St. George’s University Hosts the 2010 International Veterinary Students Association Symposium

St. George’s University was proud to host the 58th International Veterinary Students Association Symposium (IVSA) from January 3rd to the 12th.. The Grand Anse campus was home to over 60 international student delegates and IVSA Executive Committee delegates from 19 countries, including Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Finland, as well as next summer’s congress host country, Denmark.

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Given the nature and environment of the 2010 Symposium’s host country, “Tropical Medicine” was voted as the theme by the Executive Board of the Organizing Committee. Many of the lectures, workshops, and wet labs during this nine-day conference were centered on this theme as SGU professors investigated diseases, and dermatological and parasitic conditions commonly encountered in this type of climate.

On Day Four of the Symposium, SGU speakers communicated the University’s commitment to the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” philosophy at a clinic held in the northern part of the island. IVSA delegates were given a unique opportunity to participate in a hands-on event which provided valuable information and experience to bring back home.

St. George’s University’s IVSA Chapter President Kristin Kry, a sixth-term veterinary medical student from Calgary, Canada, explained that the rigorous preparation for the IVSA Symposium dates back more than two years. Grenada was first presented as a suggested host by SGUSVM delegates at the IVSA Symposium 2007 in Malaysia, the same year SGUSVM became an official IVSA chapter. Since that time an official Organizing Committee (OC) was elected to solidify a dynamic itinerary that, according to Kristin, “shares equally between an intellectual focus of veterinary medicine and cultural exposure to Grenada.”

This was a tremendous opportunity for St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine (SGUSVM) to showcase its facilities, curriculum, faculty, students, and staff to an international community during an influential and high profile event.

Throughout their stay, delegates were exposed to the splendor of Grenada as they explored the island and participated in many engaging activities that gave a true sense of its offerings.

The success of this event was truly a result of collaboration between St. George’s University students, faculty, and staff. A special thanks is extended to St. George’s University faculty members Catherine Wybern, Director of Development; Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Faculty Advisor for IVSA Grenada Chapter; and the numerous professors and staff who donated their time and expertise throughout the Symposium.

The IVSA is a global organization driven to raise the overall standard of veterinary medical education by increasing the international and intercultural exchange of ideas and knowledge, and to promote opportunities for veterinary medical students to undertake education in nontraditional arenas, which include exchange programs, international congresses, and symposiums.

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St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies Program Commencement Largest on Record

St. George’s University hosted its 2009 Commencement Ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) and the Graduate Studies Program (GSP) at the new $14 million (EC) Charter Hall on the True Blue campus on Saturday, May 16th. A procession of graduates, proudly clad in traditional cap and gown, was a moving segway to an exceptional ceremony.

Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development and Dean, Graduate Studies Program served as Chair of the afternoon’s ceremony, welcoming an audience of over 700 family members and friends of the graduates and St. George’s University faculty. This was the largest School of Arts and Sciences and Graduate Studies Program Commencement Ceremony on record, presenting a total of 120 SAS graduates and 126 graduates from the Graduate Studies Program from 25 countries across the globe.

 Commencement Speaker

A customary highlight of the ceremony is the Commencement Address, which was delivered this year by the Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), Sir K. Dwight Venner.  Sir Dwight Venner’s  poignant speech drew upon an impressive 20-year career as Governor of the ECCB and a trained economist, addressing the survival of small island states in a world of socio-economic Goliaths.  In a world where countries (referring specifically to Russia, China, India, and Brazil) with extreme wealth, size, population, resources, and skilled labor force frequently wield considerable power, Dr. Venner questioned how Eastern Caribbean islands can successfully find their place as key participants. The Governor stressed the importance of education, and how its deficiencies have significantly stood in the way of the Caribbean’s development in the 21st century. “Education is critical in this new millennium, in the most fundamental way,” he said.

Dr. Venner praised St. George’s University’s commitment to education, as he believes, “Universities must be actively involved within their countries, searching  for the solution for global education and development.” He credits St. George’s University for reaching beyond its initial foundation of medical education and empowering a new generation of students with the establishment of the School of Arts and Sciences. “The School of Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Venner, “sent a signal of permanence, more permanent than the construction of buildings.”

The Liberal Studies program in particular struck a chord with Dr. Venner.  He expressed with eloquence: “The full breadth of education and education philosophy, particularly through the humanities, is a vital factor in the development of our civilization.” He continued, “It is through humanities and its artistic expression that we could eliminate the dark side of the human race.” In closing, he expressed that St. George’s University, in creating and development the School of Arts and Sciences, may unexpectedly send a message to the entire world… “We are all citizens of the World.  We are the World.  We are the People.”

Since its inception, the School of Arts and Sciences has graduated 149 Grenadian students and 37 regional students with bachelor’s degrees.

The ECCB was established in October 1983, serving as the Monetary Authority for eight island economies: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Commonwealth of Dominica; Grenada; Monsterrat; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Lucia; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Prior to his current role at the ECCB, Governor Venner applied his skills to the position of Director of Finance and Planning in the St. Lucian Government from 1981 to 1989. He has published extensively in the areas of monetary and international economics, central banking, public finance, economic development, political economy, and international economic relations.

