St. George’s University School of Medicine Grad/Faculty Dr. Jennifer Rooney Now Published in Japanese

Dr. Jennifer Rooney, Assistant Professor at St. George’s University School of Medicine and SOM Class of 1999 graduate, received a terrific surprise in the mail last week when global education publishing house McGraw-Hill Medical forwarded a second edition of her USMLE Step 2 CS Checklist translated and printed in Japanese.

“This was an unexpected and exciting surprise,” said Dr. Rooney, whose original publication of this user-friendly preparatory book was first published by McGraw-Hill Medical in 2004 with a print run of 5,000 copies. Since then, a second edition was reprinted in 2007, and is now being distributed in Asia.

Dr. Rooney, originally from Scotland, explained that her decision to write the book occurred when the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), a three-step examination for medical licensure in the United States and its territories, became mandatory for students from the United States in 2005. Prior to this, it was a requirement for foreign medical students only.

The USMLE Step 2 CS Checklist is a small, easy-to-carry, checklist format book designed for self-testing on the elements which appear on the USMLE Step 2 CS. The Step 2 assesses whether a student can apply medical knowledge, skills, and understanding of clinical science essential for the provision of proper patient care under supervision and includes emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention.
Rooney Book CoverDr. Rooney’s book focuses on several critical components which include patient-centered skills such as taking a complete health history, physical examination and write up. Also included in the book are 55 Clinical Cases which begin with a particular scenario, then provide a checklist for every item the student should consider regarding patient care, diagnosis and follow up.Dr. Rooney is pleased by the response to her book, which has been sold at the SGU on-campus bookstore, and looks forward to the USMLE Step 2 CS helping an increasingly broad group of medical students in years to come.

After her Residency in Family Practice at Albany Medical Center in New York, Dr. Rooney returned to St. George’s University in 2002 as a Clinical Tutor in the Pathology, Histology and Clinical Skills Departments, respectively. Dr. Rooney is now an Assistant Professor and Course Coordinator for Term 5 and 6 students in the Clinical Skills Department. Dr. Rooney‘s husband, Eric Williams, is also an integral member of the SGU community, serving the University as Supervisor of the Mail Department. They have two boys, ages two and three.

St. George’ s University School of Medicine Grad Solves Dangerous Fruit Mystery

By Lisa Sanders, M.D.

Dr. Jafer Jeelani attributes patient’s unusual and deadly symptoms to unripened ackee fruit….

The New York Times

Dr. David Reindl, Class of ’92, Arrives at Samaritan Medical Center

Dr. David Reindl, who arrived at SMC in early June, received his medical degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, West Indies….

NY, United States

Dr. Emily Iker, School of Medicine ’81, Selected President of the American Society of Lymphology (ASL)

eimly iker president aslDr. Emily Iker-d’Harnoncourt was recently named President of the American Society of Lymphology (ASL), a nationally recognized non-profit organization founded in 1996. In this position, her primary focus will be to educate key members of the healthcare profession on the importance of early diagnosis of lymphatic disorders and to establish uniformed guidelines for treatment, training, information and insurance regulations.

Dr. Iker is well versed in the field of lymphology, specializing in lymphedema – a chronic condition commonly seen in cancer patients, which results in extreme swelling of the limbs.  As Director and Founder of the Lymphedema Center in Santa Monica, CA, Dr. Iker has focused on the diagnosis, management and treatment of lymphatic disorders for over 15 years.  She is certified by Professor A. Leduc, PhD, a world renowned leader in the research and treatment of lymphedema. Dr. Iker is a member of many Lymphological Societies, including ISL and GEL, as well as both Slovak and Czech Lymphological Societies where she was awarded the Honorary Membership of the Lymphological Association of J.E. Purkyne, in 1999.

Dr. Iker is board certified by the American Boards of Holistic Medicine and is a staff member of Santa Monica – UCLA Medical Center.  She is not only the Director of the Lymphedema Center but a patient as well.  “Because I have the experience in lymphology as a hands-on MD for over a decade, and I am very active nationally and internationally as a teacher, lecturer and treating physician, I was selected for the position of President of the ASL.” She continued, “With early diagnosis and the uniformed guidelines for treatment we will see less complicated cases and better care for the lymphedema patients.”

Published on 3/1/08

School of Medicine Grad Shares Real-Life “CSI” Experiences

Dr. Julia de la Garza-Jordan, SOM ’00, is a medical examiner in New York City, one of the high profile posts in the country.

A 1991 graduate of Columbia University, Dr. de la Garza-Jordan recently addressed the Columbia University Club of Southwest Florida in Naples, FL. Dr. de la Garza-Jordan attracted the largest group of Columbia alumni ever to attend this event.

