St. George’s University Appoints Neil Olson as New Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine

Dr. Neil Olson

St. George’s University is proud to announce the appointment of Neil C. Olson, DVM, PhD, as the new Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Olson is currently Dean of the University of Missouri (MU) College of Veterinary Medicine and will officially take over the position of St. George’s current Dean, Dr. Timothy Ogilvie, on August 15, 2017. SGU has benefited greatly from the vision and leadership of Dr. Ogilvie, who is stepping down after a highly successful three-year term as Dean.

“Under the direction of Dr. Ogilvie, the School of Veterinary Medicine has flourished, and our students have continued to excel and to receive the very best veterinary medical education,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to welcoming Dr. Olson and working with him to continue building our program and reinforcing our commitment to veterinary medicine and research.”

As Dr. Ogilvie did so wonderfully during his tenure, Dr. Olson will oversee the SVM’s academic units, centers, and initiatives, while providing leadership for the planning, development, implementation, assessment, and improvement of all of the School’s programs, policies, and infrastructure. He will lead a contingent of more than 100 faculty and staff at St. George’s University. In addition, he will represent the SVM among the 48 other schools of veterinary medicine accredited by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education worldwide.

“I am honored to continue the great work that my predecessor, Dr. Ogilvie, has already laid out,” Dr. Olson said. “I hope to keep building upon our numerous partnerships with other institutions across the world to recruit and train the best veterinarians. I’m also excited to continue developing our curriculum so that veterinary students can take advantage of the unique global environment that Grenada has to offer.”

Dr. Olson has helped the University of Missouri make significant strides during his 10-year deanship. Among them is the recent establishment of a new animal radiation oncology and imaging facility outside St. Louis. Prior to his appointment at Missouri in 2007, Dr. Olson spent nearly 25 years at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine in a variety of administrative and professorial roles, including Senior Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, and Director of the CVM’s Centennial Biomedical Campus.

Dr. Timothy Ogilvie

Dr. Olson obtained his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. After completing his surgery residency within Michigan State University’s Department of Small Animal Surgery and Medicine, he went on to earn his Doctor of Philosophy in physiology from Michigan State University.

Dr. Olson brings with him a tremendous research background, including several programs funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and American Lung Association. In addition, he has contributed to such publications as the American Journal of Veterinary Research, British Veterinary Journal, and American Journal of Physiology, and has served as a reviewer for more than a dozen scientific journals. He is a member of the AVMA, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and American Physiological Society (APS).

Dr. Olson succeeds Dr. Ogilvie, who is retiring after a three-year term as SVM Dean. His outstanding service and dedication to the University has been wide-ranging, and St. George’s is pleased that he has agreed to assist in the leadership transition in the coming year. His contributions to St. George’s have been invaluable in establishing superior instruction and commitment to student success as hallmarks of SVM.

St. George’s University to Welcome Renowned Veterinary Anesthetists at First AVA Meeting in Caribbean

Grenada will be at the center of veterinary anesthesia discussion worldwide next spring as more than 200 leading experts in the field will descend on the island for the semi-annual Association of Veterinary Anesthetists (AVA) conference. Usually convened in Europe where the organization was founded, this will mark the first time in the organization’s history that the conference has been held in the Caribbean.

Dr. Karin Kalchofner Guerrero, Associate Professor in Veterinary Anesthesia at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, worked diligently to arrange the meeting in Grenada, for which SGU and the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort in Grand Anse will serve as hosts.

“The AVA meetings attract veterinary anesthetists, surgeons, technicians, researchers and other professionals from across the globe,” commented Dr. Guerrero. “Having the conference here will provide a great opportunity to showcase the evolution of SGU over the last 40 years into one of the world’s most renowned centers of international education today.”

Themed “Anesthesia and Analgesia—Myths and Misconceptions,” the conference will feature lectures and abstract sessions from a wide range of delegates. Presentations include “Pain in Mice and Man: Ironic Adventures in Translation” by Dr. Jeffrey Mogil, Pain Genetics Lab, McGill University, Canada; “Evaluating recovery of horses from anesthesia: moving beyond the subjective” by Dr. Stuart Clark-Price, University of Illinois; and “Safe anesthesia in young children: what really matters”, by Prof. Markus Weiss, Anesthesiologist-in-Chief, University Children’s Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

The meeting, which will take place March 11-13, 2018, will also feature a pre-congress day, which is aimed at interns, residents, practitioners, and anyone who shares a common interest in anesthesia, analgesia, and animal welfare to exchange ideas, expand their knowledge, and develop new skills.

