SGU Sport for Health Ambassador Soars to Olympic Gold in 400 Metre

news kirani james1

Kirani James, a 19-year old Grenadian, won the country of Grenada’s first Olympic medal this week in London as the country cheered itself hoarse.  When Kirani soared across the finish line at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, securing Olympic gold in the 400-meter dash, it was the culmination of a long journey for the track and field star. Of all people, James, the first sporting ambassador for St. George’s University’s affiliate, the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation’s (WINDREF) Sport for Health program, recognizes the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle by staying active and eating well.

On Monday, he set off an island-wide celebration by becoming the first Grenadian in history to capture an Olympic medal, doing so in grand fashion. The 19-year-old breezed to victory in the 400-meter final in a time of 43.94 seconds. It wasn’t just his personal best but also the ninth-fastest time ever recorded in the event. James became the first non-US athlete in history to break the 44-second barrier in the 400. In addition, Grenada became the smallest country, by population, to ever have an athlete win gold.

After his win, James immediately disappeared into the arms of dozens of Grenadian fans and proudly waved the Grenadian flag throughout his victory lap in Olympic Stadium. Perhaps no one rejoiced more than his mother, Pamela James, and his father, Dorani Marshall, who is a longtime employee at St. George’s University and a Sport for Health committee member. On Tuesday, James ascended the podium and was officially awarded his gold medal as the National Anthem of Grenada was played for the first time ever at the Olympic Games.

Thousands of residents gathered, including at Cuthbert Peters Park in his hometown of Gouyave, to watch and then celebrate his victory, which highlighted a banner week in Grenada’s athletic history. Ten Grenadians made the trip to the 2012 Games, including James, Rondell Bartholemew, Joel Redhead, Paul Williams, and Kurt Felix in men’s track and field, swimmer Esau Simpson,  Andrea St. Bernard in taekwondo, and Neisha Bernard-Thomas and Janelle Redhead in women’s track and field.

WINDREF launched its Sport for Health campaign in April 2011, collaborating with Grenada’s 22 secondary schools, the Ministries of Sport and Health, and the Grenada National Olympic Committee to guard against chronic disease by leading a healthier lifestyle. Former Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Coe, who chairs the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, pledged his support of the program which seeks to reduce obesity and promote healthy lifestyles through sport while attending the WINDREF House of Lords function in 2011.

St. George’s University Students Form Not-for-Profit to Treat Citizens of Haiti

news haiti non for profit

Jonathan Phillippe, MD, SGU ’12 was born and raised in Haiti, moving with his family to Florida in 1999 so he could pursue higher education. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida and earlier this year received his Doctor of Medicine from St. George’s University School of Medicine. Despite his success in achieving his dreams in the US, his heart was set on giving back to his home country.

In early 2012, Dr. Philippe and SGU classmate J’Leise Sosa established Sante Haiti, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing primary care for the citizens of the Caribbean nation. For 19 days in May, Sante Haiti operated eight makeshift primary care clinics in and around the capital city of Port au Prince, treating underserved patients with issues ranging from skin infections and gastroenteritis and acid reflux and hypertension. For more severe medical conditions, they prescribed medication or referred the patient to a  specialist.

It was a rewarding experience not only for the patients but for the doctors who provided the service. “It’s in my heart to give back to Haiti,” Dr. Philippe said. “In a sense, this is why I became a doctor.”

“Dealing with global health is second nature because of the international education we received at SGU,” Dr. Sosa added. “For many of the people we saw, it was the first time they had ever seen a doctor. That we can provide the simplest aspect of medical care matters to them, and for us the feeling of satisfaction is immeasurable.”

Having made regular visits to Haiti since 2008, Dr. Philippe joined with Dr. Sosa to found Sante Haiti and formalize their efforts.

“It seemed natural for us to work together,” Dr. Philippe said, commenting on his philanthropic partnership with Dr. Sosa. “We realized that we had similar career goals – to care for the poor and the underserved. We both want to work toward giving more people access to care.”

