St. George’s University Announces New Medical Education Partnership with California State University, Long Beach

St. George’s University and California State University, Long Beach, have launched a new academic partnership that will allow qualified CSULB students to gain expedited admission into SGU’s School of Medicine.

“We are excited to welcome a talented cohort of CSULB students to St. George’s,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to working with CSULB to educate the next generation of physicians.”

CSULB students of all majors are eligible to apply to the new program, provided they complete the necessary coursework for medical school admission, maintain a minimum 3.4 GPA, and post an MCAT score within five points of the average for last year’s class at SGU.

All applications will be reviewed by a newly created committee within CSULB’s Whitaker Health Professions Advising Office. Applicants must also submit to a face-to-face interview with a representative from SGU. Students approved by both the committee and the interviewer will be granted admission to the program.

The program will allow students to finish their medical degrees a semester early. Students will spend their final semester of undergraduate studies at St. George’s University, after which they’ll be awarded their BA or BS degree by California State University, Long Beach. They will then complete another year-and-a-half of medical studies at SGU, before moving onto the final two years of graduate medical education at clinical rotation sites in the United States and the United Kingdom.

“By encouraging CSULB students from all majors and backgrounds to apply to our new program, we hope to admit a diverse and well-rounded group of individuals,” Olds said. “We also believe that students will value how this program allows them to complete their medical degrees, and start their careers as doctors, a semester faster than the conventional medical school track.”

St. George’s University and Fairleigh Dickinson University Launch Medical Education Partnership

St. George’s University has announced a new partnership with Fairleigh Dickinson University that will give qualified FDU students an expedited enrollment path into the School of Medicine at SGU.

“We are delighted to welcome Fairleigh Dickinson’s best and brightest to St. George’s University so that they can pursue their dreams of becoming doctors,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University.

Fairleigh Dickinson students will be eligible to apply for admission to the medical and veterinary schools at St. George’s University if they complete their undergraduate courses with a minimum cumulative 3.4 GPA and attain an MCAT score within five points of the average among SGU matriculants the previous term. Fairleigh Dickinson undergrads who have completed a minimum of 30 credits and met SGU’s admissions standards will be invited to interview.

Fairleigh Dickinson students seeking entry to the program will also have the opportunity to study abroad at St. George’s University during their undergraduate senior fall. They’ll be exposed to a wide range of science coursework and nursing clinical experience, be able to interact with SGU faculty and students, and experience a taste of life in Grenada.

Participants in the program will then either return to Fairleigh Dickinson to complete their degree or remain at St. George’s University to begin their medical or veterinary education with the January class. Those who opt for the latter will receive their bachelor’s degree from Fairleigh Dickinson after completing their first medical or veterinary school term.

Fairleigh Dickinson joins a network of schools spanning 12 countries that have established similar partnerships with SGU, including 18 others in the United States.

“Our new partnership offers Fairleigh Dickinson students a unique opportunity to fast-track their entry into the physician workforce by working on their undergraduate and graduate medical degrees simultaneously,” Dr. Olds said.

A Step Forward for Aspiring Physicians—and a Familiar Setting for Some

New students at the January 2018 SGUSOM White Coat Ceremony.

More than three decades since earning their own medical degrees at St. George’s University, Matthew Coppola, MD SGU ’84, and his wife Carmela Coppola (née Carpanzano), MD SGU ’84, proudly sat in attendance as their son, Matt, took his first step into the medical profession at the Spring 2018 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.

“Almost 40 years ago, I met my wife in the mailroom at SGU,” said Dr. Coppola, an internal medicine specialist in Pittsburgh, PA. “Six kids later, my son, Matt, is literally following in our footsteps and hopefully will take over my practice one day.”

The 2022 Grenada class joined its fellow students from SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who began their journey two weeks earlier at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. All together, this spring’s incoming SOM class welcomes aspiring physicians from 39 US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and 20 countries.

