Second “One Health, One Medicine” Clinic a Success

news-2one-health-one-med-groupOn Saturday, March 1st, 15 SVM and 30 SOM student volunteers joined forces for the second “One Health, One Medicine” Clinic, a collaborative effort delivering valuable health care and information to members of the community. The response was tremendous, with many individuals receiving assistance at the River Salle Government School in the parish of St. Patrick.

The “One Health, One Medicine” Clinic was first spearheaded in November 2007, by SVM student Brittany King, and the credo was again brought to life in this important event. The concept focuses on the convergence of animal, human and ecosystem health; addressing them collectively is critical to improving health care worldwide.

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The Student Affiliate of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SAAVMA) assembled 50 doggie goodie bags which included educational literature on rabies, important contact information, a Zoonotic track sheet and bright green “#1 Paw Print” bandanas.

Although March 1st was only days before midterms, students were eager to participate in the Clinic.  SVM and SOM volunteers set up their respective facilities on the grounds of the River Salle Government School, with the SOM portion of the clinic using the school itself to perform various diagnostic procedures. According to Lorenzo Zanotti, President of AMSA, over 125 patients, from infants to the elderly, were examined.

news-2one-health-one-med-2With the assistance of the Pediatric Club and Women in Medicine (WIM), subgroups of AMSA, a complete patient history was taken to help determine the primary medical concern and complaint.  All patients were evaluated for glucose level, auditory and visual capacity, respiratory rate and blood pressure.  Volunteers from WIM performed breast exams for the women.  Lorenzo explained that patients were also provided with educational materials as well as important contact information for healthcare professionals in the area.

Brittany King, a 4th term SVM student, SAAVMA class representative and SGUSVM Safety Committee representative, credits St. George’s University for its help in organizing the event and providing support services, faculty supervision and clinical support.  Brittany hopes the “One Health, One Medicine” Clinic becomes a self-sustaining endeavor and continues each term for many years to come.

School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony Held on January 22, 2008

larry corryOn January 22, 2008, the 18th White Coat Ceremony of the School of Veterinary Medicine was held at Bell Lecture Hall. Dr. Michele Consiglio, an SGUSVM alumnus, welcomed all attendees to the symbolic celebration. Dr. Larry R. Corry delivered the keynote address to the incoming class of 66 men and women from 13 countries around the world.

Dr. Corry served 15 years in the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) House of Delegates as either a delegate or alternate delegate from Georgia.  Throughout his career as a small animal practitioner, Dr. Corry has owned five hospitals.  He currently owns two hospitals and is a shareholder in two emergency clinics.

Dr. Corry received his veterinary medical degree from the University of Georgia in 1966.  Following graduation he spent two years in the US Air Force Veterinary Corps.  He has been very active in state and local veterinary medical organizations, including the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association (GVMA) with service as District Director, Treasurer, President and Chairman of the Long Range Planning Committee.  His honors include University of Georgia Veterinary Alumnus of the Year, University of Georgia Distinguished Service Award and the Georgia Veterinary Medical Association’s Veterinarian of the Year in 1992.

As he addressed the students, Dr. Corry advised them to “taste what the different careers (in veterinary medicine) are…explore, try to find out what you really like.”  He also stressed the importance of getting involved in their local community through various groups and civic organizations to enhance their client relationships.

The students’ enthusiasm was abundant as several expressed their excitement to begin what is for many a lifelong dream.  Jamaican vet student Annizette Slowley said, “I have always lovedanimals… there is a real need in the marine field. I want to work with marine animals. Although I lived in New Jersey, USA for 10 years, I am from Jamaica and coming to Grenada feels like coming home… I feel like I’m accomplishing something. .. I have the white coat; now I will earn it.”

Another incoming SVM student also from Jamaica expressed an interest in Public Health with a focus in the area of meat inspection, ensuring that safety standards are maintained for consumption. His comment seemed to convey the spirit of the event, “I feel great; and I feel that I’m on the right track in choosing Grenada and St. George’s University as the means of accomplishing my dreams and my desire to serve mankind.”

