Meeting a critical demand: 300+ SGU graduates begin residency in NY, NJ

300+ SGU grads start residency in NY + NJ

St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate, Varshitha Tumkur Panduranga, MD ’24, couldn’t wait to start her internal medicine residency at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, NY—her top choice for medical residency.

“During residency, I eagerly anticipate advancing my abilities as a physician, striving to refine both my theoretical understanding and practical skills,” Dr. Panduranga recently said. “Engaging in the intellectually stimulating realm of internal medicine, I aim to master deductive reasoning to deliver optimal care. The hospital where I have matched serves an underserved population and I am [also] eager to work in that environment and make a meaningful impact on their lives.”

Dr. Panduranga is one of the 332 recent SGU graduates who began their postgraduate training at New York- or New Jersey-based hospitals this month. As residents, they will further train in specialties including: internal medicine, surgery, emergency medicine, family medicine, anesthesiology, ob/gyn, pediatrics, psychiatry, and more. She and her colleagues join nearly 10,000 SGU-trained doctors who have done postgraduate training in area hospitals over the years, according to SGU data as of June 2024.

Committed to communities

As the physician shortage in the US continues to be projected in the tens of thousands, SGU School of Medicine graduates are helping to meet the demand for doctors. For the 10th year in a row, SGU is the largest provider of new doctors to the US healthcare system and is helping address the physician shortage in the US.* Overall, more than 930 newly minted SGU MDs will embark on their intern year of residency training, offering a welcome addition at hospitals around the US.

The breadth of SGU’s impact on the healthcare workforce is none more evident than in New York and New Jersey. Many of the area’s hospital systems are located in communities where the need for doctors, particularly primary care physicians, is significant.

NYC Health + Hospitals, for instance, the largest municipal healthcare system in the country, serves over 1.2 million New Yorkers annually in over 70 locations, including 11 acute-care hospitals across the five boroughs. NYC Health + Hospitals serves some of the most marginalized populations in New York City, according to its 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment Report.

To help combat the physician shortage in the metro-New York area, the CityDoctors Scholarships Program, a partnership between SGU and NYC Health + Hospitals offers SGU med students full- or partial-tuition awards. It is designed to attract and educate students committed to serving in urban hospitals. To date, the CityDoctors program has made a career in medicine possible for more than 80 students, many of whom now practice in the communities in which they were raised.

In New Jersey, the need for primary care physicians is also critical, particularly for family physicians and general internists, according to a January 2024 report from the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute. The report supports the notion of advanced primary care teams in New Jersey to ease the physician shortage.

Residents headed beyond the NYC metro areas, such as Barilee Abueh Idemudia, who is starting her internal medicine residency at the University of Buffalo, will also fill a vital need for physicians in New York and New Jersey.

“I am looking forward to making a meaningful impact on patient care, gaining hands-on experience, and honing my clinical skills while being a doctor my patient needs,” Dr. Idemudia said.


SGU 2024 First-Year Residencies in NY and NJ

Over 300 SGU graduates began their residencies at New York- or New Jersey-based hospitals this month. They join nearly 10,000 SGU-trained doctors who have done postgraduate training in area hospitals over the years, according to SGU data as of June 2024.

Close to home

Many former SGU students also choose to continue their medical training in New York and New Jersey so that they can be closer to home.

“As we have a large number of students who hail from the New York-New Jersey area, many look to continue their education and training in areas where they grew up and have family,” said Dr. Robert Grant, SGU’s senior associate dean for clinical studies. “These newly matched students join a significant number of our alumni who are already practicing and contributing to patient care within the New York and New Jersey healthcare systems. We know they are well prepared and ready for the challenge of residency.”

Kelise Harris, MD ’24, began an anatomical/clinical pathology residency at Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY—not far from her hometown of Mount Vernon, NY.

Starting a residency close to home means Dr. Harris can better understand “what my patients needs are, the common pathologies they may present with, the circumstances that create these pathologies, and the pathways in which they may progress,” she said.

“It is a great feeling to be part of a healthcare system that is local to me and my community,” she added. “You form deeper, meaningful connections with your practice when it’s familiar territory; you no longer work from a place of trying to imagine yourself in someone’s shoes when you can draw from a well of genuine empathy because I am reminded that I am helping my neighbor.”

SGU in collaboration with three New Jersey hospitals—Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Hackensack University Medical Center, and St. Joseph’s Medical Center—offer an opportunity for incoming med students hailing from New Jersey to practice in their own communities. The SGU CARE Scholarship allows recipients to receive partial, half, or full tuition to attend SGU and then complete their clinical rotations at hospitals near their hometowns.

