Graduates Help Usher in New Class of Medical Students at St. George’s University

 

Walter Bakun, MD SGU ’83, had once traversed the stage as a medical student himself. Three years ago, his eldest son, Zachary, followed in his footsteps, and is now a third-year student doing his clinical rotations. This fall, his second son, Walter II, joined the SGU community by taking part in the Fall 2018 White Coat Ceremony at Patrick F. Adams Hall.

Having enjoyed a long and fruitful career as an internist in New Jersey, Dr. Bakun looks back fondly on his time in Grenada, and is overjoyed to see both his sons take the same path.

“I wouldn’t have traded my SGU experience for anything else,” said Dr. Bakun. “I’m very happy with what SGU gave to me and equally pleased with what it’s continuing to give to the community and the world over with the doctors that it’s producing. Today was a great personal honor for me to coat my son because I feel that he will continue the work that I’ve been doing after I’m gone.”

Dr. Bakun wasn’t the only alumnus coming back to SGU to coat his son. All together, this fall’s incoming SOM and SVM class welcomed backed 11 SGU graduates, including members of the Class of 1983 and 1991 to join in the special privilege of coating their children. The 2022 Grenada SOM class joined their fellow students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who began their journey two weeks before at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. The Grenada ceremonies helped make up the University’s bi-annual Beyond Spice Family Weekend.

Another familiar face returning to SGU was the evening’s master of ceremonies, Corey Schwartz, MD SGU ’98, a hematologist and oncologist specializing in sarcoma and breast cancer at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. Dr. Schwartz is also a member of the inaugural combined MD/MSc class, and knew exactly how this new class of aspiring physicians felt, as he embarked on the same journey almost a quarter of a century ago.

“For me, what SGU meant was opportunity. I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the first Master’s/MD program offered by the University,” stated Dr. Schwartz. “Another amazing thing about SGU is that it allows you to achieve your dreams. Yes, there are challenges along the way, but the school gives you all the support that you need to make this happen and it does a fantastic job of that. The USMLE scores speak for themselves.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in the treadmill of one task after another trying to become a doctor and forgetting why you started in the first place,” added Dr. Schwartz. “So, I would encourage you right now to ask yourself ‘what does medicine mean to me?’ and ‘why am I here?’ Your answers are really unique to you, and it’s important that you carry them in your heart and your mind throughout your career if you want to stay on track and make sure your dreams come true. Abraham Lincoln said, “discipline is choosing between what you want right now and what you want the most.” I urge you all to work for what you want the most.”

Also returning to SGU to deliver his second keynote speech was John J. Cush, MD SGU ’82, a practitioner, educator and leader in the field of rheumatology, and a member of the second graduating class of St. George’s University School of Medicine. Dr. Cush had previously delivered the keynote address at the August 2007 White Coat Ceremony and was excited to share a few excerpts from a letter by Dr. Adam Cifu from the Journal of the American Medical Association on advice for students starting medical school.

Lesson number 1: Often the most important service we provide for a patient is not what we think. For instance, there’s a lot more than knowledge to becoming a doctor. Your time, interest, curiosity, are all fabulous ideals that are very important to your patients.

“Lesson number 2: Much of what you are taught is wrong. For example, getting too close to patients is a dangerous thing and to never except a gift from a patient. Patients want to thank you and accepting their gifts is a lot like accepting their compliments. You have to be careful. Don’t shun them. Don’t minimize them. Be gracious, admit that the gift means a lot to you, and thank them.

Lesson 3: Keep a sunshine folder. In it you can stash your notes from patients, your pictures, great letters of recommendation, and other small accolades of things you’ve done for your patients. On good days, they’ll be very important to you and you’ll be able to add to them. On bad days, you’ll come to look at that sunshine folder and realize that life is not so bad. That sunshine folder is there to lift your spirits when you need it most.”

In closing, Dr. Cush left the students with a final few words of inspiration.

“Today as we put the white coat on you, our hands on your shoulders means that we have confidence in you and great expectations of you and we expect to hear your success story a few years from now.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

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

Global Scholars Take First Steps in Medical Profession at White Coat Ceremony

The longstanding partnership between St. George’s University, Grenada, and Northumbria University, UK, was strengthened again as 72 students joined the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP). The relationship between the two institutions, now in its eleventh year, enables SGU students to take the first year of their MD degree—basic sciences—at Northumbria University, before returning to Grenada to continue their studies.

The occasion was marked by a traditional White Coat Ceremony, where the students were ‘robed’ in their white coats, a symbol of the medical profession, before taking an oath of commitment to use their training for the benefit of others. A key focus of the KBTGSP is to encourage medical students to devote at least a portion of their professional lives to the service of developing countries, underserved regions of the world, or international NGOs.

Leading the occasion was Master of Ceremonies, Gordon Bourne, MD SGU ’17, a graduate and faculty member of the KBTGSP at Northumbria, where he serves as a clinical tutor. As the grandson of SGU’s first Vice Chancellor, Dr. Geoffrey Bourne, and nephew of its third Vice Chancellor, Dr. Peter Bourne, his family has a long history with SGU. A former Royal Marine, Dr. Bourne spent seven years working and traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa, principally working with anti-poaching units in Tanzania. “Learning how to adapt and how to survive” is as useful in medical school as in the marines or the bush, he told the students.

Dr. Bourne introduced Baroness Howells of St. Davids, the only Grenadian in the UK’s House of Lords and president of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF)—SGU’s research arm. Baroness Howells welcomed the students, and remarked, “You will enjoy your time at this splendid university before continuing your studies at SGU in Grenada, where you can bask in the land of perpetual sun”.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. In his speech, Dr. Olds told three personal stories from his medical career that shaped him into the doctor he is today. “I hope to leave you with something you remember for longer than you are in this room”, he said. Dr. Olds emphasized, in all three cases, “always do what’s best for your patients, ahead of all other considerations.”

Having been robed in their white coats, the students joined their friends and families at a reception, before taking their first steps into a career in medicine.

Health Education England and St. George’s University Reach Agreement on New Program to Fill Postgraduate Medical Training Programs in England

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University (left), and Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow SGU graduates to undertake postgraduate training in England through the NHS’ Widening Access to Specialty Training program.

At a ceremony in Grenada, leaders of Health Education England (HEE), part of the National Health Service (NHS), and St. George’s University signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable SGU School of Medicine graduates to undertake postgraduate training in England, with the first intake expected in the autumn of 2018. SGU School of Medicine is the only Caribbean medical school in a direct agreement with Health Education England for the first 18-month program to provide graduates for postgraduate training. The agreement is expected to facilitate 50-100 trainees annually from SGU School of Medicine entering the NHS in England.

This agreement establishes a pathway for a significant number of SGU School of Medicine graduates to join the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) Program, an initiative within NHS that recruits overseas postgraduate doctors, with a focus on ensuring they are able to enter general practice and psychiatry training programs, the expansion of both specialties being a key priority for the NHS. Sixteen SGU graduates will begin WAST in the next seven months, with many more in the application process.

Graduates will undertake one or two postgraduate foundation years, depending on prior experience, followed by entry into specialty training. This postgraduate training is recognized for licensure and given credit in the UK, the European Union, and Commonwealth countries.

“Our role is to ensure the health workforce in England can meet the challenges faced by the NHS, which includes the provision of services in underserved areas,” said Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England. “We are very impressed that graduates provided by SGU are of the high standard demanded by the NHS; I look forward to the first intake arriving in 2018.”

St. George’s University has graduated more than 16,000 physicians who have gone on to practice medicine throughout the world.

HEE Director of Global Engagement Ged Byrne added, “St. George’s students are well qualified and talented. We anticipate they will have great success in our postgraduate training programs and in practice in the UK afterwards.”

“This agreement highlights the increasingly important role played by SGU as an international institution in global health care,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “Our extensive network of partner universities and teaching hospitals around the world, including in England, ensures our students receive a comprehensive education in a range of clinical environments. This is reflected in the fact that we are the only Caribbean medical school to enter into an agreement with HEE, enabling our graduates to apply for the WAST program. England has one of the most stringent regulatory frameworks in the world, and that our graduates now have this opportunity is reflective of their caliber. We are delighted that this major development has taken place in the 70th anniversary year of the NHS.”

With intakes in February and August each year, most successful applicants will join a one-year postgraduate foundation clinical course in England, where they will improve the skills and competencies required for admission to specialty training. The program will typically consist of six months of psychiatry training followed by six months in an acute hospital setting. Upon completing the program, graduates will be eligible to apply for an Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competencies, after which they can apply for a three-year program of specialty training in England.

Commenting on the importance of the agreement for SGU in the UK, Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies, UK, said, “I am delighted that St. George’s medical graduates, some of whom have received clinical training in our 17 NHS affiliated hospitals in England, will now have the opportunity to return to England to practice—thereby helping to offset the numerical and specialty shortage of doctors we are presently experiencing.”

The location of training for those on the WAST program will be assigned by HEE, with most programs focusing on areas of acute shortage, predominantly in the Midlands, East, North and South West of England, Yorkshire, and the Humber. Successful applicants will be offered their highest available location preference.

“One of our central aims is to find ways to train doctors in the areas they are needed most,” said Dr. Olds. “The global shortage of medical professionals is exacerbated by maldistribution, both by geography and specialty. This agreement, which will encourage our graduates to train in family medicine and psychiatry in areas of England with the greatest need, is one example of how we are making a significant positive impact around the world.”

2018 Class of Veterinary Graduates Celebrates at New York’s Lincoln Center

On Saturday at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall in New York City, animals around the world, both big and small, officially gained some of their strongest caretakers and advocates. With their family and friends in attendance, St. George’s University graduates were conferred the degree of Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and will now continue their careers throughout the United States and beyond.

“What you’ve done and given up to be here today has made your family proud,” St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica said. “You’ve made it through a very strenuous program with great perseverance. We at SGU have the utmost respect for all of you.”

This year’s graduates hail from such countries as the United States, Canada, Bermuda, United Kingdom, Israel, South Africa, and Hong Kong. They join an alumni network that now includes more than 1,500 veterinarians.

“For us, this ceremony is a symbol of confidence that you are now equipped for the world into which you are entering,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, Provost of SGU. “We have equipped you with the basic skills necessary for your profession, and you must continue learning to keep pace with the changing world around us. Your academic qualifications will help to open opportunities, but beyond that, you must demonstrate your ability to learn and grow in the fields you choose.”

Among the new grads was Kendra Simons, DVM SGU ’18, who came to St. George’s University from Bermuda, navigating through four years of school to fulfill her dream of becoming a veterinarian. After officially earning her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in January, she began working as an associate veterinarian position at Avon Animal Hospital in Windsor, Nova Scotia.

Dr. Simons celebrated in New York with her parents and two siblings, as well as several other family members and friends, all of whom supported her on her journey.

“It’s very surreal to be here today,” she said. “It’s great to see all of my classmates because we took on a very difficult challenge and came out on the other end.”

She was joined at the ceremony by Matt Cochran, DVM SGU ’18, who at a young age envisioned becoming a small animal veterinarian but gravitated toward working with horses over time. Dr. Cochran looks forward to continuing his career in equine medicine, having earned an internship at Tennessee Equine Hospital in Thompson’s Station, TN.

“I’m excited to get going,” he said. “I have a great team at Tennessee Equine. They have a really nice structure set up, and I look forward to working with them, learning from them, and applying everything I learned at SGU.”

In addition to robing its newest class of veterinarians, the University’s highest honor—the Distinguished Service Medal—was awarded to Dr. Timothy Ogilvie, Dean Emeritus of the School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Ogilvie served as a longtime visiting professor at SGU before being appointed dean in January 2014. During his tenure, he played a vital role in preparing the SVM for its re-accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Ogilvie stepped down as Dean in the summer of 2017, handing the reins to Dr. Neil Olson, but remains with the University as Vice Provost of Advancement for the SVM.

– Brett Mauser

Newest Class of Physicians Reflects on the Past, Looks Ahead to the Future

 

Before setting off for residency, St. George’s University School of Medicine’s newest class of physicians gathered at New York City’s Lincoln Center once more to celebrate the completion of one journey, and the beginning of another.

The newest class of physicians came from 44 US states, six Canadian provinces, and 51 countries from around the world. They join a network of more than 16,000 physicians who have earned their Doctor of Medicine degrees from SGU since the University opened in 1977.

“You’ve made sacrifices and you’ve persevered, and for that I have the utmost respect for each and every one of you,” said St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica. “I hope you know how proud you’ve made all of us, and how proud you’ve made your parents and friends. The world is full of all sorts of problems, and you’re the solution. You’re going to do well. I know that because  of your predecessors. You’ve earned this, you deserve this, and we love you for it.”

Graduates gathered at David Geffen Hall on June 9 and 10 for the commencement festivities, enjoying each other’s company two years after they departed Grenada for their clinical rotations.

“Going to SGU was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” added James Velasquez, MD SGU ’18, who will start his emergency medicine residency at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. “I received a great education, I loved the island, and because it taught me how to buckle down and study right, it got me ready for the next part of my career.”

All together, St. George’s University graduates will begin their postgraduate residencies in 43 US states, four Canadian provinces, as well as Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom next month.

