Keith B. Taylor Global Scholar Students Receive Higher Education Diploma in Medical Sciences from Northumbria University

The 2016 graduands of St. George’s University’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP) took the next step toward obtaining their medical degrees, receiving  their Higher Education Diploma in Medical Sciences from University of Northumbria (NU) on February 13.

KBTGSP academic congregation outside Chancellory

In addressing the students at Bourne Lecture Hall on SGU’s True Blue Campus, Professor Kath McCourt, Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor Elect of NU, admitted to being envious of the graduands and all of their first-time experiences as they begin their careers in medicine.  She stressed this ceremony was one of celebration of their hard work, the talent, and the determination they’ve shown during their studies.

“I believe your time with Northumbria University would have provided you with a firm foundation to build on, and I am confident it has shaped you as an individual, colored the choices you made, and opened your eyes to the difference you can make,” remarked Professor McCourt. “As you join our global community of 186,000 students in more than 167 countries worldwide, I hope it has shaped the career you would pursue and the life that you will live.”

Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost, St. George’s University called Dr. Keith B. Taylor a visionary, as he paid tribute to the man for whom the program was named. As Vice Chancellor, Dr. Taylor helped to transform the School of Medicine into a university with diversity of schools, programs, and students from all over the world.

KBTGSP academic congregation two students

“Unfortunately, Dr. Taylor passed away just two weeks before the charter class matriculated in January 2007, but I knew his vision for the program which bears his name and it must make him very pleased to know that all of you chose the KBT program,” recalled Dr. Pensick. “He also believed that, with the changes that were occurring in the world, the program you have undertaken would prepare you well for your careers as a physician.”

“Your firsthand experience as medical students in the wider sense of global health is unparalleled,” added Dr. Pensick. “The global community is going to be well served by your exposures to different health care systems, different cultures, and different ways in which the art of medicine is practiced. The skills you have learned will enable you to do a lot of good as you face the challenge of medicine in a changing world.”

Punctuating the momentous occasion, one by one the students crossed the stage and received their HE Diploma in recognition of successful completion of their first year of studies at the School of Applied Sciences at Northumbria University.

As part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, St. George’s University School of Medicine offers an option for medical students to complete the first year of the Basic Medical Sciences program on the campus of Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. Upon successful completion, students then continue their second year of the medical program in Grenada and conclude their medical education with two years of clinical training in one of our affiliated hospitals in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or Grenada.

Published on 3/8/16

An Amazing Profession Spring 2016 DVM Class Begins Its Journey

The newest class of veterinary students at St. George’s University donned the emblematic White Coat and recited the Oath of Professional Commitment, signifying their entry into the profession of veterinary medicine on January 30.

SVM White Coat Spring 2016

“It’s an amazing and well-respected profession,” declared Dr. Jessica Harmon, DVM SGU ’13.  Dr. Harmon, this term’s emcee, welcomed and congratulated the incoming veterinary class.  “You made it,” she rejoiced, “but this is where the real work begins. This is the beginning of a long but very rewarding journey.”

Currently an associate at the McDavitt Veterinary Clinic in Zionsville, Indiana, Dr. Harmon credits her experience in Grenada as having shaped her successful career as a veterinarian. “The education I received at SGU went past knowledge,” she said. “It taught me to be a compassionate veterinarian and care for all of my patients.”

Attending his second School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony was Dr. G. Richard Olds, Chief Executive Officer of St. George’s University and its first-ever President. “The White Coat Ceremony itself is relatively new, started by Columbia University in the early 1990s, with SGU being one of the first medical and veterinary schools to hold a White Coat Ceremony just three years later,” said Dr. Olds. “Symbolic of all health professions uniting in one health, the White Coat Ceremony is now almost universal. And so today, you too will go through the process of donning the white coat as you begin your health professional journey.”

As both a physician and a tropical disease specialist, Dr. Olds has spent most of his professional career working largely with veterinarians. “I know the importance of all the health care professionals who share in the unified theme of improving the health of our planet,” he stated.

Dr. Timothy Ogilvie , Dean of the SVM, shared four tips with the matriculating class that have served him well in his 41 years in the field of veterinary medicine. “Show up – because real change is made by those who show up and stick around. Keep up – don’t fall behind in your studies; this is a volume intensive program. Step up – colleagues, community members, and others will look to you for leadership. And lastly, cheer up – SGU is a great place and you’re going to have fun.” Dr. Ogilvie reminded the newly enrolled students, “You’re going to learn in an international environment, a cosmopolitan environment, and in a different culture. You have every opportunity to count your lucky stars and be cheerful.” He also took the opportunity to introduce his longtime friend and fellow Canadian, Dr. Trevor Ames, to deliver this year’s keynote address.

