Photo Diary: Class of 2027 Begins Journey as Future Physicians at Spring White Coat Ceremony

It was an emotional day for the newest class of medical students at St. George’s University. Nervousness mixed with excitement filled the air as students took to the stage at the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony, held on January 28 at Patrick F. Adams Hall.


During the ceremony, which signifies students officially beginning their journey to becoming physicians, a white coat is placed on their shoulders—often by family members or mentors who have become doctors before them. Later, they would each recite the Oath of Professionalism, in which they pledged to honor the sacred trust and privilege society places on medical professionals.

What was it like to be coated? Check out the photos from the White Coat Ceremony.


  • It was all smiles, as students eagerly awaited their name being called for their turn to walk across the stage and put on that white coat.

  • But first, a few warm words from SGU Chancellor Dr. Charles R. Modica. The chancellor shared his appreciation for how far the University had come and his excitement as SGU approaches its 50th anniversary.

  • Dr. Modica was followed by this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. G. Richard Olds, president emeritus of SGU and a tropical disease specialist. In his address he shared three touching stories providing lessons on what it means to be a good physician.

  • Dr. Olds also had the pleasure of coating his son, Trevor Olds in this heartfelt moment—an experience the Olds family will treasure.

  • Trevor Olds and his father, Dr. G. Richard Olds

  • Also sharing a moment on stage was SOM Term 1 student, Carlie Hanlon who had the privilege of being coated by her grandfather, Dr. Robert Hanlon—a retired physician who practiced internal medicine and cardiology. The New Jersey native praised his granddaughter, confident that she will make a wonderful physician.

  • Carlie Hanlon and her grandfather, Dr. Robert Hanlon

  • Holding back tears was Dr. Patrick Borgen, as he coated his daughter Dana Borgen and her fiancé Ezekiel Sanchez. The high school sweethearts chose to attend SGU together after meeting several SGU alumni residents at Maimonides Medical Center where Dr. Borgen serves as chair of the Department of Surgery.

  • Already part of the SGU family, Frances Emmanuel, a Grenadian staff member in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Medicine and Surgery (SAMS) Department, couldn’t be any prouder of her daughter Shanique Emmanuel, BSc ’22, who is on track to becoming the first doctor in their family.

  • Also, now a part of the SGU family is SOM Term 1 student Rashiqa Abdel-Jabbar. She left her Louisiana home to join her cousin, SOM Term 2 student Haneen Awawda in fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor here at SGU.

  • Twins Mark and Michael Yassa are as different as night and day, except in their pursuit of becoming physicians. Although older by one minute, it was Mark who followed his brother Mike, a Term 2 SOM student from Toronto to SGU.

  • After receiving their white coats, the ceremony ended with students and other physicians in the audience reciting the Oath of Professionalism—pledging to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating their patients.

 

– Ray-Donna Peters

Related Reading    

Reflecting on 2022: 5 stories that highlighted the School of Medicine community

From commencement celebrations to students securing highly competitive residency positions to groundbreaking medical procedures pioneered by graduates, the St. George’s University School of Medicine community made its mark in 2022.

In a year full of significant news, these stories came out on top:

Commencement 2022

After two years of virtual celebrations, the School of Medicine celebrated its 41st commencement in June at the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY.

Despite the challenges of the COVID pandemic, SGU’s newest physicians joined a network of more than 20,000 alumni practicing in the United States and around the world.

View on Instagram: Relive the excitement of the SOM commencement ceremonies 

School of Medicine reaffirms accreditation

This fall, the accrediting body of SGU’s School of Medicine, the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC), was recognized by the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) for the full 10 years through September 2032.

This recognition allows SGU students to continue to meet the standards set by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), setting them up for success when applying for certification to participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP).

What does it mean for students? Read:  Medical School Accreditation: Everything You Need to Know

Match Day 2022

For hundreds of SGU School of Medicine students, the wait was most certainly worth it as they found out where they will take the next step in their careers during residency training.

This year, SGU students matched into first-year residency positions across a variety of specialties throughout the US. Over the summer, they began residency programs in a range of highly competitive specialties, including neurology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more, and shared what it felt like to receive the positive news that they matched and how they felt about starting residency.

