St. George’s University’s School of Medicine Introduces College System

St. George’s University has entered a new era of medical education with a radical restructuring of the incoming classes in the Doctor of Medicine program.

Set to launch this fall, all incoming students will belong to one of nine Colleges set up to frame a learning community system with student wellness, interaction, and support at the center of the curriculum and student experience at SGU.

The mission of the system is to create a diverse collegiate environment in which students are comprehensively supported to develop and demonstrate the skills, knowledge, compassion, tolerance, commitment, and personal integrity required to be a practicing physician.

“I’m enthused about the foundation for success that this new system will create for our students,” said Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University. “Since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago, the University has always placed great pride on student success and the support they receive from faculty and their peers, and the new College structure will strengthen them both.”

Each College represents an academic family that supports the wellness of students and fosters the academic, personal, and professional development of its membership. Each will have its own director and associate director, as well as dedicated personnel for student support, including academic advisors, faculty, learning strategists, advisors, and other support staff.

The Colleges will also provide a sense of community, with each College having a dedicated master schedule of classes, and all small group work will be centered around the Colleges. College and intercollegiate social events and competitions will also take place throughout the year.

“The new College system will enhance the student experience here at SGU, not only in lectures and labs but as students live, work, and interact with each other, both on and off campus,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “We truly believe that it provides our students with the best chance to be successful in their studies and as they pursue their dream of becoming a physician.”

In addition, St. George’s University will also integrate a wellness program for students in their first term, featuring seven classes that cover such topics as lifestyle medicine, diet and nutrition, and test-taking strategies.

The nine Colleges were named after some of the most influential physicians and scientists in history, including:

  • Blackwell: Elizabeth Blackwell was a British physician who became the first woman to receive a Doctor of Medicine in the United States.
  • Curie: Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist who pioneered research on radioactivity, and the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences.
  • Fleming: Alexander Fleming was a Scottish physician-scientist best known for his discovery of  antibiotics.
  • Galen: A Greek physician and philosopher whose medical research influenced and developed the fields of anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, and more.
  • Hippocrates: The Greek physician who is commonly regarded as the Father of Medicine.
  • McIndoe: Archibald McIndoe was a New Zealand-born surgeon whose tactics to treat burns during World War II revolutionized plastic surgery.
  • Metrodora: Greek physician who wrote one the oldest surviving medical text written by a woman and who was one of the first to suggest surgical treatment for both breast and uterine cancer.
  • Peabody: Francis Peabody was an American turn of the 20th century physician famous for his dedication to compassionate patient care, as well as his work on typhoid and polio.
  • Taylor: Keith B. Taylor was SGU’s second Vice Chancellor and one of the most cited gastroenterologists of his time. This College is reserved for students who enter SGU through the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program.

Health Education England and St. George’s University Reach Agreement on New Program to Fill Postgraduate Medical Training Programs in England

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University (left), and Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow SGU graduates to undertake postgraduate training in England through the NHS’ Widening Access to Specialty Training program.

At a ceremony in Grenada, leaders of Health Education England (HEE), part of the National Health Service (NHS), and St. George’s University signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable SGU School of Medicine graduates to undertake postgraduate training in England, with the first intake expected in the autumn of 2018. SGU School of Medicine is the only Caribbean medical school in a direct agreement with Health Education England for the first 18-month program to provide graduates for postgraduate training. The agreement is expected to facilitate 50-100 trainees annually from SGU School of Medicine entering the NHS in England.

This agreement establishes a pathway for a significant number of SGU School of Medicine graduates to join the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) Program, an initiative within NHS that recruits overseas postgraduate doctors, with a focus on ensuring they are able to enter general practice and psychiatry training programs, the expansion of both specialties being a key priority for the NHS. Sixteen SGU graduates will begin WAST in the next seven months, with many more in the application process.

Graduates will undertake one or two postgraduate foundation years, depending on prior experience, followed by entry into specialty training. This postgraduate training is recognized for licensure and given credit in the UK, the European Union, and Commonwealth countries.

“Our role is to ensure the health workforce in England can meet the challenges faced by the NHS, which includes the provision of services in underserved areas,” said Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England. “We are very impressed that graduates provided by SGU are of the high standard demanded by the NHS; I look forward to the first intake arriving in 2018.”

St. George’s University has graduated more than 16,000 physicians who have gone on to practice medicine throughout the world.