“I am looking forward to working and continuing to learn the specialty I love, in the community I grew up in, around doctors I shadowed and learned from as a pre-medical and medical student,” said Emily Rienzo, MD ’24, a first-year surgery resident at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and CARE scholarship recipient.

Developing professional relationships

With more than 75 clinical sites available for SGU students to train in the US, UK, and Canada, students have opportunities to develop professional relationships with the clinical faculty who work at these institutions, particularly in New York and New Jersey. These networking opportunities can potentially help lead to a residency position and even employment beyond residency, Dr. Grant added.

“Having completed most of my clinical rotations at St. Joseph’s Hospital, I am particularly excited about joining their team of phenomenal physicians,” said Justin Eadeh, MD ’24, a PGY-1 emergency medicine resident at St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in Paterson, NJ. “Their dedication to teaching and fostering a supportive learning environment is something I witnessed firsthand, and I am eager to further develop my skills under their mentorship. Additionally, the familial culture they uphold resonates deeply with me, and I am thrilled to become a part of such a close-knit community.”

Following residency training, SGU-trained doctors will become “a well-known and highly capable pool of physicians,” noted Dr. Grant. “They are the kind of doctors—predominantly primary care physicians—that these communities need.”


*As the medical school graduating the largest number of students per year, SGU places the largest number of graduates into residency programs each year, based on internal SGU graduate/expected graduate and residency placement data as of March 2024.


— Laurie Chartorynsky


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SGU’s Class of 2024: Graduates Shine at SAS, SGS Commencement Ceremony

The St. George’s University Schools of Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies Class of 2024 was both proud and thankful as they received their degrees on Saturday, May 18 at the Grenada Commencement Ceremony. Proud families and friends filled Patrick F. Adams Hall in celebration as graduates crossed the stage at the milestone event.

This year’s graduating class included more than 180 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, and 71 from the School of Graduate Studies. Medical degrees were also conferred on 28 new physicians from the School of Medicine in attendance.



Addressing the nearly 300 graduates from 40 countries was Dr. Joy St. John, executive director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and this year’s keynote speaker.

“To the Class of 2024, congratulations,” said Dr. St. John. “As we celebrate your achievements, we also celebrate the future you will shape. Walk with confidence knowing that you are well equipped to navigate the complexities of the world and shine your light.”

Dr. Satesh Bidaisee (left), Dr. Joy St. John (center), and Dr. Calum Macpherson (right)

For her impressive track record of achievements in public health systems management and development and health diplomacy, Dr. St. John was inducted into the Delta Omega Honor Society, the oldest public health society in the world, which celebrates its centenary anniversary this year.

In addition, SGU hosts the Gamma Kappa chapter of the Delta Omega Honors Society and inducted the top 10 percent of this year’s MPH graduates into the chapter for demonstrating excellence in education and scholarship in research and service.



Proudly representing the School of Graduate Studies as class speaker, Dr. N’Kosha Fletcher knew exactly how her classmates felt. In addition to graduating today with a Master of Public Health in preventive medicine, she also earned her MD in 2014 and BSc in 2011 from SGU.

Dr. Calum Macpherson (left), Dr. N’Kosha Fletcher (center), and Dr. Glen Jacobs (right)

“Today you receive your degree,” Dr. Fletcher said. “But may you also receive the courage and determination to get out there and strive for excellence. Embark on this new chapter…embrace every opportunity. Chase your dreams and create a life you love.”

Joining Dr. Fletcher as a commencement speaker was SAS valedictorian Shakira Lee. Ms. Lee completed her Bachelor of Science in information technology with a perfect 4.0 GPA and is currently the personal assistant to the Honorable Kerryne James, Minister for Climate Resilience, the Environment, and Renewable Energy in Grenada.

Dr. Lucy Eugene (left), Shakira Lee (center), and Dr. Glen Jacobs

“Throughout this academic journey, I learned that perseverance is not simply about enduring,” shared Ms. Lee. “It is about forging ahead with purpose and passion. To you, my fellow graduands let your stories be guided by the resilience and determination that has brought you this far. Let our lessons inspire us to act, innovate, and elevate the world around us.”

Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York on June 1-2.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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The Legacy Lives On: SGU Alums and Brothers Witness their Children Match into Residency

The Rienzo family standing with a sunset in the background at their White Coat Ceremony

(from left to right) Francis Rienzo, MD ’88; Emily Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected); Jake Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected); and Peter Rienzo, MD ’85

When brothers Francis Rienzo, MD ’88, and Peter Rienzo, MD ’85, began their medical school journeys at St. George’s University School of Medicine, who could have predicted that both their children would also become doctors thanks to SGU?

This year marked another successful Match Day for SGU with over 930 soon-to-be grads matching into US postgraduate residencies including Francis’ daughter, Emily Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected), and Peter’s son, Jake Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected).

For the Rienzos, who are New Jersey natives, having multiple family members in the medical field is not only significant, but highly sentimental. Choosing to follow in their fathers’ footsteps at the same institution is deeply meaningful to Jake and Emily Rienzo.

“Knowing that I’ll be continuing the legacy of my father, both by attending the same medical school and pursuing a career in anesthesiology, fills me with an indescribable sense of pride,” said Jake Rienzo, who matched at HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “There’s a palpable sense of pride in carrying on the family legacy, knowing that I am continuing the tradition of service and healing that has been passed down through generations.”

Emily Rienzo, who matched in general surgery at HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center, feels similarly.

“I was familiar with SGU from a very young age as I grew up hearing stories about my dad and uncle’s time in Grenada,” she said. “I visited my dad’s office fairly frequently and always heard stories from his patients raving about him, his medical knowledge, and his bedside manner. I believe that SGU played a big role in this, and as pre-med, I was confident SGU could provide the same for me.”

A Family Affair

The connections do not end at just attending the same medical school for the Rienzos. Jake Rienzo matched into the same specialty that his father practices. Additionally, Emily Rienzo matched into her first-choice hospital, which is the same hospital where her father completed his residency and internship. The cousins will be together for a period during each of their residencies.

“Being Jake’s co-resident for five months will be fun since the anesthesia program rotates through surgery!” said Emily Rienzo.

Emily Rienzo, also an SGU CARE Scholarship recipient (formerly called CityDoctors in New Jersey) through Jersey Shore University Medical Center, is the first female physician in four generations of doctors in her family.

Francis and Emily Rienzo on match day

Francis and Emily Rienzo, an SGU CARE Scholarship recipient, celebrated her match.

On her Match Day success, her father, Francis Rienzo, said, “I could not be prouder and happier for my daughter… I am truly excited and cannot wait for her to start her journey as a surgical resident.”

Happiness and celebration rippled through the family.

Jake Rienzo expressed his excitement on Match Day, “As I opened the email, I felt a rush of emotions—joy, anticipation, and a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Jake Rienzo’s father, Peter, expressed his sincere elation for Jake carrying on the family’s medical legacy as a fourth-generation physician and second-generation anesthesiologist.

“From the moment I heard the news, a smile has been etched on my face, a smile that refuses to fade even after a week has passed. Knowing that he’s chosen a path so integral to our family’s history fills me with a sense of fulfillment that’s hard to articulate,” Peter Rienzo said.

These feelings were the culmination of years of dedication and support from their families.

“My MD journey has been a remarkable and transformative experience, marked by moments of profound learning, personal growth, and unwavering determination. From the first day of medical school to the culmination of Match Day, each step along the way has shaped me into the physician I am today. As I reflect on my MD journey, I am filled with gratitude for the countless individuals who have guided and inspired me along the way,” especially his dad, said Jake Rienzo.

Jake and Peter Rienzo celebrating match

Peter and Jake Rienzo celebrating Jake’s match.

SGU and the Rienzo Legacy

Both generations of the Rienzos expressed gratitude for SGU and its larger community of faculty and alumni for making them physicians. The Rienzos hope that the connection to the University will live on. “My younger brother is looking to attend veterinary school at SGU, although I’m trying to push him toward medicine!” said Emily Rienzo.

“My grandfather, father, and uncle were all physicians, and SGU gave my brother and me the opportunity to become successful physicians and now it is allowing my daughter and nephew to follow in our footsteps and continue the family legacy,” Francis Rienzo said. “I cannot thank Dr. Charles Modica and all of SGU enough for everything they have done.”

Jake Rienzo is immensely grateful for the role that SGU has played in shaping his family’s legacy in medicine.

“Its dedication to educational excellence, supportive community, and opportunities for professional growth have laid the groundwork for my journey as a physician that I may have missed out on had I not attended SGU,” he said.