Read: Soon-To-Be Physicians Share Their Excitement On Match Day 2022 

Groundbreaking advancements in cardiology

Through the use of robotics, interventional cardiologist and Grenadian national Adam Bierzynski, MD ’11, is moving the field of interventional cardiology forward within outpatient settings. He was among the team who performed the first-ever outpatient robotic percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) at an ambulatory surgery center. Dr. Bierzynski shared with SGU why the procedure was groundbreaking, the potential life-saving capabilities of robotics within the cardiology field, and how his medical training set him up for success.

Read: Cardiologist From Grenada Pioneers Robotic Procedure In Outpatient Setting

Return to campus

For many students, the August term was either their first time on SGU’s iconic True Blue campus or their first time being back in Grenada since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime—the University was busy with several expansion and redevelopment projects in preparation for the return of the growing campus community. Check out what’s new—and in the works—on campus.

Read: Back To School: What’s New On The True Blue Campus

 

— Laurie Chartorynsky 

 

 

Related Reading

SVM Recognizes Academic Excellence and Remarkable Service at Fall Term Awards Ceremony

In a celebration of excellence and in honor of the outstanding achievements made by faculty, staff, and students, the School of Veterinary Medicine hosted its bi-annual SVM Awards Ceremony on November 18 in Bourne Lecture Hall. More than 20 sets of awards were presented to faculty and staff who demonstrated remarkable service and commitment to the veterinary medical school and to students who achieved high levels of academic success, professionalism, and displayed an exceptional work ethic.

“It’s such an important aspect of the School of Veterinary Medicine to honor the very special achievements of faculty, students, and staff. It brings the whole community together with a sense of unity,” stated Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the SVM. “We really are one family and it’s great to be a part of this joyous occasion. I think that the students in particular will have long memories of this evening, and I look forward to sharing in many more of these kinds of celebrations.”

 

“With this being the first in-person SVM awards ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an air of gratitude and joy at being able to gather once again for this special occasion. There was a wonderful energy present throughout the ceremony, and the love and support were palpable.”

 

In addition to a wide range of traditional awards, student organizations could also participate in nominating and selecting students, faculty, and staff. One of the new awards presented this term, for example, was the Tail WAG Award. The award winner, Dr. Tara Paterson, an associate professor in the Small Animal Medicine and Surgery Department at SGU, was selected by the Wellness Aide and Guidance (WAG) student organization. The award honors a student or faculty member who works hard to further the mission of WAG, by helping the Pothounds of Grenada.

“This award is very special to us because it is our first,” shared Courtney Glotzer, co-founder of WAG. “We want to thank Dr. Paterson because she showed us her true dedication to our more intricate cases and always was there when we needed guidance. She is truly special to our club, and we will always appreciate her because of her motivation and dedication to our Pothounds.”

 

 

The ceremony also recognized 32 new inductees into the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Phi Zeta Honor Society—12 from Term 5 and 20 from Term 6. Earlier this month, students, faculty, and alumni gathered to celebrate during a ceremony at the University Club. Phi Zeta is the national veterinary honor society created to recognize students for their superior academic achievement. From its inception, it has been the aim of the organization to stand for constant advancement of the veterinary profession, for higher educational requirements, and for high scholarship.

“With this being the first in-person SVM awards ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic, there was an air of gratitude and joy at being able to gather once again for this special occasion,” said Dr. Paterson, who also serves as chair of the SVM Awards Committee. “There was a wonderful energy present throughout the ceremony, and the love and support were palpable.”

SGU Island Veterinary Scholars Program (Boehringer Ingelheim) 

Adrian Jones, Jillian Luscinski, Niharika Verma

Outstanding Colleague Awards

Term 1: Cheyenne Koinzan

Term 2: Becca Jenkins, Alexandra Prince

Term 3: Sydney Garcia

Term 4: Sudarshini Coimbatore, Paige Coughlin

Term 5: Molly Gin, Gabrielle Rivera

Term 6: Briana Kinsey

Dean Olson’s Award for Academic Excellence

Paula Ulyak, Alexis Tedesco, Whitley Young, Juana Argiro, Brianne Flanagan, Chelsea Wright, Courtney Duguay, Sarah Hendrickson, Zerina Burovic, Luis Davila, Hannah Wentland, Emily Meade, Brooke Hottois