HEE Director of Global Engagement Ged Byrne added, “St. George’s students are well qualified and talented. We anticipate they will have great success in our postgraduate training programs and in practice in the UK afterwards.”

“This agreement highlights the increasingly important role played by SGU as an international institution in global health care,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “Our extensive network of partner universities and teaching hospitals around the world, including in England, ensures our students receive a comprehensive education in a range of clinical environments. This is reflected in the fact that we are the only Caribbean medical school to enter into an agreement with HEE, enabling our graduates to apply for the WAST program. England has one of the most stringent regulatory frameworks in the world, and that our graduates now have this opportunity is reflective of their caliber. We are delighted that this major development has taken place in the 70th anniversary year of the NHS.”

With intakes in February and August each year, most successful applicants will join a one-year postgraduate foundation clinical course in England, where they will improve the skills and competencies required for admission to specialty training. The program will typically consist of six months of psychiatry training followed by six months in an acute hospital setting. Upon completing the program, graduates will be eligible to apply for an Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competencies, after which they can apply for a three-year program of specialty training in England.

Commenting on the importance of the agreement for SGU in the UK, Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies, UK, said, “I am delighted that St. George’s medical graduates, some of whom have received clinical training in our 17 NHS affiliated hospitals in England, will now have the opportunity to return to England to practice—thereby helping to offset the numerical and specialty shortage of doctors we are presently experiencing.”

The location of training for those on the WAST program will be assigned by HEE, with most programs focusing on areas of acute shortage, predominantly in the Midlands, East, North and South West of England, Yorkshire, and the Humber. Successful applicants will be offered their highest available location preference.

“One of our central aims is to find ways to train doctors in the areas they are needed most,” said Dr. Olds. “The global shortage of medical professionals is exacerbated by maldistribution, both by geography and specialty. This agreement, which will encourage our graduates to train in family medicine and psychiatry in areas of England with the greatest need, is one example of how we are making a significant positive impact around the world.”

Nursing in a New Environment

Eighteen nursing students from San Jose State University (SJSU) spent the summer building their public health resumé at St. George’s University in Grenada as part of a more than five-year partnership between the institutions. SGU hosted the SJSU students on the True Blue campus, providing an opportunity for the California nursing students to enhance their leadership skills, professional development, and management skills, all within a cultural context.

Deborah Nelson, a nursing lecturer at the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State, was one of the three faculty members escorting the students on the study abroad course to Grenada. After a 37-year-long career, the retired nurse joined SJSU 12 years ago and has been a part of its Global Service Learning in Nursing program since its inception.

“The program primarily focuses on cultural competence, collaboration, and community-needs assessment,” said Ms. Nelson. “We’re not here to do what we think we need to do; we’re here to find out what the Grenadian community needs from us and what they want us to do. As a partner, SGU provides a cultural atmosphere that engages interaction between our students and both the local nurses and nursing students at the University. We are fortunate to have this partnership and this continued sustainable program.”

According to Ms. Nelson, this is one of the first programs of its kind in the US to offer credits towards a major, which grants the SJSU students the opportunity to graduate one semester earlier. She believes that with the current nursing shortage in the US and the SJSU students’ desire to enter the nursing profession, this program is highly beneficial to the future nurses.

“Additionally, our students are here learning from another culture and being aware of others and that they are the ‘other’,” added Ms. Nelson. “It’s just transformational. I’ve seen it over and over each year. To work alongside other nursing students and to find out that they have similarities as well as differences is key to their success. It’s amazing for me to see this as an educator, and it brings me back every year.”

Among those who participated in the program was Kaelyn Fetters, a third-year nursing student currently completing her final year at San Jose State. Ms. Fetters hopes that, upon returning to the US and passing the national nursing exams, she and her fellow classmates will become licensed nurses. Her goal is to start out as an emergency room nurse at a hospital back home, providing care and various diagnoses to a diverse population.

“I immediately knew I wanted to participate in this program. The idea of being able to travel abroad and be enveloped in a culture so different from my own was something I could not pass up,” said Ms. Fetters. “Throughout this journey, I feel like we’ve learned how to take what we’ve been taught as nursing students in California and bring it over here to Grenada while picking up diverse techniques and a different perspective in Grenada that we can bring back to the US.”

