Mini-Med School Plants Seeds for Grenada’s Future Physicians

Medical students can often point to the moment when their interest in medicine was sparked. By hosting a mini-medical school on general wellness and sickle cell disease for students from Westmorland Secondary School, the St. George’s University Chapter of the Student National Medical Association hoped to plant that seed in their minds and hearts as well.

During the visit, WSS students explored the field of medicine with interactive healthcare lessons, including learning how to take a pulse, identifying signs of anemia, and listening to a heartbeat.

“Children love this kind of hands-on approach to learning,” said Mrs. Meredith Swan-Sampson, Head of the Science Department at Westmorland Secondary School. “The mini-med school generated more interest in the medical field within the students by providing insight into the profession. Our students learned more about what it’s like becoming a doctor and all that it entails from a student perspective.”

In addition to a presentation on sickle cell disease by the members of SGU’s Internal Medicine Club, the students also learned about the components of the blood, conducted physical examinations, and received a lesson on how to perform CPR. At the end of the day, the visiting students took part in a mini-graduation ceremony, receiving certificates of participation and the added treat of being allowed to take photos in the white coats of the SNMA members.

“While in Grenada, we wanted to find more ways to interact with the youth and help encourage them to become doctors as well,” said Danae Brierre, SNMA President. “The purpose of SNMA-SGU Chapter is not only to promote medicine in the underserved communities but also to help influence the students of our host country through our outreach and education programs like the mini-med school. We’re here in Grenada becoming doctors and we want to show them that as Grenadians they too can become doctors here at SGU.”

With the mission of diversifying the face of medicine, SNMA chapters based at allopathic and osteopathic medical schools in the US are designed to serve the health needs of underserved communities and communities of color. Additionally, SNMA is dedicated both to ensuring that medical education and services are culturally sensitive to the needs of diverse populations and to increasing the number of African-American, Latino, and other students of color entering and completing medical school.

St. George’s University Strikes Partnership with Trent University to Provide Direct Entry to Medical and Veterinary School

Representatives from St. George’s University and Trent University announce the institutions’ new academic partnership. From left to right, Sasha Trivett, Dr. James Shipley, Sandra Banner, Charles Furey, Nona Robinson, and Dr. David Ellis.

Today, St. George’s University announced a new partnership with Peterborough, Ontario-based Trent University to provide qualified Trent undergraduates with direct admission to its Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

The two universities commemorated the partnership at a signing ceremony on Trent’s campus. Canadian consultants Sandra Banner and Charles Furey were on hand to represent St. George’s.

“This partnership offers passionate and engaged Trent students a direct pathway to a top-notch post-graduate education in medicine or veterinary medicine,” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds said. “We’re excited to welcome aspiring doctors and veterinarians from Trent to St. George’s.”

To qualify, Trent University students must complete the Medical Professional Stream, a four-year program designed to guide students into careers in medicine and public health.

St. George’s medical students may spend their first two years studying in Grenada, or choose to complete their first year at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program before returning to Grenada for their second year. During the third and fourth years, students will complete clinical rotations in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada. In recent years, SGU students have completed more than 300 electives in Canadian hospitals.

Veterinary students spend their first three years studying in Grenada. They then complete their final year at one of the many veterinary schools throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Ireland affiliated with SGU. After sitting the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, students can begin practicing in the United States or Canada.

St. George’s new partnership with Trent is one of over 30 it maintains with institutes of higher learning in 12 different countries. This will be the fifth partnership for St. George’s with a Canadian institution.

“St. George’s offers a globally focused education, and our partnerships with universities like Trent support that mission,” Dr. Olds said. “We look forward to helping Trent graduates realize their dreams of becoming doctors and veterinarians.”

St. George’s University Offers New Grants for January Med School Enrollees

 

Today, St. George’s University awarded scholarships to four applicants to the University’s medical school as part of its #SGUperspective program. The winners will each receive up to $10,000.

“We are delighted to honor these individuals with scholarships through the #SGUperspective program,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “These grants are helping us attract a January class with a passion for medicine and a wide range of viewpoints and experiences.”