Adrienne Lotton Memorial Award

Briana Kinsey

Zoetis Revolution Awards of Excellence

Small Animal Internal Medicine: Madison Kucinick

Small Animal Surgery: Daniel Ingram

Equine Medicine and Surgery: Acacia Johnson

Food Animal Medicine and Surgery: Megan Gilmore

Scholarship of Service Award: Cassidy Morales, Courtney Glotzer, Erin Maud

Surgery Team: Sahony Caba Paulino, Melissa Edloff, Nastassia Lini, Sarah Voors, Molly Ginn, Spencer Trinca, Julia Derr, Macey Cropski

Student Research Award: Adrian Jones

**NEW** Dr. Jim Nave Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice

Amanda Rottman Torres

SVM Alumni Scholarship Award 

Brianna Auino-Moreta

Giant Paws Giant Hearts Foundation “Hercules” Award 

Cobi Gilbeau

PAWS Recognition for Term 6 Facilitators

Taylor Nealy, Antonia Nickleberry, Peter Arena, Taryn Paquet, Melissa Ballantyne, Briana Kinsey, Peyton Dillon, Samantha Batchelor, Kira Rasmussen

SCAVMA: Student Chapter of the AVMA

SAVMA Award: Carley Jones, Sloane Hoffman, Ashley Schimshock

Most Outstanding E*Board Member: Fabiola Casanova-Crespo

The Feral Cat Project 

Most Valuable Trapper: Ana Villarreal

Most Valuable Faculty/Staff: Francesca Ivaldi

Veterinary Public Health Committee

One Health One Medicine Community Leader Award: Cassandra Morales

SGUSVM Large Animal Society

Ace of Initiative Award: Ashlyn Dykes

**NEW** IVMC: Integrative Veterinary Medicine Club

Outstanding E-Board Member: Heidi Beck

SVM Wellness Committee

Wellness MVP Award: Eryn Ebinger Christian

**NEW** WAG: Wellness Aide and Guidance

The Tail WAG Award: Dr. Tara Paterson

AAARF: Angels in Armor Animal Rescue Fund

Friends of AAARF Awards: Sara Miner

The Archangel Award: Dr. Thomas Hanson

**NEW** P&E: Pride and Equality

Outstanding Faculty: Dr. Anne Corrigan

Excellence in DEI: Paige Coughlin

SCACVIM: Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Internal Medicine MVP Award: Patrick (JJ) Byrnes

SVECCS: Student Chapter of the Emergency and Critical Care Society

Outstanding 6th Termer Award: Amanda Rottman

SCASV: Student Chapter of the Association of Shelter Veterinarians

Shelter Scholar Award: Victoria Flaherty

Shelter Star Award: Marta Lanza-Perea

SCAVDS: Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Dental Society

Superior Extractor Award: Dr. Francesca Ivaldi

SNP: Spay Neuter Pothound

Pothound Student Hero Award: Brianna Kroning

Pothound Faculty/Staff Hero Award: Quacy Matthew

SCACVP: Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists 

The MVP (Most Valuable Pathologist) Award: Taryn Paquet

EWS: Exotics and Wildlife Society

Avian Flock Leader Award: Alexandra Colella

EWS and VSHS Double Whammy Award: Dr. Sophie Moittie

VSHS: Veterinary Student Herpeteogical Society

The Gallant Gecko Award: Kaylee Freeman

WVLDI: Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative

WVLDI Warrior Award: Bianca Pinto

**NEW** WAVMA: World Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Association

MVP: Most Valuable Porpoise Award: Rayne LeBlanc

SVM Surgery Club

The Sharpest Scalpel Award: Brian Norton

SGA: Student Government Association

SGU SVM Outstanding Faculty Term 1-3: Dr. Mahesh Deokar

SGU SVM Outstanding Faculty Term 4-6: Dr. Talia Guttin

SGA SGU Awards of Excellence Term 1-3: Mr. Keith Miller

SGA SGU Awards of Excellence Term 4-6: Dr. Mercedes Valasquez de Zerpa

George B. Daniel Award: Brie Kinsey

The Pinckney Parasitology Award

Crissy (Janeila) Benjamin and Helena Curbelo

DES Recognition Awards

Emily Shin, Cobi Guilbeau

Diana Stone Public Health award

Janine Wettergren

SGUSVM Outstanding Staff Awards

Technical Staff: Curtis Hopkin

Administrative Staff: Serana Patino

Zoetis Award for Research Excellence

Dr. Arno Werners

Hill’s Golden Apple Teaching Award

Dr. Talia Guttin

Alpha Delta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta

Fall 2022 Inductees

Term 5 Inductees: Logan Bernstein, Lauren Dunbar, Amanda Ernst, Anca Gagliardo, Celine Gellineau, Adrian Jones, Maureen Kruhlak, Hannah Lavin-Sauchenco, Selina Nackley, Allison Nickell, Danielle Sackett, Taylor Stanton