The students spent three weeks immersed in the Grenadian culture, where they worked with caregivers at various clinical sites and held a full day of classes on professional development at the Grenada General Hospital. Along with SGU nursing students, they visited the St. Martin Home for the Aged, Grenada Planned Parenthood, the Dorothy Hopkins Home, and conducted personal home visits to the Mont Tout and Limes communities. The students completed their clinical rotations by attending a health fair in Carriacou where the SGU and SJSU teams collaborated to provide screenings for blood pressure and blood sugar, disseminated free condoms, and took part in sexual education discussions on topics such as STD prevention and rapid HIV testing.

“What we’ve noticed over the five years of our partnership is that not only do the SJSU students benefit from learning from a different culture but our SGU nursing students are really improving their cultural competency as well,” stated Jennifer Solomon, Chair and Director, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “We can see the maturity in the way they are looking internally at their own bias and some of the assumptions that we all make in society and really are becoming the amazing nurses they want to be.

“In addition to the SJSU students visiting Grenada, as part of this course, we also offer the opportunity for our SGU nursing students to be global citizens as well,” she added. “They get the chance to travel abroad to the US or UK to obtain that global perspective and have that interaction with someone from a completely different background while learning about the healthcare system in another country. This is such a great advantage for them.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

St. George’s University and Mahidol University Further Partnership With Joint Doctor of Medicine Pathway Program

From left to right, Mr. Phee Na Lamphun, Student Recruitment Manager for Thailand, St. George University; Dr. G. Richard Olds SGU President; Dr. Sarayut Nathaphan, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Research, MUIC, Mahidol University; and Mr. Pete Fiaschi, Director of International Recruitment for Asia, St. George’s University

St. George’s University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Mahidol University International College (MUIC), Thailand, establishing a new medical foundation year at MUIC which is equivalent to the first year of the 5-year MD program taught at SGU in Grenada. Mahidol students who successfully complete this premedical year of study will be eligible to enroll in SGU’s MD degree program.

SGU has committed to award five partial-tuition scholarships per year, over a five-year period, to Mahidol students for admission onto SGU’s MD degree program.

The deal further strengthens the relationship between SGU and Mahidol University International College, following an earlier agreement in 2014 that launched a dual BS/MD degree between the two institutions.

“This Memorandum of Understanding builds on an already fruitful relationship with Mahidol University International College,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We know from experience that their students are dedicated and talented, and find studying at SGU an enriching experience. I am delighted that we have opened a new pathway for students to join our world-leading MD degree program, many of whom will do so with tuition scholarships.”

Dr. Phitaya Charupoonphol, Dean of Mahidol University International College, said: “Four years after the signing of our first agreement, our partnership with SGU continues to go from strength to strength. In choosing to offer scholarships to our students, the quality of our teaching has been recognized by one of the world’s leading international medical education. We look forward to many years of close collaboration”.

“We are excited about this opportunity where students in Asia can now begin their studies at a world class university with a pathway to an MD degree at SGU,” added Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. “In addition to a world class medical education, the clinical training opportunities available in the United States and UK provide SGU students with valuable exposure to a variety of healthcare systems.”

Pete Fiaschi, Director of Recruitment Asia, commented, “This is an extremely exciting 1+4 partnership which will enable Asia-based students to study the first year of a five-year MD program at a world-class University in Asia. We are delighted to offer this to students in Asia who would prefer a localized program in Thailand before embarking on their future in Grenada and then the US and UK for clinical training.”

St. George’s University Signs Agreement with Government of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

St. George’s University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Government of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates. The MOU “recognizes the benefits of mutual cooperation, and both institutions will now explore potential educational collaboration in medical related studies.” As part of the agreement, SGU will be listed on the Government of Fujairah’s website as a recognized education provider, meaning that SGU can now accept students from the Emirate of Fujairah.

The agreement, which is now in effect, expresses the commitment of both parties to increase access for the Government of Fujairah’s students to a US postsecondary education through SGU. The MOU further strengthens SGU’s relationship with the UAE, following last year’s announcement that the Ministry of Education had recognized the university’s MD degree program.

“I am pleased that students in Fujairah will now have the option of studying at St. George’s University in Grenada where they will receive a top international medical education,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU.  “The University will also benefit, increasing the diversity and breadth of experience of our student body.”

Adding his remarks, Mohamed Khalifa Alzyoudi, Employee Affairs Director, Government of Fujairah, said: “SGU is a world-leading institution, and I am very happy that our students will now have the opportunity to study medicine at their campus in Grenada. This MOU marks the beginning of a fruitful relationship, and I look forward to working with SGU to further our collaboration in the near future.”

St. George’s University’s School of Medicine draws students and faculty from 140 countries. Key to its success has been developing enthusiasm in students to practice medicine in their home countries, often in areas where physician numbers are low. Approximately 1 percent of all practicing doctors in the United States are graduates of St. George’s University, with that figure rising to around 15 percent of the physician population in Trinidad and Tobago, and 20 percent in Botswana.

Caribbean Professionals Mentor Future Conservation Leaders at St. George’s University

With an eye toward the future, St. George’s University welcomed the second cohort of future Caribbean conservationists at the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean (CLiC) workshop, an intensive 18-month program aimed at assisting 18 young professionals from 13 Caribbean countries in launching, developing, and implementing successful conservation campaigns.

“CLiC is a fellowship program offered free of cost to Caribbean nationals and professionals in the wider Caribbean,” said Dr. Leo Douglas, Assistant Professor, New York University and Immediate Past President of BirdsCaribbean. “This much-needed program was designed to help young people who are trying to get established in environmental careers and have a broad passion for the environment but really are lacking in the resources, institutions, and the training to actually advance their careers.”

Originally funded by a $125,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2014, CLiC’s collaborating partners include St. George’s University (the base of the training program) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), another important collaborator, administering the program in its second year.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with SGU and use its facilities here because the University offers the ideal setting to meet all of our needs,” added Dr. Douglas, CLiC Coordinator. “When CLiC was formed, we wanted to keep it entirely Caribbean. We needed a location that was accessible, and not prohibitively expensive, that we could have our fellows come and be a part of a community of scholars, a place where there would be accommodations but also have access to classrooms and state-of-the-art technology.”

This second cohort completed a three-day leadership and project management planning workshop, followed by a 10-day (in-person and virtual) short course on Advanced Conservation Planning based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Participants were broken up into five teams, and each team launched a research conservation initiative with the help of an assigned mentor. Over the next two years, through workshops, online and in-person courses, and hands-on project implementation exercises, fellows would be provided with the knowledge and training of best practices in conservation, potential funding mechanisms for their projects and proposal writing and networking skills both with their advisors and each other.

Having worked for four years as a conservation officer at a local nature center in Trinidad, Kimberly Chu Foon, a PhD candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island was eager to join CLiC’s training and become a better conservationist. Along with her teammates from Team Macaw, Ms. Chu Foon’s conservation campaign focuses on Trinidad’s reintroduced population of blue and gold macaws, which had been extirpated in the wild since the 1960s.

“Our project is centered on looking at the main reasons why pet owners acquire these birds, where the birds are coming from illegally, and trying to find ways to develop a behavior change program to make sure that people are no longer hunting or poaching these birds from the wild,” said Ms. Chu Foon. “As a PhD student, a lot of the methods I’ve been using to conduct my research are some of the same ones I’ve been using on this project. So, this has really been helping me to build my skills in such areas as qualitative data analysis and data collection and in giving me the experience that I need to further my research career.”

Continuing to expand upon a two-year pilot leadership-training program, Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation (CEWCL), which mimicked the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) training program, a successful venture in the US for more than a decade, CLiC’s current cohort of fellows will also be the first to achieve certification.

“We’re very excited about this. Thanks to SGU, these fellows will be receiving graduate-level, degree-type certification which is a huge deal when trying to find jobs and move on to the next level,” Dr. Douglas said. “We’re also offering an increase in funding to our next batch of cohorts because we want them to work with a broader, deeper, more extensive network of partners than ever before especially in terms of working on projects that have on-the-ground benefits such as recycling, endangered species, and climate change projects, so that they can access people with specific types of training.

“CLiC’s future is bright, as it continues to provide its fellows with greater resources that they can use to advance themselves and their careers, all while benefitting their local environments and habitats in the Caribbean.”

Renowned Dengue Expert Delivers 19th Annual WINDREF Lecture

The WINDREF building on SGU’s True Blue Campus.

A global health problem, dengue viruses are a major cause of morbidity in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. At the 19th Annual WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University, Dr. Timothy Endy discussed the unique viral and host factors, and interactions that increase the complexity of dengue and potential vaccine development.

In his presentation titled “Understanding Dengue Pathogenesis and Essential Areas for Research”, the Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at SUNY Upstate Medical University reviewed the history of dengue research in Thailand and shares his key findings and the future directions in the study of the disease. According to Dr. Endy, in countries where dengue is endemic, the first infection happens when children are toddlers with symptoms that can be compared to a bad flu. The second infection, however, is much more worrisome—it can cause what’s called a hemorrhagic fever, which can include unstoppable bleeding inside the body. He cautions that if not treated properly, people, often children, can bleed to death.

“My research mostly focuses on why the second infection is so severe because that is really where all the illness and deaths come from—all of that was set up by the very first infection,” stated Dr. Endy. “Unfortunately, there have not been any studies that really focus on the first infection since it is so hard to find and often goes undetected by healthcare providers. Yet, inapparent dengue is an important component of the overall burden of dengue infection, as it provides a source of infection for mosquito transmission during the course of an epidemic.”

As Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine at Upstate, Dr. Endy is considered an international expert in the field of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever and emerging viral pathogens.

Additionally, Dr. Endy not only came to Grenada to provide an overview of the type of dengue research he’s been doing for almost 30 years but as part of a proposed incidence study in Grenada from 2018-2021 to be conducted in collaboration with SGU and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, LLC. The study will focus on the incidence of infection of the dengue virus in the student body and hopes to provide a better understanding of the host response to the first dengue infection.

Throughout his career, Dr. Endy has conducted basic science research in the field of virology, developed vaccine field and epidemiological study sites in Southeast and Central Asia, conducted phase I and II clinical vaccine trials, and is active in the development and management of research programs that are product oriented towards developing vaccines and diagnostics that meet FDA regulatory requirements.

Previously known as the annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture, the event was named for SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, whose vision and dedication to the international growth of St. George’s University led to the creation of the Windward Island Research and Education Foundation  in 1994. Since then, the lecture has drawn the attention of numerous renowned presenters willing to share their expertise on topics such as climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions. Past speakers have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, best known for his role in the discovery of the HIV’s link to AIDS; Dr. Ruth Macklin, a bioethics pioneer; and renowned cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster.

Class of 2018 Encouraged to be Fearless in Pursuit of Greatness

Face your fears and press on with courage. That was the advice of Dr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s 2018 Grenada commencement.

Serving the Government of Grenada for 22 years, 14 of which as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Governor Antoine’s advice to the graduating class on how to become valuable contributors to their community by serving humanity rang true even more so because of the life he has led. Having received The Order of Grenada Gold Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding service to Grenada, Governor Antoine’s life serves as a shining example of just that.

“Graduands, I charge you today to become people of value. So how does one become a person of value?” asked Governor Antoine. “First, focus on service by making it one of your top life values.  Second, develop a flexible skillset to stay relevant. You must keep learning. Remember, you cannot lead if you do not read. Third, face your fears. Consider this question: what would you do if you were not afraid? May God guide and bless you on your journey to make a difference and help change our region and our world.”

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Grenada and to St. George’s University through his service on the Monitoring Committee, the University also conferred Governor Antoine with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Representing 28 countries from across the globe, the almost 400 graduates from the Class of 2018 in attendance at the Grenada ceremony, included nearly 200 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies, and 74 new physicians graduating from the School of Medicine. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Echoing the keynote speaker’s message about fearlessness in her valedictory address, Haley Noel, BSc ’18, reminded her fellow students that although today signaled the start of a new journey in their lives, they were well prepared to go out into the world and apply the skills and toolsets they acquired at SGU.

“Fellow graduands, we can do anything. We are not afraid of the challenges that are to come. We are part of a generation that is changing the course of history,” stated Ms. Noel. “I challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so you will be successful. So, Class of 2018, let us commit ourselves to the belief that we can accomplish anything and work every day to do so.”

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Theodore Hollis with its highest award for service to the University, The Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hollis first came to St. George’s University as a Visiting Professor in Physiology in 1979, while serving with great distinction for a quarter of a century as Professor of Physiology at Penn State University. He then joined SGU full time in 1995 as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies. He served as the Dean of Graduate Studies until 2003 and as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences until 2017, making numerous important contributions to the University during his tenure.

