St. George’s University Student Named President of American Society of Anesthesiologists’ Medical Student Governing Council

St. George’s University student Stacia Griebahn (fourth from right) with her colleagues at the American Society of Anesthesiologists annual meeting in San Francisco.

Before, during, and after surgical operations, anesthesiologists work carefully behind the scenes, monitoring patients’ pain throughout. It’s part of the reason why St. George’s University Term 4 student Stacia Griebahn has longed wanted to become one—to fill an important role in health care, albeit quietly.

Yet at the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) annual conference in San Francisco earlier this month, in vying for the role of President of the organization’s Medical Student Governing Council (MSGC), she was front and center, presenting to the Council’s 60-member House of Delegates.

Ms. Griebahn shined, and in being elected President, she became the first-ever student from an international medical school to be named to the Council’s 10-person board. She will serve as its President-Elect for one year beginning on November 1, before assuming the role of President on November 1, 2019.

“It’s still surreal,” she said. “I feel so proud to be from SGU and to have a position on the board.”

Ms. Griebahn joined the ASA as a medical student representative at the behest of John Madden, MD SGU ’81, the Director of SGU’s Office of Career Guidance and Student Development, who implores students to gain exposure to various medical specialties during their basic science years. When the ASA advertised an opening on the Council board in an email to its membership, she leapt at the opportunity, and with the support of the Dean of Students office at SGU, submitted her name and credentials for consideration.

The Council’s 60-member delegation—one for each medical school represented—evaluated candidates based on their background in anesthesiology, personal statement, letters of recommendation, and finally the candidates’ speeches at the ASA meeting. Ms. Griebahn was the only non-US medical school student who ran for the position, with several candidates hailing from prestigious US institutions.

“When I was at the podium giving my speech, it wasn’t just me I was representing; I was also representing SGU,” she said. “It felt great.”

The appointment is only the latest chapter in her journey toward a career in pain management. The course was set at a young age when a family member’s surgery was deemed a success thanks in part to anesthetics.

“It just fascinated me,” she said. “As I started to learn more about the field, including how much math it involved, it intrigued me even more.  I also like how an anesthesiologist isn’t the center of attention. If you’re doing your job correctly, you’re off to the side curating everything and you go unnoticed.”

Ms. Griebahn delved further into anesthesiology by observing its implementation internationally. She shadowed an anesthesiologist during a visit to Venice, Italy, and another physician in a trip to South Africa through the Cape Town-based program, Volunteer Adventure Corps, while completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, she has worked as a patient care technician, providing her a glimpse of health care across all specialties, including pain management.

“Through everything I’ve done, what I learned is that anesthesiology is actually pretty universal,” she said. “In other fields, the treatment of patients can change drastically based on what country you’re in, but in anesthesiology, everyone is pretty much on the same page.”

Since arriving at SGU, Ms. Griebahn has served as Vice President of the Anesthesiology Interest Group (AIG). Most recently, group members have sought recognition as an official student club, which would allow it to receive funding from SGU’s Student Government Association. She expects that AIG will attain that distinction this fall.

As MSGC President, Ms. Griebahn hopes to further build out the MSGC’s ongoing resident/medical student mentor program. She also aims to better connect the anesthesiology clubs and interest groups at universities across the US and beyond, and to generate interest in anesthesiology at institutions that haven’t yet formed a club.

“Most people don’t even get anesthesiology experience until year four of medical school,” she said. “If we can connect the groups and communicate, we can share ideas on how we can get involved and how to receive funding. I’m excited to get started.”

– Brett Mauser

Student Health at the Heart of New Belford Centre Fitness Center

 

The health of a student’s mind, body, and soul is crucial to his or her academic success, which is why St. George’s University demonstrated its commitment to such achievement, building a state-of-the-art multi-purpose gym and fitness center within the brand new Andrew J. Belford Centre.

