St. George’s University MPH Students and Alumni Achieve Impressive Pass Rate on Spring NBPHE Exam at SGU

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St. George’s University students and alumni of the Master of Public Health program achieved a 90 percent pass rate on the spring National Board of Public Health Examiners (NBPHE) exam, allowing them to become a Certified in Public Health (CPH) professional. Including four previous alumni who had sat and passed the NBPHE exam, SGU students and alumni have demonstrated an impressive 92 percent success rate. After passing the exam, CPH professionals must earn 50 CPH recertification credits every two years to maintain their status.

“The CPH credential enhances the professional standing and recognition of individuals who gain the certification,” said Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, professor and chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHPM). “In addition, the CPH credential commits its holders to a career of continuous professional development and recertification providing competency assurance in their public health practice.”

St. George’s University had been appointed as an official test location in February 2013 and the spring exam marked the first time that the exam was given on the campus.

SGU has increasingly been at the forefront of addressing public health issues both locally and regionally. The University’s MPH program attained accreditation from the Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH) in 2010, the fourth program outside North America to receive the distinction. In 2012, the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine was also named a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Environmental and Occupational Health, making it the first collaborating center of its kind in the region.

“As chair, it has been a privilege leading the DPHPM team of dedicated professionals through this significant period of development for the benefit of the communities that we serve,” Dr. Elci said. “The exceptional success of our students and alumni in the recent NBPHE exams is indeed the latest testimony to the DPHPM towards achieving its vision of serving as a regional and international center for excellence in education, research, service, and scholarly activities.”

A Celebration of Excellence at SGU’s SAS/GSP 2012 Graduation Ceremony

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More than 300 students took to the stage in celebration of their educational success on Saturday, May 12, at the annual Commencement Ceremony for St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and Graduate Studies Program (GSP) at Patrick Adams Hall.

Esteemed guests included the Speaker of the House of Representatives and Keynote Speaker, Honorable George McGuire, and Chair of the Conference of Churches in Grenada, the venerable Archdeacon Christian Glasgow.

In his address to the excited graduates, keynote speaker, Honorable George McGuire, spoke of the international education offered at St. George’s University, and the foundation it provides for a successful career. He stated, “This University has been good to you in many ways. It has prepared you well for lifelong learning, taught you to think clearly, and to be open to new ideas. Therefore you are all prepared for the world of work.”

The speaker of the house admonished the graduating class to never underestimate their strengths, and to be the beneficiaries of change, and not the victims. He encouraged the students stating, “Whatever difficulties lie ahead and whatever constraints you may have to face, nothing should keep you from aspiring to reach the top, and nothing should stop you from shining in the presence of others.”

In exhorting the 2012 graduating class he states, “What should inspire you most as young graduates is a spirit of adventure which should feed your passionate and insatiable curiosity.” On a final note, the students were encouraged to treasure their memories of St. George’s University, and challenged to take the ‘high road’, and aim high.

As part of the ceremony, Honorable George McGuire received St. George’s University’s Distinguished Service Award in acknowledgement of his longstanding support and contribution to the development of the University, and in recognition of his outstanding service to its students and mission.

In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than two hundred undergraduate degrees were conferred including Bachelor of Arts (BA), of Education (BEd), of Science (BS), and of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees.

These students represented 16 countries; Grenadian students made up the majority of the graduates. An additional 42 students walked through the ceremony in anticipation of the receipt of their degree in the next few months.

Addressing the students as class valedictorian for the School of Arts and Sciences was Nerissa Baptiste from St. Andrew, Grenada. The BS graduate began her address by stating, “I don’t think that graduating today means we rule the world. I do think, however, that today’s graduation is the first step towards our world domination, and St. George’s University has provided us with the keys to do so.” Ms. Baptiste stated that “In order to rule the world, a person must be imaginative, recognize his or her potential and have ambition to realize it. Our graduation ceremony today is a testimony of this… On this our graduation day we proved that we are capable of achieving success. We came, we saw, and we conquered.”

The second half of the commencement ceremony was dedicated to St. George’s University’s graduate students. In the Graduate Studies Program, 69 students received a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, 18 students received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in International Business, 12 received an MBA in Multi-Sector Health Management, and six received a Master of Science Degree (MSc). The students receiving graduate degrees represented nineteen countries.