The lecture titled “A Day in the Life of a Medical Examiner” drew upon her varied and often “made-for-the-movies” experiences. The presentation addressed the many complexities of her career beginning with the cases themselves. Dr. de la Garza-Jordan explained that there is no shortage of challenges and unexpected elements including the detectives, fussy undertakers, forensic photographers and resistant families, making each day different from the next.

Clearly, her most compelling case is the recovery effort at the site of the New York Twin Towers. Dr. de la Garza credits her many colleagues from the Medical Examiner Office including Michelle Slone, also a SGUSOM graduate, for their tireless efforts in identifying the victims of this historic tragedy. She shared her first-hand perspective of the devastation and the remarkable collaboration within the various City of New York offices – an effort which continues to this day.

Dr. de la Garza points out an interesting fact about the 30 employed ME’s in the Medical Examiner Office of the City of New York: Only three are women, and each is a graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine. She is proud to be in such good company, and over the years has received praise from many experts in her field for the education and life experience provided by SGU.

Dr. Julia de la Garza-Jordan completed an anatomical and clinical pathology residency at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami, Florida, and completed an Immunopathology Fellowship (transplant pathology) at Jackson Memorial Hospital, Miami. She also completed a Forensic Pathology Fellowship at Miami-Dade Medical Examiner in Florida.

Dr. de la Garza-Jordan resides in New York City with her husband Dr. Robert L. Jordan, SGUSOM’s Department Co-Chair of Anatomical Sciences and the University’s Associate Dean of Enrolment Planning for Admissions.

John Beshai, MD, St. George’s University ’96, Presents Landmark Clinical Trial at AHA Annual Meeting

john beshaiJohn Beshai, a 1996 SGUSOM graduate, presented a late-breaking clinical trial to an audience of peers and mentors at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association (AHA) on November 6th in Orlando, FL.  Dr. Beshai is an expert in cardiac electrophysiology, an area of medicine focused on the treatment of heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias).  A respected scientist and the Director of Pacemaker and Defibrillator Services at the University of Chicago, he served as the National Principal Investigator and Steering Committee Chairman for the RETHINQ clinical trial.

For the RETHINQ trial, 172 heart failure patients were randomly selected to participate from August 2005 through January 2007.   One group of 87 patients received treatment with Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) devices while the remaining control group was untreated. Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy (CRT) devices are surgically implanted and deliver electrical impulses to both ventricles at the same time, making both chambers contract simultaneously thereby improving pumping efficiency.

While current guidelines support the use of CRT in patients with moderate to severe heart failure and a prolonged QRS duration, this study aimed to see if the device could benefit patients outside these recommended parameters.  Patients with a narrow QRS complex and evidence of mechanical dyssynchrony as demonstrated on echocardiography were included in the trial.  The results showed that those treated with CRT demonstrated no significant improvement in exercise capacity as measured by peak oxygen consumption. Some symptoms did improve, but quality-of-life scores, results of the six-minute hall walk test and echocardiographic parameters of left ventricular reverse remodeling did not improve significantly.

“There was no significant difference in the change in peak oxygen consumption between the treatment group and the control group during cardiopulmonary testing,” reported Dr. John Beshai.  “Further research is necessary,” he said.   These results were significant, as CRT may not benefit about a quarter of the country’s estimated 500,000 heart failure patients.

The RETHINQ results presented by Dr. Beshai were simultaneously published online by the New England Journal of Medicine. They are expected to be published in the December 13 print issue of the publication.

This trial was funded by St. Jude Medical Center, makers of the CRT device.
For a video presentation of Dr. Beshai’s clinical trial please see….

Published 11/26/2007

Taught in Grenada, Now Teaching at Yale: A Proud St. George’s Graduate

Dr. Peter Barrett’s dream of becoming a doctor was triggered by The Making of a Surgeon, a book he read when he was ten years old. He discovered that he was fascinated by the idea of treating people to make them better, and that he was in particular drawn to surgery, because it offered immediate results. He found his life’s calling at St. George’s University in Grenada, and now teaches young people, with their own dreams, at Yale, where he is assistant professor of cardiothoracic surgery and medical director of the Cardiothoracic Surgery Intensive Care Unit (CT SICU).

In 1981, he enrolled in St. George’s University’s School of Medicine during the school’s early years. “The University was a work in progress,” Dr. Barrett recalled. “I followed several of my college classmates who had enrolled there. Everyone was very talented; and worked hard every day — they clearly wanted to be in medicine. It was a very positive experience.”

After graduating in 1985, Dr. Barrett completed a residency in general surgery at Morristown Memorial Hospital in New Jersey, and a second residency in cardiothoracic surgery at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut. He followed with a fellowship in cardiopulmonary transplantation at Yale University, and also attained a master’s degree in health care management from Harvard University. In the mid-1990s, Dr. Barrett worked in private practice in adult cardiothoracic surgery in Pennsylvania, and, subsequently, in Michigan. It was while he was in Michigan that Yale recruited him to return to Connecticut to work in the CT SICU.

For these past four years, Dr. Barrett has cared for patients in the department of surgery, and taught others how to do the same. He teaches cardiothoracic surgical procedures to residents and medical students, and specializes in thoracic oncology, lung cancer, esophageal surgery, left ventricular assist devices, and surgery for the failing ventricle. Dr. Barrett is responsible for the organization, implementation, and supervision of preoperative and postoperative care in the CT SICU, which is one of the busiest cardiothoracic surgery units in the country.

Dr. Barrett is enthusiastic about what he is doing. “I like taking care of heart patients and being by their bedside,” he said. “I also enjoy teaching. There is no substitute for experience, and I want to pass that on to others.”

He lauds the education he received at St. George’s as the right stepping-stone to his future. “I’m proud I attended the University. It’s truly an international university, with all those people coming together, from Eastern Europe and the States and Africa,” said Dr. Barrett. “Let’s face it, medical school is a rigorous ordeal. And at other schools, learning about other cultures and other lands is not something you are normally exposed to. It’s wonderful.”

Thirty Years of Growth

When Dr. Barrett began studying at St. George’s, it was a small, independent school of medicine. In the intervening years, the institution has grown to a full university, adding schools of veterinary medicine, and the arts and sciences, as well as offering advanced degrees in allied health sciences and public health. Like Dr. Barrett and his medical colleagues, newer graduates are excelling at qualifying examinations, with scores that surpass those from US schools. They enhance health care wherever they practice, Dr. Barrett recognizes. “The university has produced wonderful physicians and embraced the world’s communities, providing opportunity and scholarships,” he said. “They’ve done great things.”

The physical footprint of St. George’s has grown correspondingly, into a two-level university-city of 42 acres, overlooking the Caribbean Sea. The university has forged alliances and affiliations with over 70 top clinical teaching centers and universities across the United States, Canada, and Europe. Its enduring commitment to academic excellence and student success, and its innovative approach to education is hailed by scholars and scientists, and embodied in its rallying cry: “Think Beyond.”

Fifty-Five Hundred Grads Practicing…Everywhere

Like Dr. Barrett, who now guides students at one of the top universities in the United States, graduates from St. George’s University School of Medicine are remaking the face of medicine across the world, excelling in their respective fields, and practicing with commitment and expertise. For more information on how to join them, visit

Published on 04/28/2006

Grenada Cataracts Alleviated by St. George’s University Alumni Eye Project

he SGU Alumni Eye Project has solidified its commitment to the improvement of health care in Grenada and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Its most recent undertaking, consultation and surgery on cataract patients at the Grenada General Hospital, took place April 10-11.

Dr. Joseph Iuorno and Dr. Bernard Spier, alumni of St. George’s University, arrived in Grenada equipped with medication, supplies and a Phaco machine to perform the operations. Over fifteen cataract patients were examined, nine of whom were selected for surgery. The surgery and all medication, valued at over 35, 000 US dollars, were all provided free of charge. Among the contributors to the project are St. George’s University, Alcon Pharmaceuticals, Allergan Pharmaceuticals, Advanced Medical Optics and Virginia Commonwealth University.

Minister of Health Senator Ann David-Antoine thanked St. George’s University and the medical team on behalf of the Ministry of Health and the Government of Grenada. “The pleasure and the honor is mine to say thank you. We appreciate the work you are doing and your response to the call.” She acknowledged the support of the hospital staff and the strengthening of the relationship between the University and the Ministry, as directly beneficial to the delivery of health care services in the country. Dr. McGuire expressed his thanks for the attention given to eye care, which he notes, is “an often forgotten area of health.”

The Eye Project is the vision of SGU graduate Dr. Orazio Giliberti, who assisted Dr. Robert Fucigna in performing the first corneal transplants in Grenada last year. Through the University, Dr. Gilberti has worked closely with the Ministry of Health, Dr. Elliot McGuire and by extension, the Eye Care Department at the General Hospital.

The program was extended to St. Vincent in February of this year when five Grenadians and one Vincentian received corneal transplants at the Milton Cato General Hospital. The recent mission again included a stop in St. Vincent where the team met patients and performed additional surgeries.

Published on 04/24/2006