Twice a year for at least 10 years, Dr. Ames has been welcoming SGUSVM students to the University of Minnesota for their clinical year, where he currently serves as Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine.  Addressing the incoming students, Dr. Ames said,  “Today as you put on this coat you signify to those around you that you understand the professional, ethical, and social responsibilities of being a veterinarian.  “I would encourage you to not only think of today as your entry into veterinary school but also as your entry into the profession and begin practicing the ethical behavior and the responsible acts required of a graduate veterinarian.”

“The PAWS (Professional Attributes Workshop) training will not only help you succeed as a student but, after you graduate, those same traits will be just as important to your success as a veterinarian,” counseled Dr. Ames, “It’s as important as all of the facts and knowledge you will learn over the next four years.”

The School of Veterinary Medicine accepted its first class in August of 1999. In 2005, SGUSVM installed the first international chapter of Phi Zeta National Veterinary Honor Society on campus, the Alpha Delta Chapter. In September 2011, the DVM program was granted full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE) for seven years. Graduates, who come from 27 countries, have been licensed to practice in 47 US states, and in 10 countries around the world including Canada, the UK, and South Africa.

Published on 2/4/16

Newest Class of Students Takes Oath at St. George’s University School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

Each step in an individual’s journey as a physician is taken while wearing a white laboratory coat, the symbol for scientific medicine. At the Spring 2016 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony, held on January 29 at St. George’s University’s Patrick F. Adams Hall, its keynote speaker, Dr. Arthur Derse, used five narratives to illustrate the power of their chosen profession, beginning with the very ceremony in which they were participating.

SOM White Coat Spring 2016

“This is your official welcome and your first step in the journey into the profession of medicine,” stated Dr. Derse, the Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities and Professor of Bioethics and Emergency Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. “You will also receive the gift of a very practical article of clothing that you will wear when you meet, talk with, and exam your patients. The donning of your white coats symbolizes an induction and entrance into the path that will lead you forward to the practice of medicine.”

Dr. Derse explained that the tale of the white coat symbolizes the shift to scientific medicine. Physicians wore black coats until recently, and surveys have since shown that patients prefer their caretakers to wear white coats as opposed to scrubs.

The rise of scientists dramatically improved medicine, with the likes of John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn an MD, and global health ambassadors such as Keith B. Taylor paving the way for groundbreaking research and improved results in the health care system.

The third narrative was the fictional stories of medicine, which have served to mold the public’s expectation of a physician, such as literary novels by Albert Camus and Leo Tolstoy, or popular television shows like “ER” or “House.”

Patients’ stories make up the fourth narrative, and through listening with empathy, physicians can lead them back to comfort or a cure through prognosis and treatment. Physicians can then absorb the values embedded in those stories and treat others with greater efficiency, compassion, and understanding.

The fifth narrative, Dr. Derse said, had yet to be told. It was in the hands of the future physicians who stood before him, as well as the Spring 2016 students in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who took their oath at Northumbria University two weeks prior.

“To be a good doctor and to write your story well in medicine so you can better help to diagnose, to heal, and to comfort your patient, you’ll need to listen carefully to these tales of your patients, your colleagues and the history of medicine,” he stated. “You won’t need to worry about looking for work in medicine; the work needed to be done will be looking for you.”

Almost two decades earlier, Dr. Hilary Bingol, MD, SGU ’00, the evening’s master of ceremonies had arrived in Grenada to begin her own journey of becoming a physician and was overjoyed to see her alma mater flourishing. “This school and this country are the best place to learn medicine,” said Dr. Bingol, “you will never regret your decision to come here and years from now you will cherish the experiences you will have here.”

Dr. Bingol, now an Administrative Law Judge Physician for Wisconsin Physician Services, had previously practiced full time as a palliative care physician helping to build an outpatient palliative clinic in La Crosse, WI. “I believe my foundation at SGU, along with my clinical years are what allowed me to be so successful on my USMLE, internal medicine and hospice and palliative medicine board exams,” she extolled. “Congratulations on starting the most gratifying career you can have, and no matter what you do with your MD it will serve you well.”