SOM Welcomes Incoming Class of Medical Students

leigh b grossmanSt. George’s University School of Medicine officially welcomed a fresh class of medical students on January 21, 2008 at the new Charter Hall auditorium to mark their entry into medicine at the symbolic White Coat Ceremony, the 25th of the series.  The 424 students in this class hail from 26 countries; after the United States, the countries with the highest student representation were Canada, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United Kingdom.

The SGU alumni Master of Ceremonies was Dr. John Madden, Associate Dean of Students in the United States and Director of the Office of Student Development and Career Guidance.  Resisting the temptation to speak about the history of the medical school, Dr. Madden gave a vivid account of his life as a physician in the emergency department of a major New York hospital.

Dr. Allen Pensick, the Provost, welcomed the students to the University on behalf of the Chancellor, expressed the Chancellor’s deep regret at being unable to attend the White Coat Ceremony, and wished them well as they begin a “great and noble” career.

In introducing Dr. Leigh B. Grossman, the keynote speaker, Dr. Madden spoke of her distinguished career in pediatrics.

In marked contrast to her imposing academic record, however, Dr. Grossman spoke about three simple, yet crucial, things for every physician to follow.

“Firstly, you will be called on to take care of patients everywhere and throughout your professional and personal life and to not compromise on the care of those that feel they can request this of you (your family, close friends, etc.) but rather to provide them with the best possible medical care. Secondly, you must have a life outside of medicine…to perfect a life, not just a profession. And, thirdly, you should get to know your patients…the social history…who they really are as the people behind the illnesses…know what they do, where they have been, what their personal story is and in real detail as this will affect how they react to a new diagnosis and how they manage and/or cope with their medical diagnosis.  Their social history, their story will similarly affect the outcome of the diagnosis that you make.”

To illustrate her point, Dr. Grossman described some social histories of her patients and ended each by concluding “and I am still learning.”  She concluded her speech by revealing parts of her own social history and stated that no doctor should treat her as a patient without being aware of it.  The students, and indeed the rest of the audience, were privileged to receive such a powerful message.

During the ceremony student Kristin Coppola received her white coat from her father Dr. Anthony Coppola, an SOM alumnus and this added a special charm to the ceremony.

Dean Rodney Croft Addresses KBTGSP Students at White Coat Ceremony

SGU Dean Rodney Croft Delivers Keynote Address, emphasizing the critical link between art and medicine.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Mahoney, Sir Malcolm McNaughton, Senior Faculty Members of Northumbria University and St. George’s University Grenada, White Coat Students, Ladies and Gentleman, I would first of all like to thank Dr. Peter Beaumont for his warm welcome, his interesting reflections as an alumnus of St.George’s University School of Medicine and his most kind words of introduction.

It is both a very great pleasure and indeed an enormous privilege  to have been asked to give the keynote address here today on what is for all of us, but especially the White Coat students, a most auspicious and memorable occasion.

As Dean of Clinical Studies in the UK for St. George’s, let me add my heartiest congratulations to you the White Coat Students who are about to enter the St. George’s Keith Taylor Global Scholars basic science programme at Northumbria University.

This is a very significant programme, not only because it is associated with a renowned UK University, Northumbria, but also in the true tradition of St. George’s School of Medicine, it is for a significant number of you directed towards training medical students who either come from developing countries or towards those who wish to subsequently practise in such countries: a dream shared by our late Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Keith Taylor. It is good therefore to see so many countries, fourteen in all, represented amongst the student body here today who number almost one hundred.

Today’s students are the third class to be admitted. I am pleased to inform you the first two classes did very well in their end of first year examinations which is not only a great credit to the students, but also to their teachers who include both Northumbria and St.George’s University Faculty.

So the previous students, guided by their teachers present here today, have set a very good example to follow; a challenge which I am sure today’s new White Coat Students will meet.

I also wish to congratulate you on the serious but celebratory Professional commitment you will shortly make to your forthcoming medical education and future as doctors to be lead by Mr Simon Crocker the UK Departmental Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and witnessed by all present.

Everyone here knows that you young men and women about to be donned with your white coats are in an extremely privileged position: I say that for the very simple reason that there are thousands of your contemporaries around the globe whose dream is to become a doctor but because of various adverse circumstances are denied this privilege. They would love to exchange places with you today because they know only too well you are joining the most noble of professions, medicine, totally committed to the curing and easing of pain and suffering in our fellow men, women and children.

