St. George’s University Announces New Partnership with Essex County College

Officials from Essex County College in New Jersey join with SGU administrators following a signing ceremony in Grenada.

Today, St. George’s University and Essex County College celebrated the launch of a new medical education partnership. ECC will become the Caribbean medical school’s 22nd US academic partner.

“We are excited to open up this innovative path to medical school for Essex County College’s most motivated and passionate students,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to helping talented ECC students pursue their dream of becoming a doctor sooner than they may have thought possible.”

The new partnership allows students to apply to a dual admission degree program, wherein they earn their undergraduate degree in Biology/Pre-Medicine at ECC and then proceed to SGU’s five-year medical program. Students complete their first three years of medical school in Grenada and then spend two years in clinical rotations at hospitals across the United States and United Kingdom.

Students interested in the dual admission program must submit a separate application when applying to ECC. Prior to being selected, students must complete an undergraduate interview with a committee composed of representatives from both Essex County College and St. George’s University.

To continue on to medical school, students must maintain a minimum 3.4 GPA at ECC and score within five points of the average MCAT score for SGU’s previous entering class. They must also obtain a faculty letter of recommendation.

Students currently studying Biology at Essex County College may submit applications for the program and will be reviewed individually upon recommendation by ECC.

“Students entering college with a clear desire to pursue careers in medicine should be rewarded for their enthusiasm and dedication,” Dr. Olds said. “Through this new partnership, we can help students chart their course toward a medical degree before they take their first course at Essex County College.”

St. George’s University Announces New Jersey CityDoctors Scholarship Recipients

St. George’s University School of Medicine has announced that it has awarded CityDoctors Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Scholarships to eight applicants from New Jersey over the last two years. In August 2016, Ryan Zahn, Andrew Bradshaw, Eileen Alvarez, and Santiago Minaya were each awarded a scholarship and are in the Class of 2020. The 2017-2018 scholarships were awarded to Timothy Muia, Larissa Tavares, Jeris Abuhouran, and Michael Dragone. These recent recipients are currently enrolled and are in the Classes of 2021 and 2022.

“We are proud to provide financial assistance to these talented New Jerseyans who are committed to launching their medical careers in high-need urban areas,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This scholarship program allows students who might otherwise be unable to afford medical school to serve their communities as physicians.”

John Theurer Cancer Center Lobby

Through the CityDoctors program, St. George’s University will cover 50 percent of tuition for each of the eight scholarship winners. All eight are from Bergen County or affiliated with Hackensack University Medical Center and have expressed interest in returning to the area to practice. New Jersey needs them—by 2020, the state will be short 3,000 primary care physicians.

CityDoctors Hackensack University Medical Center Scholarships are available to students who have been accepted to St. George’s University School of Medicine and either live in Bergen County or have a professional connection to Hackensack University Medical Center. Applicants must write a 500-word essay explaining why their academic record, financial need, or leadership and service experience make them strong candidates. St. George’s University has awarded these scholarships since 2012.

“This unique agreement with St. George’s University allows us to help the Garden State’s best and brightest begin their professional lives in their home state,” Jeffrey R. Boscamp, MD, Associate Dean of Medical Education Continuum, Seton Hall-Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine, said. “I am excited to see what great things these budding doctors accomplish.”

SGU and Ramaiah Group of Institutions Create Pathway Program for Indian Students

Ramaiah Group of Institutions Bangalore India signs Memorandum of Understanding with St. George’s University

A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Ramaiah Group of Institutions, Bangalore, India (RMC), and St. George’s University. The signing took place during a ceremony at Ramaiah Medical College on March 20, and marked the beginning of a new international relationship between the two institutions. The purpose of the agreement is to develop academic and educational cooperation, and to promote mutual understanding between Ramaiah and SGU.

The two institutions have agreed to develop collaborative activities in academic areas of mutual interest, paving the way for students of Ramiaiah to study at SGU in future. A Joint Medical Degree Program is in development—to be launched in January of 2019—wherein RMC will teach the first year of SGU’s five-year medical program to its students. Those who successfully meet the promotion requirements will continue the Doctor of Medicine program in Grenada, or in the UK as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program—in partnership with Northumbria University. They will then complete their clinical training in the US, UK and Grenada.

The MOU also expresses support for a student exchange program, enabling scholars, graduates and undergraduates from RMC to spend time at SGU, and vice-versa. Faculty and administrative staff will also be able to take part in the exchange programme, and the two universities will conduct collaborative research projects. Short-term, customized courses for students on credit transfer or study abroad programmes will also be facilitated.

