SAS and GSP Classes Implored to Seize the Moment at Graduation Ceremony

St. George’s University Graduates More Than 250 Students at Grenada Graduation

At the St. George’s University School of Arts Sciences and Graduate Studies Program commencement held at Patrick Adams Hall on May 16, the message to its more than 250 graduates was clear – the present, at all times, is the most important time in their lives because it is always a chance for them to define their role in the world.

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To emphasize her point, Gillian M.S. Bristol, former Ambassador of Grenada to the US, Mexico and the Organization of American States, and Keynote Speaker for the evening, cited author Leo Tolstoy’s novel “What Men Live by and Other Tales,” stating, “There is only one time that is important — now.” She explained that Tolstoy that the present is more significant than any other time, with the menu of possibilities and opportunities practically limitless.

“Now is when we choose, when we decide what we’re going to do, when we opt for one or another course of action,” Ambassador Bristol said. “Today I see before me a powerful group of accomplished dreamers for you hold in your hand not merely a certificate of scholarship, erudition, and expertise. You are geniuses who hold in this moment the single most important tool to carve your destiny: the power of now. So as you step out into the somewhat misty future, remember that each one of you is the designer and owner of all your future nows. You have that power.”

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In the School of Arts and Sciences, more than 150 undergraduate degrees were conferred a Bachelors of Arts (BA) or Bachelor of Science (BSc). These students represented 16 countries, with Grenadian students making up the majority of the graduates.

In her valedictory address, Donna Walker, BSc SGU ‘15, stated, “We bid farewell to a school which has perhaps been the most important influence in our lives thus far.” She went on to say that, although leaving SGU is bittersweet, the milestone was a victory in itself in that, in the truest sense, she and her classmates had all learned to think beyond.

Degrees were also conferred on over 100 students from the Graduate Studies Program, representing 15 countries across the globe. Fifty-four students received a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree, 32 obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Multi-Sector Health Management, 13 students earned an MBA in International Business, and two received a Master of Science Degree (MSc).

Born and raised in Monrovia, Liberia, Samfee Doe, MPH SGU ‘15, describes herself and her fellow graduates as healers who are prepared to address any number of public health issues, including in their home countries.

“The day when we have the opportunity to go out there and start making meaningful contributions to society as we know it has finally come,” said the 2015 class speaker. “The question is ‘are you prepared for the task ahead?’ Our dreams have expanded. We’ve gone beyond the boundaries of our countries just by being here at SGU. Let us go out into the world and leave our footprints.”

“In addition to the traditional commencement ceremonies, SOM graduates and, for the first time, a DVM graduate from Grenada walked the stage at the SAS/GSP graduation, allowing family and friends to celebrate the moment.” The rest of the SOM’s and SVM’s class of 2015 will graduate next month at Lincoln Center in New York City.

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St. George’s University Faculty Present at Caribbean Association of Pharmacists 34th Annual Convention

Presentation Summarizes New Guidelines for Pharmacotherapy of Hypertension to over 100 International Attendees

St. George’s University faculty presented at the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists 34th annual convention in Grenada this past August under the theme “Shaping the Future of Our Profession, with One Mission and One Voice.” Dedicated to the mission of improving the health and wellbeing of people through a culture of continuous learning and improvement among its membership, the organization’s conference gathered more than 120 experts from the US and Caribbean for a one-week workshop.  From SGU, Drs. Leonardo Dasso, Chair of the Department of Pharmacology, and Lucy Clunes, Associate Professor of Pharmacology,  jointly presented on the topic: ”Pharmacotherapy of Hypertension: New Guidelines,“ summarizing the new guidelines for hypertension.

“In the last couple of years there have been several new guidelines on hypertension issued by different professional associations from the US, Canada, and Europe,” stated Dr. Dasso. “These new guidelines offer new recommendations regarding the pharmacotherapy of hypertension, and it is important for physicians and pharmacists alike to be aware of these guidelines, which reflect the current state of the art of pharmacotherapy for hypertension.”

Dr. Dasso also lectured on pharmacogenomics, or the role of genetics in the response of patients to medications. “Different people respond differently to medications; the same dose of the same medication may evoke a powerful response in one individual, perhaps leading to severe adverse effects, whereas in another individual such a dose may be subtherapeutic,” Dr. Dasso said. “Knowledge of such genetic variability would allow prescribers to administer the right dose for each individual, thus optimizing the therapeutic effects and minimizing the adverse effects.”

