Namrita Prasad

Namrita Prasad, MD SGU ’16, never imagined that she would leave her home or her family, never mind come this far. She grew up in the Fiji Islands, her family had limited resources, and no family member on either side had graduated college. Yet in March, after raising the bar with each year gone by, she celebrated yet another remarkable achievement in her journey, having secured an internal medicine residency at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York.

“It’s unreal to me that I’m even here,” she said, joining fellow St. George’s University graduates as the annual Match Day luncheon. “It was all a dream that seemed unattainable when I was at a community college while working full time. The one thing that led me here was perseverance. I wasn’t the smartest student but I knew how to work hard and ask for help whenever I needed it. I was blessed with wonderful mentors that guided me to where I am today and I am just so extremely humbled.”

She comes from modest beginnings. At age 16, a military coup forced her family to relocate from Fiji to San Bruno, CA, in South San Francisco. Money was tight and her career options, she thought, minimal. However, Dr. Prasad volunteered at several hospitals in the area and joined a summer youth program through Kaiser Permanente, through which she discovered a deep passion for medicine. Dr. Prasad kept pressing forward, enrolling at American River Community College before moving on to the University of California, Davis, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological science, with an emphasis on neurology, physiology, and behavioral science. She did this all while working long hours to put herself through school.

Although her family thought it might, Dr. Prasad’s journey didn’t stop there. A UC Davis friend turned her on to SGU, citing its prowess not only in the region but globally. After researching SGU and learning of its wide network of physicians practicing in the United States, Dr. Prasad scored well on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), applied, and soon found herself on her way to Grenada, first as part of SGU’s Master of Public Health program. She also served as public relations officer in the Public Health Students Association.

“It was the most amazing experience that I could have ever asked for,” Dr. Prasad said. “The MPH program taught us to think about community health – not just individual health – and to promote healthy living to prevent diseases and empower individuals through education to become active participants in their own health. The health promotions and disease prevention theories and models that I learned in MPH program are still very applicable in everyday interaction that I have with patients to limit the number of readmissions.”

That included during Dr. Prasad’s research, which she conducted while obtaining a Master of Medical Research through SGU. She has created and submitted several manuscripts to peer-reviewed publications, bolstering her residency resume in the process.

Dr. Armand Asarian, Vice Chairman for the Department of Surgery at Brooklyn Hospital and Assistant Dean of Students at SGU, served as a mentor for Dr. Prasad while and after she trained as a clinical student in New York City, a new frontier for her. His protégé’s unique skills were evident to him early.

“She didn’t have an easy trip to this point, but she came early every day, worked hard, she asked for help, she listened to that advice, and did everything she could to better her future,” Dr. Asarian said. “I’m really excited to see her succeed.”

Dr. Prasad shared similar praise for her mentor, Brooklyn Hospital Medical Student Coordinator Karine Camacho, as well as Daniel Ricciardi, MD SGU ’81, Dean of Clinical Studies at SGU and Director of Undergraduate Medical Education at TBHC. All of those she has met along the way have shaped her into the physician – and the individual – that she has become.

“I feel like SGU creates a family for you,” Dr. Prasad said. “I’m grateful that I have encountered such wonderful people because I know I couldn’t have done this without their help and guidance. It wasn’t easy being an immigrant with no idea on how to go about making my dream a reality. The only way I can think of showing my gratitude is to pay it forward and guide students to keep their dream alive and just keep swimming.”

Vimon Seriburi, MD

Vimon Seriburi, MD SGU ’04, is an infectious disease consultant for Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Plano, TX, and also recently opened up her own private practice. She specializes in inpatient hospital care, treating wound infections and post-surgical infections. Dr. Seriburi grew up in Thailand before going on to double major in biology and chemistry at Lamar University in Texas. Her pre-health advisor recommended St. George’s University, which she said is “very well equipped in providing students with the resources to become a doctor and to be successful.” Having earned her MD, Dr. Seriburi completed an internal medicine residency at the Hospital of St. Raphael in Connecticut, as well as an infectious disease fellowship at New York Medical College’s program at Westchester Medical Center. She is currently board certified in infectious disease and wound care.