Also present at the ceremony was Dr. G. Richard Olds, the first-ever President and Chief Executive Officer of St. George’s University. He explained to the matriculating class the unique privilege society grants those in the health care professions; that opportunity given even to medical students to directly interact with patients, to listen to their medical problems and to be their confidants. “However, this rare privilege society bestows also comes with the responsibility to act in a very professional and helpful manner,” counseled Dr. Olds. “And that is the theme of your donning the white coat. You accept both that rare privilege and that responsibility from the very first day of your training in the medical profession.”

Highlights of the evening included, the amazing husband and wife duo, William and Jessica Baas walking on stage together to be robed simultaneously; along with Drs. David Hansen, MD SGU ’95, and Dominic Grecco, MD SGU ’85, brimming with emotion and pride as they robed their sons, James and Jonathan, respectively.

Later, Jonathan Grecco described how he’s always wanted to be a doctor just like his father, who’s very passionate about his profession and very proud of the education he received at SGU. “For me it’s a rite of passage into the profession that I’ve been working my whole life towards to be like my role model – my dad,” said the Bedford, NY resident. “My dad is very excited to be back on the island, he’s always been very proud of SGU and now he gets to share that connection with me. For him to be here to welcome me into the medical community as I take the same path he took is a very proud moment and he was very emotional on stage.”

The School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony marked the first full day of fun-filled activities as it coincided for the fifth straight term with Beyond Spice Family Weekend at SGU. Parents and loved ones spent the day exploring Grenada and getting a taste of campus life at SGU, prior to the momentous White Coat Ceremony.

Published on 2/2/16

Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship Recipients Greet Princess Royal at St. George’s University

To celebrate the impact of St. George’s University’s Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship program, which commemorates 60 years of Queen Elizabeth II’s tenure as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations, SGU welcomed The Queen’s daughter – Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, Princess Anne – to a special meet-and-greet ceremony with scholarship recipients on Wednesday, September 30.

commonwealth jubilee scholarship recipients greet princess royal at st georges university

The Princess Royal is visiting the region as part of the Caribbean-Canada Emerging Leaders’ Dialogue (CCELD), held under this year’s theme, “Leading Through Innovation and Transformation.” At Tuesday’s ceremony, Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship recipients Rochelle Gourzong (Jamaica), Juliet Enow (Cameroon), and Yavani Choudree (South Africa) joined Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University; Dr. The Right Honorable Keith B. Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada; Dr. Calum Macpherson, Director, Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF); and Mr. Trevor Noel, Deputy Director, WINDREF, in greeting The Princess Royal, the second child and only daughter of The Queen.

“We are honored to welcome The Princess Royal to the True Blue campus to meet with these most deserving scholarship recipients,” Chancellor Modica said. “Identifying and educating future leaders in health care, veterinary medicine, and many other fields has been at the core of the Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship program since its inception, and we look forward to seeing the positive influence that these students will make in their communities as a result of this opportunity.”

CCELD’s two-week, in-field dialogue features five stops in Canada and five more in the Caribbean. This year’s initiative aims to strengthen leadership capacity to create more sustainable companies, institutions, and communities. According to its mission, the Dialogue “guarantees a profound personal experience, expanding the participants’ knowledge of fundamental global and local issues and giving insight into the thinking of top leaders throughout both regions.”

St. George’s University launched the Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarship program in 2012, awarding 60 full-tuition scholarships, one for each of The Queen’s 60-year reign, in an effort to make tertiary education possible for top scholars from Commonwealth countries. The scholarships will be divided among applicants for the Doctor of Medicine, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Master of Public Health, Arts and Sciences, and Master of Business Administration programs, with a combined value of US $3.5 million. All together, SGU has drawn its students and faculty from 140 countries, and graduated more than 15,000 physicians, veterinarians, scientists, public health and business professionals.

KBTGSP Students Obtain White Coats – and Some Perspective – at White Coat Ceremony

Five Narratives Illustrate the Power of the White Coat to Fall 2015 Entering Class

To welcome the newest class of students at the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program White Coat Ceremony in August, they were told of five narratives that summarize the history and the future of their newest attire – the white coat, a symbol of the profession they were entering and to which they committing their future.

kbtgsp students obtain white coats

In the words of the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Arthur R. Derse, Director of the Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and Professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin, the story of the white coat begins, naturally, at the beginning. Physicians’ switch from black coats to white coats occurred fairly recently, with the white coat serving as a symbol of scientific medicine. Surveys have since shown that patients prefer caretakers who wear white coats as opposed to scrubs.

