Off-Duty MD Grad Treats Casualties During Las Vegas Shooting Tragedy

Adiofel Mark Mendoza, MD SGU ’14 (right), with family in Las Vegas

First he witnessed two ambulances screaming down Las Vegas Boulevard, and over the next five minutes or so, three or four more zoomed past. Adiofel Mark Mendoza, MD SGU ’14, thought it unusual for a Sunday night—even in Las Vegas, where he was wrapping up a five-day vacation with family.

Dr. Mendoza checked the local dispatcher feed and pieced together information on an active shooter situation just four blocks south—at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

That’s when he, like many off-duty service workers, sprung into action. Dr. Mendoza raced to the scene and helped set up a triage center for injured concert goers about 1,000 feet from the site of the tragedy. Over the next six to eight hours, he treated approximately 20 patients who had been injured during the massacre, which left 59 people dead and more than 500 injured.

Dr. Mendoza—who is a full-time hospitalist at Summit Medical Group in New Jersey—confessed that he feels fortunate to have been able to help, but upset that such an event required it.

“I was honored to be there,” he said. “I’m glad there was something that I could do, and that I had the training, unfortunately, that was needed.

“It was a group effort. It was amazing how people were just running up to us asking what they could do, how they could help – nurses who were off duty, EMTs, off-duty or retired law enforcement, ex-military. A lot of people saved a lot of lives and did more courageous things than I did.”

Upon learning of the active situation outside the Mandalay Bay, Dr. Mendoza took a cab as close to the site as he could get before approaching it on foot. En route, he encountered a young woman bleeding from her pelvis, and her boyfriend who had been shot in the shoulder. After providing immediate treatment, Dr. Mendoza flagged down two ambulances and directed the drivers to rush the couple to the nearest trauma center immediately.

He then boarded an ambulance and, amid the chaos, made his way to the main command center—a circle of approximately 30 ambulances and fire trucks on Las Vegas Boulevard that allowed medical personnel to safely treat casualties. Injured concert goers slowly began to trickle in, many on makeshift wheelchairs—office chairs that had been borrowed from nearby businesses. They were treated for both physical and mental trauma.

“Truthfully, it was like being in the emergency room, just on a mass scale,” he said. “It was like being on the job. I’ve gone through a range of emotions and when people asked me about what happened, I really didn’t know what to say. I’m just thankful that I was there and that could help out in some way.”

Dr. Mendoza had been exposed to high-level trauma cases during his clinical training in New York City, Newark, and Chicago. He joined Summit Health after completing his internal medicine residency at New York University Langone Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY this summer, and has his sights set on becoming a military doctor. He is currently in the middle of the review process to be commissioned in the United States Navy Reserves.

“During my training, I volunteered myself every time there was a trauma code because those are the cases I want to be involved in,” Dr. Mendoza said. I forced myself to be in those situations so I could desensitize myself and be in the right state of mind when I’m needed.”

“It’s very upsetting to see something like this,” he continued. “I don’t know how people could do this to each other. In the ER, you see accidents where people come in with broken bones and such, but this was intentional, and these were innocent people who just there on vacation. They in no way deserved this.”

St. George’s University’s Primary Medical Qualification Receives GMC Approval

All graduate doctors from St. George’s University are from this month automatically eligible to apply for General Medical Council (GMC) registration, following the regulatory body’s decision to remove the medical school from their case-by-case list.

The move recognizes the quality of SGU’s graduates and teaching standards, and paves the way for SGU graduates to study and work in the UK following successful registration and completion of prerequisite exams.

Following a review of the university’s primary medical qualifications, the Council agreed that graduates from St. George’s University are now able to apply to sit the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test and GMC registration in the UK, without having their qualification individually assessed. Applicants had previously been approved on a case-by-case basis.

The PLAB test is the main route by which international medical graduates demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice medicine in the UK.

Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies UK, explained the significance of the move. “That the GMC will now recognize the SGU MD degree without an individual examination of each qualification is a major step forward and will encourage more SGU graduates to come to practice in the UK. This is one of a number of recent positive changes to come from the GMC, including the revocation of the ‘50% rule.’ ”

For many years, SGU’s medical graduates were assessed on a case-by-case basis with the Case Registration Advisor at the GMC having a wide latitude for determining the parameters of the “50% rule.” Some were in jeopardy of being registered with the GMC if they joined an international selective, thereby having two more weeks on their  transcript “away from the country awarding the diploma” and therefore putting them on the wrong side of the “50% rule.”

The students in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program were particularly adversely affected by this rule since they spend the first year of their basic science program in the UK. As SGU’s clinical program takes place mainly in the US and the UK, students at the KBTGSP would not be able to be registered with the GMC, unless they returned to Grenada to do their final-year elective program. Now such students can benefit from doing their fourth-year attachments in the US and/or the UK.

“Another problem for our students has been the timing of the PLAB exams, which have meant our graduates have had to wait up to 18 months following graduation without a salary before beginning their first foundation year in UK hospitals,” Mr. Croft added. “In the near future, PLAB is being replaced with the Medical Licensing Assessment, which will be held more frequently throughout the year.