Harshan Weerackody, MD

Harshan Weerackody, MD SGU ’90, is “shoulder to shoulder” with Ivy League graduates at his private cardiology practice, as well as at several hospitals and medical centers throughout New York. A native of Sri Lanka, Dr. Weerackody accepted a scholarship offer to attend St. George’s University, an opportunity for which he is “eternally grateful.” Upon earning his Doctor of Medicine, he completed an internal medicine residency and cardiovascular disease fellowship at Coney Island Hospital, and stayed on to become an Associate Professor and Director of its cardiac catheterization laboratory. Dr. Weerackody is board certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, nuclear cardiology, and echocardiography, and is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology. In their free time, Dr. Weerackody and his wife enjoy traveling to remote hospitals and clinics around the world to exchange ideas on patient treatment.

Masaru Nishiaoki

Masaru Nishiaoki was confident that he had matched into his top-choice program, but nevertheless, Match Day still brought some anxiety.

“I think I kind of knew from the vibes I got from the program and the second look that I went on,” Mr. Nishiaoki said. “It wasn’t entirely a surprise, but it was nice to have it in writing.”

He was “elated” to learn he was headed to the Ghent Family Medicine Program at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, VA. He returns to the southern region of the US and joins a program that fits his ideals.

“I like the fact that it’s an academic center and that it treats a large underserved population,” Mr. Nishiaoki said. “I’ll be able to practice the full spectrum of family medicine that I want to do later in the future. Also, the residents were so open and kind. They were willing to take an interest in us as clinical students.”

Mr. Nishiaoki became interested in SGU after speaking to his counselors at Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC. One of his professors was an SGU graduate who greatly valued her experience.

“She spoke very highly about the University, the support system, and the work ethic of the students who go there,” Mr. Nishiaoki said. “She thought that I would be able to come back and pursue a residency in any field that I wanted to.”

He was rewarded for his dedication with a position at his top-choice program, and encourages prospective students to strongly consider SGU if given the chance.

“SGU has such a strong track record,” he said. “I feel more than prepared for residency.”

Matthew Dawdy

On the morning of the match, Matthew Dawdy’s breakfast with his girlfriend and family was just an appetizer to a life-changing moment. When noon arrived, Mr. Dawdy learned that he had secured a highly competitive orthopaedic surgery residency at Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM)—his top-choice program—through the Canadian Residency Matching Service (CaRMS).

“We all found out together and were very happy,” he said. “I’m very excited. I’ve been working toward this for four years now.”

As an avid athlete growing up, Mr. Dawdy has been drawn to studying the musculoskeletal system from the early age, choosing to work alongside physicians at area physical therapy clinics. “Everything pointed to orthopaedics for me,” he said. “I like being in the OR, and the field generally attracts people who are interested in active lifestyles.”

Mr. Dawdy obtained his bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from the University of Western Ontario before arriving at SGU. From the outset, he knew of orthopaedic surgery’s highly competitive nature, with only a handful of positions available across Canada. “From day one, my focus was on setting up rotations in Canada and building connections,” he said. “It wasn’t something I could half-heartedly pursue. I was definitely all in.”

Mr. Dawdy flourished during his basic science years and gained insight on the path ahead from David Santone, MD SGU ’08, an orthopaedic surgeon in Markham, Ontario who completed his residency at the University of Toronto. Mr. Dawdy confirmed his interest during orthopaedic rotations in his first clinical year and bolstered his resume with two observerships and three orthopaedic elective rotations in Canada. That he interviewed with all four schools with orthopaedic surgery residency programs—one of only two students to do so by his estimation—gave him confidence leading up to the match. He will go through NOSM’s surgical boot camp in July before beginning residency the following month.

Although he traveled a great distance to earn his education, he’s looking forward to diving in headfirst this summer.

“SGU does a really good job of preparing all of its students to be successful,” Mr. Dawdy said. “All the resources we needed were available to us. I think I was as prepared, if not more prepared, than the US students I rotated with. In the end, I kept working as hard as I could, and I’m glad that everything lined up properly.”

Amanda Halstrom

Fifteen minutes from where she grew up, Amanda Halstrom will continue her career in medicine, having matched into the internal medicine residency program at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. She celebrated with her SGU colleagues while working in the University’s student call center between hospital shifts.

On the list of those who are excited about her return home—just about everyone.

“My family is over the moon,” she said. “My grandparents, my cousins, my friends—they’re very excited to have me back.”

In addition to its proximity to home, Winthrop has everything Ms. Halstrom was looking for in a residency program, which is why she made it her top-choice site. She highly valued the hospital’s wide range of research opportunities as well as fellowships in her projected field of study—gastroenterology—which she found during her clinical years to strike a good balance of procedural and clinical medicine. Ms. Halstrom also enjoyed meeting the program residents, and received positive vibes from St. George’s University graduates who had trained at the hospital.

