SOM Alumni Association CME Examines the Art of Medicine

The science of medicine has produced miracles in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease. Yet, it is the art of medicine which remains the medium through which illness and suffering are relieved. This was the focus at this spring’s School of Medicine Alumni Association (SOMAA) continuing medical education conference in Grenada.

Titled “The Art of Medicine,” the four-day conference was held in association with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). It featured prominent SOM alumni and faculty presenters who covered an array of topics such as new strategies and treatment for atrial fibrillation, the downside of mechanical ventilation, a discussion on high flow oxygen therapy, and how to use ultrasound to improve patient safety.

“Despite the enormous advances in the science of medicine, being a physician also entails the art of medicine—the interpersonal contact between patient and physician which remains a keystone of medical care,” said SOMAA President Bruce Bonanno, MD SGU ’83. “This conference provides not only education for physicians and other health care professionals but a way for our alumni to also get back to the beautiful island of Grenada to rekindle their love for the school, the people, and the island.”

For Jack Davidoff, MD SGU ’88, and his wife Tracey Davidoff neé Quail, MD SGU ’90, this was their second time returning to Grenada since earning their medical degrees at St. George’s University almost three decades ago. After attending last year’s CME held as part of SGU’s 40th anniversary celebrations, the couple was so impressed with the advances made at the University, they felt compelled to return again this year.

“Our first visit back last year was very emotional for us. It’s not just the school that gave us our start but it’s also the people that welcomed us to their island,” commented Dr. Jack Davidoff, an emergency medicine physician. “The True Blue campus is outstanding. Our three daughters are all in college and, of all the college campuses we’ve visited in the US, nothing compares to SGU.”

“With our second visit, we wanted to focus more on giving back in a teaching way,” said Dr. Tracey Davidoff, Vice President of the College of Urgent Care Medicine. “My husband has a vision of improving emergency medical services in Grenada and we wanted to make some connections on island and figure out the best way to do that.”

The 2nd annual SOMAA CME grew in participation since last year with more than 60 attendees, 50 of whom were SGU alumni, as well as 14 Grenadian physicians who practice locally. Additionally, their time in Grenada wasn’t only about lectures and education, the SOMAA provided plenty of opportunities to experience a taste of culture and hospitality on the island many called home during their studies. The group enjoyed a sightseeing tour of Grenada’s natural beauty; lunch at Belmont Estate, a fully functional and historic plantation; a shopping tour of Grenada’s capital, St. George’s; a Catamaran VIP day cruise including snorkeling and a visit to the Underwater Sculpture Park and Hog Island; and a closing sunset dinner at Louis and Marion Modica Hall.

“CME conferences present an opportunity for our graduates to come back to the island to reunite with classmates, friends, faculty and the community, and at the same time partake in a valuable and often needed continuing education component for their careers,” stated Brendon La Grenade, Vice Provost for Institutional Advancement, SGU. “CMEs are usually conducted in fun places, and SGU and Grenada offer exceptional facilities and a stellar location to achieve just that.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

St. George’s University Announces New Partnership with Essex County College

Officials from Essex County College in New Jersey join with SGU administrators following a signing ceremony in Grenada.

Today, St. George’s University and Essex County College celebrated the launch of a new medical education partnership. ECC will become the Caribbean medical school’s 22nd US academic partner.

“We are excited to open up this innovative path to medical school for Essex County College’s most motivated and passionate students,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to helping talented ECC students pursue their dream of becoming a doctor sooner than they may have thought possible.”

The new partnership allows students to apply to a dual admission degree program, wherein they earn their undergraduate degree in Biology/Pre-Medicine at ECC and then proceed to SGU’s five-year medical program. Students complete their first three years of medical school in Grenada and then spend two years in clinical rotations at hospitals across the United States and United Kingdom.

Students interested in the dual admission program must submit a separate application when applying to ECC. Prior to being selected, students must complete an undergraduate interview with a committee composed of representatives from both Essex County College and St. George’s University.

To continue on to medical school, students must maintain a minimum 3.4 GPA at ECC and score within five points of the average MCAT score for SGU’s previous entering class. They must also obtain a faculty letter of recommendation.

Students currently studying Biology at Essex County College may submit applications for the program and will be reviewed individually upon recommendation by ECC.