Sir. K. Dwight Venner joins a list of internationally recognized Caribbean luminaries whose lives and words have inspired St. George’s University Commencement classes. Past speakers include the University of West Indies Chancellor, Professor E. Nigel Harris; Former Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. the Right Hon. Keith Mitchell; the Governor General of St. Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy; the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and Grenadines, Dr. The Hon. Ralph Gonsalves; and the Hon. Mr. Justice Adrian Saunders of the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Dr. Calum Macpherson introduced Sir Paul Scoon, GCMG GCVO OBE, as the 2009 recipient of the Order of the Mace, the University’s highest honor award.  He joins St. George’s University’s Chancellor Charles Modica and Sir Kenneth Stuart, respectively, as the third recipient of this symbolic award. Sir Paul Scoon’s selection for this prestigious honor is based wholly on his distinguished career as a civil servant and a leader in the development of Grenada’s education system.

Dr. Macpherson reinforced Sir Paul’s role as both a fervent advocate for the University and the island of Grenada. He served six Heads of Government for Grenada, having been first appointed the second Governor General of Grenada in 1978 at the age of 43. Dr. Macpherson expressed, “We, and by we, I mean all of us who are fortunate to live and work in this beautiful and peaceful island of Grenada, were fortunate to have during this period (referring to a turbulent time in Grenada’s history) a charismatic Head of State who influenced policy through quiet diplomacy.”

Sir Paul’s friendship and support of St. George’s University dates back to its inception in 1976.  As Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation based in London, he was the recipient of intense criticism for standing behind the academic foundation and reputation of St. George’s University’s School of Medicine (SGUSOM). In fact, in the second SGUSOM commencement address which he delivered in 1982, Sir Paul Scoon said: “The school (SGUSOM) is aimed at academic excellence and already has proved itself as an institution of enlightenment, liberty and learning and the faculty and students have proved wrong those carping critiques from far and near who felt that the school was not only doomed to failure but was also poised to create innumerable problems for the practice of medicine in the Caribbean and USA.” Dr. Macpherson, on behalf of the 8,000 St. George’s University physicians, veterinarians, Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies Graduates expressed sincere gratitude for Sir Paul’s “accurate and early prediction.”

The Order of the Mace was created in 2007, the 30th anniversary year of St. George’s University, to honor an individual who most embodied the University’s spirit and mission to help shape the future of humankind through local and global community efforts.

Sir Paul’s career displays a myriad of influential positions within the academic and political arena. He has served as Chief Education Officer, and later as Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Office before attaining the post of Secretary of the Cabinet in the Grenada Civil Service. In 1973 Sir Paul was seconded to the post of Deputy Director of the Commonwealth Foundation in London. He left in 1978 to become the second Governor General of Grenada, remaining so until 1992, when he took on the role of Chairman of the Grenada Board of Tourism.

He also was chairman of the  Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation’s (WINDREF) Institutional Review Board (IRB).  Today Sir Paul serves as a member of the St. George’s University IRB. He was also a director on the Board of the Grenada Industrial Development Co-operation. He currently serves as Chairman of the St. John Council which oversees the local St. John Ambulance Association. In December 2001, Sir Paul was appointed a Knight of Grace of the most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem.

Sir Paul Scoon was born on July 4, 1935, receiving his early education at St. John’s Anglican School and the Grenada Boys’ Secondary School, where he later taught and served as Master-in-charge of its 52 boarders. Sir Paul received a BA degree from London University and later attended the Institute of Education at Leeds University, and the University of Toronto where he gained the degree of Master of Education.

In 1984 Sir Paul was named a Paul Harris Fellow by the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.  He was honored by Her Majesty the Queen on three occasions: Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) 1970; Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG) 1979; and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO) 1985.

Throughout his career Sir Paul has been very active in community affairs. He served on the Management Council of the Civil Service Association, on the Grenada Library Committee, on the Board of Governors of Grenada Teachers’ College, on the Governing Body of Grenada Boys’ Secondary School, on the Prisons Visiting Committee, and on the Grenada Board of Education. He was co-founder and President of the Secondary School Teachers’ Association (The Association of Masters and Mistresses). He was also a member of the Board of Governors of the Centre for International Briefing at Farnham Castle in Britain.

Sir Paul was married on June 27, 1970 to Mrs. Esmai McNeilly (nee Lumsden), now deceased. He has three step children.

Sir Dwight was educated at the University of the West Indies (UWI), where he obtained both a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and a Master of Science (MSc) in Economics. He served as a Junior Research Fellow at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the UWI and then a Lecturer in Economics from 1974 to 1981.

Among his numerous achievements, Governor Venner was awarded Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1996 in St. Lucia and was recognized as a Distinguished Graduate of the University of the West Indies on its 50th Anniversary in July 1998. In June 2001 he was awarded Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for services to the financial sector.

Sir Dwight is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Knowledge and Learning Network and a member of the Commission for Growth and Development, World Bank. He is also Chairman of the OECS Economic Union Committee.

Governor Venner is married to Lynda Arnolde Winville Venner nee St. Rose and they have seven children. His outside interests include reading, music, cricket, and jogging.

St. George’s University’s Public Health Awareness Week Promotes Disaster Preparedness

St. George’s University’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (PHPM) recognized International Public Health Awareness Week with a series of events and activities emphasizing the importance of disaster preparedness.  The theme was selected to complement that of World Health Day 2009, which focused on securing the safety of hospitals and health care facilities in emergency situations.

St. George’s University’s Public Health Awareness Week kicked off with a Sunday evening gala at the University Club on April 5th attended by 80 or so St. George’s University students, faculty and community collaborators.  Provost Dr. Allen Pensick greeted the attendees, making mention that 2009 was particularly significant as it marks 10 years since the inception of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

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Since that time, the Department has proven itself an integral part of the University and the neighboring communities.  With a graduate record nearing 500 alumni including over 40 Grenadians, the PHPM is dedicated to building the human and health resource capacity of Grenada. Through numerous collaborations which include the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Agriculture and most recently with the Grenada Cooperative Nutmeg Association (GCNA), the University is committed to applying its research capabilities and expertise to community service on an increasingly global scale.

Dr. Satesh Bidaisee, Deputy Chair, Practicum and Alumni Relations Coordinator, was thrilled with the success of Public Health Awareness Week, as it provided a dynamic platform to educate its audience on the importance of disaster management as well as capitalized on the impressive accomplishments and promising future of the PHPM.

Dr. Bidaisee, who received his Master of Science Public Health from St. George’s University, explained that the overall “Past, Present, and Future” theme of the program was most appropriate: the past being represented in part by alumni such as public health practitioners in Grenada or medical and veterinary medical students at SGU; the present by the students and faculty in attendance — including School of Veterinary Medicine Dean Raymond Sis, Provost Pensick and Dr. Omur Cinar Elci, Department Chair, PHPM —  and most notably the future as St. George’s University initiates numerous projects with key stake holders in the community including the aforementioned Ministries of Health and Agriculture, Grenada Nutmeg Association, Grenada Food and Nutrition Council, Grenada Solid Waste Management Authority, T.A. Marryshaw Community College, Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the University of Trinidad and Tobago and several other local and regional institutions.  These collaborations, says Dr. Bidaisee, are in response to the University’s position of having a moral responsibility to contribute productively and positively to the country and region that has hosted SGU on its shores.

In addition to an evening of great friends and a sumptuous buffet, Dr. Bidaisee provided the grand finale for the opening gala dinner, entertaining the audience with his original calypso tune titled “Celebrating Public Health Tonight.”

The Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has embraced a mission to promote the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” approach which was successfully communicated throughout the week.  On Monday evening, April 6th, students from both the School of Medicine and School of Veterinary Medicine presented research projects which further reinforced the University’s position. This event was coordinated by Dr. Muge Akpinar-Elci, Associate Professor, PHPM who apart from supervising and mentoring several of the student researchers, chaired the evening of presentations.

On Tuesday, April 7th, the official World Health Day 2009, Mr. Kennedy Roberts, Instructor, PHPM organized a panel discussion on the topic of disaster preparedness. The panel included Mr. Aris Scott, Instructor, School of Medicine; and Mr. Sylvian McIntyre, former Director, National Disaster Management Authority at the time of Hurricane Ivan. These presentations were shared with over 50 students at a Forum on Disaster Management held at the Caribbean House on True Blue campus.  Along with Dr. Theresa McCann, Associate Dean of Basic Sciences, Mr. Scott is credited with developing the Basic Sciences Selective, Trauma Life Support, featuring the International Trauma Life Support curriculum.

The week-long program closed on Thursday, April 9th, with a movie showing of the 1995 suspense film “Outbreak” at Founders Annex.  The film raised several “What if?” scenarios should a massive virus outbreak occur, and served as a powerful point of discussion on infectious diseases and preparation for this type of emergency disaster.  Robert Cruz, President of the Public Health Students Association, served as the presenter during an insightful session.

As the University embarks on a new decade for the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Dr. Bidaisee explained, “St. George’s University has proven itself time and again in the arena of teaching. We will be placing equal emphasis on research and service as we move forward, measuring our success by quality of medical and veterinary medical professionals that are trained in the discipline of preventive medicine and the positive impact to the quality of lives of persons in Grenada, the region and everywhere graduates of the program contribute towards human development.”

The proceeds from Public Health Awareness Week were offered to the Grenada Public Health Association, a local professional association that has its genesis in the PHPM Department and is populated by graduates of the program.

417 Take Oath at School Of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

Dr. Joshua Hauser’s Inspiring Keynote on Medicine’s Delicate Balance of Compassion and Science.

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A central part of the White Coat Ceremony showcases students swearing a professional oath

St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) officially welcomed a new class of 417 medical students to its Grenada campus on January 25, 2009.  This was a highly qualified class of students from 27 countries. Keynote speaker Dr. Joshua Hauser drew upon an extensive career in Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, providing invaluable insight into medicine’s delicate balance of compassion and science. Dr. Reginald Abraham, a board certified cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in Southern California and a graduate from St. George’s University’s School of Medicine Class of 1990, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Dr. Joshua Hauser, a graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1995, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Palliative Care at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; Director of Education at the Buehler Center on Aging, Health and Society; and Director of the Education on Palliative and End of Life (EPEC) Project.

Since a central part of the White Coat Ceremony showcases students swearing a professional oath, promising to act with integrity and in an ethical manner during their training and career in medicine, the selection of Dr. Hauser to deliver the keynote address was most appropriate.  Though he himself had admittedly never participated as a student in a White Coat Ceremony, his interpretation of its symbolism and how that has applied throughout his career offered these future physicians an interesting and important perspective; one that relies on caring, compassion, and science as the foundation of medicine.

The Keynote Address

As a palliative care physician and an internist, Dr. Hauser’s clinical work focuses on quality of life, symptom control and support for seriously ill patients and their families.  Dr. Hauser explained that since many of his patients are dying, they and their families are faced with many difficult and emotional decisions.  “One of the things that I love about palliative care is that there are often very specific medical things to do and think about…and there are also opportunities to help patients and families deal with something that I sometimes call ‘the big picture’.”  Here-in lays the delicate and crucial balance of caring and compassion and medical science.  In palliative care, Dr. Hauser explained, symptom management is the science, and helping patients and families cope with illness and dying is the caring and compassion part.

To this, Dr. Hauser added five more recently recognized values and behaviors he has embraced: curiosity; a tolerance for uncertainty; humor; passion; and service.  Beginning with curiosity, he explained that practicing medicine is “fundamentally about entering into other people’s lives,” whether figuratively as does a psychiatrist or literally as by an internist.  Dr. Hauser continued, “All physicians…require motivation in the form of curiosity: a curiosity that motivates you to want to know about someone’s life, to dig deeper into their situation or to perfect an operation.” Drawing upon personal experiences, Dr. Hauser explained that being curious will not only help diagnose a patient’s illness but has a direct benefit for the physician.  Very often, he explained, asking a patient a few simple questions about themselves, their life and family, will inspire us to reflect on our own lives, seeing the humor and the sadness, and most importantly keep us engaged in the work.

Uncertainty, said Dr. Hauser is an inevitability of medicine and accepting the uncertainty will help bring you closer to your patient and your colleagues.  In emphasizing the need for humor in the profession, Dr. Hauser made reference to his specialty of palliative care, which is by definition not supposed to be funny. This is precisely why humor is so necessary, as it is frequently through humor that a physician can connect with a patient and perhaps improve not only their day, but his own.

In closing, Dr. Hauser acknowledged that the role these characteristics play in their lives will change and evolve over time, but he encouraged them to keep them at the forefront as they begin their education and reflect upon them continuously throughout their careers.

Master of Ceremonies Dr. Reginald Abraham

Master of Ceremonies Dr. Reginald Abraham

SGU’s 1990 graduate, Dr. Abraham, was an entertaining and humorous master of ceremonies.   He connected with the entering class with heartfelt words of his own and he exhorted them to work hard and develop confidence in what they do and compassion for their patients.   Dr. Abraham’s particular interest in minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery and off pump bypass surgery (OPCAB) is the subject of his many lectures.  He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, and the American College of Chest Physicians, as well as a board member of the American Heart and Stroke Association.  Dr. Abraham has conducted extensive research and published in the fields of ulcer, cardiovascular medicine, cardiac physiology and robotics in cardiac surgery.  His current interests are in global investment and development in innovative technologies, building and growing state-of-the-art heart institutes.

Dr. Hauser has held numerous leadership roles in national efforts in Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, and has been recognized with the International Society for the Advancement of Humanistic Studies in Medicine’s Young Physicians Award for Humanism and the Department of Medicine’s Teaching Award by Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

He has served as past chairman of a National Institutes of Health study section on research ethics; past co-chairman of the program committee for the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities; and a current member of the ethics committee for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  His research, which focuses on the development of strategies to support family caregivers in palliative care, has been published in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals including JAMA; the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; Journal of Palliative Care; andAcademic Medicine.  Dr. Hauser has also dedicated his services to many different volunteer positions, including as a physician at the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans and the Maria Shelter, a physician advisor for the Southside Sarcoidosis Support Group, and a volunteer physician for Connections for the Homeless in Evanston, Illinois.

Welcoming Family and Friends

The University was equally excited to have over 100 of these students’ family members participate in the “Beyond Spice” Parents’ Weekend, an opportunity to showcase the True Blue campus facilities and the Island.  Family members from as far off as Ireland, the United States, and Canada were invited to informative and culturally entertaining events, such as: campus and Island tours, an orientation cruise, student and faculty presentations, question and answer sessions.  All were designed to enhance their comfort level and familiarity with the University.  The success of the previous two Parents’ Weekends reinforces the innate value of such an event.  The faculty and staff at St. George’s University plan to incorporate this endeavor into future White Coat Ceremony events.

Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) Induction

The White Coat Ceremony also welcomed the 2008 inductees into SGUSOM’s Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS).  Each year, a group of peer-nominated students who demonstrate humanistic characteristics during their time in medical school, including mentoring skills, community service, and observance of professional ethics, receive this award. Congratulations to the 2008 Inductees:

Kanchi Chadha
Christina Goette
Richard Gordon
Catherine Gribbin
Leslie Griffin
Colette Haywood
Robert Herring
Panagiota Korenis
Peter J. Lee
Louis Mazzella
Matthew Myatt
Purvi Parikh
Ruchi Parikh
Sara Safarzadeh Amiri
Carsten Stracke
Eric Thomas
Shunling Tsang
Michael Westerman

The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) was established in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to foster and acknowledge humanism among medical students. The GHHS has been established at 47 US medical schools and three international medical schools since its inception. St. George’s University became one of the three in 2005.

Read Dr. Hauser’s complete Keynote Address

School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony Held on January 26, 2009

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On January 26, 2009, the White Coat Ceremony of the School of Veterinary Medicine had special significance as it not only inducted 46 new students but marked the 10th anniversary year of the SGUSVM.  Dr. Gregory S. Hammer, a 30 year veteran of small animal and equine practice at the Brenford Animal Hospital in Dover, Delaware, a facility in which he is part owner and partner, delivered the Keynote Address.

As he addressed the incoming class, Dr. Hammer acknowledged the intense competition each student endures when they apply to veterinary school.  He then urged these students to put the competition aside and now encourage and mentor each other, as this “academic family” will serve as an inspiration for many years to come.

news svmwcc09 hammerDr. Hammer emphasized the great deal of responsibility these students will have as they become Doctors of Veterinary Medicine.  He stressed the importance of sharing their voice as professionals in their field and educating the public and government on issues of animal well being and public health.  He encouraged them to find this voice now by becoming active participants in the student AVMA, helping to shape the “bright” future of veterinary medicine.

In closing, Dr. Hammer expressed excitement for these students as they embark on this new endeavor, encouraging them to explore opportunities beyond the traditional careers in veterinary medicine, making specific reference to the fields of public health, food safety and bio-security.  “You are our future and I think we are in great hands,” he said.

A recent graduate from the SGUSVM, Dr. Kara Tassone, served as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies.  Dr. Tassone completed her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2007.  After graduation, she completed an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at the Animal Referral and Emergency Center of Arizona.  During her years at SGUSVM, Dr. Tassone was elected President of the Student Association American Veterinary Medical Association (SSAVMA), serving the student body proudly and effectively.  She is married to her classmate Dr. Michael Lemmon and currently lives and practices in the Phoenix area.

Dr. Hammer has had a distinguished career which includes Immediate Past President of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA).  Prior to this position, he represented District II of the AVMA Executive Board for six years beginning in 1999, serving members in Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia.  During this time, he also served as vice-chair of the board and chair of the legislative advisory and long-range planning committees.

Dr. Hammer received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1971 and in 1973 received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas State University.  During his studies, he was inducted into the Phi Eta Sigma, Alpha Zeta and Phi Zeta honor societies.  Dr. Hammer received the Kansas State University School of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.

Dr. Hammer’s career has included work in both the public and private sector.  While a captain in the US Air Force, he served as a veterinary medical officer from January 1974 to January 1976, and received the Meritorious Medal for his outstanding service. While stationed at the Dover Air Force Base, he practiced public health and food safety.  Then, in 1994, he was named honorary commander of the 436th Military Airlift Wing Medical Group.

As an active member of the Delaware Veterinary Medical Association (DVMA) since 1975, Dr. Hammer has made significant contributions to the DVMA in legislation, the securing of educational opportunities for Delaware veterinary medical students, participation in convention activities, public relations and the reorganization of the DVMA itself.  He was honored in 1997 with the Delaware Veterinarian of the Year Award.  On a local level, he has been involved in the Dover community and civic affairs as a member of the Dover Rotary Club since 1982 and member of its Board of Directors since 1991.

Dr. Hammer is also a member of the District of Columbia, Kansas, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia Medical Associations.   In 2008, he was honored by the Virginia Veterinary Medical Association as the state’s Veterinarian of the Year.

Read Dr. Gregory Hammer’s Keynote Address

White Coat Ceremony Welcomes Fifth Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program

The weekend of January 17th marked a celebration for St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) and Northumbria University’s School of Applied Sciences (NU) as they welcomed a new class of medical students into the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP).

news powelljacksonThe Keynote Speaker, Dr. John Powell-Jackson, opened his address with heartfelt acknowledgement and recognition of the contributions to St. George’s University made by the late Keith B. Taylor, Vice Chancellor of St. George’s University from 1991-1998 and inspiration for the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program.  Dr. Powell-Jackson reinforced Keith Taylor’s integral role in the transformation of St. George’s University into a thriving international university and the creation of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF).

Dr. Powell-Jackson was a Consultant Physician for 31 years in Winchester, England and now serves as St. George’s University’s Associate Director of Career Guidance in the United Kingdom. As he addressed the incoming class of 104 students he spoke of two men who served as a personal inspiration throughout his career.

Dr. Barry Marshall, the first of the two, was born in Australia in 1951 and after becoming a doctor in gastroenterology in the early 1980s joined forces with colleague Dr. Robin Warren to produce an important medical discovery, one which led to the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2005. Dr. Marshall and Dr. Warren found that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori  was the cause of gastritis and peptic ulcer disease, a theory which dispelled decades of medical doctrine claiming that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods and too much acid.

Dr. Powell-Jackson explained that to further solidify his research, Dr. Marshall used ‘self experimentation’ when he swallowed a cocktail containing large numbers of organisms which he obtained from the stomach of a man suffering from indigestion. After a week, a series of related symptoms ensued including abdominal discomfort, vomiting, and, upon examination, inflamed stomach lining and cells with bacteria. After a regimen of antibiotics, his ailments were quickly resolved. “Dr. Marshall’s discovery raised further questions that other diseases such as multiple sclerosis and ulcerative colitis may have a biological cause making them amenable to curative treatment.  An opportunity for your generation,” said Dr. Powell-Jackson.

Our Keynote Speaker’s other hero was Canadian-born academic and founding member of  The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD, Dr. William Osler. Frequently described as the “Father of Modern Medicine,” one of his many contributions to the field of medicine included the establishment of the medical residency, which provided medical students the critical hands-on experience to learn from seeing and talking to patients at their bedsides.

Dr. Powell-Jackson closed his speech with a few poignant quotes from Dr. Osler in which he defined the most valuable characteristics possessed by a physician. “Imperturbability means coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances, calmness amid the storm, clearness of judgment in moments of grave peril, immobility, impassiveness.  It is the quality which is most appreciated by the public…and the physician who has the misfortune to be without it, loses rapidly the confidence of his patients,” said Dr. Osler.  He considered imperturbability “largely a bodily endowment,” but believed that the life-long process of education, combined with practice and experience, could help with its acquisition.  In keeping with Dr. Osler’s position, Dr. Powell-Jackson encouraged the new students in attendance to remember that universities are not just institutions of higher learning but a place to acquire the skills of reason and how to think.

The Master of Ceremonies was SGUSOM alumni Dr. Martin Jan Stránský. A native of New York City, Dr. Stránský is board certified in both internal medicine and neurology. He began practicing neurology and teaching at Yale University in Connecticut as an Assistant Clinical Professor in Neurology, a post he continues to hold.  Dr. Stránský spends about 15 weeks per year in the United States, teaching and practicing neurology, in addition to lecturing at St. George’s University.  The rest of his time is spent in Prague, serving as Founder and Director of the Yale University-Charles University Neuroscience Exchange Program, as well as Founder and Director of SGUSOM’s Prague Selective, which has sent over 800 US medical students to Prague.

This year’s White Coat, as with the previous term in August 2008, combined the celebration with a carefully orchestrated and well-received Parents’ Weekend. The “Beyond United” Parents’ Weekend welcomed family, friends and loved ones of the students with tours of the campus and its beautiful surroundings, presentations by both faculty and KBTGSP students and an evening boat cruise along the River Tyne.  The staff of both SGU and NU worked tirelessly to assure a seamless weekend for the 120 students and guests, filled with informative and entertaining events which conveyed both SGU and NU’s commitment to the KBTGSP students and program.

The White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of medical studies as the official entry into the profession of medicine. Students don the white coat, a symbol of their chosen profession, and swear a professional oath, promising to act with integrity and in an ethical manner during their training and careers in medicine.

Dr. John Powell-Jackson previously worked among the Massai people for the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) and was awarded a Nuffield Travelling Scholarship to study tropical medicine at Hong Kong University. He was educated at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge and Guy’s Hospital, London and qualified as a doctor in 1966.  He was a clinical research fellow at the Medical Research Council Blood Pressure Unit in Glasgow from 1971-1973, investigating aspects of the renin-angiotensin system and completing his MD thesis.  In 1973 he resumed his medical training at Guy’s Hospital until, in 1976, he was appointed Consultant Physician to the Royal Hampshire County Hospital.

As clinical tutor responsible for undergraduate education, he came into contact with St. George’s University medical students in 1980 and has taught successive generations ever since, alongside students from Southampton University Medical School.  Dr. Powell-Jackson served as St. George’s University Director of Medical Education and was appointed honorary Senior Lecturer in Medicine at Southampton University.  He was also Wessex Regional Advisor in Medicine to the Royal College of Physicians in London.  The fields of general internal and cardiovascular medicine are his primary clinical interests, and he has published articles relating to hypertension and prion diseases.  His recreational interests are cricket (tours to Kenya, Malaysia, South Africa and Zimbabwe), wine tasting and travel.

Dr. Stránský is also the Founder and Director of the Polyclinic at Narodni, a 25-physician multi-specialty clinic in Prague.  Also in Prague, he serves as panel physician to both the US and British Embassies, in addition to lecturing at Charles University Medical School.  Continuing his family’s publishing tradition, Dr. Stránský founded the M.J. Stránský Foundation Fund which serves to promote journalism through internships for budding journalists and publishes the magazines PřítmnostThe New Presence, and their internet versions.  These quarterly magazines present a Central European point of view of politics, culture, economics, arts and literature.  As a result of these activities, Dr. Stránský was the sole recipient of the 1996 Award for Outstanding Cultural Achievement given by the Masaryk Academy of the Czech Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He is also the Founder of the Prague Press Club.  Dr. Stránský is a frequent speaker in the Czech Republic and throughout Europe, and his social, political and cultural commentaries have appeared in virtually every Czech newspaper.  He has also published the book Czechs Don’t Want Democracy.

Read Dr. Powell-Jackson’s complete Keynote Address

Second Class in Nursing Program Commences

news stutsky

On Saturday, January 24, 2009, St. George’s University welcomed a new class of students into the four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program. Keynote Speaker Brenda Stutsky encouraged the 26 young men and women to begin their education as leaders. This had great significance as these students represented the second class to embark on this degree at SGU.

Chancellor Charles Modica and Provost Allen Pensick congratulated and welcomed the students to this important profession as it is their commitment which will help stem the current nursing shortage worldwide. “You have entered a very demanding and altruistic profession and have embarked upon a journey of lifelong learning,” said Dr.  Pensick.   Chancellor Modica expressed proudly, ”You are a small class, but you are not small in spirit.”

Ms. Stutsky delivered a poignant Keynote Address as she drew upon the five main practices of leadership emphasized by James Kouzes and Barry Posner in their highly regarded book “Leadership Challenge.” She challenged her audience to incorporate these strategies into their education and professional careers.

The first of these principles, “Model the Way,” served as a powerful reminder that there will be many other students who follow their path, and they, as representatives of a new Nursing program, must lead by example as they pursue their dream and follow through with their commitment.

Since these students are fortunate to be part of this exciting endeavor at St. George’s University,  Ms. Stutsky asked them to seize this opportunity to “Inspire a Shared Vision,” not just in the Caribbean but throughout the world.   “Maybe your collective vision for this program is to be internationally recognized for producing extraordinary nursing graduates who are able to provide exemplary patient care not only here in Grenada, but around the world.  I want my colleagues in Canada to know about you,” she exclaimed.

As this group of students is in many ways trailblazers, Ms. Stutsky impressed upon them to “Challenge the Process.” Questioning policies, procedures and practices which originate from current evidence based knowledge versus accepting the “sacred cows” of nursing (nursing practices which have gone on for years but may not be the best and safest practice for quality patient care) define leadership. Betsy Stutsky continued to say that by asking “Why?” these students are also assisting the SGU faculty who will apply their constructive feedback to an evolving nursing curriculum.

According to Kouzes and Posner, a key component to a successful leader is the “we” factor, as a true leader uses the term “we” far more frequently than “I.” Providing quality health care to a patient is, in fact, a team effort where each healthcare professional plays an integral role in a successful outcome.  Ms. Stutsky explained to her audience that their role as a nurse both provides support for their team, but in-turn requires support in order to perform at their best.
The final aspect to successful leadership was less strategic in thought and humanistic in practice. Ms. Stutsky simply asked the students to encourage their colleagues, as positive feedback and support will sustain them through the difficult and challenging periods of their education.

In closing, this dedicated and inspiring woman congratulated the students as they begin a new chapter in their lives; and as she showed them a newspaper headline from the morning after the US Presidential election of Barack Obama, she explained that like this new President, these students are also leaders beginning the process of fulfilling a dream.

Brenda Stutsky, a registered nurse in Canada for over 25 years, has played an integral role in nursing education programs for the past 17 years.  She holds an appointment as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Nursing at the University of Manitoba and is currently the Director, Nursing Education at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, a major tertiary hospital in Canada employing approximately 7,000 health professionals and support staff.  Ms. Stutsky is also responsible for leading just over 30 nurse educators in the orientation and continuing education of about 2,300 nurses employed at the hospital.

Ms. Stutsky graduated with a diploma in nursing from the Misericordia General Hospital School of Nursing in Winnipeg, Canada in 1983.  Over the past 25 years, her clinical practice has focused on women’s health, emergency nursing, coronary care nursing and intensive care nursing.

She is a lifelong learner, completing a certificate in Intensive Care Nursing, a baccalaureate nursing degree from the University of Manitoba, and a master of science in nursing degree from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.  In 2008, Ms. Stutsky completed an Educational Specialist degree from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, where she is now completing her doctoral dissertation in Computing Technology in Education.  The focus of her dissertation is empowerment and leadership development of Canadian nurse educators participating in an online story-based learning community.

St. George’s University’s Nursing Program was conceived as a response to the mandate by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) that all nurses in the region hold a BSN degree by the year 2010.  This program is uniquely structured to allow enrollees, after 30 months, to sit regional and international licensing exams.  Upon successful completion of these exams, the students can enter the workforce while completing their studies.

Read Brenda Stutsky’s Keynote Address

St. George’s University Hosts 2nd Annual Bioethics Forum

Dr. Derrick Aarons, BSEC President

Dr. Derrick Aarons, BSEC President

On Saturday, October 11, St. George’s University hosted the 2nd Annual Bioethics Forum of the Bioethics Society of the English-Speaking Caribbean (BSEC). The primary objective of this forum was to communicate bioethical concerns with regard to patient care in the Caribbean and advocate for the development of ethical policies to improve the current standards. Dr. Derrick Aarons, BSEC President and founder, welcomed an audience of SGU faculty, medical students, physicians, nurses and paramedical staff representing local communities and the region.

As the first speaker, Dr. Cheryl Macpherson, Professor and Chair, Bioethics Department and Vice President of BSEC, addressed concerns about untreated pain and pain management and its social and economic implications. Having worked with the former Minister of Health, the Honorable Ann David Antoine, Dr. Macpherson drew upon her experience as Chair of the Steering Committee to Develop Palliative and Hospice Care (CDPHC). Since 2003, the CDPHC has been working to expand patient care to include aspects of palliative and hospice services for the terminally and chronically ill patients in Grenada.

On behalf of CDPHC, SGU’s Bioethics Department is developing a grant proposal to support further efforts that foster continuing education in pain relief and palliation in Grenada. This effort translates to work on campus as well, as the Bioethics Department has assisted Dr. Chamarthy Subbarao, Director of SGU Health Services and Planning Committee Chair, in organizing Continuing Medical Education (CME) programs for Caribbean health providers about pain relief.

Other speakers included founder Dr. Derrick Aarons who discussed “Ethical Issues in Health Care for Patients with HIV.” Dr. Aarons, a Consultant Bioethicist and Member, International Advisory Board for Bioethics, PAHO, was recently awarded a Consultancy Contract to develop a Regional Model Code of Practice for Medical Practitioners and Medical Associations across the Caribbean in response to HIV and AIDS from The Pan-Caribbean Partnership against HIV and AIDS.

Merle Mendonca, a Human Rights Advocate from Guyana, offered insight into an individual’s right with regard to medical science and health care delivery. Dr. James Appleyard, Professor of Pediatrics, and Past President of the World Medical Association spoke of “Ethical Issues in Medical Research on Children.” Dr. Donald Simeon, Director of the Caribbean Health Research Council, spoke about other aspects of research ethics relevant to the region. With respect to the many topics covered throughout the Forum, several opportunities for questions and answers and open discussions were made available to the participants.

Since its inception in 2006, the BSEC has positioned itself to offer guidance and support through discussions, consultations, publications and workshops that address regional concerns regarding ethics and professionalism. Dr. Derrick Aarons, a successful and respected physician and bioethicist, is credited with its formation and its continued effort to encourage and enhance further development in public and professional arenas. The Society encompasses about 60 members who include physicians, medical educators, and public health specialists from many different Caribbean nations.

The Annual BSEC Forum plays a critical role in the continued expansion of the Bioethics Society, as it provides a dynamic arena to communicate the many facets of bioethics and professionalism and its current and future impact on the Caribbean. This year’s event was jointly sponsored by St. George’s University School of Medicine and the Caribbean College of Family Physicians.  The 2009 Forum will focus on ethics and the environment and will be hosted in Trinidad. For more information, visit the BSEC online at

Scholarships Celebrate 10th Anniversary of School of Veterinary Medicine

As St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine approaches its tenth year, the School has introduced the “Decade of Excellence” Scholarship Program. This program is designed to assist incoming students in the January 2009 class by awarding a number of partial scholarships.

Students at universities worldwide are encountering considerable difficulty obtaining loans for educational programs, an unfortunate ripple effect from the current uncertainty of the global economy.  It has long been the University’s mission to provide superior educational opportunities to any and all qualifying students.   St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine is eager to assist those students who are facing difficulty acquiring the funds to further their education and reach their goals of practicing veterinary medicine.

The University believes that an investment in the future of each individual student is, in turn, an investment in the well-being and development of communities throughout the world.  Since its establishment in 1999, the School of Veterinary Medicine has been dedicated to providing a broad range of educational and professional training opportunities preparing and inspiring students to become leaders in the field of veterinary medicine and curtailing the current shortage of veterinarians worldwide.

In the ten years since its inception, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine has expanded to include state-of-the-art laboratories, a Small Animal Hospital, unparalleled faculty and visiting professors from veterinary medical schools throughout the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and superior enhancement programs.  The SGUSVM has emerged as a leader in the field of veterinary medical education.

All incoming students interested in applying for the “Decade of Excellence” Scholarship should contact the Office of Enrolment Planning for more information.

Published on 11/24/08

St. George’s University Honors Fallen Heroes of 1983 Grenada Intervention

On Saturday, October 25th, St. George’s University hosted a symbolic and emotional ceremony to honor the brave soldiers who served and suffered the ultimate price during the Intervention in Grenada in October of 1983.


Chancellor Charles R. Modica, and Provost Allen H. Pensick were joined by several influential leaders within the Grenada community and beyond including, Grenada Prime Minister Hon. Tillman Thomas, Lieutenant General Glenn Spears, Deputy to the Admiral of the US Army, US Ambassador to Bridgetown and the Eastern Caribbean, Ambassador Mary Ourisman, and Reverend Tessica Hackshaw, Superintendent of the Grenada Methodist Church.  Dr. Pensick welcomed all attendees to the proceeding, extending a special welcome to the family members of the soldiers who fought valiantly during Operation Urgent Fury.

Reflecting upon the devastating loss of 19 American servicemen on that dark day, Dr. Modica recognized some of the soldiers who served with their fallen comrades and asked them to stand. “We are at a loss for words,” he said, “but not at a loss of emotions.” He hoped that the ceremony brought to life the University’s commitment to the memories of the soldiers, assuring that their loss was not in vain.  The ceremony took place at the Memorial, which was commissioned by the parents of the soldiers and displays the signatures of those fallen.  An exact replica of the Memorial was present on the first anniversary of the Invasion.

General Spears eloquently expressed the many emotions felt by all attendees as they gathered in both “solemn remembrance and celebration of their sacrifice.” Acknowledging their understandable and continuous grief, he said, “The pain with the passage of time takes up a different place in your hearts.”  General  Spears proudly made reference to the determination of the Grenadian people to rebuild and flourish, thereby fulfilling the hopes and honoring the lives of those lost.

news-sgufallenheroes-generalspearsAmbassador Mary Ourisman pointed out that the remarkable expansion of St. George’s University was similarly a “physical expression of the faith and love which has strengthened the Island and its people.” It is a true testament to the hard work, constant vigilance and ultimate sacrifice required for a democracy.

The Honorable Tillman Thomas, Prime Minister of Grenada, recognized the collective responsibility of the community in upholding and building upon the beliefs and principles of a democratic institution, and are critical to a life of peace and harmony.

The Governor General, His Excellency Sir Daniel Williams, laid a wreath at the monument as a moment of silence was observed for the fallen heroes.  Family members of seven of the soldiers were present:  sister of Kenneth Butcher, Daughter of Kenneth Lucas, sister-in-law of Michael Ritz, mother to Jeffrey Scharver, brothers to Stephen Slater, Mark Rademacher and Mark Yamane.  Each delivered brief but emotional tributes to their loved ones, providing some insight into the lives that were tragically cut short.

In tribute to the remaining US servicemen, the bell tolled as each name was called:

  • Randy Clyne
  • Gary Epps
  • John Giguere
  • Phillip Grenier
  • Kevin Lennon
  • Sean Luketina
  • Kevin Lundberg
  • Marlin Maynard
  • Stephen Morris
  • Russell Robinson
  • Robert Schamberge
  • Jeb Seagle

A reception at The Caribbean House followed the service.

Published on 11/5/08