Alumnus Dwight Matthias Speaks on Diabetes Care and Management in Grenada

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Clinical endocrinologist and SGU Alumnus Dwight Matthias, MD, SGU ’92 captivated an audience of medical practitioners, allied healthcare providers and pharmacists with a riveting presentation over a two-day workshop on diabetic prevention, diagnosis and care.

According to Dr. Matthias, “Diabetes is a progressive condition, and if it’s not detected early or managed adequately, it can result in a number of health-related complications.” Nevertheless he affirmed that, “Diabetes can be controlled, and its prevalence reduced, and that’s why it’s always a pleasure to empower and dispel information on diabetic care that can potentially impact the Grenadian community.”

Dr. Matthias provided an update on diabetes evaluation and management, following his last visit in March 2011 and discussed the epidemiology and natural history of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), reviewed the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Position Statement for management of Hyperglycemia in T2DM and looked at patient-centered treatment involving individualized A1C (Glycated Hemoglobin) target adjustments for patient and disease factors, lifestyle strategies and noninsulin and insulin therapies.

Throughout the second day participants discussed diabetic cases, and were given the opportunity to make recommendations towards improving hyperglycemia management. They were also privy to a demonstration involving the use of some devises used by Dr. Matthias to measure glucose levels at his practice in Virginia. These included glucometers/continuous glucose sensors, insulin delivery pens, insulin pumps and V-GO device.

The Chief Medical officer (CMO) attached to the Ministry of Health, Dr. George Mitchell stated, “Chronic non-communicable Diseases is one of the most common causes of death throughout the Caribbean region. It is a group of conditions that affects us adversely, and together with St. George’s University, who we proudly associate with, we are trying to manage this condition and create positive outcomes.”

According to the CMO, “The Ministry of Health spends approximately 60-65 cents of every dollar on medication to treat chronic non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, and if we were to continue down this path, very soon the country will not be able to sustain it.”

It is in this vein Dr. Mathias urged the participants to be the conduit that educates the public on the need for diabetic prevention and management, as the mantle has now been placed in their hands.

Upon completing his medical education at St. George’s University, Dr. Dwight Matthias completed his residency in Endocrinology at Stanford University, and is currently the president and medical consultant at Tidewater Endocrine Consultants, PC in Chesapeake, Virginia.

St. George’s University Alumnus Performs Grenada’s First Angiograms

The tension was palpable in the operating room. For Dr. Mark Lanzieri, MD SGU ’85, it should have been a routine procedure – he had performed it more than a thousand times over his 22-year medical career. But this was different. It was the first time Dr. Lanzieri, or anyone, had performed an angiogram in Grenada.

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That day, Dr. Lanzieri performed not one, but two, angiograms as part of the St. George’s University Visiting Cardiology Program,” calling them “the most invasive procedures we have ever done here.” In the past, Grenadians have had to fly to one other Caribbean islands or as far away as New York or Miami to have these procedures.

He and his team, which included his wife Annie Lanzieri, an X-ray technologist and cardiovascular specialist, and Leigh Silver from Medtronic Company, had to modify the imaging equipment available at the General Hospital to make the angiograms possible. The team brought supplies and equipment to perform the angiograms including monitoring equipment supplied on loan by Zoll Medical Corporation. In the end, both angiograms were completely successful and uncomplicated.

Dr. Lanzieri, who has been doing cardiology screening, consultation, and surgeries in Grenada for the past 14 years as part of the Visiting Cardiology Program, explained that angiography involved using a special dye to obtain images of the blood vessels of the heart with an X-ray. This diagnostic procedure, detects the level of blockage of a patient’s coronary artery, which is important, since patients with severe artery blockage are at risk for heart attacks.

For Dr. Lanzieri, this is a surprising part of his own professional development. “This is very professionally rewarding for us,” he said. “It is fun and refreshing to do the things you do routinely in an environment that requires you to rethink everything from the beginning.”

The Visiting Cardiology Program, which provides heart care for adult Grenadians free of cost to them, keeps growing. “We’re seeing more patients in a month in this clinic than we probably saw in an entire year in the first few clinics that we ran,” said Dr. Lanzieri, recalling the program’s comparatively humble beginnings about 14 years ago in a single room at the General Hospital. Now the program has a dedicated center at Grand Anse, more and more St. George’s University alumni and friends of SGU are signing on and dedicating their time and expertise for the monthly clinics, and new services, like angiography, are being introduced. To date, the 24 cardiologists who participate in the program have seen more than 3,300 patients and the value of their time and the equipment they donated has exceeded $500,000 US.