Colleen Murphy, MD SGU ’18, will join Yale New Haven Health’s obstetrics and gynecology residency program at Bridgeport Hospital this summer. She chose OB/GYN because of how it combines surgery with continuity of care.

“It’s nice to celebrate with everyone else who was there along the way,” she said. “We all did it together, so it’s nice to end the journey together.”

Joining her on the journey was Philip Lettieri, MD SGU ’18, who not only gained an education at SGU but he also met his wife, classmate Jessica Lettieri, MD SGU ’18, during their first year of the Foundation to Medicine program. Married this past April, the couple is now off to New Jersey for residency, with Philip obtaining a categorical surgery residency at St. Barnabas Medical Center, and Jessica matching into a pediatrics position at Atlantic Health.

“Growing up on Long Island and coming from college in the Midwest, I didn’t know what to expect coming down to Grenada,” Philip Lettieri said. “There were definitely some times where it was tough, but looking back, I wouldn’t change anything at all.”

Jessica Lettieri appreciated all the opportunities available to her during her time as a student, including volunteering around the island, participating in the popular Prague selective, and completing clinical rotations in the same hospital where her grandmother worked over 50 years ago.

“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. “It’s great to see people today that we started first term with, many of whom we haven’t seen in two years because they were on the other side of the country for clinicals. Today has been a great experience because we all did it together.”

In addition to the accolades showered in the 2018 class of graduates, the University also acknowledged the contributions of one of its longtime administrators and faculty members. Dr. Ted Hollis, who served as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences from 2000 to 2017, was bestowed the Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hollis came to St. George’s University in 1978 as a visiting professor before joining the faculty full-time as a professor in 1994.

“Dr. Hollis is responsible for enriching the learning environment of thousands of undergraduate students across the Caribbean and the Commonwealth countries,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU.

The University also presented Bruce Hebets, CEO of Borrego Health, with an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. Mr. Hebets took charge of a single, small Federally Qualified Health Center in Southern California and over the next 15 years built it into the fifth largest FQHC system in America, caring for nearly 500,000 residents of inland Southern California.

– Brett Mauser

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.

Class of 2018 Encouraged to be Fearless in Pursuit of Greatness

Face your fears and press on with courage. That was the advice of Dr. Timothy Antoine, Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and keynote speaker at St. George’s University’s 2018 Grenada commencement.

Serving the Government of Grenada for 22 years, 14 of which as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Governor Antoine’s advice to the graduating class on how to become valuable contributors to their community by serving humanity rang true even more so because of the life he has led. Having received The Order of Grenada Gold Award for Excellence in recognition of his outstanding service to Grenada, Governor Antoine’s life serves as a shining example of just that.

“Graduands, I charge you today to become people of value. So how does one become a person of value?” asked Governor Antoine. “First, focus on service by making it one of your top life values.  Second, develop a flexible skillset to stay relevant. You must keep learning. Remember, you cannot lead if you do not read. Third, face your fears. Consider this question: what would you do if you were not afraid? May God guide and bless you on your journey to make a difference and help change our region and our world.”

In recognition of his outstanding contribution to Grenada and to St. George’s University through his service on the Monitoring Committee, the University also conferred Governor Antoine with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Representing 28 countries from across the globe, the almost 400 graduates from the Class of 2018 in attendance at the Grenada ceremony, included nearly 200 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 120 from the School of Graduate Studies, and 74 new physicians graduating from the School of Medicine. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place in June at New York City’s Lincoln Center.

Echoing the keynote speaker’s message about fearlessness in her valedictory address, Haley Noel, BSc ’18, reminded her fellow students that although today signaled the start of a new journey in their lives, they were well prepared to go out into the world and apply the skills and toolsets they acquired at SGU.

“Fellow graduands, we can do anything. We are not afraid of the challenges that are to come. We are part of a generation that is changing the course of history,” stated Ms. Noel. “I challenge you to push yourselves harder and always aim higher because in doing so you will be successful. So, Class of 2018, let us commit ourselves to the belief that we can accomplish anything and work every day to do so.”

St. George’s University also recognized Dr. Theodore Hollis with its highest award for service to the University, The Distinguished Service Medal. Dr. Hollis first came to St. George’s University as a Visiting Professor in Physiology in 1979, while serving with great distinction for a quarter of a century as Professor of Physiology at Penn State University. He then joined SGU full time in 1995 as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies. He served as the Dean of Graduate Studies until 2003 and as the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences until 2017, making numerous important contributions to the University during his tenure.

“I came to Grenada 25 years ago, and this country embraced me and I it. Soon, I realized that the beauty of Grenada is not just the beauty of the country but the beauty of the people,” said Dr. Hollis. “My SGU family has made me feel at home here—it has been a pleasure working with you, for you, and sometimes helping you. I really believe that my change in career to come here might have actually prolonged my life. So, I accept this medal with great humility and thank all of you very much.”

St. George’s University Hosts First International Meeting of NIH Fogarty Program Administrators

This week, St. George’s University will host a conference for the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center grant administrators—the first ever outside the United States.

“We’re thrilled to host this year’s Fogarty International Center administrators meeting,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “This meeting is an opportunity for the world’s leading minds to collaborate and continue their efforts to produce revolutionary research on global health. It’s an honor for St. George’s to facilitate that work.”

Attendees will hear from a number of Fogarty grantees and will discuss a number of global public health initiatives.

Several St. George’s faculty members have received funding from the Fogarty International Center. Among them is Dr. Randall Waechter, Assistant Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Associate Director of Research at SGU. He’s also Grants Administrator of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation.

In 2016, Dr. Waechter and Dr. Angelle Desiree LaBeaud of Stanford received a grant to investigate the threat of Chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, on children born during the outbreak in Grenada in 2014. Their work focused on how this disease may affect neurodevelopment in infants exposed to Chikungunya in tropical regions.

In 2014, St. George’s University Professor Cheryl Macpherson partnered with Fogarty grantee Sean Philpott of Union Graduate College (now merged with Clarkson University) on the “Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative”—a suite of graduate-level online and onsite bioethics courses for middle and low-income students across the Caribbean.

“At St. George’s University, we share the Fogarty International Center’s commitment to carrying out research that improves the lives of people worldwide while building research capacity in low- and middle-income countries,” said Dr. Waechter, the lead organizer of this year’s Fogarty administrators meeting. “We’re honored to welcome the Fogarty administrators to Grenada and to help advance the Center’s important work.”

Global Scholars Study Rheumatic Effects of Living at Altitude in Tanzania

Three St. George’s University medical students, all alumni of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP), recently took part in a research pilot project in Tanzania to test the effects of altitude on people living in different global regions.

Dr. Clive Kelly led the research and invited the alumni of the Northumbria-based program to join him in Tanzania after having taught them during their first year clinical selections in Newcastle. The KBTGSP provides students of St. George’s University on the Caribbean island of Grenada, to complete their first year of basic sciences at Northumbria as part of their medical degree.

Dr. Kelly, a Physician from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead and Senior Lecturer at Newcastle University, developed an interest in researching cases of arthritis in East Africa after traveling in the region last year. He has been involved in a pilot study to assess the range and extent of locomotor disease in the hopes it will give insight into regional variations in rheumatic conditions and treatments.

The students—Zoe McKinnell, Gillian Richmond, and Renee Wong—are now in the fourth year of their medical degrees at SGU. In addition to the research pilot project, they took on the additional challenge of spending a week climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, where they participated in a comparative study with Dr. Kelly on the effect of physiological adaptations to altitude in climbers from different parts of the world.

During their trip, the students also assisted Dr. Kelly’s teaching programme for junior medical students at a Tanzanian hospital and joined classes with more senior students to expand their knowledge from the perspective of different healthcare systems.

“It was great to have Zoe, Gillian, and Renee involved in this international research project, both for their own development and for the contribution they made in the field,” said Dr. Kelly. “From a teaching point of view, it was invaluable to have them there and their input was crucial. We were teaching a class of 40 students and they helped by taking smaller groups on to wards with me to talk to and examine patients and test techniques. I wouldn’t have been able to teach such large classes without their assistance.”

“The Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program was a great experience and the small group of 70 students meant we had a real community and support system,” said Ms. McKinnell. “It also gave me the opportunity to go to Tanzania, which turned out to be a big eye-opener. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to teach as well as learn while I was there.”

SGU student Gillian Richmond applied for the KBTGSP because she was interested in studying healthcare systems around the world.

“It was really interesting to go into a teaching hospital as an outsider and learn about healthcare in an international context,” Ms. Richmond said. “Joining SGU’s program at Northumbria University was the best decision I’ve made. I’ve made lifelong friends and my experience in Tanzania will be a helpful bridge to my teaching responsibilities as a resident next year.”

“I am grateful to Dr Kelly who helped us organize a teaching elective in Tanzania, where I was able to learn more than I could teach,” said Ms. Wong. “I was humbled every day by my patients, students, and colleagues.”

Building on this initial success, Dr. Kelly hopes to create an annual program for future students as the research project develops.