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.

St. George’s University Offers New Grants for January Med School Enrollees

 

Today, St. George’s University awarded scholarships to four applicants to the University’s medical school as part of its #SGUperspective program. The winners will each receive up to $10,000.

“We are delighted to honor these individuals with scholarships through the #SGUperspective program,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “These grants are helping us attract a January class with a passion for medicine and a wide range of viewpoints and experiences.”

#SGUperspective scholarships are available to new students who enroll in the January 2018 class. Students can apply by creating a 30-60 second video highlighting the aspects of medicine that inspire them, sharing it on social media with the hashtag #SGUperspective, and submitting it here for evaluation by the University’s admissions committee. St. George’s will award scholarships of up to $10,000 to as many as 30 students.

Winning perspectives have included leadership and service (Michael DeLuca), having an open heart (Joseph Varvarigos), connect with patients (Adam Kirstein) and empathy in medicine (Laraib Sehrish). This late-entry grant program will be accepting application for the January 2018 class until December 31.

Applicants to St. George’s January class will also be eligible for the newly established Humanitarian Scholarship, which is awarded to students who demonstrate a commitment to philanthropy and community service. Like the #SGUperspective grants, this scholarship is available only to students entering in January.

Students applying for admission in January will also be considered for CityDoctors Scholarships, which support students planning to work in urban hospitals in the New York metropolitan area.

“We look forward to welcoming a class of students this January who are committed to academic excellence,” Dr. Olds said. “Our video grant program has already led us to four future superstars who will bring innovative, unique perspectives to medicine—and we look forward to identifying many more.”

Remembering Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart, A Distinguished Doctor, Lecturer, Academic, and Advisor

St. George’s University today pays tribute to Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart, who died on November 11, 2017. A distinguished doctor, lecturer, academic, and advisor, Sir Kenneth was a founding member of the Board of Directors and Scientific Advisory Board of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), and was a Friend of St George’s University, where he sat on the Academic Board for more than 20 years. His illustrious career included crucial research on issues ranging from human rights and ethics to child safety and science education. Sir Kenneth left an indelible mark on SGU and all of his students and colleagues, and his contributions to medicine and research will continue to benefit many generations to come.

Born on June 16, 1920 in Barbados, he attended Harrison’s College before going on to obtain his MD from Queen’s University in Belfast, Ireland. In 1952, he joined the staff of the newly established University Hospital of the West Indies in Jamaica as its first senior registrar in medicine.  He was later promoted to Consultant, Lecturer, and became the first West Indian Professor (1966) and subsequently Dean of the Faculty of Medicine (1969) a post he held until his retirement from the University of the West Indies in 1976. He then served, for eight years, as Medical Advisor to the Commonwealth Secretariat in London.

In July 1977, Sir Kenneth received the distinction of Knight Bachelor from Her Majesty the Queen “for services to medicine in the Commonwealth in general and the Caribbean in particular.” His contribution was significant: During his work in Jamaica, he described two previously unknown medical disorders ‘acute toxic hypoglycaemia’, and ‘veno-occlusive disease of the liver.’ With his colleagues, these conditions were identified and nearly eliminated from the country in less than two decades.

Many international organizations were fortunate to benefit from Sir Kenneth’s expertise, who served in positions as diverse as Director of the International Medical Education Trust; Honorary Medical and Scientific Adviser to the Barbados High Commission in London; Founder Trustee and Patron of Students Partnership Worldwide, and board member of the Errol and Nita Barrow Education Trust.

In his capacity as a member of SGU’s Academic Board, Sir Kenneth played an important role in guiding the development  and evolution of the University, which has become a innovative and international center of academic excellence and a leader in global medicine. In recognition of his numerous scientific contributions to medicine, he was awarded an honorary DSc (1986) from Queen’s University, and for his contributions to St. George’s University, was awarded the Order of the Mace in 2008.

He leaves his wife, Barbara, and three children.

St. George’s University Launches Online Master of Public Health Program

In a first for St. George’s University, students will now be able to obtain a Master of Public Health online—widening the opportunity for students around the world to benefit from SGU’s teaching program. Launched to coincide with the University’s 40th anniversary, the move encapsulates SGU’s commitment to teach in innovative ways in the years ahead, while improving access to medical education.

SGU’s MPH graduate degree produces leading public health practitioners and researchers for the Caribbean and for the rest of the world. Those who opt to study the course online pursue a degree specialization in the Global Health Track, which is designed to help students gain insight into issues that impact public health on a global scale. Students will learn how to plan, design, and implement programs to benefit the overall health of communities across the globe.

Commenting on the launch, Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said: “SGU is a leading international university, and it is fitting that, in our 40th anniversary year, we are providing the opportunity for those interested in furthering their knowledge in global public health, to take our MPH program online. By taking our Master of Public Health course online, more students from around the world—many of whom live in areas with chronic shortages of public health professionals—will be able to obtain a qualification from St. George’s University’s School of Graduate Studies.”

The course will provide students with the background to address issues that impact global healthcare such as occupational health, preventative healthcare, as well as environmental health concerns including waste and water management, and air pollution control.

SGU’s MPH degree program is accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the US accrediting body for public health programs.

St. George’s University’s Primary Medical Qualification Receives GMC Approval

All graduate doctors from St. George’s University are from this month automatically eligible to apply for General Medical Council (GMC) registration, following the regulatory body’s decision to remove the medical school from their case-by-case list.

The move recognizes the quality of SGU’s graduates and teaching standards, and paves the way for SGU graduates to study and work in the UK following successful registration and completion of prerequisite exams.

Following a review of the university’s primary medical qualifications, the Council agreed that graduates from St. George’s University are now able to apply to sit the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test and GMC registration in the UK, without having their qualification individually assessed. Applicants had previously been approved on a case-by-case basis.

The PLAB test is the main route by which international medical graduates demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice medicine in the UK.

Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies UK, explained the significance of the move. “That the GMC will now recognize the SGU MD degree without an individual examination of each qualification is a major step forward and will encourage more SGU graduates to come to practice in the UK. This is one of a number of recent positive changes to come from the GMC, including the revocation of the ‘50% rule.’ ”

For many years, SGU’s medical graduates were assessed on a case-by-case basis with the Case Registration Advisor at the GMC having a wide latitude for determining the parameters of the “50% rule.” Some were in jeopardy of being registered with the GMC if they joined an international selective, thereby having two more weeks on their  transcript “away from the country awarding the diploma” and therefore putting them on the wrong side of the “50% rule.”

The students in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program were particularly adversely affected by this rule since they spend the first year of their basic science program in the UK. As SGU’s clinical program takes place mainly in the US and the UK, students at the KBTGSP would not be able to be registered with the GMC, unless they returned to Grenada to do their final-year elective program. Now such students can benefit from doing their fourth-year attachments in the US and/or the UK.

“Another problem for our students has been the timing of the PLAB exams, which have meant our graduates have had to wait up to 18 months following graduation without a salary before beginning their first foundation year in UK hospitals,” Mr. Croft added. “In the near future, PLAB is being replaced with the Medical Licensing Assessment, which will be held more frequently throughout the year.

“It is hoped that, when taken together, these measures will help address the serious shortage of doctors in the UK, particularly in general practice, psychiatry, and emergency medicine.”

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said, “Our students receive a world-class medical education and are able to take advantage of facilities in the UK, Grenada, Canada, and the USA as part of their formal training. As a result, our graduates benefit from a truly globalized training program, making them ideal candidates to work in healthcare systems with a diversity of patients, like the NHS.

“I am pleased that this has been recognized by the General Medical Council in the UK, and look forward to more doctors from SGU taking advantage of the rewarding career opportunities offered in the UK.”