St. George’s University Grads To Match Wits With Top Business Schools at Boston Regional

For the second consecutive year, a group of St. George’s University graduates will go head to head with the most renowned business schools in the world.

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Gary Chan, MD ’12; Felicia Chee, MD ’06; Sung Shim, MD ’12; Mark Harman, MD ’12; and Jennifer Lopez, DVM ’11, will represent SGU in the prestigious Hult Prize competition, a start-up accelerator that, in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative, will award $1 million in start-up funding for a team to launch its sustainable social venture.

“The Hult Competition is an excellent opportunity for our university to participate in a meaningful project for the global community,” remarked Dr. Chan, the team’s leader.

The St. George’s Hult Competition Team will take part in the Boston regional March 1-3. Of nearly 10,000 applicants worldwide, the St. George’s University team was among 350 colleges and universities that were selected for the regional round, joining the likes of Harvard University, Stanford University, and The Wharton School. Regionals will also be held at the fourth other Hult International Business School campuses in San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai, as well as from Hult’s online competition. The winners from each regional will advance to the Hult Prize (formerly Hult Global Case Challenge) final in New York City for the chance to win a $1 million cash grant to carry out their plan.

“Participating in the Boston regional is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Harman. “Not only do we have the opportunity to learn new skills and ideas, but we also get to make a concrete impact on the world.”

This year’s St. George’s Hult Competition Team is working to resolve the issue of food security in urban areas in which women and children suffer from malnutrition. It includes studying and researching social entrepreneurship, government, microfinance, community gardens, coops, consumer distribution, and industry infrastructure, among other topics, to devise a hybrid “social business” that can solve the issue.

As doctors and veterinarians, they’re accustomed to coming up with solutions that suit the short- and long-term needs of their patients. Dr. Harman also said that their international medical education allows them tackle global health issues from a unique perspective.

“We have woven each of our unique contributions, along with our medical/veterinarian experiences, into our plan,” he said. “In this way, we have not only come up with solutions that feed residents of slums, but that improve their overall health and ability to contribute to society, as a whole and reduce strain on health systems.”

The team has been advised by Dr. Kristine Kawamura, director of the MBA program, and Dr. Satesh Bidaisee, associate professor and deputy chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

“Dr. Kawamura has been an excellent mentor by bringing the experience of last year’s team to our meetings, and helping us optimize our preparation time, and Dr. Bidaisee has been an enthusiastic faculty member in our project, and brings a wealth of experience to our group,” Dr. Chan said.

It is the second straight year that St. George’s University has reached the regional round of the competition. In 2012, Team Nathan – Arian Robert, BSc; Nathan Kwablah, MD ’11; Stephanie Nanayakkara, MD ’10; Theodor Gottlieb, MD ’00; and Yon Chong, MPH, MD ’08 – presented at the Boston regional on the topic of global poverty.

Louis Guida, SGU MD ’84, Making a Difference One Patient at a Time

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Time and again, the patients of Dr. Louis Guida, president and CEO of Bay Shore Allergy and Asthma Specialty Practice on Long Island, thank him for the care he provides – which consistently goes above and beyond. There’s the time a deaf three-year-old received a customized injection of special medication which resulted in him gaining his hearing for the first time. And then there’s Dr. Guida’s cystic fibrosis patient who has managed to live to his 70s when the average lifespan for those stricken with the disease is 37. Dr. Guida doesn’t simply care about the disease; he cares deeply about the person who has the disease.

The 1984 graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine is thankful as well. He always wanted to be a doctor, and each day such success stories remind him of why he loves his job.

“One of the most important things to me is giving patients a better quality of life, whether they’re young, middle-aged, or elderly and in a nursing home,” Dr. Guida said.

In addition to his role at Bay Shore Allergy, Dr. Guida has served as medical director of the Allergy/Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis Centers at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, NY, since 1990, and medical director of pediatric pulmonology and allergy and asthma at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY, since 2008. He also cares for patients at a nursing home in nearby St. James.