Term 6 Inductees: Sean Anderson, Letty Bonilla, Riley Burrows, Yvana Ephraim, Melissa Ferguson, Gabriela Frontanes, Nicole Jennings, Charlene Kriegsman, Madison Kucinick, Brianna Aquino-Moreta, Kassidy Leon, Leandra Margolies, Cassandra Morales, Cristians Rivas Morales, Brittney Nguyen, Kendra Rehnblom, Aleeka Roberts, Sara Schectman, Stephanie Smick, Abigail Wilebski

– Ray-Donna Peters

Related Reading

 

SVM Faculty Discuss the Impact of Poultry Production with Grenadian Farmers at Outreach Workshop

After a two-year hiatus, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine’s Farmers’ Outreach Program returned to an interactive, in-person workshop on October 27, 2022, at the Grenada Trade Center. SVM faculty (including visiting professors), staff, and students attended the workshop, which provides education and training in a collaborative effort between the SVM, Grenadian farmers, and the Ministry of Agriculture.

“The School of Veterinary Medicine’s commitment to the Grenadian farmers through the Farmers’ Outreach Program remains a priority to our university,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the SVM. “The organizers of this year’s workshop and booklet have worked tirelessly to ensure that the content is educational and can provide guidance about common parasites, food safety and handling practices, backyard farming tips, and much more. We hope that Grenadian farmers can continue to utilize SGU as a valued resource as we remain committed to sensitization and training.”

 

 

Established in 2003 by the late Dr. Ravindra N. Sharma, the SVM Farmers’ Outreach Program disseminates a broad range of interesting and helpful information on animal husbandry, animal diseases, and their overall impact on human health, animal health, and productivity. Almost 20 years later, the program continues to be an effective partner in strengthening the relationship between Grenadian farmers and veterinarians.

The school continued to be an excellent resource for the local farming community even during the coronavirus pandemic. While the in-person aspect of the program was paused, a booklet was created to disseminate useful information on animal management, husbandry, and disease control and prevention. After garnering favorable feedback, two years later the booklet continues to benefit the farmers in Grenada.

 

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we remained dedicated in our commitment to partner with and support the Grenadian community by providing the relevant information for our livestock producers.”

 

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we remained dedicated in our commitment to partner with and support the Grenadian community by providing the relevant information for our livestock producers,” stated Dr. Kerri Nigito, chairperson of the Farmers’ Outreach Committee. “This year’s workshop and booklet serve to provide the necessary information on poultry production that will help improve the quality of meat and eggs produced for local consumption for the people of Grenada.”

The one-day seminar hosted by the SVM catered to poultry production personnel and provided poultry farmers with best production and health practices. The workshop included PowerPoint presentations, videos, and a panel discussion followed by question-and-answer sessions. In addition, the Committee reminded those in attendance that the school offers necropsy services to investigate the death of poultry animals at the SVM Necropsy Lab located on the Lower True Blue Campus.

One of the day’s highlights was the announcement of the winner of the Committee’s logo competition, Marissa Peck. Ms. Peck, along with her fellow SVM students, were invited to design graphics for t-shirts to be distributed to the farmers supporting the theme, “Poultry Production in Grenada.” Ms. Peck’s winning logo was placed on name badges and flyers, and she received a gift certificate as well as an invitation to attend the workshop.

The seminar focused on the following areas:

  • Common parasites of poultry
  • Coccidiosis in poultry production
  • Egg production, handling, and distribution guidelines
  • Poultry tips for poultry backyard and commercial systems
  • Poultry carcass necropsy submission guidelines

 

“The SVM Farmers’ Outreach Workshop provided great insight on the impact of poultry production in Grenada,” said Dr. Kimond Cummings, chief veterinary and livestock officer in Grenada’s Ministry of Agriculture and Lands. “In particular, the booklet given out, which highlighted disease surveillance and how it affects poultry, can also be disseminated to the farmers unable to attend today.