Apollo Knights, who is from St. Vincent, represented the graduate students as Class Speaker. The MBA (IB) graduate encouraged his colleagues to be leaders. He stated, “Leaders are persons who see the need for change and have the knowledge and desire to implement change for the betterment of society.” The students were therefore challenged to become lifelong learners, and to continue seeking new knowledge. He said, “As leaders, I believe we have the most humbling duty, which is to serve others, irrespective of our jobs.” Mr. Knights left the 2012 graduating class with the quote, “Knowledge has to be improved, challenged and increased constantly or it vanishes” – Peter Drucker.

St. George’s University is proud of all its graduating students and confident that this graduating class will positively impact the world in each respective field.

Several Firsts for SGU 2011 Graduating Class

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On Saturday, May 14, St. George’s University held its annual Commencement Ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Studies Program. More than 300 students took to the stage to receive their diplomas at Patrick Adams Hall, the University’s newest and largest auditorium. This year’s Commencement Day also marked several firsts for the University. The commencement included the first cohort sponsored by the University of Botswana to earn their Bachelor of Preveterinary Medical Sciences; the first class to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN); and the charter class graduation of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Multi-Sector Health Management.

Renowned Grenadian writer and poet, Dr. Merle Collins, OBE, PhD, was the keynote speaker, taking center stage to address all students and their families. Along with Dr. Collins, honored guests included Deputy Chair of the Conference of Churches in Grenada, Reverend Osbert James, PhD, and 2011 Distinguished Service Honoree Gloria Payne-Banfield, OBE, MSc. Ms. Payne-Banfield received St. George’s Distinguished Service Award in recognition of her outstanding service to the University; in acknowledgement of her long friendship with the University and leadership in forwarding its progress; and in gratitude for her advocacy and commitment to the evolution of graduate studies, research programs, and to the creation and development of the School of Arts and Sciences. Additionally, the University’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) presented the George B. Daniel Undergraduate Award to Ejaz Ramsingh, BS for his outstanding contribution to student life.

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 250 undergraduate degrees were conferred and included Bachelors of Arts (BA), of Education (BEd), of Science (BS), or of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees. Grenadian students made up the majority of the graduates and were addressed by Class Valedictorian, Alana Praimdass of Trinidad and Tobago. “It is important for us to realize that final examinations and graduation does not mark our end to the relationship we have with St. George’s University,” she emphasized during her speech. On behalf of the graduating class, Ms. Praimdass also expressed her gratitude for the support offered by the University staff and faculty. She reminded her fellow classmates, “We are the force that will drive this institution towards future success. We should wish to contribute in whichever manner possible to the enrichment and enhancement of the quality of education being received by the current and future students.”

The commence ceremony included a group of Batswana students—sponsored by the University of Botswana— to earn their BS in Preveterinary Medical Sciences in Grenada. Similarly, a handful of students who completed their first two years at Stony Brook University in New York also had their Bachelor’s degree conferred. Each of these students will continue onto the four-year veterinary medical program at St. George’s. Their graduation, and promotion into the School of Veterinary Medicine, speaks to the success of St. George’s collaboration with the University of Botswana and Stony Brook University.

The second half of the Commencement Day was dedicated to St. George’s graduate students. In the Graduate Studies Program, approximately 70 students earned their Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Public Health (MPH), or Master of Science (MSc) degrees. While four MBA graduates were members of the MBA in Multi-Sector Health Management charter class, the remaining MBA students specialized in the International Business.

MPH graduate, St. Lucian born Lydia Atkins, represented the graduate students during the ceremony as Class Speaker. Ms. Atkins joined St. George’s in 2010, excelling throughout her years in Grenada. She was selected as Class Speaker due to her unique combination of technical expertise and administrative experience in the health sector as well as community and youth development.

St. George’s University is proud of all its graduating students and confident its alumni will positively impact the world in each respective field.

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Graduates of St. George’s MPH Program Obtain US National Board Certification in Public Health

First to Obtain CPH after CEPH Accreditation

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Earlier this year, dual degree students, Alexander Faludi and Alexander Juusela, earned the distinction as the first graduates of St. George’s University’s Master of Public Health program to obtain US National Board Certification in Public Health. In addition to earning their MPH, Faludi and Juusela are currently completing degrees in veterinary medicine and medicine, respectively. They will join more than 1,500 certified public health professionals in the US and abroad.