— Juliette Kimmins




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SGU Physician Humanitarian Network Brings Life-Changing Eye Care to Grenadians

SGU PHuN ophthalmology team

Grenadians received critical eye care services recently through the St. George’s University (SGU) Physician Humanitarian Network (PHuN) ophthalmology clinic—the first specialized eye clinic since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former SGU student Dr. Bernard Spier headed the ophthalmology clinic in Grenada, along with two ophthalmologists, Dr. Elliot Crane and Dr. Zachary Mendelson, and two assistants, Ms. Karen Rodriguez and Ms. Carrie Rivera. The clinic took place from February 19 to March 1, 2024.

The team completed 139 examinations and consultations for those suffering from eye-related ailments such as cataracts and glaucoma. Additionally, the team did more than 40 procedures including small-incision cataract surgeries, corneal transplants, YAG laser procedures, and Avastin injections that restored and improved sight for many Grenadians. The team completed these procedures with $117,656 USD worth of donated medical supplies, surgical equipment, corneal tissue, and more, organized by Dr. Spier.

Dr. Spier, an ophthalmologist with a practice in South Orange, NJ, participated in his first PHuN ophthalmology clinic in 2006. This past trip marks his 13th trip to Grenada to serve the local community through PHuN. According to Dr. Spier, he chose to donate his time and skills to the Grenadian people because it is “a basic act of human kindness.”

“For me, it’s the idea of improving a person’s life with these procedures,” Dr. Spier said. “Simply, it feels good to do that.”

Dr. Spier poses with ophthalmology equipment

Dr. Spier stands with a piece of ophthalmology equipment

The SGU PHuN Program has a history of making an impact on the lives of Grenadians in other specialties such as cardiology, vascular surgery, and obstetrics/gynecology.

“The SGU PHuN program is extremely beneficial to the Grenadian community because it provides valuable support in the form of medical services to the people of the island as well as donations of medical supplies to the ophthalmology clinic,” said Dr. Brendon La Grenade, vice provost of St. George’s University. “It also provides an outlet for a variety of SGU doctors of various disciplines to give back to the island where they got both their education and medical career starts.”

For Dr. Spier, the chance to give back to the people of Grenada is deeply meaningful.

“I have a special place in my heart for Grenada because that’s where I got my start in medicine,” said Dr. Spier. “Grenada gave me an opportunity to become a doctor. If I hadn’t gone to Grenada, I would’ve done something else [besides medicine].”

Dr. Spier encourages other former students and alumni of SGU to consider participating in the SGU PHuN program, naming it as a profoundly rewarding experience.

“If you want to help the people of Grenada and want to go back to Grenada you should do it,” Dr. Spier said.


–Juliette Kimmins


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Back to School: 47 SGU Alumni Return to Grenada for CME Conference

This March, nearly 50 alumni from St. George’s University School of Medicine returned to the True Blue campus and to the island where for many, it all began. Hosted by the SOM Alumni Association (SOMAA), SGU graduates came back to attend the 2024 Art of Medicine continuing medical education (CME) conference.

During the four-day event, held in association with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), participants had the opportunity to learn about new advancements across the medical landscape, while earning up to 16 CME credits. SGU grads also had a chance to reunite with classmates and faculty, while making connections with future inductees (students) into the 22,000-member alumni network.

“As a single event, this SOMAA CME conference consistently accomplishes several key success objectives,” said Dr. Brendon La Grenade, vice provost for Institutional Advancement and head of Alumni Affairs. “It provides an avenue for our alumni to reconnect with this island and this institution where it all began; it allows them to connect with current students who are inspired by their stories of success; and it gives them a chance to network with fellow alumni, strengthening this outstanding community of 22,000 strong and growing—all while sharing and enhancing their medical education.”



Alumni and Students Connect

The Alumni/Student Speed Networking event was a highlight of the CME conference this year, giving Term 4 and 5 SOM students the opportunity to connect with alumni, many of whom are top specialists in their fields.

Students had the chance to establish professional relationships with returning alumni and ask questions about their journeys to a career in medicine, opening avenues for the returning physicians to share their insights about the rigors of the profession.

“I love attending events like these because you get to talk to an actual SGU alum in person,” said Emilee Atkins, a Term 5 SOM student. “This is someone who has been in my shoes and can offer valuable insight on what’s going to come and some good advice on how to tackle it. This is beneficial not only now as I’m about to start my clinical years, but also later when I’m applying for residency.”

Wondering what this year’s CME conference was like? Check out the photos to see what you missed.


  • The seventh annual SOMAA CME grew in participation since last year, with 85 attendees, 47 of whom were SGU alumni, as well as 11 Grenadian physicians who practice locally.

