Beverly Nelson, MD SGU ’86, an Associate Professor at St. George’s University and a pioneer in pediatrics in Grenada, was awarded the Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Charles, Prince of Wales, on February 3 at Buckingham Palace.
Dr. Nelson is the founding Chairperson of the Children’s Health Organization Relief and Educational Services (CHORES) support group in Grenada, which has arranged physician visits to provide sub-specialty care for the community since 1989. CHORES collaborated with the Grenada Heart Foundation to eradicate rheumatic fever, which once had a high incidence in Grenada.
Dr. Nelson also serves as Co-Chair of Pediatrics and Consultant Pediatrician for Ministry of Health Grenada, while also teaching SGU medical students as a Clinical Associate Professor. In spite of her lengthy service to her country and alma mater, she described herself as being “awe-struck” last June when she was hand-delivered a letter from the office of the Governor General of Grenada, Dame Cécile La Grenade, and learned of her selection for the CBE.
“I was shocked,” Dr. Nelson said. “I get up in the morning, and I do what I do because I love it. I never expect any credit, certainly not of this magnitude.”
Last month at Buckingham Palace, Dr. Nelson joined 16 other awardees at the investiture ceremony, as well as one of just two women. Prince Charles presented her with a medal for the CBE, which ranks behind only knighthood (KBE) and damehood (DBE) among Order of the British Empire honors.
“He was so cordial and welcoming,” Dr. Nelson said of the prince. “He asked me about Grenada, thanked me for coming a great distance, and said he wanted to return to Grenada. He also spoke about Prince Harry’s recent visit. The conversation was so comfortable.”
Dr. Nelson attended St. George’s University on full scholarship beginning in 1982, and graduated in June 1986. She completed her pediatrics residency at Brooklyn Hospital in New York, finishing as Chief Resident, before returning to Grenada to begin her pediatrics career.
Noticing a drastic lack of sub-specialty care, Dr. Nelson met with CHORES members in Jacksonville, Florida, and was able to arrange the first CHORES visit to Grenada in 1989. Four years later, CHORES Support Grenada was formed in 1993, with Dr. Nelson serving as Chair. More than three decades later, CHORES continues to welcome specialists to Grenada three times per year, providing no-cost health care – including cardiology, surgery, pediatrics, prosthetics, and more. It also raises funds for patients to fly to the United States for additional care.
“CHORES hasn’t prospered because of myself alone. It has been a team approach,” Dr. Nelson said. “Together we have recruited the support from local persons and businesses to support the endeavor, and because of this conglomerate of persons coming together, we’re still here today.”
On a broader scale, Dr. Nelson points to the rheumatic fever eradication as CHORES’ and Grenada’s crowning achievement.
“We recognized we had to do something, so we joined forces with the Grenada Heart Foundation and worked hard to sensitize the nation as a whole through media and billboards to make sure that persons knew that sore throats can kill or change lives forever. Sore throats must be treated,” Dr. Nelson said.
Dr. Nelson is “very thankful” for her country’s acknowledgment of her contributions to medicine in Grenada. From 1994-1999, she was the only pediatrician on the island, and served terms as President and Secretary of the Grenada Medical Association (GMA), orchestrated with members on the new adoption law as part of the Adoption Board, and is a current member of the Grenada Medical and Dental Council. Her honor comes a year after Dr. Chamarthy Subbarao, Professor of Clinical Skills at SGU, was appointed an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for his service to Grenada.