The Certification in Public Health (CPH) exam is offered once a year to students who successfully complete their MPH studies at colleges and universities accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). As the US accreditation authority for public health programs, the CEPH granted full accreditation to St. George’s Master of Public Health degree program in 2010. The University is only the fifth non-US institution approved by the CEPH to hold this coveted distinction.

“We are incredibly proud of both students. They seized the first opportunity to earn their CPH, further validating their credentials as public health professionals as well as bolstering the University’s reputation in the international arena,” commented Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, MD, PhD, FRSPH, Chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHPM). While Faludi chose to specialize in Environmental and Occupational Health, Juusela opted for the Health Policy and Administration track. The 42-credit MPH program also offers students the option to specialize in Epidemiology and Veterinary Public Health. Dr. Elci, along with DPHPM faculty, offered his support when the students requested a one-week leave in order to complete the exam in the United States.

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Alex – Processing Hepatitis A blood samples Dominican Republic

The MPH program also offers its students the opportunity to register in a practicum in more than 150 sites all over the world—one of the main reasons Juusela applied to the program at St. George’s. He explains, “I really liked the idea of being able to travel while getting my education. Most MPH programs in the US only offer limited hands-on practical experience in the local public health departments.” Juusela spent two months with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) in the Dominican Republic. Additionally, he volunteered in Haiti for one month post-earthquake, providing free medical services to displaced Haitians.

“My MPH studies have taught me to think outside of the box. Whether you are an MPH, MD, or DVM— the concept of One Health One Medicine applies to all health care professionals. Collaboration between disciplines is important when considering how to manage global health issues. My MPH degree allows me to more readily see the interconnectedness,” explains Faludi on how his MPH will further his future career aspirations to work with international health organizations. “With my dual degree I now have the skills to explore the inextricable link between animal and human health, particularly when using animals as an indicator species for human diseases.” Currently, Faludi is the lead veterinary student researcher for the snake relocation program in Grenada, which works to relocate snakes instead of killing the already rapidly declining species in the region. “In addition to relocation, we’re working to change peoples existing opinions on these creatures. Working in the Grenada rainforest, I have the opportunity to see the impact of my internship and research work.”

As students earn their certifications and take their knowledge abroad, Dr. Elci predicts Faludi and Juusela have opened the door for other students in Grenada. “We expect additional MPH graduates to follow in their footsteps and participate in the next CPH examination in February 2012.”

About St. George’s University’s Public Health Program
Administered by the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, the graduate Public Health Program was established in 1999 at St. George’s University’s School of Medicine and offers graduate degrees in Public Health (MPH) as well as dual-degree opportunities resulting in MD/MPH and DVM/MPH degrees.

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 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.

St. George’s Students Selected to Attend World’s Largest International Student Festival

St. George’s students Maurice Cox and Denisher Thomas

St. George’s students Maurice Cox and Denisher Thomas

Two St. George’s University business students, Maurice Cox and Denisher Thomas, are among the 450 students selected from a pool of 5,000 applicants worldwide to attend the 2009 International Student Festival in Trondheim, (ISFiT) Norway. For almost 20 years, ISFiT has been the meeting place for our future leaders: students who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills and capabilities and a desire to share their ideas and hopes with colleagues and mentors.

On February 21, 2008, Mr. Cox, President of St. George’s Business Students’ Association and Ms. Thomas, a Business Administrations major, will have the privilege to listen to Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu as he opens ISFiT 2009.  A South African cleric and activist, Archbishop Tutu rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent to Apartheid.  In 1984 he became the second South African to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Each ISFiT conference has a parallel theme which is related to social and political topics with international relevance. The 10-day ISFiT 2009 festival’s theme is “Peacebuilding,” with conference speakers and participants examining the causes, fragility and sustainability of peace. Archbishop Tutu has been appropriately selected as the main speaker at a plenary session called “Ubuntu” to follow the Opening Ceremony.

His voice of freedom and human rights will help define “Ubuntu,” an African term, which while difficult to translate to English, could best be described as the following: “I am, because we are, and because we are, I am.”   This philosophy places the community above the individual within it; a belief that could be viewed as the opposite of western individualism.