The Coppolas expect to make more frequent visits to the Spice Isle. In addition to Matt’s entry into the SOM program, the Coppolas’ daughter, Maria, has hopes of attending SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine in the near future. Carmela Coppola, who practices neonatology in Pittsburgh, had been back several times in the late 1980s and helped out at Grenada’s General Hospital. A few years ago, the entire family visited the island, and Matt and Maria got a firsthand look at the SGU experience by visiting the 2015 Med/Vet Summer Leadership Academy.

Also, returning to SGU was the evening’s master of ceremonies, Donielle Sliwa, MD/MPH SGU ’12, Chief Fellow in Hematology and Oncology at Baystate Medical Center/Tufts University School of Medicine in Massachusetts. Having sat in those same seats and made the same commitment at her own White Coat Ceremony 10 years prior, Dr. Sliwa knew exactly how the incoming class felt.

“At my White Coat Ceremony, I felt a great sense of pride in my decision to become a physician and an eagerness to contribute meaningfully to the rapidly changing landscape of health care,” said Dr. Sliwa. “SGU will now give you the tools and support you need to be successful in medical school, but in the end, your true success will come from your passion to fulfill your dream, your willingness to ask for help, your humility in expressing gratitude, and your perseverance when times get tough.”

Dr. Lee Miller

Dr. Lee Miller, Professor of Pediatrics and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, was the evening’s keynote speaker. Addressing the future doctors, he shared five take-home messages centered on impact, exploration, balance, privilege, and pride.

“Don’t ever take for granted the amazing impact you will have in the lives of others. Explore as many arenas as possible to create your own recipe. Maintain balance to build resiliency and to keep yourself whole. And always remember what a privilege it is to wear that white coat and know how proud we are of you today.”

St. George’s University held a moment of silence to acknowledge the passing of Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who passed away on January 23 at the age of 92. A master diagnostician, Dr. Gold became an international leader and advocate for humanism in health care. Through his foundation, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, SGU established the White Coat Ceremony beginning in 1996, and welcomed both Dr. Gold and his wife, Sandra, to deliver the ceremony’s keynote address in 2005. In 2009, his foundation inspired SGU’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society, through which preclinical students can engage in service activities for their communities.

In addition to serving as a rite of passage for aspiring physicians, the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies coincide with a weekend of activities that help make up Beyond Spice Family Weekend. The University’s bi-annual event welcomes students and family members to soak up nature and culture in Grenada.

Class of 2022 Joins SGU Family at School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony

SGUSVM student Christian Small (center) joins the Class of 2020.

Emotions ran high for 10 members of the Small family, who traveled to Grenada from all over the United States to witness Christian Small and his classmates officially enter the veterinary medical profession at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony. As part of the ceremony, first-term students donned their white coats and recited the Oath of Professional Commitment.

“I’m a little overwhelmed right now but I am so proud of him, especially because I know the sacrifices it took for him to get here,” said his father, Christopher Small. “All the hard work he put in, being a student-athlete in undergrad, and then to graduate with honors was truly wonderful.

“As for him becoming a veterinarian, I always knew that there was something there because of his constant interest in animals as a kid. And knowing the kind of heart that he has, I think that he will be a very compassionate veterinarian.”

Sharing the Smalls’ joy was Ralph and Valerie Nahous, from Mt. Gay, St. George’s, who watched with pride as their daughter, Chelsea, was robed with her white coat. Although supportive of whatever field their daughter chose to pursue, the Nahouses were especially happy to see their daughter take the first step in her journey toward becoming the first veterinarian in the family.

“She has made me extremely proud. She has the ambition and drive to achieve all her goals in life,” extolled Mr. Nahous. “She is an inspiration to me by being so strong and having the will to go forward in the pursuit of what she wants. She is by far a better person than I am.”