Recent meetings have been held in such locations as Paris, France; Helsinki, Finland; and Santorini, with the Fall 2017 meeting scheduled for Berlin, Germany. Dr. Guerrero believes that SGU provides the perfect platform for members of the veterinary anesthesia community to collaborate on utilizing and developing new and established techniques, drugs and ideas, as well as, promote their brand awareness and engagement, and network with veterinary professionals from around the globe.

 

Grenada Class of 2017 Encouraged to Climb From “Good to Great”

With an excellent education under their wings, sound advice to lean on and the world before them, greatness is within reach for the St. George’s University Class of 2017.

Such was explained by those who addressed the more than 300 graduates at this month’s commencement ceremony in Grenada, including an SGU alumnus who once stood in the graduates’ shoes. Joel Jack, BSc SGU ’03, an Assemblyman of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) and the Keynote Speaker for the evening, implored his fellow alumni to find their passion, prepare for change, and embrace the future, citing Jim Collins’ inspirational book, “Good to Great.”

“When what you are deeply passionate about and what drives your economic engine come together, not only does your work move towards greatness but so too does your life,” said Mr. Jack, Deputy Chief Secretary and Secretary of Finance and the Economy of THA. “For in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life.”

Blossom Philbert, 2017 SAS Valedictorian

Joining him in the family of SGU alumni were graduates representing 33 countries across the globe. The 2017 class included nearly 150 students from the School of Arts and Sciences and more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies. In addition, medical doctorates were conferred on 65 Caribbean graduates, with one new Grenadian veterinarian in attendance. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

In her address to the crowd, valedictorian Blossom Philbert, BSc ’17, also quoted Collins, saying “greatness is not a function of circumstance. Greatness, it turns out, is a matter of conscious choice.” She went on to compare life to that of a book, but unlike the chapters of their textbooks, they could not flip forward to see how many more pages were left.

“My next chapter might last four years, whereas the person sitting next to me might write six chapters in four years,” Ms. Philbert said. “It matters not as along as those chapters are representative of the journey that leads to a life full of greatness, which will ultimately give a pleasant read when we flip back through its pages.”

Among the degrees conferred by the School of Graduate Studies, Dr. Trevor Noel became the fifth student — and first Grenadian—to earn his Doctor of Philosophy at SGU. Dr. Noel was simultaneously inducted into the Gamma Kappa Chapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society for his extraordinary service to public health and invaluable contributions to the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF).

Dr. Rudi Webster

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Rudi Webster with its Distinguished Service Award for his work spanning the fields of medicine, sports, diplomacy, and politics. Dr. Webster was instrumental in establishing the Shell Cricket Academy at SGU, where he served as Academy Director – an endeavor which signified that SGU was not just a medical school but much more. Several of SGU’s Shell Academy graduates went on to play for the West Indies cricket team, including Darren Sammy, who captained the team to two consecutive T20 World Cups.

“To this year’s graduates, all that you have achieved so far shows what you have learned and what you have done,” stated Dr. Webster. “However, it does not reflect what you can learn, and what you can become. That should be your focus now.”

“Many of us in the Caribbean believe that we are not good enough and that something is missing. This is incredible because the secret to our success already lies within us—it’s called self-acceptance. That was the secret of the West Indies Cricket team’s 15 years of success,” added Dr. Webster. “Self-acceptance is going to be the key to your success and it differs from self-confidence. Although your self-confidence may fluctuate depending on your success or failure, self-acceptance means you value yourself as a worthwhile human being regardless of if you succeed or you fail. We in the Caribbean are just as smart and have just as much talent as anyone else in the world, and I have proven that.”

Canadian Veterinary Medical Association Recognizes SGU Student with Inaugural Leadership Award

SGUSVM student Noreen Wong, recipient of the inaugural Canadian Veterinary Medical Association’s International Student Award.

Through the student organization she helped create—Students of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (SCVMA)—St. George’s University student Noreen Wong has been a leader on veterinary issues and animal welfare advocacy in Grenada. The CVMA acknowledged her efforts this spring by awarding her with its inaugural International Student Award, created specifically for its student affiliate members at international schools.

“This has been the most exciting news that I’ve had since getting into vet school. It really means a lot,” enthused Ms. Wong. “Although most people think you should be proud of yourself because you won the award, I’m most proud because I represented SGU. During the nomination process for this award, you have so many people supporting you from faculty, staff and students, so I wanted to make them proud.”