“I heard they loved it, and that helped in selling it for me,” she said.

Ms. Halstrom has long set her sights on training and practicing on Long Island. She grew up in Bellmore and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. At SGU, she immersed herself in her studies, while also partaking the University’s Iota Epsilon Alpha chapter and tutoring in the Department of Educational Services. The skills and knowledge obtained in four years at SGU paved the way for her to return home to family, friends, and a burgeoning medical career.

“I studied really hard and took my time at SGU as seriously as possible, but I also enjoyed my time on the island,” Ms. Halstrom said. “SGU was an amazing experience that not many people have, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity. I definitely recommend it for anyone who’s interested in medicine.”

Kore Liow, MD

Born in Penang Island, Malaysia, and raised in Singapore, Dr. Kore Liow is now the director of Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Hawaii’s leading and first multidisciplinary neuroscience center. He is also the Director of Neuroscience and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Castle Medical Center and a Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Hawaii John Burns School of Medicine. He has been listed among the “Best Doctors in America” and “Best Doctors in Hawaii,” and was named Hawaii’s Physician of the Year by Adventist Health in 2012.

Dr. Liow graduated from St. George’s University and completed his residency at the University of Utah, before earning fellowships at the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Human Genome Research Institute in Washington, DC.

“International students should feel free to explore St. George’s University,” Dr. Liow said. “I am very satisfied with the scope of the education I received. Our courses were taught by prominent professors from the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. The next two clinical years in the States offer students adequate exposure to clinical medicine as practiced in the United States.”

Dr. Liow is an active researcher of epilepsy and served as Principal Investigator for more than 35 studies funded by the industries, as well as federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to investigate the condition of epilepsy and its treatments. He has authored more than 40 articles and written book chapters on epilepsy in Neurology Journal, Archives of Neurology, Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy, and others, and has served as a reviewer for peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Liow has served in national advisory roles, on committees, and as faculty for the CDC Epilepsy Program, American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society, and the Epilepsy Foundation. He is a frequently invited presenter at national and international medical meetings.

Kenneth Yeung, MD

Dr. Kenneth Yeung is far from his roots in Hong Kong, but at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Fremont, California, where he practices family medicine, he’s felt right at home. In a diverse community like Fremont, Dr. Yeung is able to treat patients from all backgrounds, applying the skills and training he learned while working toward his MD.

“SGU was a life-changing experience for me,” Dr. Yeung said. “You have faculty members and students from all over who come together with one goal in mind – to study medicine and provide good doctors to the world. “

Prior to his stint at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Dr. Yeung worked in family medicine at South Cove Community Health Center in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2013. There he provided care for Chinese immigrants in Greater Boston, treating underrepresented patients whose native languages include Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. He also served as a clinical instructor in medicine for Harvard Medical School. During his time in the northeast US, he earned a diploma in structural acupuncture from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Dr. Yeung was born and raised in Hong Kong and attended prestigious Wan Yan College Hong Kong until the age of 15. He completed his secondary education in the United States and in 1995 graduated cum laude from Concordia University in Irvine, CA, with a Bachelor of Arts in biology.

He was introduced to St. George’s University by one of its graduates, Dr. Paul Mansonhing, MD ’89, a family practitioner in Irvine. “I saw how he practiced medicine and he was a role model for me,” Dr. Yeung said. “He became a mentor to me and helped me realize that here was a state-of-the-art medical school that was producing awesome doctors.”

He enrolled in 1997, and after two years in Grenada, Dr. Yeung completed his third and fourth years at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He obtained a family practice residency at Brooklyn Hospital and became chief resident in 2005.

Dr. Yeung cherished his clinical experience, which set him up to be successful as a resident and practicing physician.

“SGU isn’t just any Caribbean school,” Dr. Yeung said. “We had a rigorous lecture program, excellent faculty, and used the same textbooks and board review books as US medical students. And then my two years of clinical prepared me well for residency and beyond.”

Julian Dalby, MD

After Dr. Julian Dalby graduated from high school in Dublin, Ireland he decided not to go to college right away. He wanted to take a break from his studies because he wasn’t certain on which path he wanted to embark. Instead, he joined the Irish National Cycling Team, touring throughout Europe and becoming a cycling champion. Julian’s interest in physiology developed during his 13 years competing with the Irish National Cycling Team and it is what urged him to pursue a career in medicine.