St. George’s University is proud and excited for Maurice and Denisher to participate in the many valuable workshops, lectures and cultural activities which will serve as inspiration for international cooperation amongst the global audience.  With over 150 countries represented, the festival encourages cultural, political and religious tolerance.

World figures frequently attend ISFiT and past speakers include His Holiness the Dalai Lama, former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland,  and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates Dr. Jose Ramos-Horta and Professor Wangari Maathai.  Through the use of modern technology, both former US President Bill Clinton and Archbishop Desmond Tutu have relayed their thoughts about the global significance of ISFiT.

You Tube video of Bill Clinton.

St. George’s University Co-hosts 16th Caribbean Academy of Sciences Conference

wesley balda casSt. George’s University co-hosted the 16th Caribbean Academy of Sciences (CAS) Conference from October 11th to October 13th.  The Conference theme, Science and Technology: Vehicles for Sustainable Economic Development in the Caribbean,provided a unique opportunity for the region’s academics to discuss and evaluate the function and impact of management practices on long-term community development, both on a local and global scale.

Dr. Wesley D. Balda, Executive Director, Center for International Management Studies at St. George’s University, was excited to address an audience of respected scientists, seizing the opportunity to demonstrate the crucial and relevant connection between the role of management and scientific knowledge. He drew upon an extensive career in business management and education, which has proved invaluable throughout the public sector.

Throughout his presentation, titled Minding the Gaps: Organizing Ignorance and Managing Development, Dr. Balda made poignant reference to friend and mentor Peter Drucker, namesake of Claremont University’s Management School since 1987.  A prolific writer, Peter Drucker was widely considered the father of “modern management.” His writings, which include 39 published books and countless articles, have predicted many of the major socioeconomic developments of the late 20th century.

Drucker defined management as “making knowledge effective.”  Dr. Balda expertly used this definition while demonstrating that “community wellness rather than community wealth may be a key gap in managing sustainable development and a specification for future knowledge.”  Dr. Balda cited two powerful examples which helped explicate this gap. The first occurred in an exchange between North American business students and a young Brazilian professional during a tour of a poor area outside of São Paulo.  Overwhelmed by a need to help the community, the business students organized a follow-up trip to later build a house.  The Brazilian, explained Balda, kindly responded, “If you build a house, you take jobs away from Brazilians.”  This, said Balda, was a pivotal moment for the students as they became mindful of the gap.

A second example both literally and figuratively demonstrated the application of management in long-term community development.  In the case of Chagas disease in Bolivia, a chronic tropical parasitic disease commonly transmitted through insects, the initial and literal approach involved sealing the physical gaps in openings of adobe homes, thereby limiting access of infected insects.  The figurative approach, which Dr. Balda explained encompasses the “one health, one medicine” philosophy practiced by the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), illustrates “the capacity of individuals, families and communities working together to transform the conditions that promote, in a sustainable way, their physical emotional, social, economic, environmental and spiritual well being.”

Dr. Balda explained that the management techniques used in addressing Chagas emerged quickly as innovation, supply chain-materials required for construction, people-work crews, entrepreneurship, training, long-term employment and ultimately community sustainability.  He is cautious, however, saying that management gaps can be problematic.

Dr. Balda referred to the “Pyramid of Wealth,” in which the so-called “top of the pyramid comprises about 100 million people (the wealthiest 2% of the world’s population), and the rest includes the other 5.75 billion.  He expressed concern with the theory that wealth can be harvested from the vast, less wealthy majority. Specifically, Dr. Balda raises ethical concerns about “shaping aspirations” and nurturing sustainability of the developing world.  The “bottom of the pyramid” approach misses the gaps when it focuses on community wealth rather than community wellness.  He urged his audience to “consider community wellness as a path to community wealth, rather than the other way around.”

Dr. Balda believes that this approach, particularly in a time of global financial uncertainty, will bring us closer to a “place of realized potential,” a phrase coined by Max De Pree, former CEO of Herman Miller Company and friend to Peter Drucker.

This was Dr. Balda’s first time attending and participating in the CAS.  He believes the Conference provided an interesting place for both St. George’s University and the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), providing a larger international presence for the University’s fledgling area of management and opening opportunities for research grants.  “Business management can be an effective vehicle to connect medical research and medical practice, offering great possibilities for the University’s future.”

Dr. Balda was pleased by the insightful questions and comments he received from the audience, and made specific mention of a young faculty member from State University of New York (SUNY) who expressed an interest in the global application of a converged management and science philosophy.  This, he believes, is indicative of the additional dimensions of education and research which lay ahead for the University.
Foremost an educator, Dr. Walda is a principal at the Max De Pree Center for Leadership. He was the founding Dean at the George Fox University School of Management, where he developed their executive and professional MBA tracks, and created the first doctorate in management in the Northwest. Prior to joining George Fox University, Wes served as the director and chair of the Executive Management and PhD programs at Claremont Graduate University’s Peter F. Drucker Graduate School of Management, where he also taught crisis management and nonprofit leadership.

In addition to leadership positions, Dr. Balda has also taught at Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, the Claremont School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University and Hope International University and served as Director of Student Services at Claremont School of Theology, MBA director and chair of the business program at Hope International University, and Director of Institutional Research at Fuller Theological Seminary.

He co-founded with wife Dr. Janis Balda the Simeon Institute, which led the U.S. State Department’s effort to provide crisis management education to officials of the former Soviet Union. Dr. Balda has worked in international efforts, including the 1985 Ethiopia Famine, community development projects in several international urban centers, and created management education programs at Cambridge, Oxford, and in Brazil.

Dr. Balda’s professional background also includes work as a senior agency head for the City of Ontario (CA), Ontario Police Department, World Vision U.S., World Vision International, and as a destroyer officer in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam conflict. He holds a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington, a master’s from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a doctorate from the University of Cambridge in England.  He has been married to Dr. Janis Balda, an academic and attorney, for 32 years, and they have four children.

The Caribbean Academy of Sciences was inaugurated in Trinidad in May 1988. It has five divisions covering the natural, agricultural, medical, engineering and social sciences. It is an independent, non-governmental body aiming to: provide a forum for interchange among scientists on important issues related to the application of science and technology to development; serve as a source of advice to regional, governmental and non-governmental organizations in scientific and technology matters; facilitate cooperation among scientists and promote the coordination and execution of scientific research in all its aspects; liaise with relevant research organizations and assist in facilitating their mutual interaction; recognize and reward outstanding performance and achievement within the region in the fields of science and technology; raise the level of scientific consciousness in the region and increase the public understanding and appreciation of the importance and potential of science and technology in human progress; establish and maintain high standards and ethics in all scientific endeavor. Source:

Read Dr. Balda’s complete presentation.

St. George’s University Awards Two New Master of Public Health (MPH) Scholarships to African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF)

amref logoOn Friday, May 18, 2007, SGU presented the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) with two Master of Public Health (MPH) scholarships valued at $100,000. The scholarships will cover all tuition fees, travel and living expenses for the successful scholars. The awards have been established to celebrate the 50th anniversary of AMREF and the 30th anniversary of  SGU.

Presenting the awards to AMREF’s Director General Dr Michael Smalley at AMREF’s headquarters in Nairobi, Dr Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost of International Program Development at SGU, said that the scholarships were part of a major program run in partnership with the Commonwealth and the Government of Grenada which provides 75 full tuition scholarships for graduate and undergraduate degree programs at SGU. While available to all countries of the Commonwealth, the scholarships are mainly targeted at developing countries and small states within the Commonwealth.

Dr. Macpherson said that Chancellor Charles R. Modica, had a new mission for the 30th anniversary year – reaching out to talented and ambitious students from developing countries to enable them to reach their full potential, for their own benefit and for the benefit of their countries.

“We now want to work with key organizations and institutions in the developing world, particularly in Africa, which share the same values and commitment to strengthening capacity in critical areas such as medicine and health care” Dr Macpherson said.

“We at St. George’s, have enormous respect for AMREF’s work, which includes the Flying Doctors Service, and we share the belief that health is a basic human right. The MPH degree objectives are to provide additional training outcomes for physicians working in developing countries to help upgrade their understanding of complex health systems.”

Dr Macpherson, who was born in Kenya and worked for AMREF for over 10 years, added that SGU “will be happy to receive candidates from any country where AMREF operates. It would, however, be essential for the scholars to agree to dedicate their professional skills to the public health problems within their own countries. We want to see our scholarship program helping to reverse the brain drain rather than contributing to it. This is part of our policy at St. George’s.”

The AMREF MPH Scholarship Program further illustrates SGU’s continued commitment to improving global healthcare through education and opportunity.

AMREF is an international African organization based in Nairobi, Kenya. AMREF has been working with African communities for 50 years to improve health and health care for the most disadvantaged people. In 2005 AMREF won the Gates Award for Global Health in recognition of its work in Africa. AMREF aims to ensure that every African can enjoy the right to good health by helping to create vibrant networks of informed communities that work with empowered health care providers in strong health systems.

Published on 5/18/07

2007 Commencement; Largest Graduating School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies Program Class in St. George’s University History

charles modica with 2007 sas sgp graduating classOn Saturday, May 12th, the School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies Program Commencement was held in the Bell Lecture Hall on the True Blue Campus.  While all graduations are momentous, this year’s commencement was particularly significant.

With a combined total of 170 graduates from both the undergraduate and graduate programs, the class of 2007 was the largest combined ceremony for the Schools of Arts and Sciences and the Graduate Studies Program in the University’s remarkable 30 year history.

Students and their families were honored by guest speaker The Honourable Mr. Justice Adrian D. Saunders, Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice who eloquently delivered the keynote address for the commencement ceremony.

As Mr. Justice Saunders reflected on his own law school graduation 30 years prior, he explained to his captive audience that while they may have closed their text books for good, “Learning is a lifelong imperative.”  He continued, “Your years spent in classrooms up to this point have merely provided you with a launching pad, a platform upon which you will begin yet another and an even more productive round of learning and preparation for life’s challenges.”

Mr.  Justice Saunders emphasized the importance of recognizing and seizing every opportunity presented to them, even though they may appear to be inconspicuous or subtle at the time.   This was illustrated through his personal life experiences.  He explained that his gift and passion for law could have gone untapped had his hand not been literally and figuratively forced to make an immediate course of study selection on a college application. Until then, the field of law was never a consideration.

Almost 20 years later, yet another life changing opportunity presented itself in an invitation for judicial appointment.  In his early 40’s and a senior partner in a successful private practice at the time, the opportunity to become a judge, albeit flattering, involved a significant reduction in income as well as uprooting his family.  With two boys to educate, a mortgage payment and a future to save for, the timing was about 10 years premature.   Nevertheless, Mr. Justice Saunders realized that this opportunity may not surface again.  With the blessing of his family, he accepted the position and never regretted the decision. “Life is never a smooth sailing continuum.  Very often you have to take chances.  You can’t expect to cover every contingency before making a decision.  Ultimately it is more important to love what you do than take up or remain in a position just because it pays more,” he said.

Justice Saunders has distinguished himself in the legal profession and has been instrumental in several judicial reformations throughout the Caribbean region.

He has also given profound service in educating others in the legal profession and in championing the cause of youth, especially in his home country of St. Vincent, where he served as President of the National Youth Council of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

His final message to the students was to find enjoyment from life, stay focused on fulfilling your dreams and be proud of the wonderful institution that is SGU.

The commencement ceremony illustrated SGU’s vital contribution to human development on a global scale.  As students from nearly 20 countries were honored by SGU faculty including Chancellor Charles R. Modica, Provost Allen Pensick, Dean Theodore Hollis and Dean Calum Macpherson, one could not help but reflect on the evolution of this extraordinary university.As the number of students applying to SGU continues to rise, so too does the diversity and size of the student body.  The additions of new majors and programs will continue to offer SGU students exceptional opportunities both as an undergraduate and a graduate.This year SGU graduated 14 students from the inaugural Master of International Business program (MIB).  Students with an MIB were globally represented by the US, Guyana, South Africa and Grenada.  First time graduates with an MSc in Economics were also represented.  SGU looks forward to the continued expansion of the university, as it plays an integral role in the success of its current and future graduates.

Rev. Tessica Hackshaw, Superintendent Grenada Methodist Church and friend of the university, opened and closed the ceremony with a beautiful invocation and benediction.At the conclusion of the program, Chancellor Modica welcomed graduates to a reception at the Caribbean House to continue the festivities.

Published 5/16/2007