Doctors in Paradise

More American Students Enrolling in Caribbean Medical Schools Like St. George’s University.

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Chancellor Charles R. Modica recently appeared on where he discussed the influx of US students enrolling in Caribbean medical schools like St. George’s University. Today, one in every four US doctors has been trained abroad. According to Modica, “There’s not enough room in US medical schools for all the medical students who would like to go and are worthy of going.”

In the past 10 years, St. George’s University’s application pool has risen 300% —compare that to an increase of only 140% in US schools. “They go to Grenada because they know St. George’s University will give them the best opportunity to come back to the United States and practice medicine,” Modica said.

Click here to view Chancellor Modica’s full interview.

About St. George’s University

St. George’s University is a center of international medical, veterinary and liberal arts education, drawing students and faculty from 140 countries to the island of Grenada, in the West Indies. St. George’s is affiliated with educational institutions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Ireland. The University’s nearly 10,000 graduates include physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and public health and business professionals across the world. The University programs are accredited and approved by many governing authorities and repeatedly recognized as the best in the region.

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St. George’s University Adds New Hospital Affiliations

St. George’s University is pleased to announce four new hospital affiliations, adding to the nearly 60 University affiliated hospitals and clinical centers, and reinforcing the University’s place as leader in the Caribbean.

The new clinical affiliations are:

  • Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island, NY
  • Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ
  • Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton, CA
  • Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY

The Richmond University Medical Center affiliation started with spring 2010 residency placements, offering rotations in Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, OB/GYN and Psychiatry. Affiliation agreements with Hackensack University Medical Center and Kings County Hospital Center will start for the class commencing clerkships this August and September, also offering core rotations in Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, OB/GYN and Psychiatry. The Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, offering core rotations in Surgery and Family Medicine, starts clerkships this August as well.

“I am pleased to announce these new clinical affiliations,” said Dr. Stephen Weitzman, MD, Dean, St. George’s School of Medicine. “These affiliations add to St. George’s already impressive array of clinical rotations and continue to offer our students hands-on opportunities to learn medicine in some of the best and best-known hospitals in the world.”

These new affiliations add approximately 100 new positions for third year medical students. Additionally, senior students have the opportunity to benefit from the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center affiliation where they can participate in four-week family medicine rotations in one of the busiest emergency departments in that state of California.

About St. George’s University

St. George’s University is a center of international education, drawing students and faculty from 140 countries to the island of Grenada, in the West Indies. St. George’s is affiliated with educational institutions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Ireland. The University’s nearly 10,000 graduates include physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and public health and business professionals across the world. The University programs are accredited and approved by many governing authorities and repeatedly recognized as the best in the region. With a 98 percent residency placement rate, St. George’s University graduates are matched in the positions of their choice, including highly competitive residencies in surgery, radiology, orthopedics and emergency medicine.

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Medical Students Officially Welcomed at Fall 2010 White Coat Ceremony

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On Monday August 16, 2010 over 400 students took the oath of Professional Commitment to mark their entry into the medical program at St. George’s University School of Medicine. This year’s bi-annual White Coat Ceremony was held at St. George’s University Taylor Hall, where an excited and emotional crowd—including family, faculty and special invited guests—filled the hall to maximum capacity to witness the ceremony.

During opening remarks, St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica reminded students that their journey has just begun, and is supported by dedicated and accomplished faculty members. Speaking to the enthusiastic crowd, Chancellor Modica said, “You’re here because we believe you can do it— and you believe you can do it.”

The Chancellor reassured students that St. George’s University is not an institution where you have to compete, but one in which students learn and succeed together. Chancellor Modica pointed out that at St. George’s, “Everybody has the potential to succeed together— no one has to be left behind.” He further stated that the fall 2010 class has the luxury of following a legacy of success, from the 1977 charter class to the successful graduation of over ten thousand doctors. “With this history of success, the outcome is inevitable as long as there is application.”

Chancellor Modica explained one of the best things at St. George’s University is that “there are a lot of important and individual stories, you get to meet important people, and each one of you has the opportunity to achieve your goals when you arrive in Grenada.”

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Lord Walton of Detchant, the keynote speaker for the ceremony, sought to pass on lessons to the students, saying that classroom, laboratory and clinical experience “is crucial to the practice of medicine in the 21st century, all of which are part of a learning process which you are all beginning today.”