#SGUperspective scholarships are available to new students who enroll in the January 2018 class. Students can apply by creating a 30-60 second video highlighting the aspects of medicine that inspire them, sharing it on social media with the hashtag #SGUperspective, and submitting it here for evaluation by the University’s admissions committee. St. George’s will award scholarships of up to $10,000 to as many as 30 students.

Winning perspectives have included leadership and service (Michael DeLuca), having an open heart (Joseph Varvarigos), connect with patients (Adam Kirstein) and empathy in medicine (Laraib Sehrish). This late-entry grant program will be accepting application for the January 2018 class until December 31.

Applicants to St. George’s January class will also be eligible for the newly established Humanitarian Scholarship, which is awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to philanthropy and community service. Like the #SGUperspective grants, this scholarship is available only to students entering in January.

Students applying for admission in January will also be considered for CityDoctors Scholarships, which support students planning to work in urban hospitals in the New York metropolitan area.

“We look forward to welcoming a class of students this January who are committed to academic excellence,” Dr. Olds said. “Our video grant program has already led us to four future superstars who will bring innovative, unique perspectives to medicine—and we look forward to identifying many more.”

Remembering Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart, A Distinguished Doctor, Lecturer, Academic, and Advisor

St. George’s University today pays tribute to Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart, who died on November 11, 2017. A distinguished doctor, lecturer, academic, and advisor, Sir Kenneth was a founding member of the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), and was a Friend of St George’s University, where he sat on the Academic Board for more than 20 years. His illustrious career included crucial research on issues ranging from human rights and ethics to child safety and science education. Sir Kenneth left an indelible mark on SGU and all of his students and colleagues, and his contributions to medicine and research will continue to benefit many generations to come.

Born on June 16, 1920 in Barbados, he attended Harrison’s College before going on to obtain his MD from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. In 1952, he joined the staff of the newly established University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica as its first senior registrar in medicine.  He was later promoted to Consultant, Lecturer, and became the first West Indian Professor (1966) and subsequently Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (1969) a post he held until his retirement from the University of the West Indies in 1976. He then served, for eight years, as Medical Advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

In July 1977, Sir Kenneth received the distinction of Knight Bachelor from Her Majesty the Queen “for services to medicine in the Commonwealth in general and the Caribbean in particular.” His contribution was significant: During his work in Jamaica, he described two previously unknown medical disorders ‘acute toxic hypoglycaemia’, and ‘veno-occlusive disease of the liver.’ With his colleagues, these conditions were identified and nearly eliminated from the country in less than two decades.

Many international organizations were fortunate to benefit from Sir Kenneth’s expertise, who served in positions as diverse as Director of the International Medical Education Trust; Honorary Medical and Scientific Adviser to the Barbados High Commission in London; Founder Trustee and Patron of Students Partnership Worldwide, and board member of the Errol and Nita Barrow Education Trust.

In his capacity as a member of SGU’s Academic Board, Sir Kenneth played an important role in guiding the development  and evolution of the University, which has become a innovative and international center of academic excellence and a leader in global medicine. In recognition of his numerous scientific contributions to medicine, he was awarded an honorary DSc (1986) from Queen’s University, and for his contributions to St. George’s University, was awarded the Order of the Mace in 2008.

He leaves his wife, Barbara, and three children.

St. George’s University Launches Online Master of Public Health Program

In a first for St. George’s University, students will now be able to obtain a Master of Public Health online—widening the opportunity for students around the world to benefit from SGU’s teaching program. Launched to coincide with the University’s 40th anniversary, the move encapsulates SGU’s commitment to teach in innovative ways in the years ahead, while improving access to medical education.

SGU’s MPH graduate degree produces leading public health practitioners and researchers for the Caribbean and for the rest of the world. Those who opt to study the course online pursue a degree specialization in the Global Health Track, which is designed to help students gain insight into issues that impact public health on a global scale. Students will learn how to plan, design, and implement programs to benefit the overall health of communities across the globe.