The facility overlooks the Caribbean Sea and features a wide array of weight-training and cardio equipment.

“The Belford Centre is a tremendous addition to the campus experience at St. George’s University,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “Pursuing a tertiary degree is an enormous challenge, which is why we encourage students to carve out time for themselves so that they’re in the best state physically and mentally to take on that challenge.”

The Belford Centre gym features:

  • An 8,400 square foot gym that houses 66 cardio machines, such as treadmills, stairmasters, arc trainers, rowing machines, and exercise bikes, as well as 60 weight training machines and a full complement of free weights and other equipment.
  • A 940 square-foot yoga/multi-purpose room designed for martial arts, dance, yoga, and fitness classes, as well as TRX systems for suspension weight training programs.
  • A 600 square-foot spin room with 22 spin bikes.
  • An 800 square-foot space that includes locker rooms and bathrooms complete with shower stalls.

In addition to the Belford Centre facilities, an outdoor exercise area is expected to be completed by October 2018. The area will feature a beach volleyball court, two basketball courts, a CrossFit rig and training area, and bouldering wall. An irrigation system has been installed under the re-engineered playing field, allowing for activities such as soccer, softball, and more.

SGU broke ground on the Belford Centre construction in June 2017. Chris Parke, the University’s Assistant to the Director of Athletics since 2008, said that the gym facility has been a welcome addition to the True Blue landscape.

“The ambience is different from the old gym,” he said. “With much more equipment and space to work with, students and staff can come in and relieve their stress. It’s a much more conducive environment for working out, in addition to being more convenient.”

The Belford Centre gym is open to students, staff, and faculty from 6 am – 12 am seven days a week.

Future Veterinarians Embark on Unique SGU Experience Beginning With White Coat Ceremony

As veterinary medical students all across the United States recited the Oath of Professional Commitment at their own White Coat Ceremonies, Dr. Lauren Wise, Master of Ceremonies at St. George’s University, assured members of the Class of 2022 that although they would be held to the same exceptional standards as their counterparts abroad, their experience in Grenada would make them very unique veterinary medical students.

“You now live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Embrace it and love every second of it,” said Dr. Wise, Associate Professor, Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, SGU. “For the next three years, you get to be a part of a culture that is fascinating and has a rich history. The people are proud and friendly, and they want you to be a part of this community while you’re here. So, don’t stay in your dorm room, get out there.

“The last thing that sets you apart is that you’re far away from home,” she added. “However, it’s going to make you be more resilient, stronger, and you’re going to form life-long friendships.”

Dr. Jack Hammett and his wife Denise traveled more than 2,000 miles from Spotsylvania, Virginia to sit among the proud family members and friends in attendance at the Fall 2018 SVM White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Hammett has spent over 30 years in mixed animal practice, and the last 15 in equine small animal. The proud dad who had the honor of coating his son, Jared, on stage during the ceremony was among 11 SGU graduates who returned for this fall’s SOM and SVM White Coat Ceremonies.

“My son has worked with me in the practice for years, gone everywhere with me, and he’s such a great young man,” praised Dr. Hammett. “When trying to describe how I felt coating my son, words fail me. I’m so proud of him. He’s done such a great job so far and I have great expectations for him. I was ecstatic for him when I found out he got accepted to SGU. I’ve practiced veterinary medicine for decades and there’s nothing else I’d rather do. It’s just a great profession and a great and fulfilling way to serve the community.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian—ever since I was small and going on farm calls with my dad,” shared Jared Hammett. “I’ve been working at his clinic during my summer breaks from college for the past three years, so I’ve seen firsthand that being a vet is the best job in the world.”

Echoing this sentiment was the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).

“Be curious, not complacent, be skeptical, but not cynical and keep wondering because the world is full of wonder and you’re about to embark on a wonderful career,” Dr. Maccabe said.

The Class of 2022 will work toward joining the more than 1,600 graduates of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, which accepted its first class in August 1999. The School has since gained full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Small Animal Clinic became the second practice outside the United States and Canada to earn American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation. The AVMA Council on Education will conduct a site visit this April, as part of the reaccreditation process for the School of Veterinary Medicine.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Dr. Stuart Noble-Goodman Appointed Dean of School of Arts and Sciences

Education can not only empower students but change entire communities. Dr. Stuart Noble-Goodman has witnessed it firsthand, having spent the last quarter century as an administrator and faculty member at universities across the United States. His students have built a foundation of skills and knowledge, putting them into a position to serve as the “economic engine” for the cities and towns in which they go on to work.

Named the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at St. George’s University this month, Dr. Noble-Goodman brings a wealth of experience and ideas that can help prepare students to become leaders in their professions and in turn enhance businesses in Grenada and throughout the surrounding islands.

“I am looking forward to serving the Grenadian and Eastern Caribbean community by creating pathways for students to earn degrees and advance professionally,” Dr. Noble-Goodman said. “This work is extraordinarily attractive to me and aligns with my deeply held belief in the transformative power of education for the individual, and of the value of education to the community as a whole.”

Dr. Noble-Goodman’s academic experience has included stops at Benedictine University, North Carolina State University, the University of Redlands, and Marylhurst University. In addition to working with tertiary level students, he has successfully built and developed online degree programs and adult education programs, as well as integrated liberal arts into business training.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Noble-Goodman join St. George’s University as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, Interim Provost, SGU. “Throughout his impressive career, he has exhibited a commitment and dedication to both educating and elevating students in the arts and sciences to reach new heights. We look forward to welcoming him on campus and to the continued growth and success of our students in the SAS.”

The School’s service to the people of the island heavily influenced Dr. Noble-Goodman to accept the position, and will also be the impetus for his efforts as dean.

“We need to focus on allowing people to really generate an economic engine and energy that’s centered specifically on Grenadians and the people of the Eastern Caribbean. I want to start by meeting the educational needs of Grenadians, but I also want to attract students from across the EC and then internationally,” said Dr. Noble-Goodman. “Looking forward, I believe that with what I would call Grenada’s brand—the original Spice Island with world-class education, incredible beaches, and a culture of safety, friendliness, and respect—that we should aspire to become the premiere university in the Caribbean for all tertiary education. That is what I’m aiming for.”

At SGU, he will focus on maintaining the already strong programs available to students but also on expanding these opportunities.

“I would like to broaden and enhance the School of Arts and Sciences signature programs in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, business, and nursing, but I also want to create new programs to give our students access to professions in areas such as hospitality management, construction management, and social entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Noble-Goodman. “It is very important to me that Grenadians benefit directly from the development of these industries on the island. I want to prepare our graduates for management and leadership positions in those industries.”

Currently, the School of Arts and Sciences is heavily staffed by Caribbean professionals. SGU has pointedly stacked the faculty role with professors who are from the region to educate the region. According to Dr. Noble-Goodman, comparatively to the other Schools within SGU, the SAS is the most endemic. He believes one of the strengths of the School is creating capacity within the region while also pulling from that same capacity to help build the next generation.

“We certainly encourage the students we educate here as undergraduates, or even in our graduate programs, to continue their education elsewhere if that is their goal,” stated Dr. Noble-Goodman. “Yet, we also hope that these individuals come back to the island and establish themselves in whatever field, contributing to the island’s economy, resilience, and culture. This is an issue every island faces—after we educate our citizens, where are they going to work? Will they stay here or are they going to have to go abroad? By effectively preparing our students to work in Grenada’s expanding range of professional fields, we are creating opportunities for them to stay right here, with their families, and help us grow this economy.”

Dr. Noble-Goodman earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at UC-Berkeley and a Doctor of Philosophy in American Literature at Duke University. Among his academic roles prior to SGU was a 16-year tenure at the University of Redlands, the majority of time spent as Dean of the School of Business, a stint that included creating a successful industry mentorship program and International MBA program with students from India and China. He also served as the Dean of the School of Continuing Studies at Redlands. While in his most recent position as the Director of the School of Business at Marylhurst, Dr. Noble-Goodman was instrumental in helping launch a new bachelor’s degree program in hospitality management, the first of its kind in the Portland metro region.

In addition, Dr. Noble-Goodman’s past research efforts have focused on a broad range of sustainability issues facing humanity and the planet. As the former Chair of Environmental Studies at Redlands and a professed nature lover, he looks forward to exploring the forests and reefs in Grenada, and is eager to help with the conservation efforts on the island.

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Student Wins Business Challenge at X-Culture Business Symposium

Dominic Gaspard, a student of the School of Arts and Sciences at St George’s University, aided by his team of international students, was presented with one of the four company challenge trophies at the 2018 Global X-Culture Conference and Symposium held at the University of Macerata in Italy.

Mr. Gaspard, a finance and international business major was among 140 students from 29 countries spanning different continents to attend the summer event, which saw the students participate in both theoretical and practical sessions. Mr. Gaspard stated that the award is not only individual but also one for team members Gillian Chan, Lauren MacPherson, and Dominique Scalisi as well.

“I feel proud and humbled at the same time,” said Mr. Gaspard, the President of the Business Students Association at SGU. “Our team had good synergy and it was one of the things the company noticed and complimented us on. This, together with our presentation, I think brought it home for us.”

European companies involved in the challenge included Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, Eurosole, Macerata Opera, and Nuova Simonelli. Mr. Gaspard’s team competed with several others teams in the Nuova Simonelli challenge, which required them to develop a brand strategy for the Victoria Arduino coffee brand.

The company wanted the brand to appeal to their customers’ emotional side and create a “cool” image for their specialty coffee and espresso machines. The brand appeal was to young adults (18-35 years old) in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

“X-culture provides a real-life platform in that you work on real-life businesses, work with real people, and deal with things like language barriers,” he said. “It is working around these things to actually get the project together. So I will recommend X-Culture to all business students because business is what will bring the world together.”

X-culture, a component of the International Business course at SGU, allows students working in global virtual teams to develop solutions to international business challenges that are presented by the X-culture corporate partners. Students also participated in development workshops that gave instruction on cover letter and resume writing, interview skills, and elevator pitches.

This year’s visit marks the third time that students from the School of Arts and Sciences have participated in the X-Culture international conference, and each year an SGU representative has been bestowed an award. At the 2016 event in Mexico, SGU student Renee Latouche was recognized for her elevator pitch, and last year in Miami, Marlon Horsford and his team won the Hard Rock Challenge.

“The X-Culture program presents that opportunity for students to get a firsthand approach to the international business world, which places an added value to the degree obtained at SGU,” said Dr. Reccia Charles, Professor of International Business at SGU. “It also falls in line with the slogan of St. George’s University which is Think Beyond.”

Launched in 2010, X-culture is a large-scale international experiential learning project administered by X-Culture, Inc., in collaboration with more than 150 universities around the world. Approximately 5,000 students from 150 universities in 40 countries participate in X-Culture every semester.

– Gennil Reuben

Belford Centre Named for St. George’s University Visionary

St. George’s University dedicates a bronze plaque at Andrew J. Belford Centre in honor of Andrew Belford, SGU’s first Director of Admissions and visionary architect of SGU’s True Blue Campus.

This miraculous University with four schools, 52 academic programs, and students and faculty from over 140 countries had a humble beginning, powered at the time by a few people with vision, dedication, guts, and determination. A 26-year old youth, Charles Modica, had a vision whose outcome 40 years later far surpassed any of his wildest dreams. Andy Belford was by his side the whole time. Andy was the first Director of Admissions. He believed so much in the vision, in his friend, Charlie, that he was able to articulate that amazing dream to 200 incoming medical students in January of 1977.

After recruiting the first few years of entering students, and helping to shape the University’s mission, curriculum, and underlying ethos, Mr. Belford was responsible for transforming an empty peninsula into the iconic True Blue Campus landscape, a, world-class campus filled with striking neo-Cape Colonial buildings which form the perfect place to learn and live. Under his guidance and vision, the University erected more than 65 beautiful, functional buildings along the True Blue peninsula. The vibrant, magnificent campus we see today is a result of his inspiration and indefatigable spirit.

At a July 1 ceremony attended by family and friends, the University honored Andy Belford by naming its new, grand, multipurpose, fitness and study center the Andrew J. Belford Centre. A bronze plaque in front of the Andrew J. Belford Centre—outlining the foundation he built and his immeasurable impact—was unveiled in front of the SGU administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as family and friends, in attendance.

“Although he didn’t do the architectural design this time around for our newest building, he was part of its inspiration,” said Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University. “All of his ideas for the University, his devotion and dedication, from getting students here in the beginning to creating this amazing campus, are all embodied in this legacy to his vision.”

Belford Centre features an open-air ground floor along with an exterior pavilion just off the beach, while the second-level fitness center overlooking the Caribbean Sea includes cardio and weight training equipment, and other recreational instruction. The building’s upper levels house a new group study space.

“Andy was also much more than the designer of this campus,” said Margaret Lambert, Vice President and Dean for Enrollment Planning. “I believe that SGU would not be what it has become today without his constant, intuitive, and intelligent contributions to the large initiatives of the Chancellor and the other Founders, and his tireless involvement with the development of both the campus and the University as a whole.”

After nine years as Director of Admissions, Mr. Belford embarked on an entirely new journey, enrolling in architectural school. When he returned to Grenada, he became an instrumental piece of the University’s extensive growth, working closely with Grenadian builder Anslem La Touche to transform the few original structures in True Blue into a sweeping master plan that is now SGU’s campus.

“Andy designed and built this place one building at a time but managed to put the whole thing together in such a way that it looked like the entire campus was planned 42 years ago—that was part of his genius,” added Chancellor Modica.

Andy Belford’s perspective during the University’s infancy and throughout its growth into an international hub of education was greatly valued by Chancellor Modica, SGU’s academic board, and to the entire administration. For his impact on the University’s evolution and success, Mr. Belford was awarded the Order of the Mace, the University’s highest honor, in 2010, joining Chancellor Modica, Sir Kenneth Stuart, and Provost Emeritus Allen Pensick on the short list of recipients.

“Many of us created St. George’s together, but I know in my heart that St. George’s would not be this marvelous place, this magnificent University, without Andy Belford,” Dean Lambert said. “Andy’s spirit runs deep throughout this entire campus—and through its people.  It is fitting that he will be remembered by all those that use this striking building in years to come.”

Charles Modica, Chancellor and Founder of St. George’s University, embraces his longtime confidante, Andy Belford, in a ceremony in which the campus’ new fitness and study center was named the Andrew J. Belford Centre.

St. George’s University’s School of Medicine Introduces College System

St. George’s University has entered a new era of medical education with a radical restructuring of the incoming classes in the Doctor of Medicine program.

Set to launch this fall, all incoming students will belong to one of nine Colleges set up to frame a learning community system with student wellness, interaction, and support at the center of the curriculum and student experience at SGU.

The mission of the system is to create a diverse collegiate environment in which students are comprehensively supported to develop and demonstrate the skills, knowledge, compassion, tolerance, commitment, and personal integrity required to be a practicing physician.

“I’m enthused about the foundation for success that this new system will create for our students,” said Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University. “Since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago, the University has always placed great pride on student success and the support they receive from faculty and their peers, and the new College structure will strengthen them both.”

Each College represents an academic family that supports the wellness of students and fosters the academic, personal, and professional development of its membership. Each will have its own director and associate director, as well as dedicated personnel for student support, including academic advisors, faculty, learning strategists, advisors, and other support staff.

The Colleges will also provide a sense of community, with each College having a dedicated master schedule of classes, and all small group work will be centered around the Colleges. College and intercollegiate social events and competitions will also take place throughout the year.

“The new College system will enhance the student experience here at SGU, not only in lectures and labs but as students live, work, and interact with each other, both on and off campus,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “We truly believe that it provides our students with the best chance to be successful in their studies and as they pursue their dream of becoming a physician.”

In addition, St. George’s University will also integrate a wellness program for students in their first term, featuring seven classes that cover such topics as lifestyle medicine, diet and nutrition, and test-taking strategies.

The nine Colleges were named after some of the most influential physicians and scientists in history, including:

  • Blackwell: Elizabeth Blackwell was a British physician who became the first woman to receive a Doctor of Medicine in the United States.
  • Curie: Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist who pioneered research on radioactivity, and the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences.
  • Fleming: Alexander Fleming was a Scottish physician-scientist best known for his discovery of  antibiotics.
  • Galen: A Greek physician and philosopher whose medical research influenced and developed the fields of anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, and more.
  • Hippocrates: The Greek physician who is commonly regarded as the Father of Medicine.
  • McIndoe: Archibald McIndoe was a New Zealand-born surgeon whose tactics to treat burns during World War II revolutionized plastic surgery.
  • Metrodora: Greek physician who wrote one the oldest surviving medical text written by a woman and who was one of the first to suggest surgical treatment for both breast and uterine cancer.
  • Peabody: Francis Peabody was an American turn of the 20th century physician famous for his dedication to compassionate patient care, as well as his work on typhoid and polio.
  • Taylor: Keith B. Taylor was SGU’s second Vice Chancellor and one of the most cited gastroenterologists of his time. This College is reserved for students who enter SGU through the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program.

– Brett Mauser

Nursing in a New Environment

Eighteen nursing students from San Jose State University (SJSU) spent the summer building their public health resumé at St. George’s University in Grenada as part of a more than five-year partnership between the institutions. SGU hosted the SJSU students on the True Blue campus, providing an opportunity for the California nursing students to enhance their leadership skills, professional development, and management skills, all within a cultural context.

Deborah Nelson, a nursing lecturer at the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State, was one of the three faculty members escorting the students on the study abroad course to Grenada. After a 37-year-long career, the retired nurse joined SJSU 12 years ago and has been a part of its Global Service Learning in Nursing program since its inception.

“The program primarily focuses on cultural competence, collaboration, and community-needs assessment,” said Ms. Nelson. “We’re not here to do what we think we need to do; we’re here to find out what the Grenadian community needs from us and what they want us to do. As a partner, SGU provides a cultural atmosphere that engages interaction between our students and both the local nurses and nursing students at the University. We are fortunate to have this partnership and this continued sustainable program.”

According to Ms. Nelson, this is one of the first programs of its kind in the US to offer credits towards a major, which grants the SJSU students the opportunity to graduate one semester earlier. She believes that with the current nursing shortage in the US and the SJSU students’ desire to enter the nursing profession, this program is highly beneficial to the future nurses.

“Additionally, our students are here learning from another culture and being aware of others and that they are the ‘other’,” added Ms. Nelson. “It’s just transformational. I’ve seen it over and over each year. To work alongside other nursing students and to find out that they have similarities as well as differences is key to their success. It’s amazing for me to see this as an educator, and it brings me back every year.”

Among those who participated in the program was Kaelyn Fetters, a third-year nursing student currently completing her final year at San Jose State. Ms. Fetters hopes that, upon returning to the US and passing the national nursing exams, she and her fellow classmates will become licensed nurses. Her goal is to start out as an emergency room nurse at a hospital back home, providing care and various diagnoses to a diverse population.

“I immediately knew I wanted to participate in this program. The idea of being able to travel abroad and be enveloped in a culture so different from my own was something I could not pass up,” said Ms. Fetters. “Throughout this journey, I feel like we’ve learned how to take what we’ve been taught as nursing students in California and bring it over here to Grenada while picking up diverse techniques and a different perspective in Grenada that we can bring back to the US.”

The students spent three weeks immersed in the Grenadian culture, where they worked with caregivers at various clinical sites and held a full day of classes on professional development at the Grenada General Hospital. Along with SGU nursing students, they visited the St. Martin Home for the Aged, Grenada Planned Parenthood, the Dorothy Hopkins Home, and conducted personal home visits to the Mont Tout and Limes communities. The students completed their clinical rotations by attending a health fair in Carriacou where the SGU and SJSU teams collaborated to provide screenings for blood pressure and blood sugar, disseminated free condoms, and took part in sexual education discussions on topics such as STD prevention and rapid HIV testing.

“What we’ve noticed over the five years of our partnership is that not only do the SJSU students benefit from learning from a different culture but our SGU nursing students are really improving their cultural competency as well,” stated Jennifer Solomon, Chair and Director, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “We can see the maturity in the way they are looking internally at their own bias and some of the assumptions that we all make in society and really are becoming the amazing nurses they want to be.

“In addition to the SJSU students visiting Grenada, as part of this course, we also offer the opportunity for our SGU nursing students to be global citizens as well,” she added. “They get the chance to travel abroad to the US or UK to obtain that global perspective and have that interaction with someone from a completely different background while learning about the healthcare system in another country. This is such a great advantage for them.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Caribbean Professionals Mentor Future Conservation Leaders at St. George’s University

With an eye toward the future, St. George’s University welcomed the second cohort of future Caribbean conservationists at the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean (CLiC) workshop, an intensive 18-month program aimed at assisting 18 young professionals from 13 Caribbean countries in launching, developing, and implementing successful conservation campaigns.

“CLiC is a fellowship program offered free of cost to Caribbean nationals and professionals in the wider Caribbean,” said Dr. Leo Douglas, Assistant Professor, New York University and Immediate Past President of BirdsCaribbean. “This much-needed program was designed to help young people who are trying to get established in environmental careers and have a broad passion for the environment but really are lacking in the resources, institutions, and the training to actually advance their careers.”

Originally funded by a $125,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2014, CLiC’s collaborating partners include St. George’s University (the base of the training program) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), another important collaborator, administering the program in its second year.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with SGU and use its facilities here because the University offers the ideal setting to meet all of our needs,” added Dr. Douglas, CLiC Coordinator. “When CLiC was formed, we wanted to keep it entirely Caribbean. We needed a location that was accessible, and not prohibitively expensive, that we could have our fellows come and be a part of a community of scholars, a place where there would be accommodations but also have access to classrooms and state-of-the-art technology.”

This second cohort completed a three-day leadership and project management planning workshop, followed by a 10-day (in-person and virtual) short course on Advanced Conservation Planning based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Participants were broken up into five teams, and each team launched a research conservation initiative with the help of an assigned mentor. Over the next two years, through workshops, online and in-person courses, and hands-on project implementation exercises, fellows would be provided with the knowledge and training of best practices in conservation, potential funding mechanisms for their projects and proposal writing and networking skills both with their advisors and each other.

Having worked for four years as a conservation officer at a local nature center in Trinidad, Kimberly Chu Foon, a PhD candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island was eager to join CLiC’s training and become a better conservationist. Along with her teammates from Team Macaw, Ms. Chu Foon’s conservation campaign focuses on Trinidad’s reintroduced population of blue and gold macaws, which had been extirpated in the wild since the 1960s.