Through time, Dr. Derse said as he began the second narrative of the white coat, the rise of scientists dramatically improved medicine, whether it was John Snow, the father of modern epidemiology, Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to earn an MD, or global health ambassadors such as Keith B. Taylor, for whom the Global Scholars Program is named, and Partners in Health founder, Paul Farmer.

Works of fiction, the third narrative, have also helped mold medicine, from that of Leo Tolstoy and Albert Camus to popular television shows such as “House” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Although they shape the populace’s expectations and often aren’t realistic, they nevertheless hold truths, proclaimed Dr. Derse.

Patients also tell their own stories, and it is up to physicians to listen with empathy. Doing so can start the patient on their journey back to comfort or a cure through prognosis and treatment. In hearing the entire story, physicians absorb the values embedded in those stories and can also sometimes treat with greater efficiency and compassion.

Finally, Dr. Derse stated that the tale of the white coat continues into the fifth narrative with each present student who wears his or her white coat for the first time. The ceremony marks the first chapter in students’ path toward their MD and their professional lives in which they will work hard to develop their knowledge, clinical skills, and character, all for the sake of their future patients.

As part of the Global Scholars Program, these students will spend their first year of basic sciences in the UK, follow it with a year in Grenada, and complete their medical education with two years of clinical training in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, or Grenada. Since its Charter Class in January of 2007, the program has seen more than 900 students go on to earn their MDs from SGU.

St. George’s University Fall 2015 Class Presented with White Coats as First Step into the School of Medicine

An important symbol of a student’s induction into the medical profession, this year’s class of newly enrolled medical students donned their white coats and took the oath of Professional Commitment on the True Blue Campus in Grenada. They joined their fellow students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who also began this noble journey in Northumbria, UK last month.

som wcc fall 2015

The Master of Ceremonies for the evening was SGU’s own Dr. Hanson Cummings, MD SGU ’04, who a decade later has gone on to serve as a registrar in internal medicine at the General Hospital, Grenada. Dr. Cummings credited hard work, sacrifice, and the love of a supportive family as the means of realizing his dream of becoming a physician. Born and raised in Grenada, he returned to his native land after completing his postgraduate training in internal medicine in Barbados, where he also attended a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)/World Health Organization (WHO) conference in 2012 and was the representative clinician delivering numerous lectures on both chikungunya and dengue.

Having been in their shoes not too long ago, Dr. Cummings advised the matriculating class to “hit the floor running and not let work accumulate; to challenge themselves to be better by always pursuing knowledge as medicine is a dynamic field where things are constantly changing; and lastly with perseverance and hard work they will accomplish their goal of joining the medical fraternity.”

The students were also welcomed and congratulated by the Chancellor of St. George’s University, Dr. Charles R. Modica, and the Prime Minister of Grenada, the Right Honorable Keith C. Mitchell. The Chancellor also introduced the newly appointed and first-ever President and Chief Executive Officer of SGU, Dr. Richard Olds. The founding Dean of University of California Riverside Medical School, Dr. Olds remarked on how wonderful it was to be joining a university that’s already doing great things. “Tonight is your night and I’m excited for all of you on taking the very first step in your professional career as physicians,” said Dr. Olds.

Delivering this year’s keynote address was Dr. Hugh Montgomery, a Professor of Intensive Care Medicine at University College London, and Director of the Institute for Human Health and Performance. Centering his address on the importance of humanity, knowledge, and skepticism to the practice of medicine, Dr. Montgomery counseled students to do all the little things because you never know if they will make the difference between life and death.

“There’s nothing too small for a truly big man,” said Dr. Montgomery, recalling the advice he received from his father many years ago. He also spoke of gaining knowledge as a way of showing compassion, saying that “Knowing more than anyone else and studying hard so you can make a faster diagnosis is a great way to show you care.” He cautioned the students, however, to remember that no one knows everything and advised them to challenge everything and to always seek a second opinion. “Work hard, work with positive people, question everything, act with kindness and compassion, and treat each patient like family.”