Additionally, SGU’s open invitation to the farming community with respect to its necropsy lab services reaffirms the school’s readiness to assist and is the kind of information I can confidently share with our policymakers.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

Related Reading 

Back to School: What’s new on the True Blue Campus

 

Welcome back! For many students, this is either their first time on St. George’s University’s iconic True Blue campus or their first time being back in Grenada since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a rundown of the new and exciting places they get to explore upon their return.

“There is nothing like experiencing a vibrant St. George’s University campus with all our students, faculty, and staff back together,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, provost at SGU. “We’re excited to share these improvements with our campus community. This term, our students on the True Blue campus will have full access to the facilities that make SGU such an outstanding place to receive a world-class education.”

Over the past 22 months, several expansion and redevelopment projects have been completed at SGU in preparation for the return of its growing campus community. This includes the opening of the Eric Gairy Pavilion, where up to 282 students can convene for outdoor study, and the Beachfront Pavilion, which has a capacity for 324 students to conduct group study. Students on campus now have 52 percent more individual study spaces to choose from, following renovations with new carrels in Founders Library, Lower Modica Hall, Lower Taylor Hall, St. David’s Hall, St. Andrew’s Hall, and St. John’s Hall. SGU also recently updated its existing 56 clinical skills rooms with the newest technology—adding another 28 rooms and a new control center.

The goal of all these expansion and redevelopment efforts is to enhance campus life and the student experience. Additional enhancements students, faculty, and staff will be able to enjoy on campus starting this term include:

  • New SVM Faculty Building: The latest SVM building features 34 brand new offices, a conference room, a reception area, and a small kitchenette. It was completed earlier this month and faculty have already started moving into their new digs.
  • Marion Hall Renovation: The project included a massive expansion and upgrade of all research spaces. A highlight of the project is the student lab, which has now more than doubled in size and was completely renovated to include new furniture, fixtures, and a state-of-the-art AV system. Scheduled to be completed by August 2022.
  • SimLab Renovation: Not just a renovation but also a relocation—the SOM SimLab has moved from Westerhall to the 2nd floor of St. George’s Hall. For this renovation, 22 hospital simulation rooms were constructed, each featuring an administrator room, state-of-the-art training equipment, and fully outfitted with new furniture and fixtures as well as training mannequins. The entire floor will have a new AV system, touch-screen InFocus monitor, and a dedicated control room on the same floor for the lead administrator to monitor all rooms simultaneously. Scheduled to be completed by September 2022.
  • Happy’s Café: Located on lower campus, opposite of the Maintenance Department, the new café is poised to become the campus’ newest ‘instagrammable’ hot spot. Scheduled to be completed in early September 2022.

 

Image 1: New SVM faculty building (front entrance); Image 2: New SVM faculty building (back entrance); Image 3: Marion Hall renovation; Image 4: Clinical Skills training room; Image 5: Happy’s Cafe

 

Since its inception 45 years ago, the University has erected more than 65 beautifully designed, functional buildings along the True Blue peninsula under the guidance of visionary architect Andrew Belford, SGU’s first director of admissions. Drawing inspiration from this past work, SGU continues to enhance its picturesque campus filled with striking neo-Cape Colonial buildings—with many contemporary advancements, making it an ideal place to learn and live.

“We can’t wait for the SGU community to experience the enhancements we’ve made to an already stunning campus,” said Christina Verderosa, SGU’s director of operations. “These various expansions and renovations will no doubt contribute to students’ academic success as well as an amazing campus experience for all.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Related Reading    

Celebrating Pride Month: How to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community

SGU students celebrate Pride Month.

Each year, the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and/or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally, plus) community celebrates its liberation movement throughout the month of June.

Named “Pride Month,” it is a chance for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and others, such as allies—heterosexual and cisgender people who support equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ inclusion movements/efforts—to gather and commemorate both the struggle and challenges faced as well as the positive changes made to acknowledge and support this group.

But what does it mean to be an ally to underrepresented groups like the LGBTQIA+ community, and how can we all support these members of the St. George’s University community in our day-to-day lives?

To offer perspective, meet Gabrielle Rivera (she/her), the incoming fall term president of Pride & Equality SGU student club and a Term 5 School of Veterinary Medicine student, shared tips on how we can all become allies to underrepresented groups such as LGBTQIA+ people, and why observances like Pride Month can elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion and create a community of mutual respect and support.

St. George’s University: What does Pride Month mean to you? 