In the mid 1990’s, after seeing an ad in The Irish Times for St. George’s University, Julian applied for admission and went for his interview. In 1996, he was accepted into St. George’s University Premedical Program, a continuum within the School of Medicine. He enjoyed being in Grenada and he took advantage of what the island had to offer. “I love doing outdoor things and Grenada is a great place for this,” Julian said. He spent a lot of time outside—studying, swimming, cycling, training, and participating in a triathlon.

He completed his clinical rotations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Julian also took an elective in tropical medicine in Guyana. His international experience taught him that “Medicine is still medicine; a body is still a body in any part of the world. The only difference is economic.” Upon graduating from St. George’s University in 2002, Julian completed his residency in internal medicine at East Carolina University in the United States. He returned to Grenada for a six month fellowship in histology. It’s been a long, circuitous road to medicine for Julian, but a worthwhile and fulfilling journey.

Julian is the first St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate to be fully registered with the Irish Medical Council (IMC). He is also fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom and is licensed to practice medicine in the United States. He did not have to sit for the British and Irish exams (the PLAB and the TRAS, respectively) because as a European Union citizen with a US medical license, Julian was granted full registration with both the GMC and IMC.

Dr. Julian Dalby continues his career in emergency medicine as a Senior House Officer (SHO) at St. James Hospital in Dublin—Ireland’s largest hospital and a class one trauma center. “I had a great experience at SGU,” Julian recalled. “The support system was very strong. After formal lectures, students would gather and talk about the class. There was a lot of peer teaching and support from the other students.” Julian encourages Irish students to seriously consider St. George’s. “If I had the option to attend any medical school in the world, St. George’s would be my first choice. It has all worked out very well for me.”

Joshua K. Ramjist, MD

Dr. Joshua K. Ramjist has never been one to shy away from trying something new. That’s why back in 2007 he jumped at the opportunity to join the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, a new program at St. George’s University for which students spend their first year of Basic Sciences at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.

Now a fourth-year resident completing a research year in Toronto as part of his surgery residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, he is grateful for the choice he made.

“The Global Scholars Program was hands down the best experience of my life,” Dr. Ramjist said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Dr. Ramjist joined the second Global Scholars class in 2007. In addition to enjoying smaller class sizes and the chance to explore a new country and continent, he also found that the experience in the UK helped him transition to Grenada, where he spent Terms 3 and 4 before moving on to clinical rotations.

“I moved to Grenada with 100 of my best friends,” Dr. Ramjist said. “What I’d done in Newcastle I just did in Grenada. I already had a routine established. I was able to focus on my study skills and develop as a student, which allowed me to build on the foundation that I had.”

He completed his rotations in New York City before securing his residency in Brooklyn, for which he felt more than adequately prepared.

“Moving into residency, I was able to adapt to whatever the needs were,” said Dr. Ramjist. “Each step built on the other: I think I was a very good resident because I was a very good clinical student, and I was a very good clinical student because I had a very strong basic sciences foundation.”

Now he is finishing the first of two research years at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto while also working toward a Master of Science in clinical outcomes from the University of Toronto. He hopes to secure a fellowship in colorectal surgery.  “Surgery is one of the few specialties that focuses on curative intent,” Dr. Ramjist said. “It’s a good mix of both big and small procedures. With colorectal surgery in particular, it’s an opportunity to add many productive years to a patient’s life.”

Dr. Ramjist started the path toward a career in medicine in grade school when his parents told him that they thought he would make a good doctor. Dr. Ramjist earned an Honors Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto in 2007, and also spent more than a year researching biotech enterprises in developing countries at the McLaughlin-Rotman Center for Global Health in Ontario. The research was published in Nature Biotechnology in 2008.

“As I learned about how competitive it is, that made me want it more,” he said. “I’ve never been afraid of a challenge.”

Dr. Ramjist implores other prospective physicians from Canada to heavily consider SGU when weighing their options for medical school. He is the Founder and Past President of the International Medical School Symposium, which is held each year in Toronto. Dr. Ramjist also attends area student fairs and SGU information sessions, while also interviewing and corresponding with premedical applicants.

“SGU helped me reach whatever goals I established for myself,” Dr. Ramjist said. “I know the angst that Canadian premedical students are experiencing, so I want to bring awareness to other opportunities that exist that are completely viable.”