Dr. Guida, who was named a “Top Doctor” by US News & World Report in 2012 and “Top Doctor” by Castle Connolly from 2008 to 2012, estimates that he visits with 30 to 50 new patients each week, or between 2,000 and 3,000 new patients per year. No case is the same. He can capably address the concerns from a wide range of patients in part because of the wide range of experiences presented to him at SGU. He was taught by professors in the top of their fields and from all over the world. The faculty wasn’t just decorated but they were accessible, oftentimes offering their expertise one-on-one before or after class.

“You don’t get that kind of opportunity in a lot of other places,” he said. “We were fortunate to get that. It was just phenomenal.”

In addition to appreciating all that the University and the island of Grenada had to offer, he gained clinical experience in St. Vincent’s in the United Kingdom as well. He initially signed on for six weeks in the UK but ended up staying 18 months.

“At St. George’s, you’re taught to think on our own,” Dr. Guida said. “You’re taught to think outside the box. Unfortunately a lot of physicians now are all textbook knowledge. What Grenada, St. Vincent’s, and England did was teach me think on my own. That’s one of the most important things when you’re caring for a patient, whether it’s an infant, child, adult or the elderly.”

His journey began after receiving his Bachelor of Science in biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1980. When considering options for medical school, the New Jersey native was pointed to St. George’s University, then an up-and-coming institution in the Caribbean, by Dr. Abdol Islami, the chair of graduate medical education at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey, where Dr. Guida was volunteering. He continues to be grateful for all that Chancellor Charles Modica and the University did for him.

“I would have done anything and gone anywhere to become a doctor,” Dr. Guida said. “Every time I see Chancellor Modica to this day, I thank him for giving me the opportunity to become a physician. I have told many students to go down to Grenada to become physicians. If you want to become a doctor, Chancellor Modica will give you the opportunity, and SGU continues to put out wonderful physicians.

“Anybody can be a doctor but it takes a very special person to be a physician,” he continued. “Grenada taught us to be well-rounded physicians.”

Dr. Guida and his wife have four children, ranging from 16 to 22 years old. The family has resided on Long Island since 1990.

St. George’s University Catapulted Brownrigg, SGU MD ’07, to Anesthesiology Career in Midwest

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When Tanner Brownrigg set off from his home state of Kansas to enroll at St. George’s University School of Medicine in 2003, he had a vision of where the path would lead him. He wanted to study anesthesiology and return to the Midwest to continue his career.

Nine years later, he’s an anesthesiologist at Ad Vivum Anesthesiology, a group of 10 physicians, practicing anesthesia at a community hospital and an ambulatory surgery center in Kansas City. The plan worked. He’s where he always wanted to be, doing what he always wanted to do.

“I have nothing but great things to say about St. George’s,” he said. “I loved my experience there. I went there with a clear idea in my head of what my future held, and it came to fruition.”

Dr. Brownrigg believes one of the main draws to anesthesiology is the ability to work with a variety of different patient populations. On a daily basis he is able provide care to everyone from infants to expectant mothers to geriatric patients. A typical day’s cases might range from outpatient knee arthroscopies and pediatric ear tube placement to epidurals and cesarean section for child birth, or even heart and brain surgeries. He is an integral part of the process before, during, and after the operation.

“Before the surgery, we take the patients’ history, review their labs and X-rays, and making sure they’re medically stable to proceed with the surgery. Once we get into the operating room, I monitor the patient throughout the operation and am able to respond to acute changes that may take place during the surgery. Then in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), I help control the pain and make sure the patient is stable for discharge home or to the hospital floor.”

Upon earning his Doctor of Medicine from SGU, Dr. Brownrigg began his anesthesiology residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City in 2007. Paving the way to matching with his chosen specialty and location was an outstanding performance on both Step 1 and 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Dr. Brownrigg finished in the 98th percentile for each exam.

Prior to Match Day, he was confident that he would be paired with one of his top three residency choices. In fact, he had to turn down a number of residency interviews.

“The fact that I scored so well on the USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams was directly related to the quality of the professors at St. George’s and how the classes are structured,” Dr. Brownrigg said. “I never came across a professor that wasn’t willing to help you any way they could. They are at St. George’s purely to teach and it shows.”