This year’s clinic treated more than 500 patients in less than three weeks. Among them was a man that Dr. Philippe said had trouble breathing; he had also been coughing up blood and expressed that he had a family history with instances of tuberculosis. After listening to the man’s lungs, Dr. Philippe concluded that he too had the disease and quickly referred him to the general hospital, who issued medication. Providing access to care is chief among Sante Haiti’s objectives in the country, but it also lends a hand financially. Beginning June 1, Sante Haiti paid for the prescriptions and doctor’s visits for 20 people and hopes to be able to increase their funding of such care.

“There are a lot of organizations that can help, but they charge, and most people in Haiti cannot afford to pay for medical care. When they do have money they need to use it for food and other basics,” Dr. Philippe said. “I know people who have never been to a doctor. It’s not because they don’t want to; it’s because they can’t afford it. When they do see a physician and medicine is prescribed, they can’t fill the prescription.”

Dr. Sosa, a 2011 School of Medicine graduate who will begin her residency in OB/GYN at New York Methodist Hospital, diagnosed a 6-year-old boy who, unbeknownst to his family, suffered from severe asthma. The Trinidad and Tobago native, who also suffers from the condition, gave some of her inhalers to the family and immediately scheduled an appointment for the child to follow up with a pediatrician.

“I didn’t even have to touch him; you could see how difficult it was for him to breathe,” said Dr. Sosa. “A simple medication was all that was needed.”

While Drs. Philippe and Sosa are back in the States three nurses will continue screening patients on a weekly basis, and Dr. Hervé Alexandre, an internist in Haiti with whom Sante Haiti worked throughout its stay, will monitor those who receive serious diagnoses. Sante Haiti hopes to purchase a quarter-acre of land, priced at $ 13,000, in the village of Onaville in order to set up a permanent clinic. They also hope to bring SGU students with them for future visits and possibly establish an elective opportunity.

“The experience is very humbling,” said Dr. Philippe, who plans to pursue a career in treating infectious disease. “It reminds us why we became doctors. The happiness in the people, when you can treat them, make them feel better – there’s no money we can receive that can match that feeling.”

To learn more or to get involved, please visit www.santehaiti.blogspot.com.

World Health Organization Selects SGU Public Health Chair To Join Leadership Group

world health organization selects sguph chair leadership group

Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, Professor and Chair of the St. George’s University Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, has been selected to join the World Health Organization (WHO) Network for the period 2012-2018 with the Occupational and Environmental Health Work Plan Priority Leadership Group. He is joined in this global initiative by Dr. Ivan Ivanov of WHO, as well as Dr. Ed Robinson of Health and Safety Laboratories in the United Kingdom. Dr. Elci will spearhead the group with the responsibility for identifying global concerns in occupational and environmental health, especially the adverse health effects of climate change.

“This kind of recognition cannot happen single-handedly; this is a success of our team here in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine,” Dr. Elci said. “To get recognition for our teamwork is very important to me. This wouldn’t happen if I were standing somewhere alone. It feels really good that we brought this recognition to St. George’s University.”

Dr. Elci’s appointment for this esteemed position is also a positive sign in St. George’s University’s application to establish a WHO Collaborating Center for Occupational and Environmental Health in Grenada. The center would become the first of its kind in the Caribbean region. The application process, which began in the fall of 2009, is at its culminating stage and is pending the final approval from WHO Headquarters.

“That would directly put us in a leadership role in the region,” said Dr. Elci, also citing the University’s presence at March’s International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) at Cancun, Mexico. “It would be really significant for SGU and, of course, significant recognition comes with significant demands, which we understand and are ready to face.” ICOH is the world’s leading international scientific society in the field of occupational health and has close working relationships with the WHO, International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and International Social Security Association (ISSA).

Dr. Elci was appointed professor and MPH epidemiology track director at Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in 2008. The following year, he was named chair of the Department. Dr. Elci and his team’s efforts led the MPH program toward its first US Council on Education for Public Health accreditation granted on July 2012.