  • Alumni received a warm welcome from Vice Provost Brendon La Grenade; SOM Dean Marios Loukas; Grenada’s Minister of Health, the Hon. Phillip Telesford; and Provost Glen Jacobs (from left to right).

  • Joseph Allen, MD ’90, was happy to reunite with Dean C.V. Rao and SOMAA President Bruce Bonanno, MD ’83.

  • Conference attendees were able to purchase a variety of SGU and SOM Alumni Association memorabilia.

  • A highlight of the four-day conference was the Alumni/Student Speed Networking event, which allowed the visiting physicians to share some words of advice with current medical students.

  • Proud alumnae, Alena Wade, MD ’06 and Katusha Cornwall-Griffith, MD ’11 were the event’s co-hosts.

  • Learning strategist, Jessica Milner, MD ’22, came back to Grenada to work in the Department of Educational Services here at SGU. She shared that the reason she returned was to give back to the community that gave her the chance to pursue her dreams.

  • Year 4 SOM student, Folarin Adeyemi was eager to have his questions answered, especially since finding out he recently matched into a general surgery residency.

  • For conference-goers, their time in Grenada wasn’t only about lectures and education. The SOMAA provided plenty of opportunities to experience a taste of culture and hospitality on the island many called home during their studies.


– Ray-Donna Peters

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SVM Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Christianne Shaw, recent White Coat Ceremony Master of Ceremonies

Christianne Shaw, DVM '12, assistant professor, Small Animal Medicine

What’s it like to be a Master of Ceremonies? Just ask Christianne Shaw, DVM ’12, who accepted the role with pride for the January 2024 School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony at St. George’s University.

“January 2008—16 years ago, I was wearing this white coat, sitting right where all of you are, thinking, what did I get myself into,” Dr. Shaw said during her opening comments. “I was nervous and scared, but also so proud. I had finally done it. I got into vet school and here we go. Throughout my three years in Grenada, it was really tough and challenging but also so rewarding. … It was an amazing experience while being at SGU.”

Students in the SVM’s Class of 2028 took to the stage at Patrick F. Adams Hall on January 27 to receive their white coats—signaling the start of their professional journey.


Read more about the School of Veterinary Medicine’s recent White Coat Ceremony


After attending SGU, Dr. Shaw returned to her home state of Ohio, completing her clinical year at The Ohio State University. She worked as an associate veterinarian, practicing in various small animal clinics. Since graduating from SGU, Dr. Shaw has been a regular visitor to Grenada and recently came back full time, accepting a position as assistant professor in the Small Animal Clinic.

“Being on this beautiful island and St. George’s University meant so much to me as a student that I wanted to be able to come back as an experienced veterinarian and give back to all of the future veterinarians,” she said.

SGU News caught up with Dr. Shaw to learn more about her SGU experience, what she is most excited for as a full-time resident in Grenada, and her advice for veterinary students.

SGU: How did you react when you were asked to be Master of Ceremonies for the White Coat Ceremony?

Dr. Shaw: School of Veterinary Medicine Dean, Dr. Neil Olson and I met over Zoom so that he could personally ask me to be the Master of Ceremonies. It was a huge honor to have such an important role in welcoming the new first-term students into the veterinary profession. It was also exactly 16 years since my own White Coat Ceremony at SGU (January 2008), so the experience was very surreal for me.


Christianne Shaw, DVM '12, master of ceremonies, SVM WCC

Christianne Shaw, DVM ’12, accepted the role of Master of Ceremonies with pride for the January 2024 School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony at St. George’s University.

SGU: What does it mean to you to be back on island teaching the next generation of veterinary students?

Dr. Shaw: My husband (Mike) and I have traveled back to Grenada yearly since I graduated in 2012 and have dreamed of moving here one day. I am grateful for being given this opportunity with SGU to make that dream a reality.

SGU: What learnings do you hope to pass on to students in the Small Animal Clinic?

Dr. Shaw: I am using all of my experience and knowledge (12 years in small animal general practice) to help prepare future veterinarians to smoothly transition into the working world. I am also excited to learn and grow from the current students since I have been out of school for 12 years.

SGU: What most excites you about being back on island?

Dr. Shaw: The beautiful island and warm weather! I was tired of the cold, long winters in Ohio.

SGU: Favorite class as a student?

Dr. Shaw: My favorite classes as a student were the ambulatory/large animal. I especially enjoyed traveling to different farms and helping the animals and farmers throughout the island. I also really enjoyed the large animal rotations in my clinical year at The Ohio State University. Even though I was planning on going into small animal practice, I appreciated just how different large animal medicine can be!