Grenadian-born alumnus Rhea St. Louis, DVM SGU ’16, stood before the incoming class having graduated less than two years ago, presiding as Master of Ceremonies at the auspicious event. Now an Instructor in the Department
 of Anatomy, Physiology, and Pharmacology at the SVM, Dr. St. Louis urged the future veterinarians to make use of all the resources that SGU had to offer, just as she had done as a student.

“You are now part of an organization that is set up for you to succeed,” stated Dr. St. Louis. “You have excellent, accomplished professors who are also very approachable. I encourage you to utilize the facilities at SGU for your support. Please know that you are not alone, and no one expects you to do this all by yourself.”

Keynote Speaker Dr. Ronald K. Cott.

Delivering the keynote address, Dr. Ronald K. Cott, Adjunct Clinical Assistant Professor and Advancement Consultant in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Missouri, welcomed and congratulated the students on taking the first step towards many new goals and aspirations. Choosing to relate a series of light-hearted and fun stories, he shared with them the keys to his successful 30 years of commitment to organized veterinary medicine with humor and some sound advice.

“Please remember that each day over the next four years, you will experience what I call “Cott’s Four Cs”: Challenge, Chance, Choice, and Change,” assured Dr. Cott. “You will undoubtedly have your challenges over the next four years; you will take some chances but don’t jeopardize your integrity; you will make some good and some bad choices; and you will change, which will be the marker of your growth within this profession. Embrace the 4 Cs—all of them—as they will help you grow and carry you forward.”

The Class of 2022 hopes to join more than 1,500 SVM graduates of SGU’s veterinary medical program, which accepted its first class in August 1999. The School has since gained full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Small Animal Clinic became the second practice outside the United States and Canada to earn American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation.

St. George’s University Announces New Direct Pathway to Medical School for Students at the College of Saint Elizabeth

College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ

TRUE BLUE, Grenada (January 25)Today, St. George’s University launched a new combined degree program with the College of Saint Elizabeth in Morristown, NJ.

Qualified students will be able to receive simultaneous admission to the College of Saint Elizabeth and St. George’s University School of Medicine. If they maintain certain minimum academic standards as undergraduates, they’ll be eligible to continue on to SGU to pursue postgraduate medical degrees.

“We at St. George’s University and our friends at the College of Saint Elizabeth are committed to seeking out students who are passionate about medicine and committed to academic excellence.” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds said. “We’re thrilled to offer these high-caliber students admission to our medical school at the beginning of their college careers.”

“We look forward to this new partnership with St. George’s and the possibilities that it brings for our students,” said College of Saint Elizabeth President Helen J. Streubert. “As a College with a long history of STEM education, this combined degree program builds on our strengths and gives our students the opportunity to seamlessly join a high-quality medical school.”

Students interested in the new program must declare their intention when they apply to the College of Saint Elizabeth. The two institutions will conduct interviews with qualified applicants to determine whether to offer admission to the combined degree program. Undergraduate students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 and achieve an MCAT score within five points of the average for students who enrolled at St. George’s the previous term to achieve full admission.

After students complete the agreed-upon premedical curriculum and meet other standard requirements for admission to SGU, they will be eligible to spend their first two years of medical school in Grenada. Students will complete the next two years of clinical training at hospitals in the United Kingdom or the United States. They will be encouraged to return to New Jersey for their clinical rotations and residencies.

The College of Saint Elizabeth joins St. George’s University’s 30-plus partners across 12 countries. It is SGU’s 19th institutional partner in the United States, and fourth in New Jersey.

“Our network of partnerships ensures that we’ll have a diverse array of students from all over the world,” Dr. Olds said. “We look forward to welcoming the College of Saint Elizabeth’s most talented graduates to our campus in Grenada—and helping them pursue their dreams of becoming doctors.”

Global Scholars Learn What It Means to Be a Doctor

Keith B. Taylor

In January, St. George’s University medical students in the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program were welcomed to Northumbria University to take part in the traditional White Coat Ceremony. Students were presented with their White Coats by leading medical professionals, including Master of Ceremonies Dr. Ranmith Perera and Keynote Speaker Dr. Linda de Cossart.