“I came to Grenada 25 years ago, and this country embraced me and I it. Soon, I realized that the beauty of Grenada is not just the beauty of the country but the beauty of the people,” said Dr. Hollis. “My SGU family has made me feel at home here—it has been a pleasure working with you, for you, and sometimes helping you. I really believe that my change in career to come here might have actually prolonged my life. So, I accept this medal with great humility and thank all of you very much.”

St. George’s University Hosts First International Meeting of NIH Fogarty Program Administrators

This week, St. George’s University will host a conference for the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center grant administrators—the first ever outside the United States.

“We’re thrilled to host this year’s Fogarty International Center administrators meeting,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This meeting is an opportunity for the world’s leading minds to collaborate and continue their efforts to produce revolutionary research on global health. It’s an honor for St. George’s to facilitate that work.”

Attendees will hear from a number of Fogarty grantees and will discuss a number of global public health initiatives.

Several St. George’s faculty members have received funding from the Fogarty International Center. Among them is Dr. Randall Waechter, Assistant Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Associate Director of Research at SGU. He’s also Grants Administrator of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation.

In 2016, Dr. Waechter and Dr. Angelle Desiree LaBeaud of Stanford received a grant to investigate the threat of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, on children born during the outbreak in Grenada in 2014. Their work focused on how this disease may affect neurodevelopment in infants exposed to Chikungunya in tropical regions.

In 2014, St. George’s University Professor Cheryl Macpherson partnered with Fogarty grantee Sean Philpott of Union Graduate College (now merged with Clarkson University) on the “Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative”—a suite of graduate-level online and onsite bioethics courses for middle and low-income students across the Caribbean.

“At St. George’s University, we share the Fogarty International Center’s commitment to carrying out research that improves the lives of people worldwide while building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries,” said Dr. Waechter, the lead organizer of this year’s Fogarty administrators meeting. “We’re honored to welcome the Fogarty administrators to Grenada and to help advance the Center’s important work.”

Veterinary Anesthesia Leaders From Around the World Descend on Grenada for AVA Meeting

St. George’s University served as the center of a worldwide veterinary anesthesia discussion as more than 100 veterinary experts traveled to Grenada for the semi-annual Association of Veterinary Anesthetists (AVA) conference. Customarily held in Europe where the organization was founded, the Spring 2018 meeting however marked the first time in the organization’s history that the conference was held in the Caribbean.

“We are very proud to be sponsoring this congress here in Grenada. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase not only SGU but also our beautiful island,” said Dr. Neil Olson, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “St. George’s provides the perfect platform for members of the veterinary anesthesia community to collaborate and offers great levels of exposure to different veterinary professionals from around the world. Hosting the AVA group also speaks to the quality of our vet school and to our presence throughout the globe.”

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

“I’m increasingly speaking at veterinary meetings I presume because of the Mouse Grimace Scale, which has gotten me the attention of the veterinary research world,” stated Dr. Mogil. “Although most of my talks are to a human anesthesiologist audience, I enjoy even more speaking to veterinary groups than neurologists, psychologists, and anesthesiologists. This is because I get to see firsthand how interested people in other research communities are to what I study, and the questions and feedback are always completely different and usually more useful than what I get from the standard audiences.

“Additionally, this is also a lovely opportunity for me to branch out, and on the other hand, I get to give a veterinary audience like this something that is beyond the usual affair and hopefully useful for their thinking as well.”

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

“We are extremely pleased with the success of this event, which proved to be beneficial for both the AVA and SGU,” commented Dr. Guerrero. “We received plenty of positive feedback, with attendees complimenting our scientific program, the social events and of course the beauty and hospitality of Grenada. Additionally, many of our European participants were first-time visitors to Grenada and the Caribbean, therefore we hosted the first two days of the meeting on the SGU campus, giving them a chance to visit our picturesque University’s grounds and to interact with faculty, staff, and students.”

Usually convening in such locations as Paris, France; Helsinki, Finland; and most recently in Berlin, Germany, the AVA meeting provides a venue for veterinary interns, residents, and practitioners to exchange ideas, expand their knowledge, and develop new skills. The AVA Autumn 2018 meeting will be the World Congress of Veterinary Anesthesiology (WCVA), which takes place every three years and is scheduled for Venice, Italy, followed by the Spring 2019 meeting to be held in Bristol, United Kingdom.

– Ray-Donna Peters