SGU: How did SGU help you achieve your career goals?

Dr. Shaw: At SGU there was—and still is—an endless supply of help and support from faculty and staff members to fellow students. Everyone worked together to be able to accomplish the amazing goal of being veterinarians. The three years I spent in Grenada thoroughly prepared me to go on to my clinical year at OSU.

SGU: What is your favorite animal to work with?

Dr. Shaw: My favorite animals to work with were at the Cleveland Zoo while I was in undergraduate school. This included fruit bats, rhinos, and even a zebra!

SGU: Any pets? Are they with you on island?

Dr. Shaw: I had brought my 19-year-old kitty to the island, but she unfortunately went missing after being here a few weeks. Mike and I do a lot of traveling so it is easier to not have any pets of my own…I get plenty of snuggles at the clinic!

SGU: What should aspiring veterinarians know about SGU?

Dr. Shaw: Although the island is far away from home for most students, it is an absolutely amazing place to be while accomplishing the dream of becoming a veterinarian.


– Laurie Chartorynsky


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5 top SGU School of Medicine stories in 2023

SOM Must Read News of 2023

From lifelong dreams coming true on Match Day to expanded clinical opportunities to a prestigious grant that paved the way for students to complete mental health research in underserved communities, the St. George’s University School of Medicine community made its mark in 2023. 

Find out which stories made our list of SOM “must reads” this year. And when you’re done, don’t forget to read our top trending School of Veterinary Medicine stories this year as well. 



1. Match Day 2023 

Dreams came true for many aspiring physicians on Match Day 2023.

More than 1,000 medical students and graduates secured first-time residency positions in the US across specialties that included neurology, urology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more. Wondering what it feels like to match? SGU Students shared what it felt like to discover that all their hard work led them to being able to add “MD” next to their name.

Read how Dreams came true on Match Day 2023
View 2023 residencies


2. Back to School: Campus gets a mini makeover

Students coming to campus for the first time or returning to medical school in August 2023 came back to several expansion and redevelopment initiatives on the True Blue campus. This included a revamped bookstore, expanded Welcome Centre, renovations of the Charter Hall Radiology Lab, additional classrooms, and a new area for School of Veterinary Medicine communications curriculum.

See the renovations and mini makeover at the SGU True Blue campus


3. Clinical rotation opportunities: SGU expands its partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals

Earlier this year, SGU renewed and expanded its relationship with NYC Health + Hospitals to bolster the pipeline of physicians from diverse backgrounds into New York’s healthcare system.

The agreement extends opportunities for SGU medical students to complete clinical rotations at affiliated NYC hospitals during their third and fourth years of study, gaining hands-on experience at some of the most culturally diverse hospitals in the country.  The agreement also increases the number of full-tuition medical school scholarships awarded through the SGU School of Medicine CityDoctors scholarship program from 12 to 15 each year.

Learn how SGU and NYC Health + Hospitals are strengthening the clinical rotation pipeline


4. Making a difference: Students use grant to further mental health research

Two School of Medicine students used a prestigious grant awarded to St. George’s University to further their research in mental health initiatives for underserved communities.

SGU and fourth-year students John Crane and Janice Lee were among the 2022-2023 recipients of  The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s (APAF) Helping Hands Grant Program. SGU is one of the few international medical schools to receive the award since the program’s inception in 2005.

Read how SGU students used a prestigious APA “Helping Hands Grant” to benefit underserved populations


5. Why a Caribbean school was right for me: SOM grad featured in AMSA’s The New Physician

Earning an MD from a Caribbean medical school offers several benefits to future physicians, and SGU alum Joshua Ramjist, MD ’11, shared his advice for those weighing the pros and cons of attending an institution outside of the United States.

“My advice? Go for it, but do your research first,” according to an editorial written by the pediatric surgery fellow in the Spring issue of the American Medical Student Association’s The New Physician.

Titled, “A Global Education Helped Me Become a Better Doctor It Can Do the Same for You,” Dr. Ramjist shared his positive experience as a student at St. George’s University and why he chose to attend a Caribbean medical school.

Read about the School of Medicine grad featured in AMSA’s The New Physician


-Laurie Chartorynsky 

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5 top SGU School of Veterinary Medicine stories in 2023

5 Trending SGU School of Veterinary Medicine stories in 2023

From students and graduates matching in competitive veterinary residencies and internships to InVeST 2023 taking place in Grenada to profiles of successful dual-degree graduates, the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine community made its mark in 2023.