John Walton (Lord Walton of Detchant) Kt TD MA MD DSc FRCP FMedSci, qualified in 1945 with first class honors from the Newcastle Medical School of the University of Durham. He was a former consultant Neurologist to the Newcastle upon Tyne hospitals, Professor of Neurology in the University and Dean of Medicine from 1971-81.He became a Knight Bachelor in 1979 and was awarded a life Peerage as Lord Walton of Detchant in 1989.

Lord Walton of Detchant held the positions of President of the British Medical Association from 1980-82, of the Royal Society of Medicine from 1984-86, of the General Medical Council from 1982-89, and of the World Federation of Neurology from 1989-97. Adding to the list of accomplishments, Lord Walton has also chaired the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics and was a member of its Select Committee on Science and technology for ten years. In 2006 he was presented with the Hewitt Award by the RSM Foundation Inc.

Relying on this expansive experience and qualification in the field of medicine and research, Lord Walton pointed out that in order to provide proper diagnosis and treatment “it is important to recognize that you need core knowledge- knowledge of human structure and function, of anatomy, physiology, bio-chemistry and genetics because it is very important for many, many reasons.”

In addition to knowledge which is fundamental, Lord Walton highlighted the need for core medical skills, citing the importance of taking a complete medical history and carrying out comprehensive physical examinations. “History and physical examinations,” said Lord Walton, “are at the core of patient care.” Lord Walton also addressed issues such as the importance of doctor-patient communication and establishing a trusted relationship with patients. He further stressed the importance of research, saying, “Today’s research brings tomorrow’s medicine.

The esteemed doctor shared his experiences with the incoming medical class, reminding them that the practice of medicine deals with living, thinking beings and this should never be forgotten, and always taken into consideration, when treating patients.

Following the keynote address the students were robed in their white coats, took the oath of professional commitment, and were officially welcomed as “Medical Students” to the St. George’s University School of Medicine.

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SGU Incoming Student Recipient of Coveted OAS Scholarship

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Michelle Ash is the first recipient of the coveted Organization of American States (OAS) Scholarship to attend St. George’s University. Michelle will be joining St. George’s University this fall as an incoming Master of Public Health student, and is one of only five recipients of the OAS Graduate Academic Scholarship from the OAS Member States of Trinidad and Tobago. “ I am quite excited that my OAS scholarship has allowed me the opportunity to further my knowledge and skills at such a highly recognized and respected institution,” said Michelle.

Michelle is joining the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at a very exciting time. The US accreditation authority for public health programs, The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) has recently granted accreditation for five years to St. George’s University’s Master of Public Health Degree Program. This makes St. George’s University only the fourth institution outside of the United States to be accredited by CEPH and the only university in the Caribbean to hold this distinction.

To date, Michelle has dedicated herself to a career in Dietetics & Nutrition. After graduating with a BSc in Human Nutrition & Dietetics from the University of West Indies, she completed a one-year dietetic internship to qualify as a Registered Dietician in her home country of Trinidad, sharing her expertise in an effort to combat the rise of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. “Helping those who may not have the same opportunities that I have had in my lifetime thus far is of utmost priority to me.”

Michelle is an individual with a clear vision for her future. After graduating from St. George’s University, she plans to return home to Trinidad as a dietitian and specialized public health educator. She hopes to apply her Master of Public Health degree to chronic disease prevention and lifestyle management applying medical nutrition therapy to those individuals already diagnosed with chronic diseases, paying special attention to kidney disorders, cancer patients, and persons living with HIV/AIDS.

When asked about specific research opportunities, she expressed a keen interest in alternative medicine such as herbal remedies indigenous to the Caribbean region. “A great deal of research still needs to be done on the safety, chemical makeup, functions, side effects, and food-drug interactions of local and regional herbs,” said Michelle. She hopes to get involved in the collection and analysis of data to uncover current trends and associations relating to eating patterns within the Caribbean region.

Michelle is passionate about the need for improved preventative health care in the developing nations of the Caribbean, and is a fervent believer that a sound investment in preventative health care now will result in long-term reduction of total annual health care expenditures of these countries. She continued, “Public Health nutrition plays a vital role in decreasing the number of new chronic disease cases diagnosed every year, as well as reducing the excessive demand for medications and surgeries which result from complications arising from poorly managed chronic diseases.”

The future is bright for Michelle Ash, and so too for the communities her expertise and dedication will transform. She looks forward to making contributions through grassroots program development, as well as national health sector reform through policy planning and implementation.

