Veterinary Student Acknowledged for Excellence in Small Animal Neurology

Dr. William Thomas, Professor of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Tennessee (left) with Amelia Roos, 4th year School of Veterinary Medicine Student, St. George’s University

The University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine’s Rodney Award is given annually to one outstanding clinical student in small animal neurology. This year, the distinction went to St. George’s University fourth-year veterinary student Amelia Roos, whom the faculty recognized for her competency and passion exhibited during her clinical rotation in Knoxville.

“This particular award is an absolute honor to receive,” said Ms. Roos. “Yet, the greatest gift was being recognized for my capabilities by the Neurology Service that I admire so much. And I hope to continue to honor this recognition.”

The Rodney Award is named after a border collie belonging to Karen McLucas, a patient of the Neurology Service. In addition to receiving this year’s accolades, Ms. Roos also received a copy of Alexander de Lahunta’s Veterinary Neuroanatomy and Clinical Neurology 4th edition textbook and a Welch Allyn penlight.

Originally from a small town in Southern California, Ms. Roos has come a long way from those days in elementary school when she brought home and cared for injured birds and stray dogs. Currently completing her clinical year at U of T, Ms. Roos views this year’s Rodney Award as bringing her a step closer in fulfilling her dream of becoming a veterinarian.

“Since experiencing neurology in the clinical setting, I have actually been inspired to further my career in this field, which is a huge decision for me,” shared Ms. Roos. “In the future, I hope to pursue an academic small animal rotating internship and, if I’m fortunate enough, a residency in neurology. Once I’ve established myself as a veterinarian, I also hope to organize free exam/vaccine clinics for low-income communities in the interest of public health and education, a personal passion of mine.”

Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy Draws Rave Reviews

For the past year and a half, 17-year-old Marco Turner mulled the idea of becoming a veterinarian. Originally from the Bahamas, he had volunteered in a veterinarian’s office, where he helped nurse the community’s pets back to health, and then began researching opportunities that would help further his career in veterinary medicine.

Enter the St. George’s University Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy, which has welcomed nearly 900 aspiring physicians and veterinarians to Grenada to receive an insider’s view of their future careers since 2002. In the program’s 15-year history, 46 Academy graduates have gone on to enroll in the School of Medicine or Veterinary Medicine.

“This experience so far has been great,” said Mr. Turner. “Today, we had a suture clinic where we learned how to do three different kinds of suture patterns. While working at a vet’s office, I would see these sutures done, and I always wished that I could do it myself. Now I have the chance.

“This has been a valuable opportunity for my own learning and development that I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in a med or vet program.”

This summer, 74 students hailing from the United States, Canada, Trinidad, Bahamas, Bermuda, United Kingdom, and Puerto Rico successfully balanced a challenging academic program with extracurricular activities such as hiking, sailing, and snorkeling. Both the med and vet students engaged in courses that combined didactic lectures, small-group problem solving sessions, practical lab work in state-of-the-art facilities, and hands-on training through simulated and real-life situations.

This year’s class included Charlize Espinoza, who had undoubtedly been regaled with stories of SGU by her aunt, Cholene Espinoza, MD SGU ’15, now a PGY-3 OB/GYN resident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. When asked in kindergarten what she wanted to be when she grew up, Charlize replied “a doctor.” A decade later, that answer still hasn’t changed.

“I jumped at the chance to attend the Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy because I really wanted the opportunity to plan out my future and get a glimpse of what attending medical school would be like,” Ms. Espinoza said. “However, as someone who suffers from anxiety attacks, I thought this might not be right for me—being in a different country, living in dorms, and being away from my parents. But since being here, I haven’t had any anxiety issues. Instead, I’m really enjoying this experience, and everyone has been so warm and welcoming. It’s been a very intensive program so far but the lectures are very interesting and the doctors are very accessible. The Academy is a great place to test the waters and get ready for medical school.”