However, do remember, with privilege comes obligation and it is your obligation to your newly adopted profession, to your teachers, your parents, guardians, sponsors, fellow students, but most importantly to yourselves to remain loyal to your Professional Commitment and to succeed in your professional mission. This will of necessity require long periods of intense study and hard work, but like all good medical students I have no doubt you will play hard too!

Remember also that in the rapidly expanding technological world  of medicine, patients not only require men and women of science but also doctors who have humanistic and empathetic skills.

In the Christian religion St. Luke is both the patron Saint of Doctors but also of Artists.
This serves as a very apt and constant reminder to us all that art and medicine are inextricably linked and prior to you beginning your clinical studies in two years time you will be taught during the Medicine in Society course in Grenada the crucially important practise of taking a clinical history from a patient when the humanistic bond between doctor and patient is first forged and which thereafter continues throughout a patient’s care.

Patients live their symptoms on a daily basis. A good doctor trained in taking a focused clinical history becomes a decryptor of a patient’s symptoms and if you learn this art together with your scientific knowledge, you will often by the end of taking the clinical history alone, have a good idea of the diagnosis. What you certainly also will have achieved is the firm foundation of the humanistic bond between patient and physician.

Always remember too, attached to every medical investigation or clinical procedure there is a concerned patient, together with their relatives and friends. The result of each blood test, ECG, X-ray, each CT, MRI scan, the outcome of each non-invasive and invasive procedure all has a very personal identity and ownership: all belonging to a specific individual and often anxious patient.
Knowledge of the science of Medicine is crucial but dealing compassionately and empathetically with patients and their relatives is truly the art of medicine.

St. George’s University School of Medicine has an established association with the Arnold Gold Humansim awards scheme in the United States and each year on the day before graduation in New York, Humanism awards are granted to a number of students who have been judged by their fellow student peers as being outstanding in exhibiting their humanistic qualities.

So teaching the Art as well as the Science of Medicine is rightfully a great priority for St. George’s.

Indeed for most of you, if not all, it was such a humanistic feeling of wishing to change and improve the lives of the sick and infirm,  thereby also positively affecting their families and friends that motivated you to seek a career in medicine, so never forget this in your basic science years.
During your training there will be periods of stress and perhaps even doubt, but that is when you can call upon your student colleagues, teachers, support staff at Northumbria, then when in Grenada Dr Rao Dean of Students and his staff and also the staff of the Department of Educational Services, and of course your family and friends for help, support and advice. But you must also draw on your own inner strength and when doing so remember the humanistic values and goals you strove to achieve; recite again to yourselves the words of the Professional Commitment you will shortly make and recall the memories of today for I am sure it will serve you well. During your clinical training too, there are many people in the UK and US to advise you along the way, so you really are never alone.

Another obligation you must fulfill is that as trainee doctors you are fully accepting the important professional duty and responsibility to treat all with whom you come into contact, irrespective of race or creed, with due manners, courtesy and respect.

You will of course during your student and indeed subsequent postgraduate careers have many examinations to take. These are obviously serious and nerve wracking occasions but can sometimes have their amusing side too. I never sat a multiple choice question paper in my career; then it was all essays and vivas. I read my basic sciences at Cambridge University and on the appointed day arrived trembling at the Anatomy museum for my Final Anatomy viva. There was a wonderful man called Mr Merryweather who looked after the Anatomy museum and who arranged when we entered the museum for our vivas and which table we had been allocated where our examiners were seated. I must have been looking somewhat pale and anxious as when he helped me on with my short student academic gown which we wore in those days, he leant over my shoulder and whispered in my ear “Don’t worry Mr Croft from Selwyn College: please remember sir just like you and me, every morning your examiners sit on the lavatory!  Good luck sir!”

So you can imagine my thoughts as I approached my two white coated examiners sitting down behind a green baize table.
However my heart sank as one of the examiners was Professor Shute, the organizer of the one year Comparative Anatomy course which we had occasionally attended, but certainly not excessively revised!