Dr. Elci has various responsibilities as adviser and public health expert for national international organizations. Among the accolades he has earned over 25 years in the fields of public health, epidemiology, and occupational health include the 2008 Bullard-Sherwood Research to Practice Award, presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Through funding from National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the CDC, Dr. Elci has more than 15 years of research and teaching experience. In 2001, the US National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute, awarded him a Fogarty post-doctoral fellowship in occupational epidemiology.

100% pass rate for St. George’s graduates entering into RCVS

Students from St George's University, Grenada, attend a ceremony at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, and are admitted to the college. L-R: Francesca Hendey, Matthew Foulkes, Jennifer Roberts. Front: Caroline Dennis, college president Dr Jerry Davies, Ashley Beresford. Wednesday 7/27/2011. Photograph © Andrew McCargow

Students from St George’s University, Grenada, attend a ceremony at the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, and are admitted to the college.
L-R: Francesca Hendey, Matthew Foulkes, Jennifer Roberts. Front: Caroline Dennis, college president Dr Jerry Davies, Ashley Beresford. Wednesday 7/27/2011. Photograph © Andrew McCargow

Five graduates from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM), in the Caribbean island of Grenada, have passed the Statutory Membership Examination of the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS).

SGUSVM graduates have traditionally demonstrated impressive pass rates on this rigorous exam, but this year’s 100 percent pass rate by SGU students –compared with the 44 percent pass rate for candidates overall– is an exceptional result for SGU students, and only the second time it has been achieved in the school’s history.

In order to practice veterinary surgery in the UK, all graduates with foreign or Commonwealth qualifications must pass the RCVS examination. The exam consists of two days of written papers, followed by clinical, oral, and practical exams at a UK veterinary medical school. Thirty-five St. George’s graduates have passed into the RCVS since the School’s inception in 1999.

The RCVS sets no quota for this Statutory Membership Examination, meaning those who meet the standards will pass, regardless of the number of candidates sitting the exam.

Austin Kirwan, St. George’s Associate Dean of UK and Ireland Clinical Affairs stated, “St. George’s School of Veterinary Medicine once again produces an excellent set of results with a 100 percent pass rate for the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons Statutory Membership Examination for those SGU students who sat the examination.  This is a credit to the school in the quality of education it provides, but also an indication of the caliber of person SGU attracts in its student cohort – outstanding success abounds by thinking beyond.”

Presenting the graduates with a membership certificate at the Ceremony of Admissions at Belgravia House in London, RCVS President Dr. Jerry Davies said, “I was delighted to welcome so many of this year’s successful candidates to the College. Whether newly graduated or long qualified elsewhere, all of those registering today have succeeded in meeting the educational and professional requirements that enable them to call themselves veterinary surgeons and to practise in the UK.”

Published on 7/28/11

St. George’s University School of Medicine Announces Student Research Competition

The Dean of St. George’s University School of Medicine has announced a student research competition which encourages and promotes the research component of St. George’s University’s medical program.  Senior medical students are invited to submit an abstract of research completed during their SGUSOM medical education.  All submissions should be accompanied by any published abstracts, papers, posters or manuscripts used in preparation of the work.

A faculty panel will review the submissions and choose three winners based on originality, scientific merit and level of involvement.   Each of the winning students will receive an all expenses paid trip to Grenada the week of the faculty meeting (March 1-5, 2010), with the opportunity to present and discuss their research with faculty and students on True Blue campus.  This is a unique opportunity to showcase investigative work to the SGU community at large, and will encourage other students in their research endeavors.

Students interested in participating in the competition should submit their work to the Office of the Dean, School of Medicine. A copy should also be sent to Meg Conlon in the Office of Research at mconlon@sgu.edu.

The applications should start with a description of the student’s level of involvement in the research project, when the work was completed, and any other pertinent remarks.  An abstract adhering to the established guidelines must accompany the application.  Students can submit more than one entry.

The deadline for submission is November 15, 2009, and winners will be notified by December 15, 2009.