Dr. Dasso described the conference as interactive, with animated and enthusiastic participation from attendees. “It was wonderful to get to know and interact with pharmacists from around the region and the US, and we hope that this interaction will continue and expand.”

The Caribbean Association of Pharmacists is a network of care providers with a shared vision of advancing the development and empowerment of the people of the Caribbean through excellence in the provision of all aspects of pharmacy practice. The Guyana Pharmacists Association will host the Caribbean Association of Pharmacists (CAP) 35th Conference in August 2015.

St. George’s University Hosts Two-Day Conference on Early Childhood Development

Relationships Help Positive Childhood Outcomes

More than 190 caregivers, parents, and teachers convened at St. George’s University’s Bourne Lecture Hall at the end of June for the inaugural Caregiver Conference on Early Child Development. REACH Grenada and the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation(WINDREF) brought together experts in early childhood development and infant-parent mental health, to focus on the importance of early adaptive interactions that benefit both the child and caregiver. Also in attendance were representatives from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Eastern Caribbean division as well as the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children.

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“Infant and parent mental health is synonymous with healthy social development,” said Dr. Richard Honigman, REACH Grenada’s Advisory Board Chair and a general pediatrician with over 30 years of experience. “Healthy social development is about how the child fits into the world around them, how they experience and interpret the world, and their place in the world. It embodies relationships with others, smoothing developmental progress and increasing ability to control behavior, express emotions, and the ability to explore.”

early childhood development2Dr. Edward Tronick, University Distinguished Professor at University of Massachusetts Boston and Harvard Medical School, delivered a keynote address on how infants make sense of their world.

“Infants are trying to make sense of all of their new experiences and their parents are critical in helping them do so.” Dr. Tronick stated. “When the child and the parent are successful in making sense of the world for the child, her or she feels secure and develops normally. When making meaning about the world is unsuccessful the child, like an adult, becomes confused, anxious, even fearful, and development is compromised.”

The Minister of Social Development, Hon. Delma Thomas, endorsed the initiative undertaken by the organizers reaffirming the Government’s commitment for strategic alliances geared at social development. “The support we get from organizations such as REACH Grenada, WINDREF, UNICEF and others are always timely,” she stated. “You can rest assured of our commitment to work as partners because we are working towards the same goal. It is therefore critical that as we go forward we continue to share ideas and improve the quality of care our nation’s children receive.”

Over the course of two days, other topics were discussed such as “The Developing Child in Relationships” as well as “How Messy Social Interactions Lead to Positive Infant and Child Development” and “Working with the Child/Family System.” UNICEF and the Foundation for the Development of Caribbean Children have expressed interest in assisting REACH Grenada and WINDREF to plan future conferences, with the hopes of eventually expanding to other nations.

St. George’s University School of Medicine Graduates Class of 2014

Graduates from 36 Countries Receive MD Degree

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St. George’s University’s Class of 2014 rejoiced as they were recognized at their commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 14 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York City. Doctor of Medicine degrees were conferred on over 900 graduates representing 36 countries, joining the over 12,000 MD graduates who have been licensed to practice medicine in all 50 US and in over 50 countries around the world, including Canada, the UK, and Grenada.

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St. George’s University also bestowed Medals of Merit on Dr. Rebecca Smith, SGUSOM ’94 and Dr. Elizabeth Louie, SGUSOM ’90 in recognition of their dedication and service to the University community. Both have been actively involved as alumni since their graduation and serve as visiting professors in SGU’s Bioethics Department every term. Dr. Louie has also been instrumental in raising awareness of autism in Grenada, holding the first autism conference which led to the start of an ongoing autism project.

“Even after 12,000 graduates, this never gets old; it only gets more important,” said. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University. “Congratulations on reaching this memorable milestone.  During your time with us, you have persevered and overcome numerous challenges, and in so doing have distinguished yourselves as being worthy of entering the noble profession of medicine.”

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During the ceremony, the University honored Dr. Robert Veatch with the Distinguished Service Award for his years of service, having served as a visiting professor at St. George’s for the 25 years.  Dr. Veatch is Professor of Medical Ethics and the former Director of the Kennedy Institue of Ethics at Georgetown University. He holds an appointment as Professor of Philosophy and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Georgetown Medical Center.

Families and friends came from near and far to be with their loved ones on this gorgeous day – from New Jersey to Nigeria, from Florida to Japan.  Graduates hugged families and one another as they got ready to disperse across the country and the world for the next phase of their dream.