For Genevieve Jankowski, who just celebrated her 102nd birthday, the thrill of witnessing her granddaughter Paige Dubin’s entry into the medical profession was one momentous occasion she just couldn’t miss. Ms. Jankowski trekked more than 3,000 miles from California to Grenada to be with her granddaughter. After the ceremony and her brief visit of the campus, the spirited centenarian asked “so where do I get an application?”

The School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony has coincided for the fourth straight term with Beyond Spice Family Weekend at SGU. Students’ family members enjoy a fun-filled weekend of activities, exploring Grenada’s rich cultural heritage and getting a taste of life at SGU before attending the special ceremony, which serves as an affirmation of commitment to their studies and marks the very beginning of their medical career.

Dr. Ruth Macklin Presents at Annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University

A Founder of Bioethics Field Discusses Ethical Challenges in Confronting Disasters

Dr. Ruth Macklin, one of the founders of the field of bioethics, spoke on the difficult ethical issues involved with the allocation of scarce resource in times of disaster in her lecture, Ethical Challenges in Confronting Disasters: Some Lessons Learned on April 14, 2015 at St. George’s University Caribbean House, attended by a mix of faculty, staff and members of the community.

dr ruth macklin

Using case studies which looked at the responses, outcomes, and lessons learned from Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, as well as the earthquake in Haiti, Dr. Macklin pointed to the many complex ethical decisions disaster preparedness and response involves—from gauging the severity of a disaster to the planning, coordinating and predicting of the human response.

“In the case of medication, one of the basic pervading ethical principles is to save the most lives, where patients are treated according to the severity of their condition,” said Dr. Macklin. Patients are organized using a triage system so that those for whom immediate care might make a positive difference in outcome can be treated as quickly as possible.

“The aftermath of a disaster can be felt for a very long time, often beyond the immediate effects and treatment,” said Dr. Macklin. “At the end of the day there are no easy answers.”

Dr. Ruth Macklin is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Population Health and a Dr. Shoshanah Trachtenberg Frackman Faculty Scholar in Biomedical Ethics at the Global Health Center, at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. She has published extensively in the areas of biomedical research, public health ethics, stem cell research and end-of-life issues. Dr. Macklin has served on committees of the World Health Organization, including its vaccine advisory committee and was elected to the Institute of Medicine, a branch of the National Academy of Science. Dr. Macklin is a past president of the International Association of Bioethics and currently serves on its board of directors.

WINDREF and St. George’s University have long attracted world experts on climate change, health needs, and drug abuse and addictions, among other topics to its various lecture series.

Past speakers include, Dr. Robert C. Gallo, Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, best known for his role in the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), who spoke on the topic “Virus and Epidemics: Our Attempts to Control them with emphasis on HIV and AIDS”, and Dr. Valetin Fuster, a renowned cardiologist, who presented on the topic, “The Worldwide Challenge of Cardiovascular Disease.”

This lecture was presented in partnership with the Caribbean Research Ethics Education Initiative (CREE) and supported in part by the US National Institutes of Health (HIH) Fogarty International Center.

More Than 900 Graduates Bestowed MDs at 2015 Commencement

Newest Crop of St. George’s University Physicians Represents 41 Countries

At the 40th St. George’s University School of Medicine commencement ceremony on June 17, more than 900 students were conferred Doctor of Medicine degrees at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. The Class of 2015 represents 41 countries, including 39 US states, the newest physicians joining more than 12,000 SGU graduates who have been licensed to practice medicine in more than 50 countries around the world.

“When we first met you at your White Coat Ceremony in Grenada, we felt that each and every one of your had the capability and capacity to fulfill your dreams,” said Dr. Charles R. Modica, St. George’s University Chancellor. “You persevered, you stood fast, you studied hard, and you didn’t let go, and as a result, here you are. We are very proud to be here with you today, and know that you will continue to make a difference in health care.”

Although commencement marked the end of one chapter in their journey, Allen Pensick, St. George’s University Provost, encouraged the graduates to use it as a foundation for the rest of their medical careers.

“Today is a celebration of you now being equipped with the basic skills that you will need for the world you are entering,” Dr. Pensick said. “It’s up to you to continue learning to keep pace with the rapidly changing world around us. You must demonstrate your ability to learn in the fields that you choose. Today is about recognizing the ability to embrace the opportunities that are ahead of you.”

Mohammed Elshorafa, MD SGU ’15, is excited for what lies ahead. He will begin a child neurology residency at Virginia Commonwealth University Health System this summer. He reveled in the moment with his family outside Lincoln Center.