The OAS was established in 1948 with the signing of the Charter of the OAS. It was created to achieve among its 35 independent member states of the Americas, as stated in Article 1 of its Charter, “an order of peace and justice, to promote their solidarity, to strengthen their collaboration, and to defend their sovereignty, their territorial integrity, and their independence.” The Organization of American States constitutes the principal political, juridical, and social governmental forum in the Hemisphere.

The OAS supports human resource development throughout its member states and beyond. Grenada became a member state in 1975. The OAS encourages and supports active scholarship opportunities and participation throughout its Consortium of OAS Universities, a list of reputable education institutions to which St. George’s University is proudly associated.

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St. George’s University Launches Medical Student Research Institute

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St. George’s University has long demonstrated a commitment to scientific research. In a fervent and continuous effort to fulfill its mission to advance health care and environmental development worldwide, research has played a key role in its academic curriculum. With the establishement of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) on the True Blue campus in 1994, SGU secured itself a place to carry out short and long-term, multidisciplnary research and education programs in fields which include public health, tropical medicine, epidemiology, anthropology, microbiology, conservation ecology, marine biology and other topics relevant to tropical climates and developing nations.

St. George’s University’s most recent research-driven endeavor is the Medical Student Research Institute (MSRI), an innovative web based project skillfully constructed and promoted to further establish research as an integral component of the School of Medicine academic program. According to Dr. Stephen Weitzman, Dean, St. George’s University School of Medicine, “The MSRI grew out of a conviction that research is necessary for progress in understanding of health and disease and for improving patient care.”

As a centralized source for all basic science and clinical research, the MSRI is designed to serve many purposes. The MSRI will facilitate collaborations between qualifying medical students and faculty members to conduct research within their chosen specialties and share resources between SGUSOM and its multiple clinical facilities. The online capabilities of the MSRI will offer a virtual environment within which ideas can be shared, scholarly activity can be tracked and promoted, and resources can be provided to assist students and faculty in their efforts to publish scholarly research.

Furthermore, the MSRI will offer medical students who have demonstrated academic excellence the opportunity to begin a four-year clinical journey which will lead to a Doctor of Medicine degree with Distinction in Research. In order to enroll in the MSRI MD with Distinction in Research, students must apply during terms 2 through 5 and maintain a GPA of 3.7 or greater. The select group of students will be limited to 50 students per year. They will be involved in basic, clinical, translational, or social science research throughout medical school under the guidance and mentorship of expert faculty. Similarly, a Research Member track is available to students who have completed term 5 with a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

The MSRI Selection Committee encourages all interested students to learn more about these opportunities and the latest SGU research projects on the MSRI website located on the My SGU website. The Committee encourages faculty members who are actively performing research to register with the MSRI. The success of the MSRI depends upon their willingness to participate as a virtual mentor to students from across the globe.

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Medsim/Vetsim Workshop Students Win Trip to SGU Med/Vet Summer Academy

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Two students attending Vetsim and Medsim Workshop Conferences in Nottingham have won a place in St George’s University Summer Academy in Summer 2011. Nick Allcroft for Medsim and Jemma Dunkerley for Vetsim won the top prize which includes flights, accommodation, meals and attendance at the ten day camp next summer.

St. George’s University (SGU) was invited to attend the Medsim and Vetsim residential conference by Workshop Conferences where over 5,000 16-18 year old students studying science A Levels and interested in pursuing a career as a MD or a Veterinary Surgeon attend the workshops.

On winning the top prize, Jemma Dunkerley, an aspiring veterinarian, is thrilled at the prospect of attending the SGU Summer Academy in Grenada, saying, “Wow! I am simply stunned to have won. I’m very excited and looking forward to attending the academy next summer.”

Highlights of the Workshop Conference Medsim program included a lecture by Dr. Geoffrey Bosson from the SGU Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program in Newcastle and entitled “Zombies, Werewolves and Vampires”. Through a riveting discussion, Dr. Bosson demonstrated why the studies of subjects, such as biochemistry, in the early stages of a medical degree are essential. This fundamental knowledge, even which gained at A-level, is used to explore the genetic defects and underlying medical conditions that are the basis for these fairy stories and legends. An associated workshop provided an opportunity to translate a sequence of mRNA and determine the impact that a single base change will have on health.

Dr. Austin Kirwan, a veterinary surgeon and medical ethicist who is Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs for SGU, UK and Ireland, presented an interactive lecture on veterinary ethics for participants of the Vetsim program. Dr. Kirwan led a vibrant discussion on the role a veterinarian plays in determining the priorities of practice – from ensuring animal welfare while answering the financial responsibilities of a business to ensuring dignity for humans and their animal companions. A great debate ensued and is testament to the values and care with which these future vets will serve society.