“Students entering college with a clear desire to pursue careers in medicine should be rewarded for their enthusiasm and dedication,” Dr. Olds said. “Through this new partnership, we can help students chart their course toward a medical degree before they take their first course at Essex County College.”

St. George’s University Announces New Jersey CityDoctors Scholarship Recipients

St. George’s University School of Medicine has announced that it has awarded CityDoctors Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Scholarships to eight applicants from New Jersey over the last two years. In August 2016, Ryan Zahn, Andrew Bradshaw, Eileen Alvarez, and Santiago Minaya were each awarded a scholarship and are in the Class of 2020. The 2017-2018 scholarships were awarded to Timothy Muia, Larissa Tavares, Jeris Abuhouran, and Michael Dragone. These recent recipients are currently enrolled and are in the Classes of 2021 and 2022.

“We are proud to provide financial assistance to these talented New Jerseyans who are committed to launching their medical careers in high-need urban areas,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This scholarship program allows students who might otherwise be unable to afford medical school to serve their communities as physicians.”

John Theurer Cancer Center Lobby

Through the CityDoctors program, St. George’s University will cover 50 percent of tuition for each of the eight scholarship winners. All eight are from Bergen County or affiliated with Hackensack University Medical Center and have expressed interest in returning to the area to practice. New Jersey needs them—by 2020, the state will be short 3,000 primary care physicians.

CityDoctors Hackensack University Medical Center Scholarships are available to students who have been accepted to St. George’s University School of Medicine and either live in Bergen County or have a professional connection to Hackensack University Medical Center. Applicants must write a 500-word essay explaining why their academic record, financial need, or leadership and service experience make them strong candidates. St. George’s University has awarded these scholarships since 2012.

“This unique agreement with St. George’s University allows us to help the Garden State’s best and brightest begin their professional lives in their home state,” Jeffrey R. Boscamp, MD, Associate Dean of Medical Education Continuum, Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, said. “I am excited to see what great things these budding doctors accomplish.”

St. George’s University Graduates Obtain More than 900 First Year Residency Positions

St. George's University, A Caribbean Medical School, has a successful Match Day 2018

901 students and graduates from St. George’s University School of Medicine matched with residency programs across the United States. This number is likely to go up in the next few weeks as SGU grads get residencies post-Match and outside of the Match.

86% of eligible SGU graduates obtained a PGY1 residency position, compared to 84% at this time last year. By the summer of 2017, 93% of SGU’s eligible US 2017 graduates had obtained a PGY1 position.

The available residency positions are increasing in the US. The 2018 National Resident Matching Program (NRMP) saw a 4.8% increase over 2017 with 1,383 more PGY1 positions—quelling fears that residencies are becoming unavailable. The available residencies have been growing for 16 consecutive years; more than 9,500 have been added since 2002.

The Match rates of international medical graduates (IMGs) going through the NRMP’s Match were the highest in 25 years—56.5% matched, up from 53.4% last year. For US citizen IMGs, the rate was 57.1%. This percentage has risen 13 of the last 15 years. It should be noted that SGU’s US 2018 current residency obtainment rate for eligible current-year graduates for PGY1 positions—in and out of the Match—is 87%.

St. George’s University students obtained residencies in programs across 46 US states and the District of Columbia will be entering 16 different medical specialties. The most popular specialties among SGU’s newly minted residents were internal medicine and family medicine, two primary care fields sorely needing reinforcements. The United States will face a shortage of up to 31,000 primary care physicians by 2025. In addition, grads matched into such specialties as anesthesiology, emergency medicine, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, surgery, and urology.

The latest group of St. George’s-trained residents joins a cohort of over 15,000 alumni who have gone on to practice in all 50 states. SGU is the number one provider of doctors in first-year residencies on the United States, and in 2016, St. George’s University ranked as the fourth largest source of doctors for the entire US workforce.

SGU and Ramaiah Group of Institutions Create Pathway Program for Indian Students

Ramaiah Group of Institutions Bangalore India signs Memorandum of Understanding with St. George’s University

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Ramaiah Group of Institutions, Bangalore, India (RMC), and St. George’s University. The signing took place during a ceremony at Ramaiah Medical College on March 20, and marked the beginning of a new international relationship between the two institutions. The purpose of the agreement is to develop academic and educational cooperation, and to promote mutual understanding between Ramaiah and SGU.