Guidelines for Abstract Submission

The abstract must be no more than 250 words and formatted as follows:

TITLE: Use bold type.  Do not use abbreviations.

AUTHORS: Begin on a new line two spaces below title.  Use italics.  List initials of first names followed by surnames. Do not use full stops after initials. Insert all degrees you have obtained after your name and the institution in which you obtained the degrees. Degrees, titles and institutional appointments of co-authors should not be listed.  The student who is applying to the competition should underline their name. The order of the authorship should be approved with the principal investigator.

INSTITUTION: Begin on a new line immediately below Authors.  Use italics.  List institute(s) where work originated, city and country.

TEXT: Begin text on a new line 3 lines spaces below and arrange under the following headings:

Objective:   State the main objective/research question//hypothesis of the study.

Design & Methods:  Include information at the start of this section on the ethical approval of the study. Briefly describe the design of the study and how it was conducted, measuring indicating sampling, sample size, procedures, measurements etc.

Results:   Present only the main results (in tabular form if convenient) with an indication of variability (e.g. SD) and precision of comparisons (e.g. 95% confidence intervals) where appropriate.   Promises such as “the results will be discussed” or “other data will be presented” are unacceptable.

Conclusions:   Limit to only those directly supported by the results.

Students from 33 Countries Take Oath at SOM White Coat

news sir kenneth calmanSt. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) officially welcomed a new class of medical students from 33 countries on August 23, 2009.  Sir Kenneth Calman, Chancellor of the University of Glasgow and valued friend of St. George’s University delivered the Keynote Address.   Dr. Philip Lahrmann, a 1981 SGUSOM graduate and founder and president of Mansfield OB/GYN in Connecticut, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Sir Kenneth Calman’s distinguished career in medicine and medical education afforded this new generation of medical students the opportunity to gain valuable insight and inspiration as they begin their medical careers.  Sir Kenneth addressed the symbolic significance of the White Coat Ceremony and its critical relevance to both their present lives as well as their future endeavors.  A familiar yet central part of the event showcases students swearing a professional oath, promising to act with integrity and in an ethical manner during their training and career in medicine.

Reflecting upon the different directions of his own 40-year career, Sir Kenneth referenced three specific themes throughout his speech: the inherent meaning of being part of the medical profession; the value of medicine; and the crucial importance of life-long learning.

Sir Kenneth expressed that doctors are part of a profession that is innately based on trust and respect.  “These two factors require considerable care and hard work…and can be easily lost,” he said.  A proverb he referenced substantiated this belief.  “Trust comes on foot and goes on horseback.”

The primary role of a doctor, explained Sir Kenneth, is to implement healing not just through diagnosis, but through caring and compassion.  He urged the audience to consider the doctor’s place as a citizen in society as well; and in that capacity his duty to advocate, educate, foster change, lead, and learn to learn.  He explained that little of what he learned in medical school “in factual terms stood the test of time.”   Knowledge bases change as science and medicine progress, and the idea of learning to learn is at “the heart of managing change.”

In closing, our Keynote Speaker asked this group of future physicians to remember that the many facets of a doctor’s purposeful career can be best defined by the words of guidance and compassion they provide a patient.

Born on Christmas Day 1941, Sir Kenneth Calman received his secondary education from the Allan Glen’s School in Glasgow and went on to study at the University of Glasgow.  He entered medical school in 1959 and took two years out during this course to gain an honors degree in biochemistry.  He graduated in medicine (with commendation) in 1967, the recipient of many distinctions and prizes. During the latter part of his undergraduate medical career he developed an interest in dermatology and graduated with a PhD in Dermatology in 1970.

Sir Kenneth Calman moved into the Department of Surgery in Glasgow and proceeded to the Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons, as well as writing an MD thesis with honors on organ preservation. His clinical interests at this time were in general surgery, vascular surgery, and transplantation. In 1972, he was the MRC Clinical Research Fellow at the Chester Beatty Research Institute in London.  He returned to Glasgow in 1974 where he served as Professor of Oncology for ten years, developing particular interests in nutrition, chemotherapy, cancer education, counseling, and patient support groups.