As President, Ms. Wong along with the help of her fellow Canadian students formed the student club to integrate the CVMA’s vision of promoting animal welfare and One Health—ensuring optimal care for animals, people and the environment on the island of Grenada. She was selected as SGU’s candidate for the award based on the strong leadership demonstrated not only through her work with the SCVMA but also in her role as a peer tutor in the Department of Educational Services. Ms. Wong has been a dedicated member of the veterinary community, volunteering at the SGU One Health One Medicine Clinic—an outreach event which brings together the veterinary and medical students offering free medical care to both humans and animals. She is also a member of SGU’s Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SCAVMA) as well as the SVM Surgery Club and Students of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society.

The CVMA Award, instituted in 1966, consists of a plaque and a monetary award of $800 presented annually to a third-year veterinary student at each of the Canadian veterinary colleges. The recipient of the International Student Award is selected by his/her classmates on the basis of leadership and achievement in student affairs.

“It’s fantastic that Noreen, our representative from SGU, was set apart from the other nominees. I’m really proud of her,” praised Dr. Tara Paterson, Associate Professor, Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at SGU. “Noreen is a very hard worker and has been involved with the organization during an exciting time for us, from being the first school outside of Canada to start an official student chapter of the CVMA to now being recognized for having won its first International Student Award. Her winning this award also serves as motivation for our other CVMA members and e-board members to continue on the path we’re going and put their best foot forward in working towards many more future successes.”

St. George’s University Mourns Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior

Ernest Jackson Lawson Soulsby, Baron Soulsby of Swaffham Prior passed away on Monday at his home in Swaffham Prior. As the former President of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation, former Chairman of the UK Board of Trustees for WINDREF, and a 20-year member of the Academic Board, he leaves behind a noteworthy legacy at St. George’s University. His remarkable career spanned five decades, during which he made significant contributions to veterinary and human medicine, global public health, parasitology, immunology, and zoonosis through his teaching, inspiring leadership, and scholarly contributions.

“Lord Soulsby’s contributions to WINDREF and St. George’s University leave an incredible legacy, but it is in his contributions to global health and education that his legacy will most endure,” said Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and Director of Research at St. George’s University, and Vice President and Director of WINDREF. “He will be missed by the many students and others who have met him as well as by the thousands who have relied upon his many publications, textbooks, and edited volumes in conducting their own research. His legacy in One Health One Medicine is indelible and his contributions will be missed.”

A distinguished microbiologist and parasitologist, and a leader in the US and UK worlds of veterinary medicine, Lord Soulsby was the first veterinary surgeon raised to the peerage in the United Kingdom.

He advised the UK government on animal welfare, science and technology, biotechnology, and environmental issues. He was President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, the Royal Society of Medicine, the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee, the Royal Institute of Public Health, and the Royal Society for Public Health. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Biology, the Royal College of Pathologists, the Royal Society for Public Health, the Royal Society of Medicine, and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

His career included positions as Professor of Parasitology at the University of Pennsylvania and Professor of Animal Pathology at the University of Cambridge, where he was Dean for several years. Earlier, Lord Soulsby was in general veterinary practice in the north of England, a Veterinary Officer for the City of Edinburgh, and a lecturer in clinical parasitology at the University of Bristol. He was an Emeritus Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and an Emeritus Professor of the University of Cambridge.

Lord Soulsby was also a Visiting Professor at various universities in Europe, the Far East, South America, and the United States. He is an honorary member of numerous international parasitology societies and has been awarded nine honorary degrees and several awards for his research. He published 14 books, as well as many articles in various veterinary and parasitological journals.

In 2015, the RCVS awarded him the Queen’s Medal, its highest award for services to veterinary medicine. His global experience provided an incredible resource for international agencies and he served as an advisor and consultant to World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, Pan American Health Organization, United Nations Development Program, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Department for International Development, and to numerous governments and universities.

Lord Soulsby is survived by his daughter, Katrina, and his granddaughter, Kananu. His service will be held at the Church of St. Mary, Swaffham Prior, at 2:00 pm local time on Wednesday, May 24. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Soulsby Foundation.

St. George’s University Names CVS Health Executive Vice President Dr. Andrew Sussman as New CEO

GRENADA (May 3) — Today, St. George’s University named Andrew J. Sussman, MD, a physician with a long and distinguished career at some of the top hospitals, universities, and healthcare companies in the United States, as its new Chief Executive Officer.