In 2017, four Academy alumni—Kristen Sellar, DVM; Abigail Maynard, DVM; Lisa Dyke, MD; and Virginia Vazzana, MD—earned their degrees at commencement in New York City. Dr. Vazzana, daughter of SGU alumnus Thomas Vazzana, MD SGU ’85, attended the Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy in 2010 after it received rave reviews from her older sister, who had attended three years earlier. She accepted a seat at SGU’s School of Medicine, where she met and married her classmate Hamfreth Shaul Rahming, MD SGU ’17. Dr. Vazzana began her pediatric residency at The Dwaine and Cynthia Willet Children’s Hospital of Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, Georgia, this month.

“The Academy was truly the first experience that I had of what medical school and becoming a physician is really like,” stated Dr. Vazzana. “I still remember the first time I worked on a human cadaver, the first time I wore a white coat and shadowed doctors to see real patients, the first time I learned to use an ultrasound machine, and so much more. These things all happened at the Academy. For me, being exposed to these opportunities really was a perfect way to confirm what I wanted to do with my future and is a huge reason I became a doctor.”

St. George’s University Remembers Lloyd Noel

St. George’s University mourns the loss of Lloyd Noel, former Attorney General of Grenada (1979-1980), who passed away on Monday, July 3, 2017 in New York. An early advocate for the University, Mr. Noel served as Lead Grenadian Council of St. George’s University, playing an integral role in its government and labor relations.

A gifted lawyer, Mr. Noel joined SGU in 1984, diligently representing the University and working to protect its rights while striking an effective balance between the needs of the people of Grenada and the University. In 1986 he was appointed as an Assistant Professor in the department of Medical Jurisprudence at St. George’s University School of Medicine in September. Mr. Noel served on a number of committees which furthered the University’s presence in Grenada, including the Fund for Orphans and Elderly and the SGU Monitoring Committee.

As a fervent advocate for free speech, Mr. Noel also authored an editorial column in the local newspaper that provided critical analysis of the Government of Grenada, as well as addressing many social issues in the country and various parts of the world. Mr. Noel was a devout Roman Catholic who was active in his parish of St. John and the wider community. A devoted husband and father, he was compassionate, fair-minded and affable and could always be counted on.

“As General Counsel of SGU, I interviewed Lloyd and made the decision to hire him for the position of Lead Grenadian Council of St. George’s University”, said Patrick F. Adams, Esq., co-founder, Trustee, and former General Counsel. “With his no-nonsense style, Lloyd was a person whose “yes” meant “yes” and his “no” meant “no.”” “As a family man, he was a dedicated father and a husband who deeply loved his wife. Lloyd was a talented lawyer but more importantly, he was a great man. His invaluable impact on the growth and success of SGU will not be forgotten. I will greatly miss him as a colleague and friend.”

Mr. Noel is survived by his wife and children, including Mr. Larry Noel, Athletics Coordinator of Field and Facilities, Athletics and Activities Department, SGU. His outstanding contribution to St. George’s University is immeasurably appreciated and he will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.

Banner: Addressing Canada’s Rural Doctor Shortage

Sandra Banner

An opinion piece by Sandra Banner, former director of the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) and currently a consultant at St. George’s University, appeared in the Vancouver Sun on Sunday, June 25.

In it, Ms. Banner explained how medical schools such as SGU address the rural doctor shortage in Canada, citing a Canadian Institute of Health Information report that states that fewer than half of residents can secure same-day or next-day appointments with their family doctors.

“Canada’s leaders must act to reverse these shortages,” Ms. Banner wrote. “Doing so will require an aggressive effort by medical schools and governments to encourage more young people to consider careers in family medicine—careers that have an outsized impact on the health of Canadians.”

St. George’s University has graduated more than 1,300 Canadian doctors, more than 70 percent of which have entered a career in primary care. Read the entire opinion piece by visiting the Vancouver Sun website.