Rounding out the program were demonstrations and practical sessions run by SGU first year medical students currently studying on the KBT Global Scholars programme at Northumbria University, Ryan Ismail and Dong Kim. Also assisting in the practical sessions were Daren Regis and Emma Lippitt, now a fourth-year medical student and a previous Summer Academy winner.

About The Med/Vet Summer Academy

The St. George’s University Med/Vet Summer Academy offers an opportunity of a lifetime for high school and undergraduate college students interested in the fields of medicine or veterinary medicine to get a hands-on, real-world look at the life of a medical/veterinary student and practitioner. Each program offers a ten-day program that combines didactic lectures, small-group problem solving sessions, practical lab work in state-of-the art facilities, as well as hands-on training through simulated and real-life situations. The students’ experience is further enhanced through several adventurous and educational off-campus excursions including snorkeling, hiking and island touring. Participants are eligible to receive college credit through the School of Arts and Sciences from participation in lectures and clinical practical’s. For more information, please visit the SGU Med/Vet website.

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St. George’s University Hosts Grenada Ministry of Education

St. George’s University, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, recently hosted an eight day summer workshop. Secondary school principals, education officers, and ministry officials were invited to the University’s state of-the-art multi-million dollar True Blue campus for a professional development workshop. The workshop focused on how educators could positively effect student achievement—specifically through learning how to more effectively monitor teacher instruction and creating an environment that is conducive to both teaching and learning.

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Group of secondary school principals and Ministry of Education officials on SGU campus tour

Provost Dr. Allen Pensick contacted the Ministry of Education to see how SGU could help in their mission of improving the performance of Grenadian secondary schools. The 22 secondary schools in Grenada are each headed by a principal who is then assisted by thirteen education officers. It is essential for all of these individuals to have adequate preparation and training to help Grenada manage its development into the 21st century. Principals representing Grenada’s 22 secondary schools, 11 Ministry of Education Officials, and top SGU officials, including Dr. Pensick; Dr. Denis Paul, Vice Provost; Dr. Joanna Rayner, Assistant Dean within the Office of the Provost; and Dr. Andre Havenga, Director of the Department of Educational Services, assembled to identify and define the challenges faced.

Dr. Paul commented: “The University is very supportive of this effort and is glad that the Ministry of Education has chosen to work with us on it.” Likewise, the Ministry of Education officials expressed their delight at the collaboration. Chief Education Officer, Mrs. Pauline Finlay commented, “Having SGU on island is an advantage to Grenada’s education system. The University has proven itself a success to Grenada and to the world and we hope that we can adopt and utilize many of the procedures and processes it has used in producing such high quality doctors and professionals to produce high quality graduates from our secondary schools.”

SGU continues to make major contributions to the development of Grenada through the School of Arts and Sciences and through scholarships designed for Grenadian residents. St. George’s University hopes this workshop will set the stage for further collaboration with government and education agencies in Grenada.

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RCVS Welcomes Eight New Members From St. George’s University

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L-R: Amber Lovegrove, Claire Green, Rhiannon Jones, college president Peter Jinman, Jennifer Walton, Zoë Jack, Serena Holmes. Monday 26/7/2010. Photograph © Andrew McCargow

Eight graduates from St George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) in the Caribbean island of Grenada, have passed the Statutory Membership Examination of the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), making up just under half of the 17 accepted this year. Forty-five candidates took the examination.

“This outstanding result confirms the school’s status as a leading international teaching institution for prospective veterinarians”, comments Austin Kirwan, St George’s Associate Dean of UK and Ireland Clinical Affairs.”Our graduates now have a proven record of high standards which is encouraging to those who follow in their footsteps”.

Thirty St George’s graduates have passed into the RCVS since the School’s inception in 1999.

In order to practice veterinary surgery in the UK, all graduates with foreign or Commonwealth qualifications must pass the RCVS examination. The exam consists of two days of written papers, followed by clinical, oral and practical exams at a UK veterinary medical school.

Presenting the graduates with a membership certificate at the Ceremony of Admissions at Belgravia House in London, RCVS President Peter Jinman said: “I was delighted to welcome so many of this year’s successful candidates to the College. They are a very special group of people – not only have they qualified all around the world, but they have taken the educational and professional step of sitting the RCVS examination, which entitles them to use the coveted letters MRCVS and to practice in the UK“.