PBC Claims Their Third SGU Knowledge Bowl Win

The scene at the finals of the 2014 SGU Knowledge Bowl was a familiar one – Presentation Brothers Colleges (PBC) once again dueling with Westmorland School in the finals. In the teams’ second-ever showdown in the championship round of the popular inter-secondary school competition, PBC used a swift and aggressive final round to erase an early deficit and notch a 52-51 victory. With it, PBC secured the coveted SGU Knowledge Bowl Challenge trophy and $15,000 cash prize for the school.

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n the nine years of the SGU Knowledge Bowl competition, dubbed the ‘intercol of academia,’ PBC has competed in the finals four times and this is its third win. In 2012, they went toe to toe with Westmorland for the first time and won by a two-point margin. The team members, Khalil Buckmire, Paul Phillip, Arnold John, Chike Dottin, and Justin Jeremiah, each received a laptop and, together with their coaches, received a $500 cash prize and a certificate of distinction for their stellar performance.

Westmorland has shined in the past four years of the SGU Knowledge Bowl competition, securing a finals appearance three times and capturing the title in 2011. For placing second, the team won $7,500 for the school and prizes and certificates of achievement for team members, Christian Hadeed, Natalie Harford, Kareem Antoine, Sanjali Mahbubani, and Shahana Debnath, as well as their two coaches.

The two semifinalist schools, St. Joseph’s Convent, St. George’s, and Grenada Boys Secondary School, each won $3,000 and a computer system for their school along with certificates of merit and prizes for the team members.

This season of SGU Knowledge Bowl began in January 2014 with 18 secondary schools. The high-profile quiz competition is open to third, fourth, and fifth form students from Grenada’s secondary schools and tests them on the Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) syllabi from a broad range of subjects as well as current affairs.

While SGU and Flow are the two primary partners in the production of the competition, the Grenada Co-operative Bank has given continuous corporate support over the past 9 years. Additional support has been provided by Glenelg, Courts Grenada Ltd., Digicel, Lucozade, Spice Island Beach Resort, Petite Anse Hotel and La Sagesse Nature Center. The involvement of these corporate partners has been integral to the success of the SGU Knowledge Bowl and is testimony of their commitment to community development.

St. George’s University Spring 2014 Family Weekend

A Taste of Culture and Hospitality in a Tropical Paradise Our Students Call Home

St. George’s University’s True Blue Campus was bursting with excitement as more than 500 family members traveled from near and far to experience a lively weekend on the Isle of Spice. From January 31 to February 2, families enjoyed guided tours of campus and the island, visiting some of the most picturesque locations, basking in the tropical temperatures, and enjoying the rich cultural heritage of Grenada.

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Among the many faculty and administration on hand for the festivities, University Chancellor Dr. Charles R. Modica welcomed families to the weekend’s activities which included the White Coat Ceremony for both School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine students held during Family Weekend for the first time to ensure as many family members as possible were able to witness their students entry into their chosen profession.

Throughout the busy weekend, many family members remarked on the campus and the high quality of education for which St. George’s University is known.

“When our daughter said she was going to go to school at St. George’s University, we had to do some homework, but after we did, we were impressed,” said Jay Srini, a resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “I was impressed with the ranking of the school and the caliber of its students.”

Beverly Dott, a Southern California resident stated, “I am really impressed with the type of education my daughter will receive and the practicality of how it is taught. St. George’s University is the best place for her, and it couldn’t have been located in a better place – the people and country of Grenada are equally beautiful. I enjoyed talking to the students and staff, and was impressed that collectively the student body is so focused on success and achievement, and the staff is equally aligned”

These sentiments were similarly echoed by Dr. Dorothy Williams-Chandler, a general surgeon at Port of Spain General Hospital, Trinidad and Tobago. “There are medical schools in Trinidad, but I wanted my daughter to experience a different environment,” Dr. Williams-Chandler said. “St. George’s University provides the perfect blend of an international environment and a top-class education.”

Family Weekend is more than an occasion to bring families together; it is the opportunity to embrace the diversity of our student body and welcome families from across the globe to the SGU family. It is also the platform whereby the University’s commitment to education and development is realized through a shared vision for success.

Commitment to Professionalism: St. George’s University School of Medicine Spring 2014 Entering Class Takes Oath

A noble journey began on January 31 for 526 St. George’s University medical students, who donned their white coats and took their Oaths of Professional Commitment at the spring 2014 White Coat Ceremonies, held at Patrick F. Adams Hall in Grenada.  They join 29 fellow students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars who began their semester with a White Coat Ceremony in the UK last month. A magical moment for most and a memorable one for all, the White Coat Ceremony symbolized their transition into the medical profession and commitment to uphold ethics and professionalism.