St. George’s University Honored by Chicago’s Norwegian American Hospital

Daniel Ricciardi, MD SGU ’81, Dean of Clinical Studies (left) and Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, accepted the Power of Community Award from Jose R. Sanchez, President and Chief Executive Officer, Norwegian American Hospital.

CHICAGO — On June 22, St. George’s University received Norwegian American Hospital’s Power of Community Award for its leadership in the quest to provide quality care to patients across Chicago.

“We are privileged to receive this honor from our friends at Norwegian American Hospital,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We have made educating the primary care workforce of the future our mission, and we are grateful that Norwegian American Hospital supports that mission.”

Power of Community Award recipients are selected for their dedication to the community served by Norwegian American Hospital and their efforts to provide great medical care in the area. This is the third year the award was presented.

The award ceremony coincided with the inauguration of Norwegian American Hospital’s newly-accredited Family Residency Training Program, which will begin training medical graduates on July 1. The program was developed to address the shortage of primary care physicians in Illinois. There are less than 13,000 primary care doctors available to serve Illinois’s population of nearly 13 million.

“The shortage of primary care physicians is one of the chief public health challenges our state faces,” said Jose Sanchez, Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian American Hospital. “Together with St. George’s University, we look forward to doing our part to help solve it.”

Newest St. George’s University Physicians Rewarded For Their Commitment

From all around the world and all walks of life, the St. George’s University School of Medicine Class of 2017 came to Grenada to pursue their dreams of becoming a physician. On June 10 and 11 at Lincoln Center in New York City, they were rewarded for their commitment to their profession and their future, earning the degree of Doctor of Medicine at SGU’s commencement ceremony.

This year’s class is comprised of graduates from 86 countries, from Afghanistan to Zambia. They join the more than 17,000 alumni of St. George’s University, including over 14,000 physicians.

“Graduates, this is truly your day, one in which we celebrate your accomplishments and pause for a moment to dream with you of your future,” said Dr. Joseph Childers, Provost. “As much as this ceremony symbolizes an end to your formal studies at SGU, it also signifies our faith in you, our unshakeable belief that you are moving forward fully prepared to handle the intellectual and professional challenges that you will inevitably face.”

2017 Caribbean medical school graduates read a professional oath.“On behalf of the faculty, staff, and administration of St. George’s University, I want to congratulate all of you in the graduating class of 2017,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President. “I also want to congratulate the other people in this audience, without whom this graduation would not have been possible – your family, friends, loved ones, and spouses. Thank you for making this day possible.”

The first to cross the stage on Saturday was Grace Lepis, MD SGU ’17, who was overjoyed to have matched into a categorical surgery residency at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, NJ. Since completing her basic sciences in Grenada, she has returned to the island twice, including for her honeymoon.

“I love the island and I love the University,” Dr. Lepis said. “SGU gave me an opportunity that nobody else gave me. To be here at graduation is very exciting. It’s a humbling experience. We all worked very hard to get to this point, and I’m proud of myself and all of my classmates.”

Eight years ago, Janish Kothari, MD SGU ’17, watched his sister, Megha, graduate from SGU and move on to a career in gastroenterology. Her example and mentorship helped Dr. Kothari through the challenges of medical school. He will begin an internal medicine residency at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn this summer.International medical school graduate at commencement.

“Everything flew by so quickly,” Dr. Kothari said. “I remember getting off the plane in Grenada, and now I’m standing here with my robe and getting ready for residency. It’s a surreal moment. I’m very excited to see what the future has in store for me, and can sincerely say that SGU has prepared me for whatever challenges I may face. I wouldn’t change anything.”

In addressing the graduates and their families, Chancellor Modica took a moment to recognize Nelly Golarz de Bourne, the former Dean of Women and Chair of Histology at SGU and widow of the University’s first Vice Chancellor, Geoffrey Bourne. Dr. Golarz was on hand to watch her grandson, Dr. Gordon Bourne, take the Hippocratic Oath.