“For 40 years, St. George’s University has transformed promising students into outstanding doctors committed to addressing the healthcare needs of people all over the world, especially those in underserved communities,” said Sussman. “I look forward to working with the entire St. George’s University team to continue to fulfill this important and inspiring mission.”

Sussman will lead all executive functions of the University, with a particular focus on expanding educational opportunities, programs, and support for students; forging clinical partnerships with hospital systems; and increasing the University’s reach internationally. Dr. G. Richard Olds will continue in his role as President of St. George’s University, and report to Dr. Sussman.

Sussman was most recently Executive Vice President of Clinical Services at CVS Health, the largest pharmacy care provider in the United States. Previously, he led the development and growth of CVS MinuteClinic, the largest walk-in clinic provider in the United States, with more than 1,100 locations. Under his leadership, CVS MinuteClinic established collaborative affiliations with more than 75 major hospital systems across the United States.

Before his career at CVS Health, Sussman was Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer at UMass Memorial Medical Center, the major teaching affiliate of UMass Medical School. He is an Associate Professor of Medicine at UMass Medical School.

Prior to his work at UMass, Sussman served as Chief Medical Officer of the Brigham and Women’s Physicians Organization, consisting of 800 teaching faculty at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He began his academic career at Harvard Medical School, first as Instructor and then as Assistant Professor of Medicine.

Sussman is a graduate of Harvard College, Harvard Medical School, and Boston University Questrom School of Business. He is a board-certified internist and primary care physician.

“We are thrilled to have Andy join St. George’s University as CEO,” said Charles Modica, the Founder and Chancellor of the University. “His record of leadership and achievement in health care is remarkable, and I know that he’ll position the University for sustained excellence over our next 40 years.”

Social Media Impact and Mixed Reality Explored at St. George’s University’s First-Ever Tech Day

The Educational Computing Team (ECT) at St. George’s University launched the Spring 2017 Series of its Teaching with Technology Tuesdays (TwTT) with its first-ever Tech Day on March 10, 2017 at Allen Pensick Hall. With the theme “Innovative Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning,” Tech Day centered on social media and video in education, 3D technologies, and the use of augmented/mixed reality in medical education.

“Tech Day provides an opportunity for participants to actually see, touch and play in what we call our sandbox,” explained Shereene Twum-Barimah, Educational Technology Specialist. “At our past TwTT launches and workshops, our audience expressed an interest in interacting directly with the various technologies our presenters were showcasing. With our introduction of Tech Day, everyone now has a chance to physically connect with a variety of different technologies on display before them, including 3D printing and several virtual and augmented reality devices.”

With the prevalence of mobile devices, students are learning anywhere and everywhere. According to Ms. Twum-Barimah, teachers all over the world can easily record their lectures and lessons and make them available for students to consume on multiple platforms and non-traditional classroom environments. As a result, students can come prepared to have more meaningful discussions in the classroom with their instructors and peers. Technology has been modifying and redefining the face of education for years now and is getting even more innovative. The classroom is no longer defined by the walls the students are sitting within. Today’s students will now need the knowledge and skills to navigate these new learning environments.

In his presentation, “Using Augmented/Mixed Reality for Medical Education,” guest speaker Ted Dinsmore, Business Technologist and Co-Founder of SphereGen in Connecticut, focused on the evolving work in applying technology to learning in the medical education arena. He covered the basics of understanding what is virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, and how it is used throughout life currently and what the future of this technology looks like. Additionally, Mr. Dinsmore discussed how medical schools are using this technology and how it is being used in hospitals by doctors from surgery to collaboration boards. Lastly, attendees were given a demonstration of how the anatomy of a heart can be taught using a mixed reality device with the assistance of Dr. Mark Clunes, Assistant Dean of Basic Sciences.

“My presentation is all about getting people to try out the new technology. If you’ve played Pokémon Go, you’ve used augmented reality,” stated Mr. Dinsmore. “We live in a physical world, but today’s kids and students live in a virtual world in that game where they’re enjoying that experience of being in their environment. So when we overlay the virtual world over the physical world, that is what we call augmented reality.

“Mixed reality is the blending of physical reality with a virtual program, a see-through effect which can be achieved through the use of many different devices on the market today,” added Mr. Dinsmore. “Movies such as ‘Minority Report’ were designed off of this technology. And now the profits from these movies are funding a lot of this technology today. One such device, the HoloLens, provides an untethered full physical PC on your head with all the technology you need in one unit.”