“It’s more than just four years; it’s an entire life building up to this one moment,” Dr. Elshorafa. “It’s great to be here with family because they were right there with me every step of the way. There were some ups and downs, but it was an amazing experience to live and study in Grenada, and that we’re here at this point is just overwhelming.”

For Parker Jenkins, MD SGU ’15, the SGU experience has very much been a family affair as well. His wife, Ashley, earned her MD from SGU in 2013 and is now completing her residency in internal medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center Mountainside. Originally from Denham Springs, LA, Dr. Jenkins and his family, including daughter Jolee and Job, spent two years in Grenada during his basic science training.

“I learned a lot about medicine and a lot about patient care, and moreover, I’ve learned a lot about what I’m capable of,” Dr. Jenkins said. “I’m blessed to have had this opportunity and to have had my family with me to experience it.”

Astha Muttreja, MD SGU ’15, and Amika Bahri, MD SGU ’15, became friends through SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, for which students spend the first year of their studies at Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom. Dr. Muttreja returns home to begin an internal medicine residency at Stony Brook University, and Dr. Bahri will do the same, starting her family medicine residency at the University of Toronto.

“Stony Brook Hospital is great, so I’m really excited about the opportunity,” Dr. Muttreja said. “It’s such a blessing. There were times where you weren’t sure if you were going to make it, so to be standing here is amazing.”

“That we were able to experience three different health care systems over the course of our medical education was really invaluable,” Dr. Bahri said. “Getting to go back home was something I only dreamed about when started school at SGU, so to have it all work out in the end means everything to me.”

Before conferring Doctors of Medicine to the graduating class, SGU presented Honorary Doctorates of Human Letters to two American pioneers – Ellen Ratner and James Pinkerton. Dr. Ratner has been a longtime supporter of SGU, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF). She founded the non-profit organization Goats for the Old Goat, aimed at helping families in need in South Sudan. Dr. Pinkerton has been a political commentator, columnist, and White House advisor since the early 1980s, and serves as a member of the board of the Institute for Human Virology (IHV). In addition, he is an advocate for the Cure Strategy, a platform to encourage public policies that advance medical innovation and the development of lifesaving treatments.


St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine Graduates Class of 2015

More than 1,000 DVM Degrees Conferred on Graduates Since 1999

With each round of applause during the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine commencement ceremony at Lincoln Center, Class of 2015 graduates had the opportunity to congratulate and celebrate with their colleagues, the newest class of veterinarians to come from SGU. All together, St. George’s University conferred Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees to 105 graduates who came to Grenada from 32 US states and eight countries on June 16, 2015, at Alice Tully Hall in New York City.

svm graduation 2015

“When you first assembled in Grenada at the White Coat Ceremony four years ago, you knew that you were four years away from your lifelong dreams, but you also knew that a lot of hard work laid ahead,” said Charles R. Modica, St. George’s University Chancellor. “You have my utmost respect for what you have achieved, and I think you have the respect and love of all those who are here today.”

Among the 2015 graduates was Anais Alamo, DVM SGU ’15. Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Alamo spent three years in Grenada before doing one year of clinical training at the University of Tennessee. She looks forward to beginning her career as a veterinarian at Banfield Pet Hospital in Pembroke Pines, FL, this summer.

“It’s emotional because ever since you were little, you dream of what you’re going to become in the future,” she said. “Finally you can look back and see everything you went through to get where you are right now, and you can say ‘I did it.’ It’s such an amazing feeling. I’m very excited.”

The daughter of an allergist, Christine Gerardi, DVM SGU ’15, grew up around medicine, but she was drawn to the veterinary side while doing her undergraduate studies at James Madison University in Virginia. After having earned her DVM at SGU, she will join a small animal practice in Arlington, VA, this summer.

“I come back today and see my classmates who are family to me, I see my professors who I miss, and it really makes you realize what an amazing experience it was,” Dr. Gerardi said. “I would do it all over again if I had to.”

The Class of 2015 included six students who transferred to SGU from the American University of Antigua, which closed its veterinary school in 2011. In addition, SGU bestowed the Distinguished Service Medal to Dr. James Smallwood, Professor of Veterinary Anatomy and Radiology, North Carolina State University, and Visiting Professor in Anatomy and Radiographic Anatomy at SGU. Dr. Smallwood was recognized for his longtime contributions to SGU. In his address to the crowd, Dr. Smallwood reflected on his own career and wished the Class of 2015 the best of luck in theirs.