Find out which stories made our list of SVM top trending stories this year. And when you’re done, don’t forget to read our must read School of Medicine stories this year as well.



SVM commencement 2023

1. SVM commencement—A 20-year legacy

The School of Veterinary Medicine graduation ceremony this past June was full of emotional moments and joyful celebrations. Nearly 200 graduates walked across the stage to commemorate their years of hard work at the ceremony held at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Queens, NY.

“Twenty years ago, SGU graduated its first class of veterinary medicine, and 30 students graduated young, enthusiastic, and ready to take on the world,” said Dr. Tara Patterson, associate professor, president of the School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association, and a charter class member of the SVM. “Today, SGU has produced over 2,000 Doctors of Veterinary Medicine.”


Read how: SVM celebrated its 20-year legacy at the Class of 2023’s commencement


SVM student Adriana Kalaska, DVM '23, matched in the 2023 VIRMP

2. Match 2023—Students secure competitive internship and residency positions

Thirty-seven SVM students and graduates secured competitive internship and residency positions within the 2023 Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program (VIRMP).  

SGU-trained veterinarians achieved a match rate of 69.8 percent, the highest among Caribbean veterinary schools, according to data released by the VIRMP, a program sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC).

The veterinarians began their specialized training in June, in areas such as small animal internal medicine, emergency and critical care, surgery, cardiology, neurology, and diagnostic imaging within prestigious institutions in the US and Canada.

Read how: 37 SVM students secured competitive internship and residency positions through 2023 VIRMP Match


SGU SVM dual degree graduates Dr. Adria Rodriguez

3. Grads share their experiences in getting dual DVM and master’s degree

Whether it’s exploring the intersection of animal health and the human world, focusing on fundamental and applied research, or improving their business skills, SGU’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine dual master’s degree options offer aspiring veterinarians in-depth learning opportunities and expertise within their field of choice—and enhanced career prospects.

Read more about: Pursuing a dual degree in veterinary medicine: Grads share their experiences


InVeST 2023

4. InVeST 2023 comes to Grenada

Veterinary experts traveled to SGU’s True Blue campus in February for the 7th International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching (InVeST) conference. Conference goers—including veterinarians, InVeST members, representatives from educational institutions, researchers, students, and more than 50 SGUSVM faculty, staff, and alumni—spent three days attending interactive sessions and learning how the rapidly growing area of simulation is being incorporated into the teaching practices of veterinary medicine.

SGU’s very own Dr. Francesca Ivaldi, associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, received the award for “Best Oral Presentation” for her presentation about the “Development of a Comprehensive Simulated Patient Model for the Physical Examination of the Dog.”

View photos from InVeST 2023: Conference goers travel to Grenada to learn latest trends in veterinary simulation


Andrew Kushnir, DVM '19, with rescued lion cubs from Ukraine-Russia war

5. Grad reflects on volunteering during Ukraine-Russia war

Andrew Kushnir, DVM ’19, spent most of 2022 volunteering his time to work with animal rescue groups and zoos to help vulnerable animals affected by the Russian-Ukraine war.

During his time in Ukraine and Poland, Dr. Kushnir saw horrific destruction and pain but also experienced joy and gratitude through the eyes of the animals he cared for, including three African lion cubs. Earlier this year, Dr. Kushnir reflected on his experience, sharing with SGU News what he learned about himself as a veterinarian and caretaker, and his plans to continue supporting animals—and their owners—most in need.

Read more about Dr. Kushnir’s experience: SVM grad reflects on Ukraine volunteer experience: “By helping people’s pets, we were helping the people”



-Laurie Chartorynsky

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3 ways integrative medicine can lower cervical cancer risk: SOM grad featured in mindbodygreen

doctor examining patient

What is the difference between integrative and traditional medicine solutions? 

“Integrative practitioners heal by treating your whole body, including the environment your body lives in and the lifestyle you expose your body to,” according to St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate, Dr. Dana Cohen

Dr. Cohen graduated SGU in 1995. As an internal and integrative medicine specialist practicing in New York City, she treats patients by offering alternative approaches to health and wellness that can complement traditional methods of treatment.  

Dr. Cohen recently shared her expertise in wellness blog, mindbodygreen. In her article, I’m a holistic MD: What I tell my patients to do to lower cervical cancer risk,” she discussed holistic strategies to lower the risk of cervical cancer.  