Commenting on the signing of the MOU, Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU, said, “The breadth of this agreement is testament to the benefit it will bring to both institutions. A well-rounded medical education is the foundation of any successful doctor’s career, and international experience is an important component of that training. I am delighted that our students will have the opportunity to train at Ramaiah Medical College, and look forward to welcoming their students to our True Blue Campus.”

Noting the benefits of international partnerships, Dr. Naresh Shetty, President of the International Program at RMC, said, “The collaboration between Ramaiah and SGU will open up new frontiers for Indian students, who will be exposed to both Eastern and Western culture and benefit from a truly global perception of health care.”

St. George’s University Graduates Celebrate Match Day 2018

Match Day 2018 has long been circled on the calendars of St. George’s University School of Medicine graduates. On Friday, the wait was over, and the celebration commenced.

Hundreds of SGU grads matched into highly competitive programs across the country, including in such fields as diagnostic radiology, anesthesiology, neurology, surgery, emergency medicine, and pediatrics, among others.

Click here for a full list of 2018 residency appointments

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, toasted the more than 150 newly matched residents who convened at SGU’s annual Match Day Luncheon in New York City. Among them were Phoebe and Tommy Martin, MD SGU ’18, who will begin their residency at the University of Arkansas in Little Rock this summer. The two met as students in Grenada, and were thrilled to match into their top-choice program through the couples match.

“It’s a dream come true to go to such an incredible hospital facility, and to be able to go there together,” Tommy Martin said. “We’re ecstatic. We could not be happier.”

Pauline Nguyen, MD SGU ’18, was with her boyfriend and his father when news arrived that she had secured an OB/GYN residency at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey.

“Once I saw OB/GYN, I was speechless,” she said. “It was the most incredible moment of my life.”

As they begin residency this summer, the 2018 class will join the more than 15,000 physician graduates of SGU, who have gone on to practice in all 50 US states, as well as around the world. Look for complete coverage of Match Day 2018 on the SGU website and across all of SGU’s social media channels.

– Brett Mauser

Increasing Patient Safety by Reducing Medical Errors

To prevent unnecessary morbidity and mortality, health professionals must have both an understanding of systems and a commitment to their improvement, this according to Dr. Abbas Hyderi, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education at University of Illinois (UIC) College of Medicine and keynote speaker at the 24th Annual Geoffrey Bourne Memorial Lecture.

Dr. Hyderi, who also serves as Associate Professor of Clinical Family Medicine at UIC, gave a lively presentation titled “Implementing the AAMC EPA #13: Identify systems failures and contribute to a culture of safety and improvement” at Bourne Lecture Hall to a group of physicians and health care administrators attending SGU’s annual clinical meetings that week.

“The goal here is to increase both the preparedness of interns from day one, as well as patient safety, by decreasing the ‘July phenomenon’,” said Dr. Hyderi. “Though there is some conflicting data, evidence shows that in the month of July there is an increase in the risk of medical errors that occur in association with this time of year in which US medical school graduates begin their residencies.”

Describing Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs) as units of professional practice, Dr. Hyderi goes on to define these activities as tasks or responsibilities to be entrusted to the unsupervised execution by a trainee once he or she has attained specific competence.

EPA 13 in particular focuses on the expected behaviors of an entrustable learner, including their ability to recognize and report patient safety concerns in a timely manner using existing system reporting structures; to speak up and find actual and potential errors, even against hierarchy; to identify and reflect on the element of personal responsibility for errors; and to recognize causes of lapses, such as fatigue, and modify behavior or seek help.

“EPA 13 is the most aspirational of all the EPAs and could be the biggest game changer in medical education,” stated Dr. Hyderi. “Our hope is that changing our educational and clinical learning environments and systems to create a ‘speak up’ culture will support students to work on systems and not just in systems. Also, this EPA highlights that the self-regulated learning cycle is analogous to the quality improvement cycle and so students will be able to reflect on both their personal and systems contributions to medical errors and continuously improve.”

In his lecture, Dr. Hyderi also considered some of the opportunities for and barriers to incorporating EPA 13 into a school’s medical curriculum, which include the vulnerability, concerns, and hesitance that interns feel when considering when to “speak up”, and the need for more faculty champions and staff support dedicated to EPA projects. Yet, he firmly believes that EPA 13 can serve as a guide to better train students in order to significantly reduce medical errors from the very start of their internship.

“I believe we do not do enough direct observation of nor provide feedback on clinical skills training of students by the time they graduate medical school,” added Dr. Hyderi. “The goal of the five-year project is to test the feasibility of the framework, develop strategies for instruction and assessment, and vet ‘entrustment’ approaches with students being better prepared to successfully transition to graduate medical education.”

In addition to his roles at UIC, Dr. Hyderi is also actively engaged in educational research and scholarship including being the Co-Chair of the Provost’s Strategic Planning Task Force on Interprofessional Education (IPE), as well as Co-Principal Investigator for the primary care residency expansion grant for the UIC Family Medicine Residency. Currently, he is the Chair of the College-wide Curriculum Transformation Task Force and the Chicago campus lead for the prestigious five-year Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Core Entrustable Professional Activities for Entering Residency (CEPAER) Project and was part of the team that represented the College at Harvard’s Shapiro Institute Millennium Conference focused on post-clerkship curriculum.

Dr. Hyderi joins a distinguished list of Bourne speakers that includes Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and neurology pioneer Lord Walton of Detchant. The lecture series is named for St. George’s University’s first Vice Chancellor, Dr. Geoffrey H. Bourne, an educator, scientist, writer, and visionary who helped guide the University in its early development.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Twenty-Eight St. George’s University Medical Students Awarded Merit Scholarships

Today, St. George’s University School of Medicine announced that it had awarded nearly $1.7 million in Legacy of Excellence scholarships to 28 students in its January 2018 entering class.

“We established our Legacy of Excellence scholarships because we believe that every talented student with a passion for medicine should have the opportunity to pursue a career in the field,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “These scholarships will empower students who might otherwise not be able to afford medical school a chance to achieve their dreams.”

Twenty of the outstanding students in this January class received Legacy of Excellence (LOE) scholarships, which offer $60,000 in funding to students with strong academic records and MCAT scores.

Eight students were awarded Chancellor’s Circle Legacy of Excellence (CCLOE) scholarships, valued at $80,100 each. These scholarships recognize students who earned a GPA of at least 3.7 during their undergraduate studies, as well as a minimum GPA in the sciences of 3.5 and top MCAT scores.

More than 1,440 students have received CCLOE/LOE scholarships since their inception. In total, St. George’s University has awarded over $70 million in CCLOE/LOE funding. Through its various scholarship programs, SGU has granted students more than $100 million.

This cycle’s scholarship students include representatives from the United States, Canada, Vietnam, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“Our CCLOE/LOE recipients go on to become leaders at St. George’s University—and across the wider medical community,” Dr. Olds said. “We look forward to helping this talented new crop of aspiring physicians develop their medical skills in Grenada.”

University of Glasgow Professor Receives Prestigious Mike Fisher Memorial Award

WINDREF presented the 2018 Mike Fisher Memorial Award to Sarah Cleaveland during the 2017 One Health One Medicine Symposium.

Dr. Sarah Cleaveland of University of Glasgow was presented with the 2018 Mike Fisher Memorial Award at a ceremony hosted by St. George’s University in Grenada. The award was given in recognition of her innovative work on One Health One Medicine, a philosophy that has improved health outcomes for humans, animals, and ecosystems in many parts of the world, in particular in Tanzania.

The Mike Fisher Memorial Award—given annually since 2006—acknowledges the work of the late Mike Fisher, whose original research led to the discovery of the drug Ivermectin, which revolutionized the treatment of a myriad of infectious, particularly parasitic, diseases. As a result, more than 35 million people no longer live under the threat of sight loss from onchocerciasis or disfigurement from lymphatic filariasis. The discovery had a similar effect on animal health.

Professor Cleaveland, BVSC, PHD, FRS, CBE is Professor of Comparative Epidemiology at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health, and Comparative Life Sciences at Glasgow University. She has worked extensively amongst the pastoral Masai people in Northern Tanzania and particularly on a number of infectious diseases that infect people, domestic animals, and wildlife. Her work continues to attract large numbers of graduate students to work with her from many parts of the world, and the outcomes of her studies provide important information for policies in infectious disease control.

Explaining the importance of Professor Cleaveland’s work, Dr. Cal Macpherson, Founding Vice President and Director of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), the institution that bestows the award, said: “One Health One Medicine is the convergence of human, animal, and ecosystem health, resulting in a joined-up approach between complementary sectors that, all too often, are practiced in a vacuum. Each of these practices are inextricably connected, and by learning from each other and pooling resources, great progress can be made for the benefit of human, plant, and animal kind.”

Professor Cleaveland is a Fellow of the Royal Society, whose research on rabies has made a pivotal contribution to the development of international strategies for global elimination of the viral disease. Her research platform in East Africa now addresses a wide range of infectious disease problems affecting human, domestic animal and wildlife health. She works to raise awareness of the impact of neglected diseases, to investigate infection dynamics in natural ecosystems, and to identify cost-effective disease control measures that will improve human health, livelihoods, and biodiversity conservation. Professor Cleaveland plays an active role in several capacity-strengthening initiatives and research consortia with African partner institutions.

Mike Fisher died in 2005, and since 2006 his memorial award has been given annually to those who have contributed significantly to the area of veterinary medicine and human health. In keeping with the theme of Dr. Cleaveland’s work, the award was presented at November’s One Health One Medicine Symposium at St. George’s University.

Mike Fisher Award Recipients

  • Lord Soulsby of Swaffham Prior (2006)
  • Dr. Keith B. Taylor (2007)
  • Lord May of Oxford (2008)
  • Dr. John David (2009)
  • Lord Walton of Detchant (2010)
  • Professor Adetokunbo Oluwole Lucas (2011)
  • Dr. Donald Hopkins (2012)
  • Professor R. C. Andrew Thompson (2013)
  • Professor Alan Fenwick (2014)
  • Sir Gordon Conway (2016)
  • Dr. Charles Modica (2017)
  • Dr. Sarah Cleaveland (2018)

Dr. Sarah Cleaveland (fifth from right), the 2018 recipient of the Mike Fisher Memorial Award, with St. George’s University administration and faculty.

St. George’s University Awards $1.1 Million in CityDoctors Scholarships to Eight NYC-Based Students

St. George’s University School of Medicine and NYC Health + Hospitals have announced that eight students from the New York metropolitan area have been awarded $1.1 million in CityDoctors scholarships. In return, awardees commit to practicing primary care medicine at one of 11 public hospitals in New York City following graduation. Since its inception in 2012, the CityDoctors scholarship program has awarded 99 students with scholarships worth a total of $10.3 million.

“The CityDoctors scholarship program was created to help some of New York’s best and brightest achieve their dream of pursuing a career in medicine in their hometown,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to equipping a new group of students with the skills they’ll need to provide quality health care in New York’s neediest communities.”

The 2018 class of CityDoctors scholarship recipients are a diverse group of women and men, representing Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Recipients hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from a range of prestigious institutions, including Johns Hopkins University, St. John’s University, Boston University, City College of New York, SUNY Albany, Lehman College, the College of Staten Island, and New York City College of Technology. The following scholarship recipients, each of whom has committed to a two-year term with NYC Health + Hospitals, began medical school this spring in Grenada.

Name Residence
Suemaya Husein Queens
Joseph Varvarigos Queens
Huigen Chen Manhattan
Georgina Kemeh Bronx
Thomas Joyce Staten Island
Gonzalo Militar Queens
Bishoy Gerges Staten Island
Jesam Usani Bronx

“Our ongoing collaboration with St. George’s University demonstrates NYC Health + Hospitals’ commitment to strengthening primary care services across the city,” said Dr. Mitchell Katz, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “Graduates of this program commit to practicing primary care in our health system, which helps us fill a gap our communities so desperately feel, and we are happy to welcome them to our team.”

CityDoctors Scholarship students commit to serving as primary care attending physicians at an NYC Health + Hospitals facility following their medical training. Students who receive a full scholarship commit to working for NYC Health + Hospitals for four years; students with half scholarships sign on for two years.

To qualify for a CityDoctors scholarship, applicants must be a US citizen or US permanent resident and meet one or more of the following criteria: have had a permanent address within the five boroughs of New York City for five years or more, have graduated from a high school within New York City, have graduated from a college or university within New York City, have a parent employed by the City of New York or NYC Health + Hospitals, or be employed themselves by the City of New York or NYC Health + Hospitals for at least five years.

The CityDoctors scholarship program is designed to attract and educate the best and brightest students to become doctors committed to serving in urban hospitals. The collaboration between St. George’s University and NYC Health + Hospitals launched in 2012 to help address the shortage of primary care physicians and to increase educational and career opportunities for local youth. The scholarship recipients have been selected based on their academic excellence and financial need, and will receive either partial or full scholarships to pay for medical school tuition for periods of up to four years, with some scholarships valued at more than $200,000 each.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthandHospitals or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.

St. George’s University Recognized as an Approved University by the Medical Council of India

St. George’s University welcomed His Excellency, Shri Biswadip Dey, High Commissioner of India (center), for a visit in August 2017.

St. George’s University has been recognized as an approved university by the Medical Council of India (MCI). The accreditation will enable graduates of St. George’s University School of Medicine to practice in India, paving the way for Indian medical students to study at SGU and return home to practice medicine as fully trained doctors.

SGU has a proven record of recruiting international students who go on to practice medicine in their home countries, often in underserved areas. Approximately 1 percent of all practicing doctors in the USA 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. It is hoped that SGU will be able to make a similar contribution to the medical workforce throughout India.

“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Medical Council of India for supporting us as we achieve this important milestone,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This recognition will enable us to fulfill our commitment to accept students from India and help us return them as world-class doctors. I look forward to welcoming them to our campus in Grenada.”

St. George’s University School of Medicine draws students and faculty from 140 countries. It is affiliated with education institutions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. Indian students who enroll in the MD program will be able to take advantage of these institutional links, resulting in qualified doctors with a truly global medical education.

SGU students benefit from joining an institution with significant links to the Commonwealth. In 2019, the University will host the annual conference of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth, with the theme of “investing in student success.” Participants will consider how institutions around the world can work to continually develop students throughout the course of their education, resulting in more staying on and completing their studies.

Celebrating 10 Years of Beyond Spice Family Weekend

Photo: Visiting families gather at the University Club for a Family Weekend Sunset BBQ.

Edie Reeves left her home in Nashville, Tennessee and traveled over 2,000 miles to visit her son, Cody, a first-term student at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. Not only was it her first time visiting Grenada, it was her first time out of the country. Still, she made the journey, along with many other families from North America, the Caribbean, and Europe to attend SGU’s 15th Beyond Spice Family Weekend.

“This experience has been phenomenal. It’s more than I ever thought it would be,” said Mrs. Reeves. “From exploring the island on the heritage tour to witnessing my son put on his white coat, I could not be prouder of him. I would recommend that all parents check out SGU’s Family Weekend.”

Celebrating its 10th year since establishing Family Weekend, SGU continually looks forward to opening its doors to host students’ families who’ve come to visit the country and campus that their students now call home. The bi-annual family weekend festivities include guided campus tours; a historical sightseeing tour of Fort Frederick, the famous Grand Etang Lake, and the 30-foot Annandale Waterfalls; and lunch at Belmont Estate, a fully functional and historic plantation, among other activities.

Photo: An aerial view of Grand Etang Lake, one of the tour stops during Family Weekend.

Additionally, SGU family members are not one-time visitors. Anna and Anthony Rubano made a second trip from Bethlehem, Connecticut to visit their son, John, an incoming med student, who followed in the footsteps of his cousin, Nicholas Verdura, MD SGU ‘05. The couple arrived a week in advance to soak up as much sun, sea, and sand in the Isle of Spice before attending the momentous School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.

“We’ve visited Grenada twice now; the campus is beautiful and every time we come back it seems to be expanding” said Mrs. Rubano. “It’s been an emotional day, but we are very proud of our son because he has worked so hard to get here. He learned about SGU through his cousin, who’s a surgeon specializing in minimally invasive surgery. After shadowing him for some time, John decided that he also wanted to become a doctor at SGU.”

Yet, Family Weekend is not a venture that only benefits SGU but has a large impact on the Grenadian economy as well, since many family members stay at local hotels, purchase handmade items from local vendors, and dine in local restaurants.

“We love hosting SGU families during Family Weekend,” said Glenroy Boatswain, Online Marketing Manager, True Blue Bay Boutique Resort. “The influx of visitors to Grenada and to our hotel and restaurant in particular has provided a much-welcomed boost in our occupancy rates. We usually see a 15-to 20-percent increase.

“The families also seem to really enjoy our daily themes when dining at our restaurant, which include Tuesday Grenadian Night, with live steel pan music, and Mexicaribbean night on Fridays, serving up Mexican and Caribbean dishes and salsa dancing, which both seem to be a big hit.”

“It is heartening to see the growth of our Family Weekend activities. From inception, it was designed to give our visitors an opportunity to learn more about Grenada and the University along with having meaningful interactions with our top administrators,” stated Colin Dowe, Associate Dean of Enrolment Planning. “The face-to-face engagements and sharing of stories has brought this part of our community closer together and argues well for building stronger relationships as we collectively support our students in realizing their various academic and professional aspirations.”

Family Weekend Fall 2018 is set for August 30 – September 2. Learn more about the festivities by visiting the Family Weekend webpage or by emailing familyweekend@sgu.edu.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Photo: Families gather for photographs following the January 2018 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.