He has paid it forward by performing student interviews for the University and attending information sessions in the Kansas City area.

“I’m very grateful that St. George’s gave me the chance to pursue my dream, and as a result I feel it’s important to give back to the school,” Dr. Brownrigg said.

A native of Ottawa, KS, Dr. Brownrigg earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Kansas in 2003, graduating with highest distinction. While in college, he worked as a nurse assistant at a local hospital and performed a variety of volunteer work in the community.

Dr. Brownrigg is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, and Kansas City Society of Anesthesiologists. He and his wife, Kara, a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital, reside in Kansas City, Missouri.

Kathryn Providence, MD SGU ’05, Joins Cherokee Women’s Health Specialist

Born and raised in Bermuda, Dr. Kathryn Providence went on to earn her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She has gone on to a successful career in obstetrics and gynecology, and recently joined the staff at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, GA. Dr. Providence is a former Legacy of Excellence scholarship recipient and dean’s list member at SGU.

Aspiring Rider Turned Horse Vet Relishes Role

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Growing up in Colorado, Dr. Kirsten Traul, DVM ’04, admits she had similar dreams to her fellow horse-crazy classmates, she wanted to be a professional rider. She couldn’t get enough of horses then, and her attitude hasn’t wavered, although she’s in a different albeit rewarding role as the attending veterinarian at Premier Breeding Services, a large equine reproduction facility in southeast Denver, CO.

“It is fascinating to me because no two days are alike,” said Dr. Traul. “Every day has something unusual to it that makes me stretch and grow as a veterinarian. I really enjoy working with horses, particularly with the foals. It’s kind of a mix of being an OB/GYN and an emergency room doctor. It is fun.”

Her affinity for horses started at age eight and she was a competitive rider throughout junior high school and high school. “A woman in the neighborhood who had a horse farm let a bunch of us kids go and ride and play with the babies,” Dr. Traul recalls. “She got me completely hooked on horses.”

Her love of horses evolved into a desire to care for them in the most intense way possible – as a veterinarian. She enrolled at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine to pursue that dream and took advantage of learning from a faculty that was both renowned and diverse. She fully embraced the Grenadian culture and appreciated the knowledge and accessibility of the professors.

“SGU taught me to think through a diagnosis and to ask the right questions,” Dr. Traul said. “The experience was very hands-on and that helped you developed good observation skills.”

“One of the best things about SGU is the fact that it isn’t a US school. It makes you think in a different way, and makes you a better vet.”

Located just outside the SGU campus, the Elisabeth McClellan Small Animal Clinic provides outstanding care to the Grenadian community while also serving as a venue to teach St. George’s University students the clinical skills necessary to be successful in the profession.

Dr. Traul completed her clinical rotations at Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine in early January 2004. She was hired by Washington State CVM’s anesthesia department immediately after graduation. In 2006, she and her husband moved to Colorado where she was appointed to the Premier Breeding Services staff. By Dr. Traul’s estimation, the organization breeds upwards of 300 mares a season, delivering 30 to 40, and stands between 15 and 20 stallions. In addition to basic reproduction services, she provides neonatal care, assists in the transfer of embryos and collects semen for shipping and freezing, as well as dealing with colics and other emergencies.

She runs a mobile veterinary service during the fall months; horses breed from January to September. In visits to her clients, Dr. Traul administers vaccinations, performs routine physical examinations, and responds to various emergencies. She is also a certified veterinary acupuncturist.

“One of the best things about SGU is the fact that it isn’t a US school,” Dr. Traul said. “It makes you think in a different way, and makes you a better vet. I enjoyed the experience very much.”

MBA Degree Has Helped Grenadian Develop Charcoals Caribbean Grill

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Brigitte Assing and her colleagues shared a moment of joy this past spring. Having worked tirelessly to complete St. George’s Master of Business Administration program, the charter class graduated with their MBA in International Business.

Assing, who owns and operates Charcoals Caribbean Grill in Lance aux Epines, had only one regret—that she didn’t get her MBA sooner. It has made a world of difference.

“In retrospect it would have been great to have gotten it prior to opening the restaurant,” Assing said. “What I learned in the MBA program would have helped a lot. There are so many things that we probably wasted money on thinking we were doing the right thing.”

She and her husband Mark had always dreamed of opening their own restaurant and in 2009 Charcoals welcomed its first customers. Located approximately 1.5 miles from the St. George’s University campus and boasting an affordable menu of items that includes a mix of burgers, sandwiches, seafood, salads and more, Charcoals quickly became a popular spot among residents and St. George’s University students. They had their niche – tasty yet affordable fare.

“There are quite a few restaurants that are in a higher price bracket so we decided to offer healthy grilled food at affordable prices for families and students who are looking for a good value when eating out,” Assing said.

However, despite some early success, Brigitte soon learned that opening a restaurant and creating the menu were the least of the challenges she would face. Keeping the books, developing and launching an effective marketing program, and growing a loyal following made her realize that she needed some training in these areas if she was to make her family business a success. In 2010, she set off to earn her Master of Business Administration and in June 2012 was part of the charter class of MBA graduates from SGU.

“I had always wanted to get my MBA, but I just never had the opportunity. I thought it would be difficult to balance my studies with family and work, but SGU’s online format made it easier for me to accomplish my goals, “Assing said. “I realized that SGU was offering a great opportunity. I went forward with the degree and have never regretted it.”

The MBA program charter class included nearly a dozen students from around the world. Despite the online format, members of the charter class grew to become friends after meeting each other in Grenada during one of the residency weeks held at the beginning and end of the degree track.

“Even though we rarely met in person, we did meet often via our computer screens so I got to know my classmates and enjoyed working with them on projects,” said Assing, who graduated with a 4.0 grade point average.

“It was wonderful being able to graduate with my team,” she continued. “We were all so proud to still be together. We had worked so hard over the past 18 months and could now point to our accomplishment.”

Since graduating from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Business management in 1991, Assing has spent more than 20 years in the field of business in management positions. She worked for nine years at Spice Island Beach Resort, and then in 1999, she joined Woodlands-based Creative Design Building Construction Co., Ltd., as an Administrative manager and was promoted to Procurement and Administrative Services manager in 2005. In that position she developed and managed the Administrative department and its budgets, oversaw all overseas and local procurement and distribution of all construction materials, including all new and ongoing construction projects at St. George’s University. During this period she was specifically involved in the rebuilding of SGU after Hurricane Ivan ravaged the campus in 2004.

Since 2009, Assing has been a business and hospitality guest lecturer at St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences. She is also on the board of directors at her alma mater, Westmorland Secondary School in Grenada. She and her husband of 17 years live in Lance aux Epines and have one daughter.

Paul Vallone, MD ’81, Follows Up Successful Medical Career with Far Hills Mayorship

news valloneFor nearly 25 years, Paul Vallone, SGUSOM ’81, owned and operated a cosmetic surgery practice that had three locations throughout the State of New Jersey. He retired in 2009 but has immersed himself in a new career – mayor of the Borough of Far Hills in New Jersey – that has him utilizing the same skills he learned as a medical student and professional.

“When you go to medical school, you’re taught to be thorough, to analyze, interpret a problem, gather facts, and then make a decision,” Mayor Vallone said. “You act in the best interest of the patient. The qualities you acquire in medical school and through your residency work hand in hand with politics. You’re really doing a diagnosis of a problem affecting a community, and as a politician, it’s incumbent upon you to gather the facts, weigh the pros and cons, and decide on what is the best option.”

“It’s also very clear to me that medicine is not an island unto itself,” he added. “It is affected by the politics around us greatly.

Mayor Vallone enrolled at St. George’s University School of Medicine as part of its charter class. He completed his general practice residency at Brooklyn Hospital before accepting a two-year plastic surgery fellowship at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ.

“The St. George’s experience was one of the greatest in my life; I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Mayor Vallone said. “The four years at St. George’s certainly helped me grow as a person because it teaches you to be collaborative and it gives you a bigger, broader picture of what the world is.”

In 1986, he opened his own practice, Paul J. Vallone, MD, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, where he performed cosmetic and reconstructive surgery for 23 years. During that time he also served as chairman of the Department of Plastic Surgery at St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville, NJ, and chief of surgery at Newton Hospital in Newton, NJ.

Mayor Vallone’s first foray into politics came when he was elected to the Far Hills (NJ) Borough Council in 2010. Later that year, he ran for mayor of Far Hills, a community of 919 residents according to the 2010 United States Census, and received 94 percent of the vote.

“I’m proud that people voted for me and believe I’m the best person for the job,” said Mayor Vallone, who also serves on the Legislative Committee for the State of New Jersey. “It’s a job that brings many new and different challenges, and as a result of that, it makes you grow as a person. As you go through life, from one career to another, the ultimate thing is to continue to grow as a person, to continue to interact with the people in the community, and to do something for the benefit of the community.

He also said that should an opportunity to run for a higher office, whether for New Jersey General Assembly or the State Senate, arise in the future, he would entertain it.

“There are a lot of moving parts with that kind of decision and a lot of additional commitments, but if the opportunity presents itself to move to the next level, I would consider it without question,” Mayor Vallone said.

He will always take with him the international education and experience he received at St. George’s University.

“St. George’s enhanced my ability to the bigger picture, to listen to people better and to process different points of view,” Mayor Vallone said. “In medicine, that is invaluable because it gets you to think outside the box. There are the common diagnoses, but maybe you have to think in a different way for a particular patient. The same can be said about situations you’ll face in politics.  The experience at St. George’s is a tremendous growth opportunity in which students receive an excellent medical education that enhances your personal view of the world.”

St. George’s School of Medicine Graduate Becomes Floating Doctor

Hosts Four Day Clinic in Remote Panama Town with Non-Profit Committed to Providing Medical Care in Developing World

In an already remote town in Panama, Dr. Ravi Chokshi, SGUSOM ’12, and his colleagues from Floating Doctors, a not-for-profit organization committed to providing acute health care services and supplies to the developing world through mobile clinics, prepared for their next venture – a five-hour trek on foot to La Sabana, an even more isolated village in the mountains that was without access to clean running water or to basic health care.

2012 news floatingDuring its four-day clinic in the village, whose residents Dr. Chokshi called “outsiders in their own country,” Floating Doctors came to the aid of dozens of La Sabana villagers. The experience wasn’t only life-changing for them but for the doctors providing the treatment.

“It made me fall in love with medicine even more,” Dr. Chokshi said. “Every day there was so, so useful and we treated a lot of people. Training in the US is so rigorous and there’s so much paperwork, and sometimes you forget that medicine is cool and what we’re doing is really important. What you learn in medical school is so useful and the knowledge we have can do so much and help so many people.”

La Sabana was just one of many visits made in Central America by Floating Doctors, which was formed in 2008 by Dr. Benjamin LaBrot, his sister, Sky, and rehabilitation therapist Noah Haas, who make up the organization’s full-time staff.  It also employs rotating volunteers from all over the world; Dr. Chokshi’s group included volunteers from Australia, England and Sweden. Their roles ranged from dietitian to physical therapist and nurse.

Dr. Chokshi, who began his Obstetrics and Gynecology residency at Hahnemann University Hospital in Philadelphia in July, was able to address/assess women’s health care needs in La Sabana.

“Women’s health care is completely underserved in regions like this,” Dr. Chokshi said. “They aren’t at all aware of complications they may be having with their pregnancy. Even when a child is delivered normally, there’s a 5 to 10 percent infant mortality rate because they die of common childhood illnesses or related dehydration.”

For all treatments, Floating Doctors made do with whatever equipment and supplies it had on hand. In the case of one 12-year-old, Dr. Chokshi and Co., performed a tropical echocardiogram using a portable ultrasound, a test that would have cost $3,000 to $5,000 in the US. Their findings made it clear – the boy had a hole in his heart.

“I had examined 20 chests that day, listened to 20 hearts. But only his jumped at me as I lifted his shirt,” Dr. Chokshi wrote on his blog entry for
Floating Doctors set up an appointment with a pediatric cardiologist in Panama City. The organization pledges not only to establish a connection with remote communities but maintain them long-term.

“They don’t want to do something once and never come back,” Dr. Chokshi said. “That’s not really health care. They want to build lasting relationships with all these communities so they begin to trust them more.”

In addition to receiving his education from an international faculty in Grenada, he is confident that, throughout his career, wherever he may go, he’ll always draw from his volunteer opportunity with Floating Doctors. Dr. Chokshi hopes to join up with the group once again when able.

It was a very valuable experience,” he said. “It was as international as medicine gets to me. It made me a better person and a better doctor.