Ms. Rivera: Pride Month means representation for the marginalized LGBTQIA+ community by promoting equal rights and self-affirmation. It allows our community to celebrate, be visible, and stand up for the fundamental right to love. Our ability to celebrate Pride Month would not have been possible without our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans minority groups of color in the 1960s. Their courage to stand up for equal rights paved the way for LGBTQIA+ folks to be included. I am thankful for their determination, and I hope our community can keep taking steps forward so one day we won’t have to “come out” anymore.

 

 

SGU: How can students, faculty, and staff in the SGU community be an ally to all? 

Ms. Rivera: Allyship is such a pivotal part of our community, and we encourage our allies to join us as we continue to create a safe space for our community at SGU. Allowing yourself to be an ally helps the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and seen within your presence.

  • One way to be an ally can include integrating inclusive language in your everyday life. Asking someone their pronouns when you first meet them shows you are open-minded and inclusive.
  • Another great way to be an ally is becoming involved in the events/opportunities for the LGBTQIA+ community by the Pride and Equality club or the other clubs/events on campus.
  • Denouncing anti-LGBTQIA+ comments or jokes during your everyday life helps the fight against the discrimination that is still present. All of your allyship efforts help build up our community as we continue to push for acceptance and understanding.

 

“Allowing yourself to be an ally helps the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and seen within your presence.”

 

SGU: What does it mean to be supportive of all different walks of life? 

Ms. Rivera: When you are supportive of all different walks of life you are open to all people despite their gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc. You create a safe space for someone to be their authentic self without judgement.

SGU: How can we create a community of mutual respect and support? 

Ms. Rivera: We create a community of mutual respect and support by the acknowledgment that not everyone is the same. Even though you may not understand someone’s identity or sexual orientation, you still hold mutual respect and support for that person. This will bring togetherness within a community.

SGU: How do observances like Pride Month elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion in healthcare? 

Ms. Rivera: Observances like Pride Month elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion in healthcare by bringing awareness to the essential need for embracement towards all different people no matter their identity or sexual orientation. Having acknowledgements that promote diversity allow healthcare professionals to live their lives freely and with integrity as we give back to our human or animal patients. Creating a more accepting environment for medical workers will only help people feel safe and comfortable in their work environment amongst colleagues.

SGU: How can the SGU community get involved with P&E SGU?

Ms. Rivera: All members of the University are eligible for membership within P&E SGU including faculty, students, and staff. You can join by filling out our form. Also follow us on Instagram @PrideandEqualitySGU and Facebook Pride & Equality SGU.

 

 

 

–Jessica Epps and Laurie Chartorynsky

 

Related Reading

 

Victory! After Two-Year Hiatus, SOM College Olympics Returns

After a two-year hiatus, St. George’s University School of Medicine Olympics returned last weekend. Students and faculty of each of the nine Colleges competed in a battle of physical endurance to win the title of “Olympic Champions.”

The event took place on the True Blue campus playing field, where students and faculty competed in games that included friendly competition in volleyball, dodgeball, an obstacle course, 100-meter race, 400-meter relay, three-legged and wheelbarrow races, and the highly anticipated tug-of-war. The day also featured a half-time show performance by SGU’s cheerleading squad and ended in a prize giving ceremony announcing this year’s Olympic Champions.

 

 

“The SOM College Olympics’ primary purpose is to bring together students, staff, and faculty to participate in a day of healthy competition,” said Dr. Vivek Nuguri, Curie College director and clinical instructor within the Department of Pathology. “Additionally, it fulfills another major objective of helping the students relax amid their challenging schedules. It also helps inculcate a feeling of fraternity and togetherness among the students and faculty and helps improve campus wellness.”

The triumphant team was decided by winning the evening’s most popular event—the tug-of-war. Rivals Galen and Blackwell Colleges met in the final rounds, but it was the Galen team that emerged victorious this year. With the additional 50 points earned from winning the tug-of-war, Galen College was able to secure the lead at 286 points, followed by Fleming College with 217 points, and Blackwell College placing third with 211 points.

“This win means so much to me personally,” shared Chukwuebuka Udokporo, SOM Term 5 student and Galen College member.

“This is my last semester here at SGU, so I’m really happy I got to participate in the games before I leave the island,” Mr. Udokporo said. “The memory of this experience is something I get to take back with me to the United States when I do my clinical rotations. When I arrived on the field today, I didn’t know anybody outside of my college but over the course of the day I got to meet new people and form friendships that will hopefully last a lifetime.”