The two institutions have agreed to develop collaborative activities in academic areas of mutual interest, paving the way for students of Ramiaiah to study at SGU in future. A Joint Medical Degree Program is in development—to be launched in January of 2019—wherein RMC will teach the first year of SGU’s five-year medical program to its students. Those who successfully meet the promotion requirements will continue the Doctor of Medicine program in Grenada, or in the UK as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program—in partnership with Northumbria University. They will then complete their clinical training in the US, UK and Grenada.

The MOU also expresses support for a student exchange program, enabling scholars, graduates and undergraduates from RMC to spend time at SGU, and vice-versa. Faculty and administrative staff will also be able to take part in the exchange programme, and the two universities will conduct collaborative research projects. Short-term, customized courses for students on credit transfer or study abroad programmes will also be facilitated.

Commenting on the signing of the MOU, Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU, said, “The breadth of this agreement is testament to the benefit it will bring to both institutions. A well-rounded medical education is the foundation of any successful doctor’s career, and international experience is an important component of that training. I am delighted that our students will have the opportunity to train at Ramaiah Medical College, and look forward to welcoming their students to our True Blue Campus.”

Noting the benefits of international partnerships, Dr. Naresh Shetty, President of the International Program at RMC, said, “The collaboration between Ramaiah and SGU will open up new frontiers for Indian students, who will be exposed to both Eastern and Western culture and benefit from a truly global perception of health care.”

St. George’s University Graduates Celebrate Match Day 2018

 

Match Day 2018 has long been circled on the calendars of St. George’s University School of Medicine graduates. On Friday, the wait was over, and the celebration commenced.

Hundreds of SGU grads matched into highly competitive programs across the country, including in such fields as diagnostic radiology, anesthesiology, neurology, surgery, emergency medicine, and pediatrics, among others.

Click here for a full list of 2018 residency appointments

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, toasted the more than 150 newly matched residents who convened at SGU’s annual Match Day Luncheon in New York City. Among them were Phoebe and Tommy Martin, MD SGU ’18, who will begin their residency at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock this summer. The two met as students in Grenada, and were thrilled to match into their top-choice program through the couples match.

“It’s a dream come true to go to such an incredible hospital facility, and to be able to go there together,” Tommy Martin said. “We’re ecstatic. We could not be happier.”

Pauline Nguyen, MD SGU ’18, was with her boyfriend and his father when news arrived that she had secured an OB/GYN residency at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey.

“Once I saw OB/GYN, I was speechless,” she said. “It was the most incredible moment of my life.”

As they begin residency this summer, the 2018 class will join the more than 15,000 physician graduates of SGU, who have gone on to practice in all 50 US states, as well as around the world. Look for complete coverage of Match Day 2018 on the SGU website and across all of SGU’s social media channels.

SGU Students Match Into Competitive Canadian Residency Programs

The annual celebration that is the residency match season kicked off on March 1 when 10 St. George’s University students learned that they had secured first-year residency positions in Canada through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

The 2018 SGU graduates will complete their postgraduate training in internal medicine, family medicine, and psychiatry at such programs as McMaster University, the University of British Columbia, the University of Manitoba, the University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Toronto. A second match iteration will take place next month. Match Day in the United States will take place on Friday, March 16.

“We congratulate the students who will begin their medical careers in Canada this summer,” said St. George’s University President G. Richard Olds. “Their work ethic and commitment to medicine have helped equip them with the knowledge and skills to make a significant impact on the communities in which they’ll practice.”

Natalia Reiner, MD SGU ’18 (expected), described herself as “over the moon” upon discovering that she had matched into an internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto, her top-choice program. Earlier in the week, the McGill University graduate had made a list of people to call when the news came, and immediately went to work on it, beginning with her parents, boyfriend, and four siblings, all of whom are back in Canada.

To build up her clinical experience, Dr. Reiner completed three observerships in Ontario and Quebec, in turn building a network of mentors and advocates along the way. She plans to enter U of T’s Eliot Phillipson Clinician-Educator Training Program, and looks forward to giving back to the community not only as a clinician but as a teacher.

“Toronto has a reputation of really focusing on education and academics, and I like that kind of learning environment,” she said.

