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.

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.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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.

– Ray-Donna Peters