“Being a veterinarian is one of the most wonderful things that has ever happened to me, and I wish that in your career you’re blessed with as much happiness and reward as I was,” he said.

Graduates closed the ceremony by stating the customary Veterinarian’s Oath. SGU has now conferred DVM degrees to more than 1,000 veterinarians since the School of Veterinary Medicine opened its doors in 1999.

SGU to Confer Two Honorary Degrees

Ellen Ratner and Jim Pinkerton to be Conferred Degrees at School of Medicine Commencement

St. George’s University (SGU), the pioneering medical school in Grenada, which has done much to expand access to medical education around the world, announced today that it will confer an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to two American pioneers, Ellen Ratner and James P. Pinkerton at the June 17th Commencement Ceremony at Lincoln Center in New York City.

Ellen and Jim have much in common. They share a common interest in health issues and work tirelessly to help get medical care to those in need. In addition, Ellen and Jim are Fox News Channel Contributors – on opposite sides of the political spectrum; Ellen on the political left and Jim on the political right. Indeed, for more than a decade, Ellen and Jim were paired on “Fox and Friends,” the Fox News channel’s perennial #1-rated morning news program. Their running segment was known as “The Long and Short Of It,” playing Ellen’s petite physical stature against Jim’s large frame. Despite their disagreements on many issues of policy and politics, Ellen and Jim are close personal friends who have always celebrated each other’s professional success.

ratner ellen

Ellen Ratner is a long time friend and ally to St. George’s University, having visited the campus as a prospective medical student way back in 1978. At the time Ellen had a successful career in mental health with a focus on psychiatric day treatment, and addiction and recovery and decided that, instead of medicine, she would use her MA in Education, Harvard, to focus on mental health and adult education. In 1990 she authored The Other Side of the Family, which led to her current profession as a White House Correspondent and Bureau Chief for The Talk Radio News Service and twenty years as a news analyst on Fox News Channel. She has also covered the White House, over two decades and three presidents, but her passion is making the world a better place.

It is for her continued focus on adult development and education that SGU honors her. Ellen has invested in diverse populations, beginning with co-founding an Education Center for post-Katrina survivors in DeLisle, Mississippi. More recently, she launched a non-profit, Goats for the Old Goat, aimed at helping the people in South Sudan. The charity, launched on Ellen’s 60th birthday, has donated over 5000 goats, which help sustain families in need. Thanks to her work as a WINDREF Board member she has helped to spearhead St. George’s University’s Peace Through Medicine initiative for South Sudan. St. George’s University educated a dozen pre-medical students from South Sudan, and recently launched an initiative to deliver some undergraduate and basic sciences course content to students in South Sudan. These students have no library or consistent lectures. Ellen delivered 115 e-tablets with the St. George’s University physiology course to South Sudan. The students, learning starved, were astounded that an organization would go to the trouble and expense for people they didn’t know in distressed, war-torn South Sudan.” This Cleveland Ohio native has taken the St. George’s University motto of Think Beyond one step further to Go Beyond.

pinkerton james

Jim Pinkerton is known for being a man of big ideas who has given lectures at St. George’s University. He has been a political commentator, columnist, and White House advisor since the early 1980’s. He has been a contributor to the Fox News Channel since its inception in 1996. Well known around Washington by both political parties as an innovative thinker, since 2009 he has devoted much of his time to the “Cure Strategy,” aimed at changing the way American policy makers think about disease. His Cure Strategy redirects our focus from treatment to a cure. His personal mantra is, “A cure is less expensive than care. It’s cheaper to beat than to treat.” Jim believes that America has untapped potential for greatness and should follow in the footsteps of President Franklin Roosevelt when the 32nd President called for Americans to send in their dimes to the White House to cure polio which became the famous, long-lived and resoundingly successful March of Dimes.

In addition, Jim serves as a member of the board of the Institute for Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, where he offers public-policy advice to the medical and scientific team at IHV led by Dr. Robert Gallo, the co-discoverer of the AIDS virus. He is also the author of What Comes Next: The End of Big Government–and the New Paradigm Ahead (Hyperion: 1995). Married to the former Elizabeth Dial, he is a graduate of Stanford University.

St. George’s University is both proud and honored to have both Ellen and Jim as friends of the school.

PR Newswire: – See more at: