Dr. Robert C. Gallo presents 2013 Keith B. Taylor Memorial/WINDREF Lecture at St. George’s University

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An overflowing audience in Patrick F. Adams Hall hung on the every word of world-renowned physician and scientist Dr. Robert C. Gallo at the fifth annual Keith B. Taylor Memorial Lecture/13th Annual WINDREF Lecture. Dr. Gallo, with his refreshing humor and calm demeanor, did not disappoint as he delivered a powerful lecture which received a well deserved standing ovation at the end.

Speaking on the topic “Viruses and Epidemics with a Focus on HIV/AIDS: Our Attempts to Control Them,” Dr. Gallo provided an overview of viral epidemics that have swept the globe over the last century.

“Humans have a 25- to 30-year attention span,” he said, explaining medicine’s shift in focus from researching infectious diseases to degenerative diseases within decades of conquering an epidemic. He pointed out that the number of medical graduates entering the field of virology was shrinking.

In 1980, Dr. Gallo discovered HTLV-1, which was the first of the human retroviruses to be discovered which caused a malignancy. Later in the decade, he discovered HTLV-2 and co-discovered HIV. Dr. Gallo provided the first clear evidence that HIV caused AIDS, and he and his team developed the first HIV diagnostic test. In the ’90s, Dr. Gallo and his co-workers also discovered the first natural inhibitors of HIV, which was instrumental in developing treatments for the infection. In addition, in 1986 he and his team also discovered the first human herpes virus in more than 25 years, HHV-6, which proved to cause the infantile disease, roseola.

Dr. Gallo’s groundbreaking work, widely accepted and revered today, was certainly not widely accepted in the 1980s and he was met with much criticism – and even ridicule – by members of his profession. “What is called translational research today was thought to be not academic enough, not intellectual enough,” he said. Dr. Gallo shared his experience swimming against the tide in the 1980s and relayed how he stuck to his guns, shattering many medical misconceptions of the time.

Dr. Gallo’s lecture also focused on HTLV-1 and HIV and what it will take to control these viral pandemics. “There are approaches to finding a cure, but as yet, no one has a cure for HIV or HTLV-1 … but we have good diagnostic tests today and treatment at least for HIV is having a positive impact on many people’s lives.” His mantra is to “test a lot, treat early and we can control the HIV pandemic – do it for the world, do it forever, until we find a preventive vaccine. This approach will take a tremendous commitment by governments and policy makers.”

In his lecture, Dr. Gallo also touched on the Global Virus Network (GVN) which he cofounded in 2011. The GVN’s mission is to ensure a rapid response to new or re-emerging viruses that threaten mankind, to bring together and achieve collaboration amongst the world’s leading virologists, and to support training of the next generation of medical virologists. He pointed out that several epidemics and global health disasters could have been averted if this network had been established earlier.

At the end of the lecture, Dr. Gallo was inducted as an honorary member of St. George’s University’s Gamma Kappachapter of the Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society in recognition of the enormous contributions he has made to our understanding of retroviruses and to medicine and public health.

In her closing remarks, Baroness Howells of St. David’s, a member of the WINDREF (UK) Board of Trustees, thanked Dr. Gallo for his insightful lecture and reflected on the impact it would have had on such an assembled audience.

Dr. Gallo, founder and co-director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has received numerous major scientific honors and awards, including the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, which he was awarded in 1982 and 1986. He was rated the most cited scientist in the world for two decades in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. Dr. Gallo was also ranked third in the world for scientific impact for the period 1983-2002. He has been awarded 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Sweden, Italy, Israel, Peru, Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Ireland, Jamaica, and Greece.

World-Renowned Physician-Scientist Dr. Robert C. Gallo to Speak at St. George’s University

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On February 12, 2013, Robert C. Gallo, MD, who for the past 30 years has been one of the most influential scientists in the world, will visit St. George’s University to deliver the 5th Keith B. Taylor Memorial/13th Annual WINDREF Lecture. The title of his lecture will beViruses and Epidemics With a Focus on HIV/AIDS: Our Attempts to Control Them. The lecture, which is open to the public, faculty, and students, will take place at 6 pm at Patrick F. Adams Hall.

Dr. Gallo, founder and co-director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is one of the pioneers in the field of human retrovirology. Together with his colleagues, in 1980 he discovered HTLV-1, which causes leukemia and was the first of the human retroviruses to be discovered. Later in the decade, he discovered HTLV-2 and co-discovered HIV. Dr. Gallo provided the first clear evidence that HIV caused AIDS, and he and his team developed the first HIV diagnostic test. In the ’90s, Dr. Gallo and his coworkers also discovered the first natural inhibitors of HIV, which was instrumental in developing treatments for the infection.

In addition, in 1986 he and his team also discovered the first human herpes virus in more than 25 years, HHV-6, which proved to cause the infantile disease, roseola.

Dr. Gallo has received numerous major scientific honors and awards, including the prestigious Albert Lasker Award, which he was awarded in 1982 and 1986. He was rated the most cited scientist in the world for two decades in the 1980s and 1990s, according to the Institute for Scientific Information. Dr. Gallo was also ranked third in the world for scientific impact for the period 1983-2002. He has been awarded 30 honorary doctorates from universities in the United States, Sweden, Italy, Israel, Peru, Germany, Belgium, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, Ireland, Jamaica, and Greece.

St. George’s University Welcomes 560 Students at Spring 2013 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies

Students in St. George’s University School of Medicine and the University’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program waited with excitement, exuberance, and a bit of apprehension. In two ceremonies, in two countries, the Spring 2013 class of 560 medical students took their first step in the journey that is medical school.

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It is a milestone that SGU graduate Leslie Griffin, MD, MPH ’08, vividly recalled when as a new medical student she began her medical career at St. George’s University. Dr. Griffin, now a clinical faculty member at University of Tennessee Family Practice, put the feeling into words as the master of ceremonies at the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony in Grenada on Monday, January 21.

“You chose a medical school that will not only provide you with an excellent education, but with access to experiences with diverse medical systems and cultures,” Dr. Griffin said, “Over the next four years you will create lasting relationships that will help you as you advance though the trials of being a medical student on towards residency and beyond.”

Delivering a spirited and passionate address, keynote speaker Charles Twort MA, MD, FRCP, FRCPE, a consultant physician in general and respiratory medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals, described the White Coat Ceremony as a symbol of humanism and the coat as a cloak of responsibility, trust, and purity.

“You’re amongst the greatest and the brightest of the crop; however you have a responsibility as a future doctor to link your academic intellect with your care for individual patients,” Dr. Twort said. “The donning of the white coat is a symbol of respect and trust from your patients, but this respect must be earned and kept.”

Emphasizing communication as the key to success, Dr. Twort continued, imploring students to “listen to your patients without interrupting and give them information in words they can understand. Avoid medical jargon so your patients can confidently and collaboratively make decisions with you about their healthcare.”

The entering class of students in Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars program took their professional oath in a ceremony at Domain Hall within the Northumbria Students’ Union building in Newcastle, UK.

Dr. David Pencheon, the director of the National Health Service (NHS) Sustainable Development Unit, was the keynote speaker for the evening. He explained that patients demand two important qualities from their doctors. First, they must be a strong communicator, particularly by listening thoroughly to their patients’ experiences, abiding by the phrase “Trust me, I’m your patient.”

Second, he insisted that doctors must build and foster lifelong relationships with their clientele, serving as a resource for their patients. Doctors will first do something to a patient, then for a patient, and through forming a strong bond, then ultimately with a patient.

In addition, Dr. Pencheon insisted that the future doctors must distinguish and relay the causes of health, a quality as crucial as seekin g the causes of disease.. Looking ahead to the future, Dr. Pencheon explained the world needs leaders who rank global health foremost among their priorities. He said that doctors shine in critical times, but such situations would not arise if budding issues were addressed before they became a widespread problem.

Addressing the incoming students at the white coat ceremony in Grenada thirty-six years and four days after the School of Medicine accepted its first class; St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica referenced the humble beginnings of the University. Despite its many changes throughout the years, he stated, “One thing that hasn’t changed is the true desire in classes such as this, to become physicians and to serve fellow men, and that’s what we’re all about – pursuing dreams and making them happen.”

Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarships Announced; St. George’s University, Grenada, Reaches Out to Developing Countries

news jubilee commonwealth scholarshipsThe Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Kamalesh Sharma, today (20 November) launched 60 Commonwealth Jubilee Scholarships offered by St George’s University, from the Caribbean island of Grenada.

The scholarships represent one for each of the Queen’s 60 years as Head of the Commonwealth of Nations. The scholarships are divided into 10 for the Doctor of Medicine programme; 10 for Doctor of Veterinary Medicine; 10 for Master of Public Health; and 15 each for Arts and Sciences and Master of Business Administration programmes. These full tuition scholarships have a combined value of US $3.5 million. Preference will be given to developing countries and small states of the Commonwealth, with the objective of helping to reverse the professional ‘brain drain’. As part of the application process, scholarship candidates will need to submit an essay detailing how the award will ultimately benefit the development of his, or her, country.

Now in its 36th year, St George’s University is an international centre of higher education and has drawn its students and faculty from 140 countries. The University has graduated over 12,000 physicians, veterinarians, scientists, public health and business professionals.

In a special message, the University’s Chancellor, Dr Charles R Modica, described his commitment to Grenada which, he said, “is an island of peace and tranquillity in a sometimes violent and troubled world. Our host country”, he added “gives us the perfect environment for concentrated academic study and achievement.”

The University has a strong relationship with the Commonwealth. Currently 2,139 students from Commonwealth countries are studying at the University with 3,233 having graduated. This is the second occasion on which St George’s has offered Commonwealth scholarships – the first in 2006 were to commemorate the University’s 30th anniversary.

Responding to a message of loyal greetings, sent on behalf of Commonwealth students studying at St George’s University, Grenada, the Queen, through her Private Secretary, acknowledged the announcement of the 60 scholarships and “sends her warm good wishes to all concerned for a most memorable and enjoyable event.”

A message has also been received from Grenada’s Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tillman J Thomas, in which he stated that “we are very proud of St George’s University in Grenada – and particularly pleased that it attracts so many students from our sister states of the Commonwealth.” He was sure that “these scholarships…will enhance still further the reputation of the University, and Grenada, throughout the Commonwealth family.”

St George’s University School of Medicine was the first private medical school in the Caribbean. Founded in 1976, its degree course provides clinical training for medical students in both the United States and the United Kingdom – a network in the UK which has now been expanded to 17 NHS-affiliated hospitals.

In addition, the University’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Programme offers a first year basic science studies programme at Northumbria University where students are exposed to a year-long series of public lectures on global health in addition to activities which also encourage a global medical perspective.

The University, too, has enjoyed a special 21 year relationship with the Government of Botswana. Last May, the University celebrated the entrance into the Batswana workforce of more than two dozen Batswana St George’s University graduates of the schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and graduate studies programme at a graduation ceremony in Gaborone, Botswana — the first graduation ceremony to be held by St George’s outside the US or Grenada. The University is seeking ways of collaborating with the Government of Botswana to enlarge the number of medical students and support Botswana’s mission in becoming a regional education hub.

At the present time, there are 181 students from 15 African countries studying at St George’s. Of 76 students from Botswana, 71 are taking medical degrees.

In Grenada, it is estimated that St George’s University contributes over US $100 million annually into the Grenadian economy – in salaries, hotel accommodation, housing, recreation, construction and goods and services. Over 600 citizens of Grenada are employed by the University as faculty, staff and administrators. Since 2005, the University has given over US $70 million in scholarships to Caribbean students – many of them Grenadian. Over 700 Grenadians have graduated from St George’s with over 2,000 Grenadian students having been enrolled in degree and certificate programmes.


Seventy Seven SGU Grads Named to Castle Connolly Top Doctors List

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For 35 years St. George’s University has produced some of the top doctors in the United States. Castle Connolly, the foremost leader in the identification of Top Doctors nationwide, validated that once again, with seventy seven St. George’s alumni, representing a diverse array of specialties and subspecialties, included in their current online database of those physicians considered by their peers to be among the very best.

The most notable inclusion was Dr. Joseph Galati, SGUSOM ’87, a gastroenterologist at Methodist Hospital System in Houston, TX, who was selected to the America’s Top Doctors® list, which features the top 1 percent of specialists/subspecialists in the nation. The remaining doctors were selected as regional top doctors, considered to be among the top 10 percent in their region within their specialized area.

“St. George’s certainly has no shortage of alumni who have made the University proud, and the Castle Connolly shines the light on these outstanding doctors and their accomplishments,” said Margaret A. Lambert, Dean of Enrolment at St. George’s University. “These remarkable individuals were nominated by their peers within the world of medicine, which is a testament to the leadership and quality of care they provide.”

Of the 77 distinguished alumni recognized by Castle Connolly, 24 practice in the state of Florida, the highest total from a single state among SGU graduates. The Castle Connolly list also included 13 members from the first graduating class of SGU medical students in 1981.

“We are firmly committed to the notion that Top Doctors Make a Difference™ and it is essential that consumers understand the choices they have to find and access those physicians who are most outstanding, nominated by their peers and screened and selected by the Castle Connolly physician-led research team,” stated William Liss-Levinson, PhD, the company’s long-term Vice President, Chief Strategy & Operations Officer. “We also know that excellence in medicine has as its very foundation an excellent medical education. It is here that developing physicians not only acquire the fundamentals of clinical excellence but also begins to be shaped as compassionate health care professionals striving for excellence in all their interactions with patients.”

Founded in 1992 by John K. Castle and Dr. John J. Connolly, Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., surveys tens of thousands of physicians, who can nominate outstanding doctors in every specialty in their region or anywhere in the U.S. A physician-led research team evaluates nominees’ candidacy in aspects that include medical education, professional achievements, administrative posts, and malpractice and disciplinary history. Castle Connolly selects those physicians for either regional or national recognition based on the nominations and the credentials’ review, and doctors cannot and do not pay to be included in the guide and/or online database.

114 Veterinarians Receive St. George’s University DVM at Lincoln Center Ceremony

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St. George’s University conferred Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degrees on 114 graduates at its 2012 School of Veterinary Medicine Commencement Ceremony on June 8, 2012. Family, friends and faculty shared in the celebration at Lincoln Center, New York. The graduates represent 11 countries: USA, UK, Canada, France, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Botswana, South Africa, Poland, Venezuela and Brazil. They join 670 other SGUSVM alumni and will now go on to practice in their chosen profession having received an excellent – and AVMA accredited – education at St. George’s University.

Addressing the new veterinarians at the ceremony were Chancellor Charles R. Modica, Dr. Allen Pensick Provost and Dr. Raymond Sis, SVM Dean. Chancellor Modica acknowledged that this graduating class was a large part of the reason the program received AVMA accreditation, “It was a proud moment when we learned of the AVMA approval – and each of you were a large part of this achievement.   You helped to make it happen with your enthusiasm and dedication. What you have accomplished is remarkable.  We are proud of you.”

Encouraging the graduates, University Provost, Dr. Allen Pensick stated, “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.” He stated that despite being stretched in many different directions, the graduates must learn to rely on their core values to guide them.

The Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Raymond Sis reminded the students that with success comes responsibility. He stated, “I urge you to remember that your success carries with it a grave responsibility for ensuring the welfare of your patients. I charge you to dispatch this duty with the utmost reliability and kindness.”

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees were formally conferred by Chancellor Modica, followed by the hooding of the graduates by Drs. Ivaldi, Chaney, Corrigan and Lunn.

The four-year DVM program at SGU exposes students to a high quality education in a unique and diverse learning environment. Following completion, students have been licensed to practice in 42 States in the USA and other countries, including Canada, Ireland and Australia. We congratulate the graduates on this great achievement and wish them continued success.

St George’s University to Bring its Graduation Celebrations to Botswana for the First Time in its 35 Year History

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The Gaborone International Convention Centre will host the inaugural St. George’s University commencement ceremony in Botswana on May 21.

St George’s University, a center of international education based on the Caribbean island of Grenada, will host an inaugural commencement ceremony for its Batswana graduates and alumni on Monday, May 21 at the Gaborone International Convention Centre in Botswana. This is the first time in its 35 year history that the University has held a graduation ceremony outside the United States or Grenada.

The ceremony will celebrate the entrance into the Batswana workforce of more than two dozen Batswana St George’s University graduates of the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Graduate Studies Program. It will also honor the University’s alumni who are currently working to deliver better healthcare in the country.

The celebration follows two agreements which were signed last month between the Government of Botswana and St George’s University, to mark the 21st anniversary of their strong and long-standing relationship.

We’re delighted to be able to celebrate the hard work of our Batswana graduates and to be able to honor our alumni here, said Dr. Charles Modica, St. George’s University Chancellor. I look forward to the expanded partnership between St. George’s and the Botswana government and I am especially proud of the increased opportunities that our recent agreement will bring to the Batswana people.

In one Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the University pledged to reduce the fees by 10 per cent for students currently enrolled at the institution and by 30 percent for those who will enroll in August 2012 if there are forty students in an intake. In the second MoU St George’s University agreed to seek ways of collaborating with the University of Botswana’s medical school to extend enrollment capabilities, as well as working with the Ministries of Education and Health to help position Botswana as an educational powerhouse at a regional and international level.

“The partnership between St. George’s and the Government of Botswana has stood the test of time, said Ambassador Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador of Botswana to the US. As we now move the relationship to new heights and congratulate the University for holding the graduation in Botswana, we call on all stakeholders to act swiftly and diligently bearing in mind that we stand to benefit more through partnerships. On behalf of the staff at the Embassy of Botswana in Washington DC, and indeed on my own behalf, we congratulate the graduates for a job well done and their families for the support that they continued to give them to date. To the graduates, let us all remember we are where we are because we have been given an opportunity that others can only dream of. So let us give back to the country and appreciate the opportunity we received by humble service. Well done to our graduates.”

The signings took place at a media conference held in Gaborone on Monday 12 March, following a week-long exploratory mission from Washington led by Ambassador Tebelelo Seretse, who has spearheaded the country’s mission to become an educational and medical hub, with the full support of the Ministers of Health and Education in Botswana, and the Vice Chancellor of the University of Botswana.

St. George’s University draws its students and faculty from 140 countries to the island of Grenada, in the West Indies. St. George’s is affiliated with educational institutions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. The University’s over 11,000 graduates have taken the school’s philosophy of global education and applied their training as doctors, veterinarians, scientists, and public and business professionals across the world.. The University programs are accredited and approved by many governing authorities. For more information, visit www.sgu.edu.

Fund for the Orphans & Elderly Annual Gala – A Sweet Success

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Some of Grenada’s top chefs along with Jorg Amsler, Master Pastry Chef, Chocolatier, and Food Network Challenge Champion were the highlight of this year’s Fund for the Orphans & Elderly Gala, held Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at the Trade Centre in Grand Anse. The event, the annual and main fundraiser of the Fund, was held under the patronage of Their Excellencies Sir Carlyle and Lady Glean.

The Fund for the Orphans & Elderly was established in 1991 by Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University, at the request of Nelly Golarz, PhD, the former Dean of Women for the University.

This year, the Gala took a on a new format. Themed “Grenada’s Best Chefs – A Sweet Signature Collection”, the event comprised of a dinner with dessert competition featuring esteemed chefs from four of Grenada’s restaurants: The Rex Grenadian, True Blue Bay Resort, University Club and the Victory Bar & Restaurant. Each contestant prepared a signature dessert, utilizing at least one compulsory ingredient which was presented to a three member judging panel. The judges, Jorg Amsler, Mark Banthorpe and Stanley Minors, were high in praise for the quality and creativity of the desserts presented.

Among those present to enjoy the sumptuous dinner and the artful presentation by the chefs were Dr. Nelly Golarz, several members of the Grenadian corporate community, private citizens and the University’s faculty, staff, alumni and friends.

The event was well attended by over 300 people, who marveled at the culinary talents and skills of some of Grenada’s finest pastry chefs. The dessert competition held during the dinner was the highlight of the evening.  The Gala is a fundraiser and its success is dependent on ticket sales and donations. Dr. Modica, Chancellor of St. Georges along with the Fund Chairperson, Sr. Nelson Francis, thanked all patrons, participants and corporate entities for their support. “You have made the fund possible,” said Sr. Francis. “Through your support of the Gala, you have contributed to the ongoing support of the institutions that care for children and the elderly in Grenada.”

In the 21 years since the Fund was established it has raised more than EC$1.8 million. All proceeds raised by the Fund directly benefit the homes and institutions it supports as all administrative costs associated with fundraising are underwritten by St. George’s University.

At present, the Fund supports 15 institutions, including one in Carriacou. The institutions are: Grand Anse Home for the Elderly, Queen Elizabeth Home, Top Hill Home, The Cadrona Home, St. Martin’s Home, Missions of Charity, Dorothy Hopkin Center, Hills View Home, Bel Air Home, Programme for Adolescent Mothers, Charles Memorial Home, Hilarion Home, Father Mallighan’s Home for Boys, Richmond Hill Home and the Emergency Shelter for Teenage Girls.

Clinical Student Support Expands at SGU: Dr. Laurence Dopkin Named Assistant Dean of Students for Clinical Students

news laurence dopkinDr. Laurence Dopkin, SGUSOM ’98, has been appointed the Assistant Dean of Students for Clinical Students at St. George’s University. His appointment is the latest example of SGU’s initiative to build on its strong tradition of administrative and academic support for students during clinical training. Dr. Dopkin, as well as Dr. Gary Ishkanian, Assistant Dean of Clinical Students on the east coast, and Dr. Matt Coulson, Assistant Dean on the west coast, visit the University’s affiliated hospitals to monitor students’ progress and performance while also evaluating the hospital’s clinical training program.

Clinical training is a crucial stage in the development of future doctors and Dr. Dopkin recognizes the importance of keeping students on track. In his new role, he will work with SGU clinical students to help them reach their full potential, not only as academics but as professional physicians. Dr. Dopkin is dedicated to providing support for every student as they work to discover the kind of physician they want to be, whether it means nurturing their talents and guiding their interests or making sure they keep on top of their studies.

Clinical training is a step between medical student and practicing doctor where students gain their base knowledge of how to conduct themselves in the professional medical community. Dr. Dopkin’s goal is to ensure that all St. George’s University clinical students perform to the best of their ability so that they have every possible opportunity available to them after graduation.

“Assuming the role of Assistant Dean of Students for St. George’s University School of Medicine is exciting and a great honor,” Dr. Dopkin said. “In my capacity as Assistant Dean of Students, I will be working with our medical students as an administrator, educator, and mentor – ensuring they receive the best possible education and training. I will assist in providing our students the necessary structure to support their professional development so that they become compassionate, competent physicians.”

Dr. Dopkin is currently the Director of Psychiatry Residency Training and Deputy Chief of Service at Metropolitan Hospital Center in Manhattan, New York. He has been an Associate Professor in Psychiatry at SGUSOM since 2008 and an advisor in the Office of Career Guidance and Student Development (OCGSD) since 2010.
From 2003 to 2008, Dr. Dopkin worked at Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, New York, as the Director of the Psychiatric Emergency Room, Associate Director of Residency Training, and Clerkship Director for SGUSOM. In 2007, he received the “Best Teacher of the Year” award from the Mount Sinai-Elmhurst psychiatry residency program. In 2008, Dr. Dopkin moved to Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center and Morrisania Diagnostic and Treatment Center in the Bronx, New York, where he served as vice chair of clinical operations, associate director of residency training, director of Child and Outpatient Psychiatry, psychiatry clerkship director and associate director of medical education for SGUSOM.

The Dean of Students office aids medical students at every step in their careers, from first setting foot on campus to completing their residency. They also advocate for alumni participation in University programs such as the Office of Career Guidance and Alumni Admission Mentor Program (AAMP).

New York City Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs Announces Partnership Between New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation and St. George’s University to Award Medical School Scholarships

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More than $11 Million in “CityDoctors” Scholarships Will Be Awarded to New Yorkers Who Commit to Practice Primary Care in a Public Hospital 

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan D. Aviles and St. George’s University Chancellor Dr. Charles Modica today announced the CityDoctors medical scholarship program that will, over the next five years, provide tuition based scholarships worth more than $11 million to New York City residents who aspire to become doctors. Those who commit to give back to the community by practicing primary care medicine at an HHC hospital will be eligible for a scholarship. The first class of CityDoctors scholarships will be awarded this summer and fall to 25 New Yorkers who have demonstrated academic excellence and financial need. President Aviles, Chancellor Modica and St. George’s University graduates celebrated the announcement at Metropolitan Hospital in Manhattan.

“New York City’s public hospitals and clinics serve over one million New Yorkers each year and are critical providers of culturally competent, patient-centered primary care in this city,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “This program will help draw some of the best and brightest to our system, addressing a pending shortfall of talent and ensuring that the patients who rely on us will have dedicated providers for decades to come.”

“Primary care providers are the main source of healthcare for many New Yorkers. Yet not enough medical school graduates are choosing a career path in family medicine, pediatrics or internal medicine, and are often lured into higher paying specialties. The CityDoctors scholarships will serve as a great incentive to ensure the public hospitals can secure a pool of outstanding primary care physicians who not only share our mission to increase access to preventive care and keep New Yorkers healthy, but also have real ties to the communities we serve,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles.

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“Graduates of St. George’s University, with their international outlook and training, are uniquely suited to serve the city’s diverse population and these scholarships ensure that the best and truly committed physicians are tapped to help alleviate the shortage of primary care physicians in New York,” said Dr. Charles Modica, St. George’s University Chancellor. “These students will leave our University with the skills needed to return home and serve their fellow New Yorkers in the largest municipal healthcare system in the United States.”

To kick off the first year of the CityDoctors program, five New Yorkers will receive full-tuition scholarships valued at approximately $216,000 each, and another 20 recipients will receive half-tuition scholarships for a medical degree from St. George’s University Medical School, Grenada, and then jumpstart their careers at HHC. St. George’s University will also award the value of two full-tuition scholarships every year for the next four years for each HHC hospital that provides at least 24 clerkships – an additional $8 million in scholarships based on the five HHC hospitals that currently meet that standard. In return, each student will commit to give back to the City of New York one year of service per year of free tuition by working as a primary care attending physician at an HHC hospital. Students will also have to meet at least one of the following criteria: graduated from a NYC high school, have five years of residency in NYC, have a parent employed by HHC or the City of NY, or be employed by HHC or the City of NY for at least five years.

“SGU’s diverse student body and faculty are uniquely suited to prepare students for clinical training in New York City – and all of this together is perfect training for a primary care doc in NYC. This scholarship is right on target,” said Dr. Ira Jay Bleiweiss, Chief of Anatomical & Surgical Pathology at Mt. Sinai Medical Center and Professor of Pathology at Mt. Sinai Medical School. “Personally speaking, while I am a specialist involved in breast cancer, I do, however, recognize the important role of breast screening and breast imaging as a critical part of primary care. Screening both finds breast cancer when still treatable and curable, and plays a role in preventing it. I see this in my work literally everyday.”

“This partnership creates amazing opportunities and benefits for SGU medical students and New Yorkers,” said Dr. Tita Castor, SGU Alumni and Medical Director of Palliative Care at Elmhurst Hospital. “I have dedicated my career to geriatric primary care and know first hand how important it is for patients to have a primary care physician. I only wish I had this amazing scholarship opportunity when I was a medical student.”

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the U.S. could face a shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2020 and the overall shortage could worsen as the physician workforce ages and retires just as more Americans will need care. The demand for primary-care physicians – general practitioners, internists, family physicians and pediatricians – will be even greater as a result of the growth of Americans over 65 years old, and under the new federal healthcare reform law which aims to expand health insurance to an additional 32 million Americans and ties reimbursements to improved health outcomes and better coordination of care for each patient.

The AAMC says part of the reason for this shortage is that primary care clinicians earn less than half of what the top two earning specialties make. Medical students often choose to enter the higher-paying specialties, rather than primary care, when faced with their medical school loans. Seventy-eight percent of U.S. medical students have a student loan debt of $100,000 or greater. In 2010, medical students graduated from public institutions with an average debt of $148,222 and $172,422 from private institutions.

The CityDoctors scholarships are part of a renewed five year agreement effective January 2012 between SGU and HHC to support a medical clerkship program. As HHC’s exclusive international medical school affiliation partner, SGU future payments to HHC for the training of third and fourth year medical students is expected to exceed the $6,000,000 paid in 2011.

To apply for the CityDoctors scholarships, applicants must submit an essay explaining why they should be awarded this scholarship and how they will contribute to the health care of New York City using their attending position in primary care at an HHC hospital. Applicants who wish to be considered for Fall semester scholarships should submit their application before June 1, 2012.

For more information and to complete a scholarship application, visit the CityDoctors NYC Scholarship website, www.citydoctors.com.

About HHC

The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000-member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. The Corporation serves 1.3 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. It provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. Health and Hospital Corporation was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.