In addition to his more than 20 years in the field, Mr. Dinsmore’s company has developed mobile and web-based applications for SGU. He is also the co-author of the book “Partnering with Microsoft.” Other Tech Day presentations featured were “Video in Education” by rich media team members Dari Twum-Barimah and Kellidon Niles, and “3D Technologies” by Jessica Holland and Wes Price; Alyssa Bierzynski, an Instructor in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, also gave a lively presentation on Social Media in Education, illustrating how easy it is to enhance the learning experience by incorporating elements of social media into the classroom.

“For more and more of our students, virtual reality is becoming the only reality they know,” said Ms. Bierzynski. “Many of today’s students have no idea what it was like to go to an encyclopedia for information. For today’s students, their source of information is Google.”

St. George’s University Educational Computing Team is committed to providing quality training and support to the faculty, staff and students at the University. Tasked with improving methods of teaching and learning at SGU, it promotes greater utilization of cutting-edge technology, so that the highest quality of education can be provided to the students that attend this institution.

New Partnership Offers Pathway for Teesside University Medical and Veterinary Students to Study at St George’s University

Students at Teesside University in the UK will now be able to complete their medical or veterinary studies at St. George’s University in Grenada.

A new agreement, the first of its kind between the two institutions, allows students who complete a preveterinary or premedical program at Middlesbrough the option of earning their degree in the Caribbean.

This opportunity is open to any student who successfully complete their first year of the program at Teesside, with a grade of 65 percent and over. If they achieve this, then they can enter the MD or DVM program at St. George’s University School of Medicine or School of Veterinary Medicine.

“We are committed to providing our students with opportunities to develop academically, professionally and personally, and this agreement with St. George’s will facilitate all three,” said Professor Paul Croney, Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive of Teesside University.  “As an international University with a worldwide reputation for excellence, Teesside is delighted to establish this link with St. George’s and enable our students to gain a high quality medical or veterinary degree at a prestigious institution, whilst gaining invaluable overseas study experience.”

Veterinary students will be eligible to complete the first three years of their training in Grenada and their final year at affiliated veterinary schools in the United Kingdom, Ireland, United States Canada or Australia.

Students in the MD program will be able to complete the first two years of their medical studies in Grenada and their final two years at affiliated hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom or Canada. They are also free to complete the final two years of their degree in Grenada.

Commenting on the Memorandum of Understanding, Dr G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said, “This partnership will provide the opportunity for Teesside students to receive a top medical education, and through our affiliated hospitals and available selectives, they will have an opportunity to gain experience working in healthcare systems in a diverse range of cultures, which is an essential component in the training of world class doctors and veterinarians.”

St. George’s University Professor Named Chair of AOVET Latin America Chapter

For nearly 60 years, the AO Foundation has set the standards of practice for orthopedic and trauma surgeons—both medical and veterinary—around the world. Beginning in July 2017, Dr. Tomas Guerrero, a Professor for Small Animal Surgery at St. George’s University, will chair the Latin America chapter of AOVET, the foundation’s veterinary branch, representing the region’s veterinary health care professionals and connecting them with world-renowned veterinarians through a wide range of courses.

“I’m really proud to have been named to this position,” said Dr. Guerrero, who will chair the chapter through June 2020. “I have worked with AOVET for many years and appreciate the role it plays in establishing principles that will help provide treatments for animals as well as humans.”

Founded in 1958, the AO Foundation is a not-for-profit organization comprised of more than 16,000 surgeons, operating room personnel and scientists across over 100 countries. Its veterinary branch, AOVET, is designed to advance veterinary surgery and improve patient outcomes.

Dr. Guerrero currently serves on the AOVET Latin America Board as its Education Chair in 2015. His appointment as its chair is only the latest step in his work with the Foundation, which began in 2000 when he was a small animal surgery resident at the University of Zurich (UZH) in Switzerland. Dr. Guerrero went on to earn his Doctor of Medicine from UZH in 2003. He came to SGU in 2011 following an 11-year stint as part of UZH’s Vetsuisse Faculty.

Under Dr. Guerrero’s leadership, AOVET will continue to run orthopedic surgery courses attended by professionals in and around Latin America, including a seminar titled “Advances in Orthopaedics and Traumatology in Small and Large Animals,” set for April 1 in Argentina. Worldwide, course topics range from spinal injuries and front limb alignment to fracture management and osteotomies.

The courses not only connect participants with decorated specialists in the surgical field, but they also take their practice’s technological capability into account.