“Dr. Bourne and Dr. Golarz made this University what it is today, more than anyone, in the first 10 years of its existence,” Chancellor Modica said. “It’s a great honor to know that Geoffrey, looking down on us now, can see his grandson graduate.”

The Chancellor also awarded Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost Emeritus of St. George’s University, with a Distinguished Service Medal for his more than 30 years of service to the University and Grenadian community, including as Provost from 2004 to 2016. Dr. Pensick’s roles also included Dean of Basic and Allied Health Sciences, Chairman of the University Council of Deans, and Chairman of the School of Medicine Faculty Senate. Bell Hall, an iconic building on True Blue’s upper campus, was renamed Allen H. Pensick Hall in 2011.

SGU Signs Agreement with Uiduk University, Republic of Korea

Uiduk University in Kyungju, Gyeongsangbuk-do, South Korea

St. George’s University has signed an agreement with Uiduk University, Republic of Korea, creating an avenue for students and academic staff to study and work together via reciprocal exchange programs.

The broad-ranging agreement between the two institutions confers a number of benefits to both, including:

  • The exchange of professors, graduate students, researchers, administrative staff members, and academic information
  • The exchange of undergraduate students for both curricular and extracurricular activities
  • St. George’s University in True Blue, Grenada

    The organization of joint research programs, including for publication in academic and professional journals

  • The organization of joint academic conferences, workshops, and meetings

These provisions make way for St. George’s and Uiduk to develop comprehensive exchange and cooperation programs, providing opportunities for international study for students and faculty at both universities.

“This agreement strengthens our global network of higher education institutions and furthers our mission to be a truly international University,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to welcoming students and faculty from Uiduk University to our campus.”

Uk Heon Hong, PhD, President of Uiduk University, said “I am pleased to have overseen the beginning of a new relationship between Uiduk and St. George’s University, and hope that this continues for many years to come. This agreement allows for broad cooperation in a number of areas, which will serve to enrich the academic experience for our students and staff.”

The broad-ranging agreement promises that students and staff from both universities can study and work together via reciprocal exchange programs.

St. George’s University and North Carolina State Launch Medical, Veterinary Partnership

RALEIGH and GRENADA—St. George’s University and North Carolina State University have entered into a new partnership that will enable qualified NC State undergraduates to pursue postgraduate medical and veterinary degrees at SGU.

“We are excited to welcome North Carolina State University’s best and brightest to our campus,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This partnership will enable numerous NC State graduates to work toward their dreams of becoming the next generation of doctors and veterinarians at St. George’s.”

“This partnership between NC State and St. George’s University serves as a great opportunity for pre-vet students to pursue their life goal of becoming a veterinarian at an AVMA-accredited school,” said Dr. Shweta Trivedi, Director of North Carolina State’s Veterinary Professions Advising Center. “NC State pre-vets are thrilled to know that they have a guaranteed spot if they meet the requirements. They already have peers at SGU who speak highly of the program.”

The partnership will identify undergraduates at North Carolina State who have excellent academic records and a passion for medicine or veterinary medicine. Upon graduation, they’ll have the opportunity to work toward MD or DVM degrees at SGU.

Those who attend St. George’s University School of Medicine will complete their first two years on campus in Grenada and their final two years in clerkship programs programs in the US, UK and other countries. Those who enroll in the veterinary school will study for three years on campus before completing their final clinical year elsewhere.

North Carolina State joins a diverse group of 24 medical schools and 27 veterinary schools in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada that have partnered with St. George’s. SGU has similar partnerships with Mahidol University International College in Thailand and colleges and universities in Bermuda, Grenada, Hong Kong, Guyana, and Uganda.

“To solve the world’s biggest public health challenges, doctors and veterinarians must have a global perspective,” Dr. Olds said. “We look forward to inculcating a new generation of students from North Carolina State with that perspective.”

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.