Ranmith Perera, MD SGU ’94, thanked the University for providing him with the opportunity to pursue his career in medicine. He spoke of losing hope when, in the early 1980s, the government of Sri Lanka closed down the North Colombo Medical School, where he was enrolled. But he explained, thanks to a special program established at SGU, Sri Lankan medical students were welcomed to Grenada to continue their studies.

Dr. Perera went on to outline his journey, beginning as a pathologist at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and Western General Hospital as a Senior House Officer in Histopathology, before becoming a Specialty Registrar in London at St. George’s Hospital and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital. He is now a consultant pathologist in the Department of Cellular Pathology at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, one of the largest kidney transplant programmes in the UK.

His parting words outlined to the valuable contribution SGU’s students will make to society. “There is a global shortage of doctors, so work hard and hurry up. The world can’t wait.”

In her keynote address, Dr. Linda de Cossart spoke about what it means to be a doctor. “Is being a doctor just another job?” she asked—before highlighting the great responsibility the students will face following graduation. Being a doctor is different, she suggested, “because the patients you will meet will be vulnerable; often at one of the lowest points in their lives.”

Commenting on the role of technology in medicine, and the concerns within some parts of the medical community that automation may remove the need for doctors, Dr. de Cossart said, “technological prowess and scientific knowledge are essential, but the thing that will define you as a doctor is how you deal with patients.” She emphasized that, while doctors must be adaptable and stay on top of technological advancements, their role as a compassionate figure providing reassurance and dignity to patients is not under threat.

Dr. de Cossart recounted how she learned these lessons from personal experience. Having decided to become a vascular surgeon, she was set back early in her career when—having run into the operating theatre to assist in an ongoing procedure, she fainted. Struggling to come to terms with what had happened, it was months later when Dr. de Cossart was diagnosed with a rare, life-threatening disease. While her recovery took a number of years, by seeking help and support from others, she went on to enjoy a long career—for 22 years as a Consultant Vascular and General Surgeon, and now as an Emeritus Consultant. In 1999, Dr. de Cossart was elected to the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons, where she served as Vice President—proving that even the greatest obstacles can be overcome.

“Surround yourself with help,” she implored the students. “You will need it.”

Lending the benefit of her experience as a world-leading surgeon, she cautioned the students to prepare for their first day as a qualified doctor. “You may feel ready, and you can have all the knowledge in the world. But until you are standing in front of a patient, having to make a decision that will impact their lives, you won’t know what it’s like.” Warning that this will be unnerving, she advised the students to embrace the responsibility. “Your professional development will be shaped by these experiences.”

“I hope some of the things I have said today have inspired you” were her parting words. The students’ applause confirmed that they had.

St. George’s University Celebrates International Collaboration with Northumbria University

This spring, St. George’s University is concluding celebrations to honor 10 years of collaboration with Northumbria University, Newcastle, in the United Kingdom. The anniversary marks a decade since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two institutions, which established the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP)—named after the inspirational late-former Vice Chancellor of SGU. Commemorations of the longstanding relationship began in January 2017; the start of the 10th year.

The KBTGSP allows students on SGU’s four-year medical degree to complete their first year of the basic sciences component of their course at Northumbria University. This enables students to gain a valuable insight into cross-cultural medical practices, and experience of living and studying in an international setting. Since its inception a decade ago, more than 1,800 students have enrolled in the program, where they follow the same successful curriculum as offered to students in Grenada.

“The program has been exemplary in demonstrating that two universities based in different countries can cooperate in developing an academic program that produces true ‘global scholars,’” said Dr. David Holmes, Associate Dean of the KBTGSP. “The academic success of the KBTGSP students, and their consistently high praise of their experience on the program, and of living in Newcastle, is testimony to the efforts of members of both universities.”