“It is hoped that, when taken together, these measures will help address the serious shortage of doctors in the UK, particularly in general practice, psychiatry, and emergency medicine.”

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said, “Our students receive a world-class medical education and are able to take advantage of facilities in the UK, Grenada, Canada, and the USA as part of their formal training. As a result, our graduates benefit from a truly globalized training program, making them ideal candidates to work in healthcare systems with a diversity of patients, like the NHS.

“I am pleased that this has been recognized by the General Medical Council in the UK, and look forward to more doctors from SGU taking advantage of the rewarding career opportunities offered in the UK.”

DVM Grad Tackles Rabies at the Source in Malawi

At 10 minutes to eight in the morning, John Clark, DVM SGU ’12, and his crew pulled up to the village of Embangweni, located about 250 kilometers north of Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe, where Dr. Clark grew up. In the weeks prior, the local radio station had advertised why Dr. Clark’s charitable organization, the Community Health Coalition, had come—to administer free rabies vaccines for area animals.

Dr. Clark discovered a line of people and animals several hundred deep. They encountered the same response days later at their second clinic in Mufwe, Zambia—citizen after citizen awaiting important health care for their pets.

“Everybody was there waiting even before we arrived,” he said of the crowds. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Across the two communities, Dr. Clark, his wife Rachel, and veterinary assistants administered more than 542 rabies vaccines to area animals, helping to address a dire public health problem that spreads across the country and the continent.

Dr. Clark, who operates the Community Veterinary Clinic in Vero Beach, Florida, hopes that it is his first step of many in helping to eradicate rabies in Malawi. His desire is in line with how he arrived at St. George’s University—courtesy of a Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship, which are awarded to Commonwealth citizens who are committed to developing health care in their home country.

“It feels good to have spent the two days in Malawi and Zambia because it was an opportunity for us to give back to the community,” said Dr. Clark.

The 2012 SGU graduate modeled the mission after a vaccination program created by Dr. Guy Palmer, Founding Director of the Paul G. Allen School of Global Animal Health at Washington State University. The program aimed to create a rabies-free zone in Kenya and Tanzania that would encourage other regions to focus their attention on the disease as well.

Dr. Clark consulted with Dr. Palmer—who was also a keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s One Health One Medicine Symposium in October—and began to put together his own plan to vaccinate dogs in remote locations in Malawi and Zambia. While the vaccination mission was a step in the right direction, he even admitted it’s a small one. According to the WHO, it is necessary to vaccinate 70 percent of the dog population in an area to control rabies, which would require approximately 80,000 vaccines in northern Malawi alone per Dr. Clark.

However, plans are moving forward on a global scale. At a conference earlier this year in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Rabies Control (GARC) established End Rabies Now, a framework strategy to eliminate the disease worldwide by 2030. The alliance hopes to attack the issue by providing affordable human vaccines and antibodies, prompt treatment of infected individuals, and widespread dog vaccinations.

Much of the focus is on Africa and Asia, where rabies causes tens of thousands of deaths each year. Since his mission, Dr. Clark has gained 501(c)(3) status for his organization and began laying the groundwork for SGU students to complete clinical rotations in Malawi. He plans to return there to provide many more rabies vaccinations in 2018.

“People are coming from the outside and trying to make a difference,” Dr. Clark said. “We made a dent. We will try again next year and just keep trying and trying. We hope to get bigger each year.”

St. George’s University Introduces Pay It Forward Program for Canadian Students

This week, St. George’s University launched the Pay It Forward program, which will allow Canadian students who enroll in SGU’s January MD entering classes, starting in January of 2018, to claim a refund of their tuition if they are accepted to and matriculate at a Canadian or US allopathic medical school for the subsequent fall term.

“Applying to medical school is stressful. Many students may not want to wait until the spring for an offer of admission from a Canadian medical school that may never come,” said Sandra Banner, SGU’s consultant for university relations in Canada. “Pay It Forward will allow Canadian students to jumpstart their medical educations without sacrificing the possibility of returning to Canada for medical school.”

“We’re confident that after one semester at St. George’s, they’ll decide to stay,” Banner added. “However, the beauty of this program is that if they want to go to the Canadian—or US—medical school, they have a term of top-quality integrated systems-based medical education under their belt. They will shine in their new medical school!”

Starting this January application cycle, anyone who enrolls for the Spring 2018 semester at SGU and is subsequently admitted to—and enrolled at—a Canadian or US allopathic medical school for the Fall 2018 term will receive a full refund of SGU’s tuition and fees, if they choose to accept their spot in Canada or the US.

This program is the latest in a series of efforts by St. George’s to bolster its offerings to Canadian students. This year, St. George’s hired Banner, the former CEO of the Canadian Resident Matching Service, and Charles Furey, a former elected official with years of experience in the Canadian government, to help strengthen the University’s network in Canada.

Banner and Furey will work to increase the number of clinical rotation spots available to St. George’s students and establish electives at new hospitals all over the country.