The SOM College system was created in 2018 and named after influential physicians and scientists in history—consisting of Blackwell, Galen, Taylor, McIndoe, Peabody, Curie, Fleming, Metrodora, and Hippocrates Colleges. The mission of the system is to create an intimate learning environment in which students are consistently supported (both socially and academically) as they develop the knowledge, skills, compassion, and integrity required to be a practicing physician while adjusting to life in Grenada.

During the competition’s inaugural event in 2019, it was the Curie College team that was victorious, despite entering the Olympic games as underdogs. The event was then canceled for 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. Staff and faculty were eager to restart the games this year.

“Each College represents an academic family that supports the wellness of students and fosters the academic, personal, and professional development of its membership,” said Dr. Lucy Clunes, SGU’s dean of students, and a proud member of Galen College. “The SOM College Olympics and other intercollegiate social events and competitions were created to nurture that feeling of school spirit by providing an opportunity for the campus community to both compete—and get out there and have some fun.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

Related Reading 

SGU President Offers Advice to Medical School Applicants in U.S. News & World Report

A recent article in U.S. News & World Report demystifies the challenge of getting into medical school, featuring insights from St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds.

The article, “Why Is It So Hard to Get Into Medical School?” breaks down why applying to medical school has become increasingly competitive in recent years. Overall, there has been an increase in medical school applicants without an equal increase in programs themselves. The situation is often daunting for prospective students.

According to Dr. Olds, few medical schools opened between the late 1970s and early 2000s, with very little expansion of med schools during that period thanks to an inaccurate but widely publicized labor market forecast projecting a doctor surplus. Meanwhile, the need for doctors in the U.S. was rapidly rising due to a growing and aging population.

“The aging is still going on despite losing a lot of older Americans to COVID,” he said, “Aging, by the way, is the biggest driver of our need for more physicians.”

The COVID pandemic has also exacerbated longstanding shortages of primary care physicians, Dr. Olds explained.

Despite current trends, the takeaway message for prospective students: Apply.

“Premeds who cast a wide net and apply to schools at a range of selectivity levels are the most likely to get accepted,” Dr. Olds said.

 

Aspiring physicians commit to the medical profession at Spring White Coat Ceremony

In celebration of the milestone moment that marks the entry into the noble profession of medicine, last week St. George’s University held virtual White Coat Ceremonies for students who recently entered medical school.

“This moment is big deal,” said Dr. Gabrielle Walcott-Bedeau, MBA ’17, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, Neuroscience and Behavioral Science and the day’s master of ceremonies. “The white coat comes with great responsibility and to whom much is given, much is expected.”

In her prepared remarks during the ceremonies, Dr. Walcott-Bedeau congratulated the physicians-in-training on joining the SGU family and reminisced on the sense of pride she felt when donning her own white coat, which she touts as the most recognizable symbol of her profession.

White Coat Ceremonies are a storied tradition within medical school. The ceremony signifies students’ official beginning on their journeys to becoming physicians. During the event, a white coat is placed on each student’s shoulders—sometimes by family members or mentors who have become doctors before them. Students then recite the Oath of Professionalism, in which they pledge to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating patients.

SGU held two virtual White Coat Ceremonies—on March 12 and 13 for January 2022-entering students and will hold an additional two ceremonies on March 26 and 27 for August 2021-entering students.

 

“Your faculty will teach you all about health and disease and how to diagnose it and treat it, but it’s your patients that will teach you how to be a better doctor—listen to them.”

 

This year’s White Coat Ceremony keynote speaker was Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of SGU and a tropical disease specialist. He shared some words of wisdom with the newest class of future doctors as they go through their careers.

“I’m sure all of your family and friends are very proud of you today, and it’s with great excitement that you put on that white coat,” said Dr. Olds. “However, when you put it on, remember that it signifies what’s most important among physicians. Your faculty will teach you all about health and disease and how to diagnose it and treat it, but it’s your patients that will teach you how to be a better doctor—listen to them.”

Starting Medical School During a Global Pandemic 

During the ceremonies, SGU Provost Dr. Glen Jacobs praised the medical students for continuing to adapt to the global changes around them. He acknowledged that although challenging at times, these experiences would contribute to their resilience and help them navigate life as they grew personally and professionally throughout their time at SGU and thereafter.

“We remain dedicated to supporting you as you start your journey in the School of Medicine,” Dr. Jacobs said in his welcome remarks,. “I’m looking forward to the day when all of you will be back on campus, but for now focus on how this pledge of commitment to your chosen lifelong profession brings you together as future physicians.”