In 1984 he became Dean of Postgraduate Medicine and Professor of Postgraduate Medical Education at the University of Glasgow and consultant physician with an interest in palliative care at Victoria Infirmary, Glasgow. During this time he was involved in developing medical education projects and in the supervision of medical education for those in training in the West of Scotland.

In 1989 he was appointed Chief Medical Officer at the Scottish Home and Health Department, and in September 1991 he became Chief Medical Officer in the Department of Health in London. Sir  Kenneth Calman served on the executive board of the World Health Organization, and as its chairman from 1998 to 1999. In addition, he has served as chairman of the European Environment and Health Committee from 1993 to 1998; as Vice Chancellor and Warden at the University of Durham from 1998 to 2007; as a member of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics and the Statistics Commission until 2007; and chaired the NHS Genetics Education Steering Group.

Sir Kenneth is currently a member of the Board of the British Library and chairs the National Cancer Research Institute. He is President of the British Medical Association and a member of the Board of Cancer Research UK. He is a fellow of numerous Royal Colleges and Faculties, and in 1979 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He has written seven books and over 100 scientific papers. His current academic interests are risk, storytelling, ethics, and education. Sir Kenneth has a number of outside interests including the history of medicine, Scottish literature, cartoons, and gardening. His most recent books include A Study of Storytelling, Humour and Learning in Medicine and A History of Medical Education. He lives in Glasgow and the Island of Arran, and is married with three grown children and a large dog.

Psychological Services Center (PSC) Obtains Full Accreditation by IACS

St. George’s University’s  Psychological Services Center (PSC)  has recently obtained full accreditation by the International Association of Counseling Services (IACS), a Virginia based organization of United States, Canadian, Australian and most recently, Grenadian counseling agencies.

Over the last two years, the PSC was extensively evaluated by IACS against high standards of counseling practice and was found to offer competent and reliable professional services. Approval by IACS was also dependent upon many other factors, including evidence of continuing professional development, as well as demonstration of excellence of counseling performance.

Among much else, the PSC was commended for having a “dedicated, culturally-competent and skilled staff” and offering an “effective array of program services.” It was found that the department makes “a vital contribution to the quality of student and campus life, as well as to your community members.” The PSC was also cited for its “social justice work, specifically around gender-based violence and regarding safe space and advocacy for GLBTQ persons.”

Becoming accredited is an important milestone that was only reached because of the efforts of countless St. George’s University staff, faculty and students since the PSC first opened as the Student Counseling Service in August, 1994. The PSC has changed and grown along with the larger university over the years. Once a largely forgotten and sleepy department on the edge of campus, the core clinical staff, comprised of licensed psychologists and master’s level psychotherapists, now see 600 persons, mostly SGU students, staff and faculty, in 2,500 counseling, psychotherapy and assessment sessions each year. Additionally, the psychiatrists push these numbers even higher, as they consult regarding the use of psychotropic medication.

The full-time clinicians sit on or chair a dozen university committees that oversee various aspects of student life, faculty searches, academic affairs and research. The PSC offers an ever-growing number of outreach activities, workshops, seminars and trainings. These include the topics of paraprofessional counseling, conflict resolution and stress management. Of course, the clinicians also taught three entire courses last term, as well as guest lectured in still others. Striving to empirically validate the clinical programs, more research projects such as PSC client satisfaction and student substance abuse patterns are being undertaken.

Given the commitment to social justice and responsibility that was cited by the IACS reviewers, the PSC staff takes careful measures to ensure that the department is managed with sensitivity to Mother Earth and environmental sustainability (e.g., conservation of paper, electricity and other resources). On a related note, recognizing that most funding comes directly from the pockets of students living on loans, the staff is equally conscious of and careful with fiscal expenditures. As stated previously, PSC personnel are also committed to conflict resolution programming, advocating for non-heterosexual persons and lessening gender-based violence.

In the same spirit of social responsibility, the PSC team gives back to Grenada by collaborating in various ways with colleagues in the island community. A brief summary of current projects includes the provision of counseling to individual Grenadians, training and consultation at Queen Elizabeth’s Children’s Home, assisting with the Vagina Monologues, a benefit for the Cedars Home for Abused Women and Their Children, and training a country-wide network of paraprofessional counselors to effectively assist women who are victims of domestic violence.

But the list does not stop there! Clinicians are available 24-hours per day for psychological emergencies and the department recently relocated from their years-long home in the Caribbean House to Building E, which is space that has already been outgrown. With all of this, time is still found to focus on individual professional development by regularly attending conferences and participating in professional organizations (e.g., Association of University and College Counseling Center Directors, American Psychological Association, Psychologists for Social Responsibility).

If customer satisfaction is any indication, PSC clinical services are useful to its client-base, as was found in an anonymous survey of 90 clients in March, 2009. Study highlights included:

  • 89% of clients were satisfied with the services they received.
  • 90% said that they would return to the PSC, if they sought help again.
  • 92% reported that they would recommend the PSC to others needing similar help.
  • 76% of those who felt it applied to their situation agreed with the statement that their grades improved as a result of services received at the PSC.
  • 92% who felt that it was relevant to their circumstances agreed that they stayed in school as a result of services at the PSC.

 

Some of the comments made by clients from the same 2009 study were:

  • “Psychological Services has been instrumental in helping me cope with all the downs and ups of medical school.”
  • “I think that everything surrounding my experience with the Psychological Services Center was excellent. Everyone was very helpful, and I was more than satisfied with their services.”
  • “I have found the services offered by the PSC to be tremendously helpful not only in my personal life, but will help me to be the best physician I can be.”
  • “An excellent service that is a credit to the school.”
  • “I called in the morning, and they got me in at lunch. It was a good thing too! I may not have made it through the day. I am ever grateful.”

 

Of course, the PSC’s work is far from finished. A partial listing of immediate future plans includes:

  • Begin program for post-doctoral fellows in psychology.
  • Add clinical offices, a 12-person group room, an on-site psychiatry office, a psychological assessment room and additional reception space.
  • Computerize clinical records.
  • Begin PSC clinical outcome studies and further quantify existence of psychopathology in the campus community.
  • Refine the annual three week conflict resolution certificate program to better meet needs. 
  • Further minimize environmental destructiveness by taking additional measures to ensure that PSC office practices are sustainable.

For more information, please see the PSC’s website found at www.sgu.edu/psc. If you have questions or concerns, please phone the PSC at 473.439.2277 or visit the PSC offices on the

Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Applauds Student Presenter: St. George’s University’s Ahmad Khalid

St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) student Ahmad Khalid has just returned to Grenada from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) Scientific Meeting in Trinidad held from March 4-6, 2009. Ahmad’s research project on Emergency Caesarean Section in Multiethnic Environment was selected from several thousand abstracts for its innovative and original approach to women’s health. The impetus for the topic selection stemmed from his core rotation of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at North Middlesex Hospital in London, a facility which serves a diverse multiethnic community.

news ahmad khalid largeAhmad explained that throughout his clinic and ward rounds in OBGYN rotation he became aware that many expectant mothers were curious about their chances of having a caesarean section, particularly in an emergency situation. He noticed that while there was significant research on risk factors for emergency caesarean section, most of the results were based on uni-ethnic population versus a multi-ethnic environment which is far more typical of a cosmopolitan hospital. This generated the idea for his research project.

Ahmad, with the help and guidance of St. George’s University faculty members Dr. AF Fakokunde and Dr. W. Yoong, performed a retrospective analysis of 10,217 women who had caesarean sections at the North Middlesex hospital over a three year period (2005-2008). The 10-month study explored risk factors such as age, parity, ethnicity, antenatal risk category, and epidural analgesia. Controlling for nulliparity, the results showed a strong correlation of nulliparity and higher rate of emergency caesareans.

The study provided a valuable guide to enable better preparation and management of pregnant women, hospital resources, and health care professionals within a diverse multiethnic environment. It is Ahmad’s hope that the research will help stem the caesarean section epidemic and provide substantiated data for better allocation of human resources, treatment, and screening.

This presentation was a terrific honor for Ahmad, who at 25 years of age earned himself the opportunity to address the RCOG audience of 240 delegates, all supreme experts in the field, from throughout world. With humility, Ahmad reflected upon the gracious and enthusiastic welcome he received, as the only student presenter, by many of the attendees. The President of RCOG himself was surprised to learn that Ahmad was actually a medical student. He assumed that only a medical doctor could communicate that level of knowledge and experience which such conviction.  In fact, several other delegates communicated a similar response. One such delegate, who had attended this particular conference for 32 consecutive years, expressed this was the first time he had ever been interested in a presentation from a medical student.

Ahmad explained that as first author of the research project, serving as primary researcher and writer, he lived and breathed this data for the entirety of the 10-month process. He was pleased that his presentation accurately reflected his passion and expertise. Ahmad also noted that because this year’s Scientific Meeting was held in Trinidad, there were numerous Caribbean medical doctors present: many of whom expressed pride in St. George’s University being represented at such a high caliber.

He defines this opportunity as an “experience of a lifetime:” “I never thought as a medical student I would get the opportunity to be surrounded by the world’s finest doctors discussing cutting-edge scientific data and engaging in such stimulating conversations to better women’s health,” he said. He views this remarkable opportunity as a stepping stone for his career as a physician and is grateful to St. George’s University for instilling in him that research is a continuous and critical process, worthy of taking risks and leaps of faith.

Ahmad came to St. George’s University as a premedical sciences student from his family home in Jordan. In 2007, Ahmad was the recipient of the Student Humanitarian Award, a peer-nominated recognition of his exemplary role in community outreach programs, which included Hurricane Ivan relief efforts, hospital and orphanage volunteer work, and serving on numerous student government organizations.

Ahmad realized his passion lied in the field of obstetrics and gynaecology as his education at SGUSOM progressed.  Ahmad believes that there is no greater gift than helping provide good health care to all women, as they are “the lifeline from which our future stems.” Upon graduation in June, Ahmad will return home to Abu Dhabi, setting forth proudly as the first physician in his family. He is eager to apply the “international approach to medicine” he gained from St. George’s University, always being mindful to combine research with his skills as a physician.  Ahmad believes that research is what distinguishes one physician from another: his desire to challenge himself with the ultimate goal of providing more for his patients. He hopes this will be his legacy.

The Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG) has long served to promote standards of care in obstetrics and gynaecology by a program of research publication and review.  The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) is a professional association based in the United Kingdom dedicated to improving sexual and reproductive health care worldwide.  11,000 members live outside Britain, spread among 83 other countries.
It was founded as the British College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in 1929 by Professor William Blair-Bell and Sir William Fletcher Shaw and was granted a Royal Charter on March 21, 1947.

Disney Internship Broadens Vision for St. George’s University Students

news sas disney1Five undergraduate business students from the St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences recently returned from a seven-month internship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida: an incredible first-time opportunity for these highly motivated students.  The Walt Disney World University Program is currently ranked as one of the top ten internships in the world by Business Week magazine.

After a rigorous application process, which required students to demonstrate a 3.2 or higher GPA and a record of extracurricular activities, students Dana Lalsee of St. Vincent; Nadge Leonce of St. Lucia; and Necia Samuel, Yoan Baldeau and Tornia Charles of Grenada joined 1,000 students from all over the world to participate in this program.  Dr. Reccia Charles, Business Degrees Program Coordinator and Associate Professor of International Businesses and Finance, played an integral role in St. George’s University’s participation in this program.

Dr. Charles considers this new partnership between SGU and Disney a “major feather in SGU’s cap,” as Disney only accepts accredited and recognized universities into its program.  “In fact,” said Dr. Charles, “Disney was very excited about having students from their first English-speaking Caribbean university involved in this highly competitive program.”

For Yoan Baldeau, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in management, “each week presented a new experience,” including on-the job training as a control tower operator at the Animal Kingdom, crowd control and customer service at the Magic Kingdom, and store merchandising at several of the Disney signature shops.

Tornia Charles, a tourism & hospitality management student, was an attraction hostess at the Magic Kingdom, working on such special events as Halloween and Christmas.  Tornia was impressed that Disney empowers its employees to go above and beyond for customer service.

Dana Lalsee, currently in her final term as an international business major, credits SGU for helping her develop professional perspective sufficient to  recognize the thoroughness and logic of Disney’s marketing and operational efforts. Former President of the SGU Business Student Association, Ms. Lalsee explained that her responsibilities at Disney focused on the outdoor food and beverage services where she frequently prepared the product in the kitchen for vendor distribution and served as a park vendor.

“At the time, I did not immediately grasp the importance of these opportunities, but looking back at the big picture, I see the direct correlation between my education and the hands-on experience, understanding the importance of inventory control, merchandising and customer service.”

In addition to a 40- to 50-hour workweek, students participated in classroom studies which reinforced skills they had learned as undergraduates and provided insight into the day-to-day operations of a world-class entertainment company.  Dr. Charles explained that the lessons offered by the Disney program are a wonderful compliment to SGU’s business curriculum.  Students earn between 15-21 credits over the course of the internship.

Yoan was selected to participate in a human resource management course, where he was exposed to the many aspects of staffing, casting, effective communication and crisis management inherent in HR work.  His skills were put to the test, particularly throughout the holiday season when up to 66,000 visitors entered the theme park each day.  When asked what he gained from this experience, Yoan was most impressed by Disney’s unwavering attention to its customers: “I was amazed to find a company this large would make customer service and attention to detail its top priority.”

Dana found the academic portion of the internships (which for her focused on corporate communications) equally as beneficial. She selected courses that reflected her interest in international business, finding the financial courses which demonstrated how Disney justifies the creation of new attractions and resorts the most relevant to her current academic plan.

Tornia Charles describes this opportunity as an “absolutely amazing experience, which helped me grow personally and professionally, shaping my future as a small business owner.”  She explained that although there was an initial adjustment (this was her first visit both to the United States and a Disney Resort), she is grateful for this opportunity, which opened her eyes to many new and exciting career possibilities and sparked her interest in exploring other countries.  After she graduates in May, Tornia plans to further her education in hotel management at a university in the United States.  Her long-term goal is to merge event planning and accommodations into a successful, self-owned and managed business.

Dr. Charles has enlisted this group of seasoned Disney interns to help with recruitment efforts for prospective SGU SAS students and future interns. Communicating their first-hand perspective on the unique value of this program helps would-be interns navigate the selection process.  Ms. Lalsee believes that the Disney internship program will prove to be an incredible draw for future undergraduate students at SGU and encourages students from different majors to apply. Dana explained that a number of majors were represented in the internship program in Orlando, including such disparate fields of study as exercise science, liberal arts and foreign languages.

According to Yoan, Dana and Tornia, the interaction with students from different cultures was an unexpected benefit.  Yoan developed long-lasting friendships with students from Portugal, Brazil, United Kingdom, Canada and Indonesia, and describes the internships as “one of the most wonderful experiences of my life, bringing me that much closer to my dream of being a successful business owner.”  Dana said: “The global appeal of Disney’s enterprise is so vast and diverse it gave me an unprecedented opportunity not only to build friendships with individuals from many cultures, but also to meet and interact with customers from all over the world.”  Tornia remarked that she made friends from countries close to home like Barbados and Trinidad, and from as far away as France and China.

The inaugural group of St. George’s University Disney interns represented themselves and the University with pride and dedication.  Javier Reyes, Recruiter Disney International Programs, was impressed with the performance of the SGU contingent, describing them as self-motivated and determined individuals.  SGU and Disney look forward to continuing this fruitful partnership in years to come.