St. George’s University Approved by Georgia Composite Medical Board

The Georgia Composite Medical Board (GCMB) has approved St. George’s University, allowing its third- and fourth-year medical students to conduct their clinical training in the Peach State. In addition to the GCMB endorsement, SGU has created a partnership with DeKalb Medical Network, an agreement that facilitates clinical education opportunities at the organization’s three Atlanta-area hospitals.

“We are excited to continue expanding our network of affiliated hospitals in order to offer our students an array of clinical experiences,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President and CEO of St. George’s University. “This approval and this new partnership represent key cogs in our growing educational network.”

The Georgia Composite Medical Board licenses physicians and other medical professionals within the state. GCMB representatives visited the True Blue campus for four days in August, evaluating the University’s mission, programs, facilities and more. With its approval, Georgia becomes one of 12 US states in which SGU clinical students can obtain training, joining Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, New York, and New Jersey, as well as Washington, DC. Outside the US, clinical rotations are available in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Grenada.

“SGU students can benefit greatly from rotating in a wide variety of locations and fields,” said Dr. Daniel Ricciardi, MD SGU ’81, Dean of Clinical Studies at St. George’s University. “By learning from leading physicians across several different state-of-the-art facilities, they can gain experience and perspective that, upon graduating, will only enhance the quality of care they provide in their own practice.”

In addition to its approval from the GCMB, SGU has created a partnership with DeKalb Medical Network, which opens up clinical education opportunities to the University’s third- and fourth-year students. DeKalb’s hospitals have more than 600 acute care beds and provide specialty care through an emergency department as well as cancer, orthopedic, and wellness centers.

“Our partnership with DeKalb Medical Network will provide hundreds of our students the opportunity to learn and practice medicine at a very high level,” said Dr. Stephen Weitzman, Dean of St. George’s University School of Medicine. “These hospitals are ideal environments for young doctors to take on their first responsibilities in the field.”

Through these clerkships, students can obtain hands-on exposure to all medical roles in a hospital. Each clinical center can accommodate as many as 100 students, who can enroll in sub-internships, up to five rotations, and elective courses.

British Monarchy Honors St. George’s University Clinical Professor for Outstanding Service to Grenadian Health Care

Dr. Beverly Nelson, MD SGU ’86 and Clinical Associate Professor, is awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace. Photo credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Beverly Nelson, MD SGU ’86, an Associate Professor at St. George’s University and a pioneer in pediatrics in Grenada, was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Charles, Prince of Wales, on February 3 at Buckingham Palace.

Dr. Nelson is the founding Chairperson of the Children’s Health Organization Relief and Educational Services (CHORES) support group in Grenada, which has arranged physician visits to provide sub-specialty care for the community since 1989. CHORES collaborated with the Grenada Heart Foundation to eradicate rheumatic fever, which once had a high incidence in Grenada.

Dr. Nelson also serves as Co-Chair of Pediatrics and Consultant Pediatrician for Ministry of Health Grenada, while also teaching SGU medical students as a Clinical Associate Professor. In spite of her lengthy service to her country and alma mater, she described herself as being “awe-struck” last June when she was hand-delivered a letter from the office of the Governor General of Grenada, Dame Cécile La Grenade, and learned of her selection for the CBE.

“I was shocked,” Dr. Nelson said. “I get up in the morning, and I do what I do because I love it. I never expect any credit, certainly not of this magnitude.”

Last month at Buckingham Palace, Dr. Nelson joined 16 other awardees at the investiture ceremony, as well as one of just two women. Prince Charles presented her with a medal for the CBE, which ranks behind only knighthood (KBE) and damehood (DBE) among Order of the British Empire honors.

“He was so cordial and welcoming,” Dr. Nelson said of the prince. “He asked me about Grenada, thanked me for coming a great distance, and said he wanted to return to Grenada. He also spoke about Prince Harry’s recent visit. The conversation was so comfortable.”

Dr. Nelson attended St. George’s University on full scholarship beginning in 1982, and graduated in June 1986. She completed her pediatrics residency at Brooklyn Hospital in New York, finishing as Chief Resident, before returning to Grenada to begin her pediatrics career.

Noticing a drastic lack of sub-specialty care, Dr. Nelson met with CHORES members in Jacksonville, Florida, and was able to arrange the first CHORES visit to Grenada in 1989. Four years later, CHORES Support Grenada was formed in 1993, with Dr. Nelson serving as Chair. More than three decades later, CHORES continues to welcome specialists to Grenada three times per year, providing no-cost health care – including cardiology, surgery, pediatrics, prosthetics, and more. It also raises funds for patients to fly to the United States for additional care.

“CHORES hasn’t prospered because of myself alone. It has been a team approach,” Dr. Nelson said. “Together we have recruited the support from local persons and businesses to support the endeavor, and because of this conglomerate of persons coming together, we’re still here today.”

On a broader scale, Dr. Nelson points to the rheumatic fever eradication as CHORES’ and Grenada’s crowning achievement.

“We recognized we had to do something, so we joined forces with the Grenada Heart Foundation and worked hard to sensitize the nation as a whole through media and billboards to make sure that persons knew that sore throats can kill or change lives forever. Sore throats must be treated,” Dr. Nelson said.

Dr. Nelson is “very thankful” for her country’s acknowledgment of her contributions to medicine in Grenada. From 1994-1999, she was the only pediatrician on the island, and served terms as President and Secretary of the Grenada Medical Association (GMA), orchestrated with members on the new adoption law as part of the Adoption Board, and is a current member of the Grenada Medical and Dental Council. Her honor comes a year after Dr. Chamarthy Subbarao, Professor of Clinical Skills at SGU, was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to Grenada.

850 St. George’s University Graduates Garner US Residency Positions on Match Day 2017

Match Day was yet another success for St. George’s University and its graduates, with 850 students and alumni securing first-year residency positions at highly competitive programs across the United States through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

SGU alumni will report to PGY1 residency programs in the following specialties this summer: anesthesiology, child neurology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/neurology, internal medicine/pediatrics, neurological surgery, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, orthopaedic surgery, pathology, pediatrics, pediatrics/emergency medicine, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, surgery, thoracic surgery, urology, and vascular surgery. Residencies were secured across the United States as well as in the District of Columbia. In addition to Match Day, one student matched in January’s San Francisco Match, and seven more through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) earlier this month.

“We applaud the 2017 class for its dedication and drive, from the first day of basic sciences to their clinical rotations,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President and CEO of St. George’s University. “We look forward to seeing them enjoy long and successful careers in their chosen field, providing high-quality health care for communities throughout the United States and Canada. I also wish to congratulate the hundreds of graduates who are planning to train internationally.”

Many SGU graduates obtained positions in their top-choice positions and at highly competitive programs. Among them was Spencer Leong, who matched into the internal medicine residency program at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

“I would have been happy going to any of the programs I had on my rank list, but Tennessee was my first choice,” he said. “It’s a great IM program in a beautiful city along the river, and it’s just two hours from where my parents live. I’m really excited to officially finish my rotations in five weeks and to get started.”

Sannoor Surani described herself as “absolutely ecstatic” shortly after learning that she had secured an anesthesiology position at her top-choice program – Boston University Medical Center. Although she grew up in Texas, she looks forward to practicing in a city that she calls “the hub of medicine.”

“So many innovations come out of Boston, and the environment is so stimulating with so many brilliant minds,” she said. “It’s where I wanted to be, and I couldn’t be happier. If not for SGU, I wouldn’t be here because it gave me an opportunity that I didn’t otherwise have. It was a great experience, and it gave me all the tools and resources I needed to be successful.”

On Match Day, Dan O’Connor discovered that he will return to his native Minnesota this summer to begin a family medicine residency at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He had enjoyed his medicine rotation at St. Cloud, and interviewed for a residency position before leaving. It was and has always been his top choice.

“From when I first went to SGU, this has always been my dream,” O’Connor said. “I’ll be around my family and friends, and I’ll be doing what I love, so I’m very happy about it.”

Since opening in 1977, St. George’s University has graduated more than 14,000 physicians who have gone on to practice in all 50 US states and more than 50 countries worldwide. According to published information, SGU has placed more doctors in first-year postgraduate positions than any medical school in the last six years combined, including more than 880 placements at US and Canadian residency programs in 2016.

Stay tuned as SGU is learning each day about more postgraduate positions gained through the Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program (SOAP) or outside of the Match entirely. For a complete list of 2017 residency appointments to date, visit the SGU postgraduate appointment page.

St. George’s University Welcomes Newest Class of Future Doctors at Spring 2017 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

An ocean away and in a two-week span, the Spring 2017 class of St. George’s University took their Oath of Professional Commitment, the first step in their journey to becoming physicians, at the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies in the United Kingdom and Grenada.

Students in the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program ushered in the spring term with a ceremony held at Domain Hall on the campus of Northumbria University on January 13. They will spend their first year of Basic Sciences in the UK before joining the Grenada class in Spring 2018.

Delivering a touching keynote address to this year’s entering class was Dr. Gerard Corcoran, recently retired Lead Clinician for Cancer Services at Aintree University Hospitals in the UK. He reflected on the growth of SGU, having arrived in Grenada in 1979 and working one year in the General Hospital and at St. George’s University School of Medicine.

“Back then as a young 28-year-old, many of the students at St. George’s were my age and I was really impressed by all of their varied backgrounds,” Dr. Corcoran said. “Some had previous occupations, others had military experience, some had not studied sciences and others had endured quite a lot of hardship before coming here. But rather than looking at this as a disadvantage and a roadblock to their progress, I actually think that, for the future doctor, this different life experience was an advantage and not only for themselves but for our profession. It has been delightful for me to watch the University flourish over the years, and so in this its 40th year, I hope the Class of 2017 will continue to prosper.”

“Please take an interest in each other and share your experiences,” he added. “While in Grenada try to gain some insight on what it means to provide healthcare in a low resource country. And, never forget that universal access to health care is something that still has not been attained. There is a worldwide shortage of primary care physicians and also health professionals and SGU is to be commended for its efforts in trying to offer up opportunities for people from different countries to train here to become doctors.”

Also present at the ceremony was the Honorable Mr. Nickolas Steele, Minister for Health and Social Security. He welcomed the newly enrolled medical students and congratulated them on their choice of such an admirable profession. The Minister implored the students not only to work hard to acquire their degree but to also take the opportunity to make a difference to Grenada because their time spent in the Spice Isle will surely make a difference to them.

In Grenada, students and their friends and families filled Patrick F. Adams Hall for the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony on January 27. Dr. Bruce Bonanno, MD SGU ’83, a member of the fifth entering class at SGU, served as the evening’s master of ceremonies. In addition to his professional career as an emergency medicine physician at CentraState Medical Center in Freehold, NJ, Dr. Bonanno has a second career as a media personality. He hosted a 30-minute medical television show and was the Chief Medical Consultant for a New Jersey station for more than 10 years.

As an alum, his involvement with SGU has included interviewing candidates for admission, teaching students and residents, and becoming re-involved with the SGUSOM Alumni Association two years ago when he was elected President. He arrived in Grenada 38 years earlier, and never ceases to be amazed at the development of both the country and his alma mater.

“Although many things have changed since I was a student at SGU, one thing has remained constant and that is you, the students,” said Dr. Bonanno. “We all arrive here with a chip on our shoulder because of those that said we couldn’t do it. But I’m here to show you that you can do it and you will do it.”

The School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony has coincided for the sixth straight term with Beyond Spice Family Weekend at SGU. Students’ family members enjoy a fun-filled weekend of activities, exploring Grenada’s rich cultural heritage and getting a taste of life at SGU before attending the special ceremony, which serves as an affirmation of commitment to their studies and marks the beginning of their medical career.

Dr. Kenneth R. Bridges, Expert in Sickle Cell Research, Delivers Annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture

More than 100 years ago, sickle cell disease was discovered while two doctors examined Grenadian-born Walter Clement Noel. One of the world’s leading authorities on the disease, Dr. Kenneth R. Bridges, Founder and Director of the International Sickle Cell Anemia Research Foundation, delved into this disease, and its treatments, in his keynote address at the annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture on January 18 at St. George’s University’s Bourne Lecture Hall.

“Sickle cell disease is the world’s most common single gene disorder,” said Dr. Bridges in his address. “However, the disease is not simply a blood disorder but a systematic disorder that affects every part of the body. Tell me which area of the body you’re interested in studying and I will tell you what sickle cell disease does to it.”

Sickle cell disease is a disorder of the blood caused by an inherited abnormal hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein within the red blood cells) that causes distorted (sickled) red blood cells leading to tissue and organ damage and chronic pain.

The current treatment of sickle cell disease focuses on treating symptoms while the more challenging and expensive treatments like disease modification therapies remain underutilized, including a promising new drug treatment called GBT440, which causes the inhibition of polymerization of deoxygenated sickle cells.

“The GBT440 drug was specifically and carefully designed to fit into this one area of the body where it stops the abnormal hemoglobin cells from sticking together in the first place, which is at the very start of the problem,” explained Dr. Bridges. “Now with the help of our colleagues here in Grenada, we’re hoping to recapitulate this treatment in a much more profound way and to really deliver on the promise made to Walter Clement Noel 100-plus years ago in that we will now be able to effectively treat this disorder.”

Dr. Bridges received the MD degree from Harvard Medical School, and subsequently trained in internal medicine and hematology in Boston, at Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s Hospitals, respectively. Following medical subspecialty training, Dr. Bridges worked on the biology of cellular iron metabolism for three years at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland. He later returned to Harvard as a member of the Hematology Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where he reached the faculty rank of Associate Professor of Medicine. During this time, Dr. Bridges also maintained active clinical work and established the Joint Center for Sickle Cell and Thalassemic Disorders at the two aforementioned Boston-based institutions, emphasizing bench-to-patient translational research.

WINDREF and St. George’s University have long attracted world experts on climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions, among other topics to its various lecture series. Past speakers have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, best known for his role in the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV); Dr. Ruth Macklin, a bioethics pioneer; and renowned cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster.

The annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture is named for SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, whose vision and dedication to the international growth of St. George’s University led to the creation of the Windward Island Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) in 1994; was instrumental in instituting the School of Arts and Sciences in 1996; and whose memory was honored with the creation of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program and the establishment of Keith B. Taylor Hall on the True Blue campus in 2007.

St. George’s University Adds Borrego Health to Clinical Network

St. George’s University’s network of clinical affiliates recently welcomed Borrego Community Health Foundation (BCHF), a non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) based in southern California. Starting in 2017, SGU clinical students can complete their family medicine rotations at the Cathedral City Health Center in Cathedral City, California. Borrego Health joins a family of more than […]

St. George’s University and Botswana Demonstrate Commitment to Reducing the Medical Brain Drain

Medical Doctors, Doctors of Veterinary Medicine and Public Health Graduates Celebrated at Gaborone Ceremony

Thirty-five Batswana graduates from St George’s University, the centre of international education on the Caribbean island of Grenada, will celebrate their achievement at the commencement ceremony on Saturday, 19 November at the Botswana TraveLodge in the country’s capital city.

botswana

This is the second time that such a graduation ceremony has been held outside the United States in the 40 year history of St George’s University. The first occasion was in 2012, also in Gaborone. The Batswana students have graduated from St George’s University schools of medicine, veterinary medicine, and the graduate studies programme.

“We are very pleased to be honouring the hard work of these graduates and now expect them to make a major contribution to medical and other professional services in their own country”, commented Dr G Richard Olds, the President and Chief Executive Officer of St George’s University.

“We have had a long and successful relationship with the University of Botswana’s medical school and with the Ministries of Education and Health. With four doctors for every 10,000 people in Botswana, it is vital that the medical doctor graduates in particular help to redress the brain drain which has resulted in 800 Batswana doctors working overseas or outside their own country”.

Dr Olds pointed out that Botswana had graduated more MD students through St George’s University than any African country, apart from Nigeria. “Botswana and St George’s University have produced 97 MD graduates, with 22 students still working for their degrees at our university”, he added. “We believe that Botswana has the potential to become a major medical hub for the region”.

The commencement ceremony held later this month will celebrate the entrance of the Batswana graduands into the country’s workforce and honour St George’s University’s Batswana alumni who are already working towards better health care delivery in Botswana. It will also acknowledge the strong relationship between St George’s University and the government, partner institutions and the people of Botswana.

Published on 11/18/16

SGU Alumnus Raises the Standard for Radiology in Grenada

As part of the St. George’s University 12 Degrees North program, Dr. Randy Becker, MD SGU ’00, has returned to his alma mater each of the past seven years to offer free clinics and radiology training at the General Hospital. This fall, Dr. Becker has taken his commitment one step further with the introduction of the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS), providing an economical means of storing, archiving, and transmitting digital medical images like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs.

sgu-alumnus-raises-the-standard-for-radiology-in-grenada

The donation was facilitated by RadNet Comprehensive Radiology Solutions, which provides PACS services for Dr. Becker’s practices in Maryland, and has an estimated value of US $200,000. With the new technology, Dr. Linwald Fleary, MD SGU ‘97, the General Hospital’s only radiologist, can access and assess images from any digital radiology center in Grenada on the PACS system. In addition to this time-saving benefit, and more accurate assessments, radiologists worldwide can join Grenada’s network to offer assistance and even second opinions.

“This is a tremendous milestone for radiology in Grenada,” said Brendon LaGrenade, Interim Vice Provost of Institutional Advancement at SGU. “It is a heartwarming example of what can happen when one person sees beyond a challenge to a possibility, and puts their efforts into making that possibility a reality. Dr. Becker is that special person who saw the need and didn’t let the size of the project stop him. He returned to Grenada in various supportive capacities since shortly after his graduation, and since then has been a central figure in bringing this huge project to fruition in Grenada.”

With SGU’s help, the radiology department at General Hospital had been upgraded to a cutting-edge, digitally equipped facility some years ago. However, the new capability to produce high-quality radiology images created the need to export these images to a radiologist without compromising quality or accuracy.

“Implementing the PACS system was the next necessary step in bringing the standard of radiology in Grenada up to what it needs to be,” said Mr. LaGrenade. “With this new supporting technology, the full effectiveness of the imaging equipment at the General Hospital can be achieved.”

After identifying the need for PACS, Dr. Becker reached out to RadNet. Mr. Ranjan Jayanathan, Chief Information Officer at RadNet, and his team were so touched by Dr. Becker’s work and philanthropy in health care development in Grenada that they agreed to waive all charges other than some hardware, and a fee for system maintenance.
On September 12, Dr. Becker, along with Ralph Stubenrauch, Clinical Applications Manager, and Will Page, Integrations Manager at RadNet, visited Grenada and successfully installed PACS at the General Hospital, University Health Services at SGU, and Princess Alice Hospital, which is currently being upgraded to a digital system. Future plans are to support all digitally capable centers in Grenada who wish to come on board with PACS.

Published on 10/12/16

St. George’s University Links With Pre-Med Program at Erasmus University College in Netherlands

St. George’s University has signed a memorandum of understanding with Erasmus University College (EUC), paving the way for EUC students to receive world-leading medical training. The agreement, the first of its kind between the two institutions, will allow qualified students the opportunity to obtain the Doctor of Medicine degree at SGU.

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode

Photo by Ossip van Duivenbode

The signing of the MOU between EUC and St. George’s marks an expansion of options to EUC students wishing to pursue medicine at a master level. Currently, EUC pre-med students are able to enroll into a bridging program which links to the Master in Medicine at the Erasmus Medical Centre. The relationship with St. Georges offers an English option abroad for the pre-med students.

“This partnership will provide the opportunity for EUC students to receive some of the best medical training in the world at SGU and our affiliated universities, resulting in more world-class doctors practicing medicine,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St George’s University. “With this historic agreement we have also strengthened our global network of higher education institutions, and formed a lasting partnership with another excellent university.”

Photo by Eric Fecken

Photo by Eric Fecken

Students from EUC who have successfully graduated with a Bachelor of Science in liberal arts and sciences, with a grade point average of at least C for the courses that form part of the Pre-Med major, will be eligible to apply for the program. Those who succeed will be free to choose whether to spend their first year at SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars’ Program in Newcastle, and their second year at SGU in Grenada, or to spend both years in Grenada. The final two years of the program will consist of clinical rotations at affiliated hospitals in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

“It is important that our students are given the opportunity to study medicine overseas, which this MOU will facilitate,” Professor Maarten Frens, Dean of Erasmus University College. “Those on the program will receive international training to complement their education from EUC, and I am excited by the prospect of our students having the opportunity to obtain a US or UK medical practitioners license. I am pleased to have overseen the beginning of a new relationship between Erasmus University College and St. George’s University, and hope that this continues for many years to come.”

Erasmus University College is the international honours college of Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) and offers a Liberal Arts and Sciences curriculum. EUC is a residential and small-scale programme located in the heart of Rotterdam. EUR is ranked 71st in the Times Higher Education rankings and is known as a centre of excellence for health, wealth, governance, business, and economics.

Published on 9/15/16

St. George’s University Awards Legacy of Excellence Scholarships to 159 Students Over US$2 Million Awarded to Future Doctors

Today, St. George’s University awarded over $1 million in Legacy of Excellence scholarships to 159 students in the School of Medicine’s incoming class of 2020.

SGU campus aerial

“St. George’s is dedicated to making our unique international medical education accessible to the best and brightest students from all over the world — regardless of circumstance,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s. “I congratulate these students on a job well done, and look forward to welcoming them in the upcoming academic year.”

Sixty nine students received the Chancellor’s Circle of Legacy of Excellence scholarship this year. The CCLOE is an award to 50 incoming students who meet or exceed an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.7, a science GPA of 3.5, and an MCAT score of 506. The University has awarded CCLOE scholarships since 2009.

“I’m honored that we have such a qualified group of students accepting these awards,” said Dr. Olds.

Ninety additional incoming students received the Legacy of Excellence Scholarship, a partial-tuition scholarship given to students whose academic histories and MCAT scores demonstrate excellent work ethic and a passion for learning. The University began the Legacy of Excellence Scholarship program over ten years ago.

“We created these awards not only to enable these students to attend medical school, but also in the hopes that they will help to fill vacancies in underserved areas that are in serious need of more doctors,” said University Chancellor Charles Modica.. “We at St. George’s are very happy to support them so that they will serve others in the future.”

The University offers a wide variety of institutional scholarships to recognize academic excellence. It has awarded over $100 million dollars in scholarships to more than 5,000 students over the years.

Published on 9/7/16