexico, France, Ireland and Sweden.

The Chancellor, Dr. Charles R. Modica officially welcomed and congratulated the students. “At St. George’s University, there is an environment of caring,” he said. “You are special to us. You are small in number… but your spirit is great and if you are anything like your predecessors, you will make us proud.” Mistress of Ceremonies, Dr. Emma Hage congratulated the students on their accomplishment. “I wish you tremendous success on your veterinary journey,” she said.

The Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Raymond Sis, also addressed the incoming students. He said: “You belong to a profession that prides itself in serving society and you have joined a dynamic and exciting international university that will provide you with a unique environment to study modern global veterinary medicine.” He encouraged the students: “In addition to challenging yourself, challenge your classmates. This is your family for the next four years. Mentor each other, help them through the next four years and they will help you.”

Following the delivery of a splendid speech by Keynote Speaker, Bonnie V. Beaver, B.S.,D.V.M., M.S., the students donned their white coats and recited their Oath of Professional Commitment led by Dr. Kristin Chaney.

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