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Dr. Ciaran Healy, a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Hospital, delivered the keynote address to the prospective doctors. Supporting his address with anecdotes from his own career, Dr. Healy shared a valuable lesson he had learnt from one of his mentors at medical school, practicing ‘the 3 As’: availability, affability and ability, which he encouraged the students to also follow.

“As doctors, you will function as part of multidisciplinary medical teams,” he said. “It is important to ensure that you understand your particular role in the process without losing sight of your patients’ essential humanity and your responsibility to them.”

The evening’s Master of Ceremonies had used SGU as a springboard nearly a decade prior. Dr. Ashwin Mehta, MD SGU ’05, has gone on to serve as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Founding Medical Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.

“The area of congruence between what you really love doing, what you are good at, what the world needs and what the world will pay you to do is bliss,” Dr. Mehta said. “If you can figure these out, you will achieve your professional and career bliss.”

At the ceremony, Chancellor Charles R. Modica introduced several special guests; students from war-ravaged South Sudan, who will be joining the premedical program at SGU, and a government delegation from  a province of the world’s newest independent nation. Honorable Tong Deng Anei, Minister of Health, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, Aweil, Republic of South Sudan, delivered a brief address at the ceremony.

“We are very proud and honored to have our students here,” he said. “There are different ways to bring peace. Education is one of them. These students have come from different communities but now they are together.”

The School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies punctuated the first full day of activities of the Spring 2014 Family Weekend, during which parents and loved ones spent the day exploring Grenada and getting a feel of life at SGU. The 526 students are part of an even larger class who have joined the St. George’s University family in the School of Medicine this semester. Twenty-nine SGU medical students started their educational journey as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program in the United Kingdom and will join their peers in Grenada for the completion of their basic sciences education after one year.

St. George’s University Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Don White Coats and Begin Studies in International Medicine

Spring 2014 Students Begin Medical Education Journey to MD at Northumbria University

Twenty-nine students in the spring 2014 class of St. George’s University’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP) took their first step toward becoming doctors by taking their professional oath at the prestigious White Coat Ceremony, held January 16 at Drill Hall on the campus of Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom.  The Global Scholars are among 555 students who are part of SGU School of Medicine’s incoming class this semester. The Global Scholars will study in the UK for one year before joining their classmates in Grenada for the completion of the basic sciences curriculum.

news kbt acc 114Elizabeth Louie, MD SGU ’90 was the evening’s master of ceremonies and offered words of encouragement peppered with experiences culled from her own journey from SGU student to the creation of The Center for Precious Minds, a center for autistic children in South Florida.  She credits the globally focused education she received at SGU for her ability to work effectively with the many patient populations she comes across in her practice.

“I wouldn’t have traded my experience at SGU for anything else,” Dr. Louie said.  “The global focus of my education has made me the doctor I am today.”

Dr. David Schapira, Consultant General Pediatrician and Specialty Director in Pediatrics at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, UK, delivered the keynote address, sharing valuable lessons learned through observing the life and work of his greatest role model, his father, who had been a family practitioner in south London. The great compassion and empathy shown by the late Dr. Schapira to his patients exemplified the qualities of a great doctor.

“He merged science with his humanitarian qualities and wisdom and that, together with his intimate knowledge of each individual patient, enabled him to provide outstanding care,” Dr. Schapira said.

While the White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of a journey, Dr. Schapira urged the entering class to practice the qualities that will make them outstanding doctors: to listen, have empathy, show tolerance, enjoy and respect diversity, and embody their code of ethics.

“The white coat you will don today is symbolic of the medical profession, its caring nature, and the respect and trust with which patients and the public at large regard doctors,” he said. “While science changes, the fundamental principles of the white coat ceremony do not. “  Citing Maimonides, Dr. Schapira left the class with a parting thought, “Cure sometimes, treat often, care always.  May you recognize and be fired with the same enthusiasm and drive to work with colleagues to make a difference.”

Family Weekend: Rekindling and a New Awakening

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An animated Brian Cassidy, MD SGU ’85, sat at a table recounting his rich experience at the St. George’s University to a captive audience. He was at the time enjoying a sumptuous luncheon at the Spice Basket as part of the Eco Tour, one of the activities at an action-packed Family Weekend, held at the beginning of each term at SGU. Thirty years after he himself was a student, Dr. Cassidy returned in a different role, yet it was no less exciting. He is the proud father of a first-term medical student, and for him, there could be no other choice for his son, Gregory, than St. George’s University.

