St. George’s University Announces Winners of Student Research Competition

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Five winners of a student research competition were announced by the Office of the Dean, St. George’s University School of Medicine. This competition was instituted to encourage and promote the research component of St. George’s University’s medical program. Senior medical students were invited to submit an abstract of their research completed during their SGUSOM medical education. All submissions were accompanied by any published abstracts, papers, posters or manuscripts used in preparation of the work.

A faculty panel reviewed the submissions and chose five winners (from a pool of 70 submissions) based on originality, scientific merit, and level of involvement. Each of the winning students will receive an all expenses paid trip to Grenada the week of the clinical faculty meeting (March 1-5, 2010), with the opportunity to present and discuss their research with faculty and students on True Blue campus. This is a unique opportunity to showcase their work to the SGU community at large, and will likely support other students in their research endeavors.

The University congratulates the winning students as well as all other students who submitted their research projects as their initiative further substantiates SGU’s commitment to research in the field of medicine. They are:

1. Kyle Smith – “Effect of Location of Drill Holes on the Bending Strength of Fresh Bovine Bone”.

2. Ashish Jairath – “Active real-time hematoma expansion in intracerebral hemorrhage in the presence of the computed tomography angiographic spot sign”.

3. Ahmad Firas Khalid – “Risk Factors for Emergency Caesarian Section in a Multiethnic Environment”.

4. Supreet Bindra – “Clinical Laparoscopic Appendectomy Conversion Rates Two Decades Later: An Analysis of Surgeon and Patient-Specific Factors Resulting in Open Conversion”.

5. Zachary Klaassen – “Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, A Review”.

Reflecting on being an SGU Research Competition winner, Zachary Klaassen, a medical student who did his core rotations at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ said, “I put in a lot of hard work and it is truly an honor. This award is a culmination of two years of hard work and being placed in a great research environment working with Dr. Loukas.” Kyle Smith, a medical student at Long Island College Hospital, was very excited to be recognized for his work in the field of Orthopedics, “I was very happy my research has contributed to both the field of Orthopedics and has helped to promote the name of St. George’s University within that field.” Ahmad Khalid, a medical student who did most of his clinical rotations at North MiddleSex Hospital in London, sees the St. George’s University Research Competition as a positive sign for the future, “It shows how SGU is committed to furthering the research program. Stressing the importance of research is a great message to send to younger students because when landing residency positions becomes more competitive, a strong research base makes a student stand out from the majority.” Research is the first step towards medical advancement and St. George’s University will continue to support the progress of its students beyond the classroom and across the world.

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New Class of Medical Students Take Oath at White Coat Ceremony

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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.

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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.

St. George’s University Hosts the 2010 International Veterinary Students Association Symposium

St. George’s University was proud to host the 58th International Veterinary Students Association Symposium (IVSA) from January 3rd to the 12th.. The Grand Anse campus was home to over 60 international student delegates and IVSA Executive Committee delegates from 19 countries, including Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Finland, as well as next summer’s congress host country, Denmark.

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Given the nature and environment of the 2010 Symposium’s host country, “Tropical Medicine” was voted as the theme by the Executive Board of the Organizing Committee. Many of the lectures, workshops, and wet labs during this nine-day conference were centered on this theme as SGU professors investigated diseases, and dermatological and parasitic conditions commonly encountered in this type of climate.

On Day Four of the Symposium, SGU speakers communicated the University’s commitment to the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” philosophy at a clinic held in the northern part of the island. IVSA delegates were given a unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on event which provided valuable information and experience to bring back home.

St. George’s University’s IVSA Chapter President Kristin Kry, a sixth-term veterinary medical student from Calgary, Canada, explained that the rigorous preparation for the IVSA Symposium dates back more than two years. Grenada was first presented as a suggested host by SGUSVM delegates at the IVSA Symposium 2007 in Malaysia, the same year SGUSVM became an official IVSA chapter. Since that time an official Organizing Committee (OC) was elected to solidify a dynamic itinerary that, according to Kristin, “shares equally between an intellectual focus of veterinary medicine and cultural exposure to Grenada.”

This was a tremendous opportunity for St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) to showcase its facilities, curriculum, faculty, students, and staff to an international community during an influential and high profile event.

Throughout their stay, delegates were exposed to the splendor of Grenada as they explored the island and participated in many engaging activities that gave a true sense of its offerings.

The success of this event was truly a result of collaboration between St. George’s University students, faculty, and staff. A special thanks is extended to St. George’s University faculty members Catherine Wybern, Director of Development; Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Faculty Advisor for IVSA Grenada Chapter; and the numerous professors and staff who donated their time and expertise throughout the Symposium.

The IVSA is a global organization driven to raise the overall standard of veterinary medical education by increasing the international and intercultural exchange of ideas and knowledge, and to promote opportunities for veterinary medical students to undertake education in nontraditional arenas, which include exchange programs, international congresses, and symposiums.

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Agreement Signed by St. George’s University and Fayetteville State University

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St. George’s University and Fayetteville State University (FSU) in North Carolina have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an extensive collaboration designed to enhance the academic experience for faculty, staff, and students of both institutions. The agreement became official in October, and stemmed from a meeting between Dr. Thompson Cummings, St. George’s University’s Chair and Professor of Computer and Technology, and several key personnel from FSU including University Chancellor Dr. James Anderson.

The areas of initial interest for collaboration as outlined in the Memorandum of Understanding are: Management Information Sciences; Premedical Sciences Program; Criminal Justice; Online courses leading to the BSN degree; Online courses in Caribbean Literature; and Summer Study Abroad.

The first meeting between the two institutions took place on the True Blue campus of St. George’s University when Dr. David Barlow, Professor and Dean at Fayetteville State University, and Dr. Bogdan Czejdo, Belk Distinguished Professor in College of Arts and Sciences at FSU, visited Grenada.

This collaboration will benefit the students and faculty at both administrations and everyone at both institutions is eager to commence working on joint efforts which will enhance the academic and social environments of both institutions.

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AMREF Tropical Medicine Selective in Kenya

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Fifteen students from St George’s University School of Medicine participated in the first practical tropical medicine course held in collaboration with the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), one of Africa’s leading health development organizations well known for its Flying Doctors Service.

The two-week Tropical Medicine Selective brought seven students from Grenada and eight students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholar’s program at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom to rural and urban areas of Kenya, providing them with critical understanding of the economic and public health relevance of tropical diseases in a developing country.

The first week was spent visiting research institutes and hospitals in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital and largest city, as well as attending a  series of AMREF-hosted lectures and seminars on tropical medicine, community and public health, and current methods to combat tropical diseases. The following week was spent in the nomadic communities of  Maasai Land with time at AMREF’s Entasopia Integrated Health Program,  as well as a two-night excursion to the  Masai Mara Game Reserve –one of the best and largest in Africa–to witness the indigenous wildlife abundance and experience the domestic animal/human interface. Throughout the duration of the program, SGUSOM students also benefited from the cultural interchange with their African peers, as they were joined in Kenya by five local medical students from Nairobi University.

“Apart from visiting hospitals, research institutes and receiving lectures from experienced AMREF administrators in Nairobi,” said Professor Cal Macpherson, St. George’s University’s Vice Provost for International Program Development “our students also visited the AMREF health center at Entasopia, in Kajiado District in southern Kenya. In collaboration with the regional health authorities and Dr. John Nduba, Director of AMREF’s Sexual Reproductive and Child Health program, an ultrasound clinic was conducted on reproductive health as well as liver disease. More than 250 people were screened, including 49 pregnant women. The clinic revealed no cases of cystic echinococcosis or Amoebic Liver Abcesses. The lack of these parasitic infections was a good sign, and it was hoped that the information on delivery dates for the babies would be useful to improve the health of the mothers and their children. All the information from the clinic was left with the AMREF team and feedback was provided to all. In the coming year, it is hoped that funds will be raised in order to provide an ultrasound scanner for the AMREF clinic.

“It was a tremendous learning experience for our students to see and hear first hand from the AMREF experts, both in Nairobi and in the field. Such a wealth of both practical and field experience that was shared had a profound effect on the students’ outlook on culture, health systems, and health care delivery options.”

The Tropical Medicine selective further extends the relationship between St George’s University and AMREF. In the Spring of 2007, St George’s University awarded two full Master of Public Health (MPH) scholarships valued at $100,000 to AMREF’s Vicky Kimotho of Kenya and Edna Matasha of Tanzania. Vicky and Edna have both returned to work with AMREF in their respective countries. Vicky is taking a leadership role in advocacy as a Researcher in the Directorate of Health Policy and Systems Research (HPSR) at AMREF Headquarters in Nairobi. Edna is a Tanzanian State Registered Nurse Midwife with an advanced diploma in community health. She has been working with AMREF in various capacities since 1991. Vicky was instrumental in helping to co-ordinate the students’ program along with Nicky Blundell Brown and Mary Wanjiru Kiragu from the AMREF Heritage & Special Events Department.

“I felt that the course was tremendously successful,” said Professor Macpherson, who himself had worked for AMREF for over 10 years. “We hope to build on this experience to be able to offer a similar course on an annual basis.”

AMREF was founded in 1957 and is the largest Africa-based international non-governmental health development organization. With a vision of “Better health for Africa,” AMREF’s mission is to work with and through Africa’s communities, health systems, and governments, generating and applying knowledge that contributes to closing the gaps that prevent people from exercising their basic right to health.

Currently, AMREF’s work is focused in six program areas, selected by listening to the needs of the communities with which AMREF works and analysing the skills and experience that AMREF has to offer. These areas are: HIV/AIDS, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections, Malaria, Safe Water and Basic Sanitation, Family Health (under which Maternal and Child Health fall), Clinical Services, and Training and Health Learning Materials.

AMREF works in the African nations of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Southern Sudan and South Africa, and has 12 support offices in Northern America and Europe.