Her three tips included ways to:   

  • Take care of your immune system with essential nutrients and supplements; 
  • Keep hydrated; and 
  • Reduce stress. 

“Taking a holistic, proactive approach to your immune health will also enhance your overall well-being and quality of life—yet another reason to start implementing these tips today,” Dr. Cohen wrote.  




 -Laurie Chartorynsky

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On the blog: What is preventive medicine?
Grad tackles hem/onc and integrative medicine fellowships to treat patients’ “whole health”
A first of its kind: SGU launches center for integrative medicine

“Pizza, Pets and Vets:” SVMAA fosters alumni-student connections with relaunched lunchtime workshops

Pizza Pets and Vets - photo of SVM graduate, student, SVMAA and Alumni Affairs administration

The Office of Alumni Affairs and SVMAA relaunched a networking initiative designed to give SVM students on campus a fresh perspective on what it is like to work in the field of animal care and to create connections between students and SVM graduates.

St. George’s University’s Office of Alumni Affairs and School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association (SVMAA) recently relaunched a networking initiative designed to give SVM students on campus a fresh perspective on what it is like to work in the field of animal care and to create connections between students and SVM graduates.  

Renamed “Pizza, Pets and Vets,” the lunchtime talk series was kicked off on September 13. More than two dozen aspiring veterinarians gathered at Charter Hall Lab to listen to Kimberly Ferizolli, DVM ’14, medical director and lead veterinarian at Central Florida Community Pet Clinic. She shared her experiences as a veterinarian and co-founder of the nonprofit organization that offers high-volume, high-quality spay and neuters, mainly to feline patients. Her comments were followed by an engaging Q&A period and, of course, a pizza lunch. 

“Coming back to the island and talking to the students was a way to pay it forward,” Dr. Ferizolli said. “It’s so great to give back to SGU because that’s where my dream started. I wanted to let students know that no matter how hard school is—it is possible to make your dreams come true and to continue on with your goals.”


Students can greatly benefit from the wealth of knowledge, experiences, and shared community amongst our more than 2,500 esteemed SVM alumni,” said Tara Paterson, DVM ’03, MSc, president of the SVMAA and associate professor of Small Animal Medicine & Surgery at SGU.We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring together our alumni community with our current students, creating connections and fostering a spirit of learning that lasts a lifetime.” 


Alumni who are planning to visit Grenada, please email or SVMAA President Dr. Tara Paterson if you would like to volunteer for a “Pizza, Pets and Vets” workshop. 


Alexandra Prince, a Term 4 student and current SVM president within SGU’s Student Government Association, attended Dr. Ferizolli’s talk, noting that the session was very informative. 

“It was genuinely really amazing,” Ms. Prince said. “I think we as students are looking for those networking opportunities.”  

Ms. Prince is interested in veterinary medicine that specializes in exotic and aquatic animals, as well as surgery and feline medicine. “I want to meet as many veterinarians who specialize in these areas as possible to get a good idea of what each field actually looks like in practice,” she said.  

Student networking and mentorship opportunities

“Pizza, Pets and Vets” is just one of the ways that the Office of Alumni Affairs and SVMAA plan to increase engagement between SVM students and alumni.  

In addition, Ms. Prince has been named the SVM student-alumni representative. Having Ms. Prince in this position will further encourage connections and networking among the two groups as she shares how alumni can help make students’ SGU experience more valuable, SVMAA said. Ms. Prince said she hopes to connect students with alumni based on their area of veterinary interest or geographic location as part of her role. 


“It was genuinely really amazing. I think we as students are looking for those networking opportunities.”


Students on campus will also have opportunity to connect with SVM alumni attending the upcoming VetBolus conference, taking place in Grenada November 2 to 4. During the “Alumni Student Night,” students will be able to speak with several SVM graduates in a speed-dating type of environment.  

“The immediate goal of Alumni Affairs is to improve alumni engagement across all our support areas, which include connections with prospective students, current students (future alumni), and other alumni,” said Dr. Brendon La Grenade, SGU’s vice provost for Institutional Advancement. “This will be done through selective programming, driven by alumni interest, like ‘Pizza, Pets and Vets.’ We encourage all SVM alumni to follow your newsletter and SGU social media, stay in touch with SVMAA current events, and share your ideas with us.”   

SVM alumni interested in sharing their professional experiences during a “Pizza, Pets and Vets” lunchtime talk (in person or virtually) should email or contact SVMAA President Dr. Tara Paterson.  


— Tonya Duncan and Laurie Chartorynsky



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