The 10-year anniversary dinner was held on January 10 in Northumbria University’s Great Hall. A welcome address was given by Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice Chancellor at Northumbria University. A welcome speech was also given by Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, and guests included Baroness Howells of St. Davids, President of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) and the only Grenadian in the House of Lords.

“This anniversary marks a significant milestone in the relationship between Northumbria University and St. George’s University, and also coincides with our 25-year anniversary as a University,” said Professor Francis. “Northumbria has a global reputation for delivering academic excellence and the partnership with SGU is just one demonstration of that. For 10 years, students on the Global Scholars Program have enriched Northumbria’s rich academic community through their academic and extracurricular contributions, and we are delighted to have helped to develop doctors who are saving lives across the globe, thanks to this relationship. I look forward to the partnership continuing into the future.”

Speaking on the importance of the collaboration, Dr. Olds said, “There is no substitute for a well-rounded medical education in producing world-leading physicians, and gaining experience in international settings is invaluable. Our students are fortunate to have this opportunity available to them in their first year, and benefit significantly from their time at Northumbria. The KBTGSP is an ideal international program for medical students who wish devote at least a portion of their professional lives to the service of developing countries, underserved regions of the world, or international NGOs. Developing students with such ambition is a key aim of SGU”.

On January 11, the day after the anniversary dinner, the next intake of students were welcomed onto the KBTGSP in a traditional White Coat Ceremony. Having been ‘robed’ in their white coats, the students will make a professional commitment to the medical profession.

As part of the anniversary celebrations of the partnership between Northumbria University and SGU, alumni of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program have been sharing their memories of their time in Newcastle. Joshua Ramjist, MD SGU ’11, a general surgery resident at Maimonides Medical Center in New York, joined the program in 2007. “The Global Scholars Program was hands down the best experience of my life,” he said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat. I was able to focus on my study skills and develop as a student.”

Jessica Best, MD SGU ’12, is now an emergency medicine physician in Austin, Texas, after completing her EM residency at University Medical Center Brackenridge—the very hospital where she was born. Dr. Best completed the first year of her basic sciences on the KBTGSP, and also spent time studying in Thailand as part of SGU’s two-week elective course. Commenting on her time at the University, she said “I was able to live and learn in all these wonderful places, and form an opinion on what works and what doesn’t. I’m happy to share my experience with prospective students.”

New York Resident Awarded Second-Ever Louis Modica Memorial Scholarship

In 1976, Louis J. Modica helped lay the building blocks for an international medical school in Grenada. More than 40 years later, Owen Cole will pursue his dream of becoming a physician as the second-ever recipient of the Louis Modica Memorial Scholarship.

“Becoming a doctor is something I’ve wanted to do for my entire life, ever since I can remember,” Mr. Cole said. “It’s inspiring because Mr. Modica had this plan, and all these years later, I get to pursue my dream under his name.”

The full-tuition scholarship recipient grew up in Bay Shore, NY, in the same village that Mr. Modica, a real estate developer, helped revitalize in the 1960s. Mr. Cole graduated from nearby St. John the Baptist High School and also teaching religious education to sixth- and seventh-graders at St. Patrick’s Parish in town. A two-week mission trip to Chaclacayo, Peru, after his junior year in high school only strengthened Mr. Cole’s drive toward a career in medicine. There, he learned under Dr. Anthony Lazzara in the Hogar San Francisco de Asis, a facility that treats destitute and sick children and young adults.

In particular, he recalled a 14-year-old boy named Victor who was born with one leg and no arms—as a result of, it’s believed, a failed home abortion. Nevertheless, Victor grew to “do everything that you or I could do, all because of Dr. Tony.” More than 30 years ago, Dr. Lazzara left an academic position at Emory University in Georgia to treat underprivileged children in the developing world through the Villa La Paz Foundation.