“I had a great education here – I loved the island, I loved the people, and my transition back to being a physician in the United States was quite easy with the education I got here,” Dr. Cassidy said. “St. George’s and Grenada helped provide that education. I will always have fond memories of Grenada and I hope my son has the same experience.”

Dr. Cassidy and his wife, Linda, joined hundreds of other proud parents visiting Grenada for Family Weekend, which gives parents the opportunity to explore and familiarize themselves with the True Blue campus and the island of Grenada. The weekend also included campus tours, yoga on Grand Anse Beach, a trip to vibrant Fish Friday in Gouyave, a Creole brunch with SGU faculty, a catamaran sailing trip, and much more.

On the Eco Tour, parents and other family members were taken on an exciting tour of two of Grenada spectacular tourist attractions; the Grand Etang Crater Lake in the Parish of St. Andrew and Annandale Waterfall in St. George’s. It was an adventure as conversations hummed merrily, thousands of pictures were snapped, and connections made. For the more adventurous spirits, the Annandale Waterfall presented a cool respite on a humid tropical island day. Many cheered on the fearless jumpers who plunged 30 feet into the basin below, a truly spectacular sight.

Cassidy said he was very happy to see the development of both the True Blue campus and Grenada. “The change in the True Blue Campus from what it was when I was here in 1981 to today is mind boggling. It’s a beautiful campus.” Following the Family Weekend Eco Tour, he said, “We had a great day. It’s still a gorgeous island.”

While it was a rekindling for the Cassidy family, for the Prakashs it was a whole new experience. E.K. and Sonia Prakash came all the way from Dallas, Texas, to experience the Spice Isle and visit their son, first-term medical student Abishek Prakash. Mrs. Prakash was pleased that her son could experience such a vibrant and diverse campus. After experiencing the island firsthand, she and her husband were convinced that their son made the right choice.

“My doctor friends felt that, compared to other universities’ students, SGU students are superior in patient care because they get used to the clinical side much earlier in the program,” Mr. Prakash noted.

At the end of the day, there were hugs, smiles, new friendships forged, great food and music, beautiful scenery, and, most of all, the spirit of adventure. The next Family Weekend is scheduled for January 31 – February 2, 2014. For more information, visit the Family Weekend webpage.

By Ria Murray

SGU Announces Dates for 2014 One Health One Medicine Caribbean Conference

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St. George’s University (SGU) embraces the philosophy of “One Health One Medicine” – that the wellbeing of all animal species, including humans, are interrelated, and that knowledge gained in one species benefits the others. Scientists at SGU will further analyze the convergence of human, animal, and ecosystem health at the second annual One Health One Medicine Caribbean Conference, which will take place from March 14-16, 2014, on the True Blue campus.

“This meeting,” said Dr. Calum Macpherson, vice provost for international program development and director of research at St. George’s University, “ will bring together scientists from public health, veterinary and human medicine, bioethics, climatology and agricultural and animal sciences to address the global health problems we are facing in an increasingly interconnected world. ”

The conference will be addressed by, amongst others, Dr. Donald T. Simeon, the deputy director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and senior lecturer in biostatistics at the University of the West Indies, as well as Dr. Dennis Trent, a professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) and former deputy director and chief of the molecular biology branch within the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Vector-Borne Infectious Diseases.

The first One Health One Medicine Caribbean Conference attracted by more than 150 participants, including scientists and scholars from Guyana, Trinidad, the United States, and Grenada, as well as 20 scholarly presentations. Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, Guyana’s Minister of Agriculture, delivered the keynote address, speaking on the critical need for integrating health and agriculture. Minister Ramsammy is uniquely placed to speak on this topic as he is the former Minister of Health in Guyana, a post he held for more than a decade.

For more information on the 2014 One Health One Medicine Caribbean Conference, visit sgu.edu/onehealth or contact Ms. Riba R. David at rrdavid@sgu.edu or 473-444-4175 ext. 3373.
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Dr. Macpherson’s book, coedited with Francois Meslin (WHO, Switzerland) and Alex Wandeler (CFIA, Canada) “Dogs, Zoonoses and Public Health,” examines the relationship between veterinary and human medicine, microbiology, parasitology, and public health. The second edition, released in February 2013, includes new chapters on the human-dog relationship and its benefits, as well as non-infectious disease issues humans share with dogs.