Dr. Marios Loukas, the dean of the School of Medicine, also welcomed the Class of 2026, reminding them that as they now wear their white coat, they pledge an oath of professionalism and service.

“In entering the field of medicine you will join a community where (being part of a) team is of utmost importance to success, as compared to individual effort,” stated Dr. Loukas. “To this end, you must strive for excellence in your pursuit of knowledge.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

Related Reading

New SGU Orthopaedic Surgery Club Preps Students for Competitive Specialty

The Orthopaedic Surgery Club is one of St. George’s University’s newest student organizations and was formed to help introduce School of Medicine students to the competitive field of orthopedics early on in medical school. SGU News spoke with Tiamo Blankenship, the club’s president, about the motivation for forming the club and how students can get involved.

St. George’s University: Congratulations on the formation of the Orthopaedic Surgery Club. What was the inspiration for creating this club?

Tiamo Blankenship: This club was formed to provide a place for students and alumni to share their experience about programs that are receptive to internal medicine graduates, and to help them navigate the many pathways into orthopaedics.

Every year SGU students match into this competitive specialty. Part of matching into orthopedics means raising awareness about the specialty and offering advice to students to help them match into this specialty. All of our guest speakers this term are SGU alumni. We are excited to hear about their experiences when applying to orthopedic residency programs and becoming orthopedic residents themselves.

SGU News: Who can join the club?

Ms. Blankenship: Membership is not just limited to just students in their basic sciences—any student who is currently enrolled in the SGU School of Medicine program is welcome to join. Because the advice and experience of clinical year students is invaluable, we have representative students for the club who are currently in their clinical years. Despite this being our first term being the official SGU Orthopaedic Surgery Club, we have already established great connections.

Get in touch!

Visit the SGU Orthopaedic Surgery Club on the University Portal

SGU News: You just had your inaugural meeting. What was on the agenda? 

Ms. Blankenship: We could not believe the support we received during our first meeting. We had almost 70 people show up! At our first general body meeting, we shared our plans for the year including our guest speaker series, a splinting workshop, and our philanthropy events. We also brought up our idea for a mentor/mentee program and heard some great feedback. It was great to see the collaboration between all of the members.

SGU News: How often will you meet? 

Ms. Blankenship: We plan to have general body meetings with all members of the club once a month in order to give updates on club progress and activities to all members. We will also have meetings with the term reps and E-board members every two weeks. We have a wonderful team.

SGU News: How often do you elect board members and a club president?

 

“We want to support students who are interested in orthopedics and provide as many resources as possible.”

 

Ms. Blankenship: We have executive board positions for our club with about one to three term reps for each term, including representative positions for clinical year students. Elections will be conducted before the end of April for the Fall 2022 OSC E-board. Each person has a vital role in contributing to the goals of the club.

The president, for example, oversees all activities of the group and is also responsible for reaching out to orthopedic surgeon alumni, local Grenadian orthopedic surgeons, and meeting regularly with our faculty advisor and executive committee to discuss group progress. Our faculty advisor, Dr. Bashir Heidari, has been a great support. We also have three to four guest speakers planned for this term who are all SGU alumni. Our SGU alumni in the field of orthopedics will also be an outlet for any questions our members have about becoming an orthopedic surgeon.

SGU News: How do you interact with other clubs on campus? 

Ms. Blankenship: For this term, we already have a Splinting and Fractures Clinic planned for early April with the SGU Sports Medicine Club. This clinic will be for both in-person and online students so that every member has an opportunity. We are also planning on working with the SGU Radiology club on campus. We’re happy that we have great connections with a variety of clubs on campus and can interact with other specialties.

SGU News: Why is the formation of this club especially timely for SGU students?

Ms. Blankenship: We want to support students who are interested in orthopedics and provide as many resources as possible. It is a very competitive field. But with a lot of hard work and dedication, we have seen students from SGU create their own paths into successfully matching into orthopedics. We have great connections with clinical year students and fellow alumni who are graciously willing to dedicate time to help other students with similar aspirations.

 

 — Paul Burch

 

 

 

Related Reading:

Why you should join the SGU AMSA chapter

SGU student organizations contribute valuable funds and expertise to host country

Highlighting the Student National Medical Association: A conversation with leadership of the SGU chapter