“It was incredible to see how humble Dr. Tony was,” Mr. Cole said. “He’s given up his life to treat these kids that otherwise wouldn’t be treated.”

Mr. Cole went on to attend the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 3½ years with a degree in environmental science. After completing his studies, he remained in Charlottesville to volunteer in UVA Medical Center’s intensive care unit and surgical department, in preparation for medical school.

Then came the call about becoming the second-ever Modica Scholarship recipient.

“I was blown away,” Mr. Cole said. “It’s an amazing opportunity. I can’t wait to start my medical career, and I’m really looking forward to living in such a unique environment.”

Mr. Cole will travel to Grenada in January to begin Term 1 at SGU. In addition to pursuing a career in pediatrics, he hopes to provide care for needy communities abroad through an organization such as Doctors Without Borders.

– Brett Mauser

St. George’s University Strikes Partnership with Trent University to Provide Direct Entry to Medical and Veterinary School

Representatives from St. George’s University and Trent University announce the institutions’ new academic partnership. From left to right, Sasha Trivett, Dr. James Shipley, Sandra Banner, Charles Furey, Nona Robinson, and Dr. David Ellis.

Today, St. George’s University announced a new partnership with Peterborough, Ontario-based Trent University to provide qualified Trent undergraduates with direct admission to its Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

The two universities commemorated the partnership at a signing ceremony on Trent’s campus. Canadian consultants Sandra Banner and Charles Furey were on hand to represent St. George’s.

“This partnership offers passionate and engaged Trent students a direct pathway to a top-notch post-graduate education in medicine or veterinary medicine,” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds said. “We’re excited to welcome aspiring doctors and veterinarians from Trent to St. George’s.”

To qualify, Trent University students must complete the Medical Professional Stream, a four-year program designed to guide students into careers in medicine and public health.

St. George’s medical students may spend their first two years studying in Grenada, or choose to complete their first year at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program before returning to Grenada for their second year. During the third and fourth years, students will complete clinical rotations in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada. In recent years, SGU students have completed more than 300 electives in Canadian hospitals.

Veterinary students spend their first three years studying in Grenada. They then complete their final year at one of the many veterinary schools throughout the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Ireland affiliated with SGU. After sitting the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam, students can begin practicing in the United States or Canada.

St. George’s new partnership with Trent is one of over 30 it maintains with institutes of higher learning in 12 different countries. This will be the fifth partnership for St. George’s with a Canadian institution.

“St. George’s offers a globally focused education, and our partnerships with universities like Trent support that mission,” Dr. Olds said. “We look forward to helping Trent graduates realize their dreams of becoming doctors and veterinarians.”

United Arab Emirates Ministry of Education Recognizes SGU MD Degree Program

The Education Ministry of the United Arab Emirates has formally recognized the MD degree of St George’s University, the leading international medical school in the Caribbean island of Grenada. The move confirms that St George’s University meets all of the standards required by the Education Ministry, and paves the way for medical students from the UAE to study in Grenada and return home to practice medicine.

Commenting on the development, Dr G. Richard Olds, President of St George’s University said, “These provisions make way for St. George’s and The United Arab Emirates to develop a valuable partnership, providing an additional pathway for students from the UAE who want to pursue a career in healthcare. We look forward to welcoming students from the UAE to our campus.”

St. George’s University School of Medicine is one of the largest in the world, drawing students and faculty from 140 countries. The University has graduated over 18,000 students, including physicians, veterinarians, scientists and public health professionals. It is affiliated with education institutions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and Ireland. Students on the MD program will be able to take advantage of these institutional links, resulting in qualified doctors with a truly global medical education.

Key to the university’s success has been developing enthusiasm in students to practice medicine in their home countries, often in areas where physician numbers are low. Approximately 1% of all practicing doctors in the USA are graduates of St George’s University, with that figure rising to around 15% of the physician population in Trinidad and Tobago, and 20% in Botswana.