Commenting on the launch, Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said: “SGU is a leading international university, and it is fitting that, in our 40th anniversary year, we are providing the opportunity for those interested in furthering their knowledge in global public health, to take our MPH program online. By taking our Master of Public Health course online, more students from around the world—many of whom live in areas with chronic shortages of public health professionals—will be able to obtain a qualification from St. George’s University’s School of Graduate Studies.”

The course will provide students with the background to address issues that impact global healthcare such as occupational health, preventative healthcare, as well as environmental health concerns including waste and water management, and air pollution control.

SGU’s MPH degree program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the US accrediting body for public health programs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Therapeutic Value of Hypnosis

Throughout the history of hypnotherapy, stage hypnotists have awed and delighted onlookers with their ability to control their subjects’ minds. There have been consequences however; many believe that stage hypnosis, often seen as humiliating its subjects, has undermined the credibility and therefore the therapeutic benefits of clinical hypnosis.

Dr. Zoita Mandila, Hon. Secretary at the British Society of Clinical and Academic Hypnosis (BSCAH), recently presented a CME lecture titled “Clinical Hypnosis – Changing from the Ordinary to Extraordinary” at St. George’s University. A dental clinician for more than 17 years, Dr. Mandila and her colleagues at the BSCAH described clinical hypnosis as the safe and responsible use of hypnosis in medicine, dentistry, and psychology for its therapeutic value when treating an array of psychological, emotional, and physical problems.

“I have been using clinical hypnosis for the past six years and I have to say it has changed the way I practice,” praised Dr. Mandila. “My goal here is to allow clinicians to see that hypnosis is really a tool for them. It could change the framework that they use in the clinical setting. This tool can help them to improve their relationship with patients, and how they perform their clinical treatment—allowing the patient to be much more relaxed and achieve a faster and easier recovery.”

According to Dr. Mandila, it is important to understand the difference between stage hypnosis, performed for entertainment in a club or at a party, and clinical hypnosis, induced in a private office setting for therapeutic benefit. The clinical hypnotherapist relies on his or her knowledge of the human psyche, a caring and compassionate manner, an understanding of the phenomena surrounding hypnosis, and clients who are prepared to accept help with the change they seek.

Additionally, she explains that hypnosis can’t make you do anything unwillingly. Hypnotherapists can’t change a patient’s beliefs and behaviors with a snap of their fingers. Dr. Mandila maintains that the patient is in full control at all times.

“The stage hypnotist uses hypnosis for entertainment. We do it to help people. We do it to make them better, which is a much more humanitarian scope for it,” she stated. “The techniques are a little similar, but we provide the best care for our patients.”

AMSA Conference in Grenada Dives Into Medicine That Matters in 2017

SGU AMSA’s President, Judy Wong (far left), and SGU AMSA Executive Board Members greet conference guests.

The St. George’s University-led chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) brought together a combination of expert facilitators and physicians-in-training during its 2017 AMSA International Conference in Grenada. Assembled for only the second time outside of the United States, the two-day conference, held October 21 and 22, focused on “Preparing for Medicine that Matters,” providing attendees with an opportunity to explore current issues in medicine, build clinical skills, and connect with peers and other healthcare professionals.

“The conference provided a networking opportunity and a chance to educate our students outside of a classroom setting,” said Judy Wong, SGU AMSA President. “In particular, the Practicing Physicians Panel allowed students to have their questions answered about various specialties and the road to pursuing them.”

In addition to more than 15 dynamic clinical skills sessions, students experienced an interactive exhibit fair that showcased medical technology that will shape their future practice. The conference also featured a keynote address by Dr. Marios Loukas, Dean of Basic Sciences at St. George’s University, and Professor of Anatomy in the School of Medicine. Other guest speakers included: Rebekah Apple, Director of Student Affairs and Programming, AMSA National; Elizabeth Ingraham, Assistant Vice President, Communications and Outreach at the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates; and Dr. Anthony Orsini, Neonatologist, Orlando Health, and Founder of the Breaking Bad News Foundation.

“This year’s speakers not only shared insights on residency preparedness but also techniques for having tough conversations, such as delivering bad news to patients and providing help on how to navigate ethical dilemmas that challenge physicians today,” said Ms. Wong.

Brushing up on anatomy and building clinical skills with an ultrasound lab.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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