Jonathan Phang, MD SGU ’18 (expected), and his mother rejoiced when they found out that he was headed to Saskatoon this summer to begin his residency at the University of Saskatchewan. He chose the U of S program for its “supportive environment” and “strength and unity within the entire staff.”

“I had to reread the email a couple times,” said Dr. Phang, who grew up in Vancouver. “Leading up to the noon deadline, it was a roller coaster of emotions, and we were both relieved, excited, and really happy.”

Dr. Phang began to steer his career toward psychiatry during his third-year core rotations in New York, and worked toward that during his fourth-year electives in California, Georgia, Nevada, New York and New Jersey, as well as Vancouver.

“Because I rotated through various parts of the US and Canada, it exposed me to patients from all kinds of backgrounds,” he said. “I think that experience will have prepared me well for what’s to come in residency.”

More than 1,350 Canadians have graduated from the School of Medicine since it opened in 1977, with more than 630 currently enrolled at SGU. Students have a proven track record of success on the United States Medical Licensing Examinations as well. In 2017, first-time test takers from Canada registered a 97 percent pass rate on the USMLE I, with a highly competitive mean score of 230.

Twenty-Eight St. George’s University Medical Students Awarded Merit Scholarships

Today, St. George’s University School of Medicine announced that it had awarded nearly $1.7 million in Legacy of Excellence scholarships to 28 students in its January 2018 entering class.

“We established our Legacy of Excellence scholarships because we believe that every talented student with a passion for medicine should have the opportunity to pursue a career in the field,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “These scholarships will empower students who might otherwise not be able to afford medical school a chance to achieve their dreams.”

Twenty of the outstanding students in this January class received Legacy of Excellence (LOE) scholarships, which offer $60,000 in funding to students with strong academic records and MCAT scores.

Eight students were awarded Chancellor’s Circle Legacy of Excellence (CCLOE) scholarships, valued at $80,100 each. These scholarships recognize students who earned a GPA of at least 3.7 during their undergraduate studies, as well as a minimum GPA in the sciences of 3.5 and top MCAT scores.

More than 1,440 students have received CCLOE/LOE scholarships since their inception. In total, St. George’s University has awarded over $70 million in CCLOE/LOE funding. Through its various scholarship programs, SGU has granted students more than $100 million.

This cycle’s scholarship students include representatives from the United States, Canada, Vietnam, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Our CCLOE/LOE recipients go on to become leaders at St. George’s University—and across the wider medical community,” Dr. Olds said. “We look forward to helping this talented new crop of aspiring physicians develop their medical skills in Grenada.”

University of Glasgow Professor Receives Prestigious Mike Fisher Memorial Award

WINDREF presented the 2018 Mike Fisher Memorial Award to Sarah Cleaveland during the 2017 One Health One Medicine Symposium.

Dr. Sarah Cleaveland of University of Glasgow was presented with the 2018 Mike Fisher Memorial Award at a ceremony hosted by St. George’s University in Grenada. The award was given in recognition of her innovative work on One Health One Medicine, a philosophy that has improved health outcomes for humans, animals, and ecosystems in many parts of the world, in particular in Tanzania.

The Mike Fisher Memorial Award—given annually since 2006—acknowledges the work of the late Mike Fisher, whose original research led to the discovery of the drug Ivermectin, which revolutionized the treatment of a myriad of infectious, particularly parasitic, diseases. As a result, more than 35 million people no longer live under the threat of sight loss from onchocerciasis or disfigurement from lymphatic filariasis. The discovery had a similar effect on animal health.

Professor Cleaveland, BVSC, PHD, FRS, CBE is Professor of Comparative Epidemiology at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health, and Comparative Life Sciences at Glasgow University. She has worked extensively amongst the pastoral Masai people in Northern Tanzania and particularly on a number of infectious diseases that infect people, domestic animals, and wildlife. Her work continues to attract large numbers of graduate students to work with her from many parts of the world, and the outcomes of her studies provide important information for policies in infectious disease control.

Explaining the importance of Professor Cleaveland’s work, Dr. Cal Macpherson, Founding Vice President and Director of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), the institution that bestows the award, said: “One Health One Medicine is the convergence of human, animal, and ecosystem health, resulting in a joined-up approach between complementary sectors that, all too often, are practiced in a vacuum. Each of these practices are inextricably connected, and by learning from each other and pooling resources, great progress can be made for the benefit of human, plant, and animal kind.”

Professor Cleaveland is a Fellow of the Royal Society, whose research on rabies has made a pivotal contribution to the development of international strategies for global elimination of the viral disease. Her research platform in East Africa now addresses a wide range of infectious disease problems affecting human, domestic animal and wildlife health. She works to raise awareness of the impact of neglected diseases, to investigate infection dynamics in natural ecosystems, and to identify cost-effective disease control measures that will improve human health, livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. Professor Cleaveland plays an active role in several capacity-strengthening initiatives and research consortia with African partner institutions.

Mike Fisher died in 2005, and since 2006 his memorial award has been given annually to those who have contributed significantly to the area of veterinary medicine and human health. In keeping with the theme of Dr. Cleaveland’s work, the award was presented at November’s One Health One Medicine Symposium at St. George’s University.

Mike Fisher Award Recipients

  • Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior (2006)
  • Dr. Keith B. Taylor (2007)
  • Lord May of Oxford (2008)
  • Dr. John David (2009)
  • Lord Walton of Detchant (2010)
  • Professor Adetokunbo Oluwole Lucas (2011)
  • Dr. Donald Hopkins (2012)
  • Professor R. C. Andrew Thompson (2013)
  • Professor Alan Fenwick (2014)
  • Sir Gordon Conway (2016)
  • Dr. Charles Modica (2017)
  • Dr. Sarah Cleaveland (2018)

Dr. Sarah Cleaveland (fifth from right), the 2018 recipient of the Mike Fisher Memorial Award, with St. George’s University administration and faculty.

St. George’s University Awards $1.1 Million in CityDoctors Scholarships to Eight NYC-Based Students

St. George’s University School of Medicine and NYC Health + Hospitals have announced that eight students from the New York metropolitan area have been awarded $1.1 million in CityDoctors scholarships. In return, awardees commit to practicing primary care medicine at one of 11 public hospitals in New York City following graduation. Since its inception in 2012, the CityDoctors scholarship program has awarded 99 students with scholarships worth a total of $10.3 million.

“The CityDoctors scholarship program was created to help some of New York’s best and brightest achieve their dream of pursuing a career in medicine in their hometown,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to equipping a new group of students with the skills they’ll need to provide quality health care in New York’s neediest communities.”

The 2018 class of CityDoctors scholarship recipients are a diverse group of women and men, representing Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Recipients hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from a range of prestigious institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, St. John’s University, Boston University, City College of New York, SUNY Albany, Lehman College, the College of Staten Island, and New York City College of Technology. The following scholarship recipients, each of whom has committed to a two-year term with NYC Health + Hospitals, began medical school this spring in Grenada.

NameResidence
Suemaya HuseinQueens
Joseph VarvarigosQueens
Huigen ChenManhattan
Georgina KemehBronx
Thomas JoyceStaten Island
Gonzalo MilitarQueens
Bishoy GergesStaten Island
Jesam UsaniBronx

“Our ongoing collaboration with St. George’s University demonstrates NYC Health + Hospitals’ commitment to strengthening primary care services across the city,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “Graduates of this program commit to practicing primary care in our health system, which helps us fill a gap our communities so desperately feel, and we are happy to welcome them to our team.”

CityDoctors Scholarship students commit to serving as primary care attending physicians at an NYC Health + Hospitals facility following their medical training. Students who receive a full scholarship commit to working for NYC Health + Hospitals for four years; students with half scholarships sign on for two years.

To qualify for a CityDoctors scholarship, applicants must be a US citizen or US permanent resident and meet one or more of the following criteria: have had a permanent address within the five boroughs of New York City for five years or more, have graduated from a high school within New York City, have graduated from a college or university within New York City, have a parent employed by the City of New York or NYC Health + Hospitals, or be employed themselves by the City of New York or NYC Health + Hospitals for at least five years.

The CityDoctors scholarship program is designed to attract and educate the best and brightest students to become doctors committed to serving in urban hospitals. The collaboration between St. George’s University and NYC Health + Hospitals launched in 2012 to help address the shortage of primary care physicians and to increase educational and career opportunities for local youth. The scholarship recipients have been selected based on their academic excellence and financial need, and will receive either partial or full scholarships to pay for medical school tuition for periods of up to four years, with some scholarships valued at more than $200,000 each.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthandHospitals or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.