“There is an economic reality that is completely different from the United States and other parts of the world,” Dr. Guerrero said. “It’s important for us to consider that. We organize courses for that introduce new techniques to veterinary professionals and do so based on what they can afford.”

With his appointment, Dr. Guerrero is excited that SGU will be well represented in important congresses and meetings worldwide, including AO Foundation Davos Courses 2017 at the Davos Congress Center in Switzerland.

Spring 2017 Class Begins Journey as Future Veterinarians at School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony

At the Spring 2017 School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony on January 28, the newest class of St. George’s University students donned their newly received white coats and collectively recited the Oath of Professional Commitment. Like the more than 1,200 veterinarian graduates of SGU had done before, they dedicated their professional future to the thorough and ethical care of animals.

“The White Coat Ceremony is one of my favorite events of the year, and I am thrilled and honored to be here to share this day with you,” enthused keynote speaker Douglas A. Freeman, Professor and Dean of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Saskatchewan, Canada. “The White Coat Ceremony is our opportunity to formally induct you into the profession and to welcome you as colleagues into the amazing and wonderful veterinary medicine community.

“This profession has evolved from farm animal care, to equine care to small animal care, and you too must be resilient as you evolve throughout your veterinary medical career,” advised Dr. Freeman. “There are many jobs available in the veterinary profession, from academia and research to the military and industry. You may try a lot of different things. You don’t have to choose just one path. So as you embark on your journey of lifelong discovery, I wish you great success.”

Alumnus and Master of Ceremonies Heather Douglas, DVM SGU ‘06, knew exactly how the matriculating class felt as first-term students, and counseled them to make the most of the opportunity to study at SGU. Dr. Douglas is now the owner and veterinarian at Douglas Animal Hospital in Osseo, Minnesota. She said that, through the commitment of her professors, colleagues, and the welcoming community, she gained invaluable opportunities and a deep-rooted love for the Spice Isle.

“Being in Grenada and attending this University gave me a wonderful opportunity, and I feel I am successful in my career in veterinary medicine because of SGU,” shared Dr. Douglas, President of Douglas Animal Hospital and Visiting Professor at St. George’s University. “You too have everything you could possibly need right here to become a successful veterinarian.”

Attending his first-ever School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony was Dr. Joseph Childers, recently appointed Provost of St. George’s University. He welcomed and congratulated the students on this next step they were about to take and, although not a veterinarian himself, connected with the students through his area of expertise—literature.

“Some of the greatest literature that was ever produced—works by Anna Sewell, George Orwell, and Jack London—are actually written by the point of view of an animal,” Dr. Childers said. “This was emblematic of who we are as human beings and our connection to the animal world. We are absolutely dependent on our animals, and who will speak for them, who will communicate with them?

“I recognize the importance of seeking an MD and the importance of what people do as medical doctors but they have a distinct advantage, they are able to communicate directly with their patients,” added Dr. Childers. “ You are called to something a little bit higher, a little bit more noble and I think in many ways much more self less. You’re advocating for creatures that cannot advocate for themselves, the creatures that we depend on. You have a double responsibility to not only deliver that kind of care and compassion but also to be those advocates. I think this speaks to the core of humanity and I congratulate you on your choice and I welcome you to St. George’s University. “

Dr. Chadd Tindall, an alumnus from the very first class of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999 and currently the Director of the SVM Office of Career Guidance, attended the ceremony. In addition, Dr. Austin Kirwan, Assistant Dean of UK Affairs in the School of Veterinary Medicine, who took the opportunity to robe his son, Elliot, now a first-term veterinary student.

“It was a fantastic experience. It was a long journey to actually get where you are and you would never believe that your child would be following so closely in your own footsteps but I think it brings home what SGU is actually all about,” Dr. Kirwan said afterward. “We are one family, it’s one nation, it’s one health, it’s one medicine, and it’s an absolute privilege. I graduated on that stage with my MBA from SGU and I’ve introduced my son to the veterinary faculty and school on that same stage, so it was a fantastic moment.”

The School of Veterinary Medicine accepted its first class in August of 1999, followed six years later by the installation of the first international chapter of Phi Zeta National Veterinary Honor Society on campus, the Alpha Delta Chapter. In September 2011, the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education announced its full accreditation of the St. George’s University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program for seven years. Five years later, in October 2016, the American Animal Hospital Association gave its stamp of approval, accrediting the SVM Small Animal Clinic for two years, making it only the second practice outside of the US and Canada to earn the distinction.