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L-R: Amber Lovegrove, Claire Green, Rhiannon Jones, college president Peter Jinman, Jennifer Walton, Austin Kirwan, Zoë Jack, Serena Holmes. Monday 26/7/2010. Photograph © Andrew McCargow


St. George’s University Earns US Accreditation for MPH Program

CEPH Approves Grenada School as 5th Outside US

The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) announced its accreditation of the St. George’s University’s Master of Public Health program, making the University only the fifth non-US institution approved holding this distinction.

St. George’s University’s Public Health Program is eleven years old and is offered within its schools of medicine and veterinary medicine. Students may earn independent MPH degrees or joint degrees, such as the MD/MPH and the DVM/MPH.

“CEPH accreditation is coveted by public health programs across the world and we are honored to be in such good, if select, company,” said Omur Cinar Elci, MD, PhD, Chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s. “This accreditation validates the critical importance of internationalism in public health education, and will encourage greater scholarly outcomes through new partnerships for collaborative research and service activities.”

Chancellor Charles R. Modica said, “The successful accreditation outcome is an historical moment for the University. This marks our first US accreditation and adds to the long list of recognitions and approvals of our School of Medicine by external bodies across the world.”

The Council on Education for Public Health is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit public health schools and programs. Accreditation from this council enhances the stature of SGU around the globe and strengthens SGU’s commitment to providing a public health program of excellence to its students, an exceptional work environment for its faculty and for the pursuit of public health programs that will have a positive impact on the people, animals and the environment in the Caribbean region.

For faculty and staff, CEPH accreditation will encourage greater scholarly outcomes through new partnerships for collaborative research and service activities. For prospective and current students, accreditation provides to an opportunity to participate in an acclaimed program as well as greater opportunities for student loans and scholarships available only to students enrolled in CEPH accredited schools and programs. Accreditation is important to alumni of the program as it provides eligibility to obtain Board Certification in Public Health (CPH) which provides new and higher standards of employment opportunities.

Furthermore, various medical residency programs, such as Family Medicine, Pediatrics, Occupational Medicine, and Preventive Medicine require or encourage an MPH degree in their curriculum. Only the alumni of CEPH accredited MPH programs can transfer their MPH credits into the residency training. Therefore SGU MD/MPH alumni will not only shorten their residency periods, they will attract more and higher standard residency programs. For our community partners, accreditation equates to an appreciation that they are working in collaboration with a program whose standards have been internationally recognized.

Through this accreditation, SGU reaffirms its commitment to the highest standard of public health excellence and to positively contributing to global public health challenges today and in the future.

SGUSVM Recognizes 109 New Graduates at Commencement Ceremony

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On June 12, 2010, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) welcomed 109 new graduates from 10 countries to the profession of veterinary medicine at its commencement exercises held at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York.

Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost of St. George’s University, welcomed the Class of 2010 graduates and reminded them that they were at the beginning of their journey and not the end, encouraging them to continue the life-long process of learning.“Today is about recognizing your ability to embrace the opportunities ahead of you and we join with your family and friends in applauding you,” he said. Dr. Pensick recognized the Honorable Manniram Prashad, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Commerce, Guyana who was among the faculty, parents, friends, and well-wishers present to witness the ceremony.

In addressing the graduating class Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor, St. George’s University stated, “I have the utmost respect for you and what you are about to do with your lives.” He acknowledged that through their actions, the School of Veterinary Medicine students have taught him of the powerful connection between humans and animals. The Chancellor congratulated them on their achievement and expressed confidence in their ability to make a difference in the world.

During his remarks, Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine congratulated the graduates on reaching their goal. He also made a special presentation to a faculty member and a graduate. Dr. Rhonda Pinckney, Associate Dean of Students, School of Veterinary Medicine, was recognized for her outstanding contribution to the profession and to St. George’s University and was presented with a medal as a symbol of appreciation. Brittany King, a member of the graduating class, received a medal in recognition for her contributions to global one health medicine.

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As a former class representative for the Student Affiliate of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SAAVMA), Brittany King was integral in the launch and continued success of the One Health One Medicine clinics held throughout Grenada. The One Health One Medicine concept focuses on the convergence of animal, human, and ecosystem health; addressing them collectively is critical to improved health care worldwide.

St. George’s University established the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, offering a broad range of opportunities in the veterinary medical field. The SGUSVM is listed with the AVMA and offers a superior global veterinary medical program which focuses on community service, hands-on training, and clinical research. Upon graduation from the four-year Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program students are licensed to practice in 42 States in the USA and other countries, including Canada, Ireland, and Australia.

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