“Our Pay It Forward program demonstrates that we have the utmost confidence in the education and experience we provide at St. George’s,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We have a long and storied tradition of educating Canada’s doctors of the future, and we believe that this program will help us attract even more of Canada’s best and brightest.”

St. George’s University Launches $10 Million Humanitarian Scholarship Fund

St. George’s University has announced the creation of a $10 million scholarship fund for students interested in humanitarian work. Students may receive individual partial-tuition awards averaging $30,000.

“Social outreach and humanitarian work are central to our mission here at St. George’s,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “From Grenada to the thousands of hospitals and clinics worldwide where our graduates work, we’ve always sought to provide top-notch care to those in need. This scholarship fund will enable more students to pursue their passions for helping the underprivileged.”

All students applying for admission for the January sessions will be automatically considered for the Humanitarian Scholarship. Eligible applicants will be evaluated based on their backgrounds in humanitarian work, such as dedicated work in Vistra, the Peace Corps, Habitat for Humanity, medical missions, volunteer in community organizations—all activities that show a dedication to improving the general welfare of mankind and its communities.

The Humanitarian Scholarship is one of many awards currently available to St. George’s students. The Legacy of Excellence Scholarship Program, for example, offers partial-tuition scholarships to students with strong academic records. CityDoctors scholarships are awarded to students who intend to practice in urban communities after graduation.

“We work hard to make medical school a feasible option for each and every one of our applicants,” Dr. Olds added. “The more scholarships we can offer, the more diverse and well-rounded our student body will be.”

St. George’s University Awards Scholarships to 122 Incoming Students

Legacy of Excellence and Chancellor’s Circle Legacy of Excellence scholarship recipients gather for a group photo on the upper True Blue Campus.

St. George’s University has awarded more than $800,000 in scholarships to 122 members of the School of Medicine’s incoming class of 2021.

“Here at St. George’s, we aim to help talented students from around the world achieve their goal of becoming doctors, irrespective of their social or economic backgrounds” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “Our scholarship recipients are enormously accomplished and we are excited to welcome them to school this fall.”

Seventy-nine incoming students received Legacy of Excellence Scholarships in recognition of their strong MCAT scores and records of academic excellence. St. George’s has offered these $60,000 scholarships for more than a decade.

Forty-three students received the Chancellor’s Circle of Legacy of Excellence scholarship, an $80,100 award for those with undergraduate GPAs of 3.7 or higher, science GPAs of 3.5 or higher, and MCAT scores of 506 or higher. St. George’s has offered these scholarships for the past eight years.

“We believe financial need shouldn’t stop aspiring physicians from serving their communities,” said Dr. Olds. “We hope that these scholarship recipients will graduate from St. George’s determined to bring their newfound medical expertise to areas most in need.”

This year’s recipients join more than 5,000 students who have received academic scholarships from the University. In total, SGU has granted more than $100 million in scholarships.

St. George’s University to Host Council for Education in the Commonwealth Annual Conference in 2019

Long a hub for international education, St. George’s University has been selected to host the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) Annual Conference in 2019. Hundreds of educators, policy makers, and education experts from around the world will gather in True Blue to discuss current issues and developments in the field of education and to identify ways to foster educational cooperation.

Glen Jacobs, Professor and Vice Provost for Educational Services at SGU, presented to more than 200 delegates at last month’s CEC conference in Windhoek, Namibia, and also delivered a keynote address.

The conference—titled “Leading the Elephant Out of the Bush: Education and Business Together Bridging the Gap”—focused on a variety of topics including ways to create business alliances that promote innovation, enterprise, and 21st century workplace skills; the ever-increasing role of digital learning and teaching; and strengthening the bridge between schools, tertiary education, and industry.

When the CEC comes to True Blue, Grenada will become the first Caribbean site to host the CEC conference in the organization’s 50-year history.

“We are delighted to be hosting the CEC’s annual conference in 2019,” Dr. Jacobs said. “Our university is at the center of international medical education, and it is fitting that we can provide a platform for an organization that conducts such vital work in promoting education across the Commonwealth. The theme ‘Student Success’ is directly relevant to our mission, and we are excited to provide engagement and collaboration on this topic with key constituents in the region and across the Commonwealth.”

Dr. Jacobs served as a keynote speaker on day two of the Namibia conference, presenting on the topic “Building Capacity Through Tertiary Education: The Role of Quality and Relevance in Best Practice.” He joined SGU’s Department of Educational Services (DES) in 1997, and it now welcomes close to 100 percent of the University’s students to participate in its innovative programs that assist with enhancing skills in time management, note-taking, the utilization of technology effectively in teaching and learning, as well as reading efficiency, writing, and oral communication. In addition, the Department’s faculty development program introduces new and evolving methods of instruction to faculty across all schools.

“If we accept students to an institution, it is our moral obligation to give them the academic support they need to be successful,” Dr. Jacobs said. “By implementing best practices in academic student support, it also helps institutions be sustainable.”

DES’s efforts have garnered three awards from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). Most recently, its Academic Enhancement Program (AEP) received NACADA’s Outstanding Institutional Advising Program Certificate of Merit Award in 2015.

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.”