“Our project is centered on looking at the main reasons why pet owners acquire these birds, where the birds are coming from illegally, and trying to find ways to develop a behavior change program to make sure that people are no longer hunting or poaching these birds from the wild,” said Ms. Chu Foon. “As a PhD student, a lot of the methods I’ve been using to conduct my research are some of the same ones I’ve been using on this project. So, this has really been helping me to build my skills in such areas as qualitative data analysis and data collection and in giving me the experience that I need to further my research career.”

Continuing to expand upon a two-year pilot leadership-training program, Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation (CEWCL), which mimicked the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) training program, a successful venture in the US for more than a decade, CLiC’s current cohort of fellows will also be the first to achieve certification.

“We’re very excited about this. Thanks to SGU, these fellows will be receiving graduate-level, degree-type certification which is a huge deal when trying to find jobs and move on to the next level,” Dr. Douglas said. “We’re also offering an increase in funding to our next batch of cohorts because we want them to work with a broader, deeper, more extensive network of partners than ever before especially in terms of working on projects that have on-the-ground benefits such as recycling, endangered species, and climate change projects, so that they can access people with specific types of training.

“CLiC’s future is bright, as it continues to provide its fellows with greater resources that they can use to advance themselves and their careers, all while benefitting their local environments and habitats in the Caribbean.”

Renowned Dengue Expert Delivers 19th Annual WINDREF Lecture

The WINDREF building on SGU’s True Blue Campus.

A global health problem, dengue viruses are a major cause of morbidity in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. At the 19th Annual WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University, Dr. Timothy Endy discussed the unique viral and host factors, and interactions that increase the complexity of dengue and potential vaccine development.

In his presentation titled “Understanding Dengue Pathogenesis and Essential Areas for Research”, the Chief of the Infectious Disease Division at SUNY Upstate Medical University reviewed the history of dengue research in Thailand and shares his key findings and the future directions in the study of the disease. According to Dr. Endy, in countries where dengue is endemic, the first infection happens when children are toddlers with symptoms that can be compared to a bad flu. The second infection, however, is much more worrisome—it can cause what’s called a hemorrhagic fever, which can include unstoppable bleeding inside the body. He cautions that if not treated properly, people, often children, can bleed to death.

“My research mostly focuses on why the second infection is so severe because that is really where all the illness and deaths come from—all of that was set up by the very first infection,” stated Dr. Endy. “Unfortunately, there have not been any studies that really focus on the first infection since it is so hard to find and often goes undetected by healthcare providers. Yet, inapparent dengue is an important component of the overall burden of dengue infection, as it provides a source of infection for mosquito transmission during the course of an epidemic.”

As Professor and Chair of Microbiology and Immunology and Vice Chair of Research in the Department of Medicine at Upstate, Dr. Endy is considered an international expert in the field of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever and emerging viral pathogens.

Additionally, Dr. Endy not only came to Grenada to provide an overview of the type of dengue research he’s been doing for almost 30 years but as part of a proposed incidence study in Grenada from 2018-2021 to be conducted in collaboration with SGU and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, LLC. The study will focus on the incidence of infection of the dengue virus in the student body and hopes to provide a better understanding of the host response to the first dengue infection.

Throughout his career, Dr. Endy has conducted basic science research in the field of virology, developed vaccine field and epidemiological study sites in Southeast and Central Asia, conducted phase I and II clinical vaccine trials, and is active in the development and management of research programs that are product oriented towards developing vaccines and diagnostics that meet FDA regulatory requirements.

Previously known as the annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture, the event was named for SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, whose vision and dedication to the international growth of St. George’s University led to the creation of the Windward Island Research and Education Foundation  in 1994. Since then, the lecture has drawn the attention of numerous renowned presenters willing to share their expertise on topics such as climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions. Past speakers have included Dr. Robert C. Gallo, best known for his role in the discovery of the HIV’s link to AIDS; Dr. Ruth Macklin, a bioethics pioneer; and renowned cardiologist Dr. Valentin Fuster.