Nevertheless, one fact of comparative anatomy I do remember to this day is that the three parts of a crocodile’s jaw are represented by the three tiny bones, in the human middle ear. Now without a shadow of a doubt, I can assure you all that this fact has proved most useful to me on a daily basis during the whole of my surgical career!

However the younger man, Dr Message began by asking me some origins and insertions of muscles on a humerus which was fine. Then we moved on to a skull with the origins and insertions of the medial and lateral pterygoid muscles which I was then asked to repeat with the skull turned upside down: (nice touch I thought!). Finally he zeroed his pencil point at a tiny area on a neuroanatomy slide: I proudly announced it was the nucleus of the ementia teres…and I knew I was right; that was the detail we were expected and had to know in 1965.

He then invited the Professor to take over, who then asked “Are you interested in comparative anatomy?” “Of course sir, absolutely fascinated” I stuttered. “Good, so come over here” he retorted. He took me to a large trestle table covered with skeletal remains ranging from a sabre tooth tiger’s skull to a dormouse and asked me what in retrospect was a reasonably simple question “please show me a non-mammalian skeleton”. I panicked!…mammals, they suckle their young: my thoughts instantly turned to breasts: no you fool that’s soft tissue: he said non-mammalian, that’s without breasts and I have to choose a non-mammalian skeleton from this hoard!

The time for these thoughts to whizz through my head was probably momentary but with my adrenaline levels in the danger zone it seemed like an age and my heart raced and thumped and a rivulet or two of perspiration ran down my back. Then, right at the far side of the table I saw a strange looking skeleton and on one of its rather narrow ribs in extremely faded Cambridge ink I could just about discern the word “Penguin”. I was confident the myopic Professor would not be aware of this. “Oh there sir” “Excellent” he replied, “what is it?”
Very conscious of occupying the remaining viva time to my advantage I said “I’m not immediately sure sir, may I describe it?”

He acquiesced, so I slowly took the Professor through the large protruding beak, but small skull, the large elongated thorax and abdomen, the very short legs but enormous feet, couldn’t possibly have been webbed could they?, but extremely underdeveloped upper limbs, so can’t have been wings.…”So?” the Professor abruptly quizzed. “I’ll hazard a guess” I replied, “it couldn’t possibly be a penguin could it, sir?”  “Excellent Croft”, he exclaimed, “no need to ask you anymore comparative anatomy” and he strode off heading towards an occipital neck dissection. I intentionally lingered slowly behind him as I adjudged my viva time was almost up. It was then that I felt a gentle tap on my right shoulder, I turned: it was the younger Dr Message who then whispered in my ear “I can see the word penguin too!”

Four years from now, you White Coat Students will have the wonderful opportunity of being able to walk across the stage of The Lincoln Centre in New York in front of an enormous audience to receive to great applause, frequently augmented by yells and screams, your medical diplomas from Chancellor Modica, who will then read the Graduation Proclamation when you legally become doctors in an instant!

But take note, the Chancellor does not suddenly flick a switch to magically turn you from a medical student into a doctor in a flash; this is a gradual transitional process which actually begins here today and which continues every day of your medical student training. So never forget you are learning to become and are inexorably becoming a doctor during the whole duration of your medical student life.

The increasing responsibility this brings will be assisted by your advancing maturity brought about by the assimilation of your medical knowledge, but also by your ever increasing experience of academic and enriched cultural life that you will experience at Northumbria University here in Newcastle, at St. George’s University in Grenada and then in the St. George’s Clinical programme both here in the United Kingdom and also in the United States of America.

Travel alone is a great educator: studying a medical curriculum is an amazing educational experience: combine the two and you have the quite awesome opportunity that St. George’s medical training can give you. An experience which thereby prepares you for the medical global world in which we now live and provides you with an experience which you will carry with you for the rest of your lives.

When the mantle of the White Coat is symbolically placed upon your shoulders and when you make your Professional Commitment, you are accepting the profound responsibility essentially required of both a medical student and doctor and you are all today beginning your journey to medical qualification.

I wish you all God’s speed in your venture.

This journey will require great learning, a process which you will need to continue throughout all of your medical careers. One of the fascinationg facts of medicine is that we are on a constantly moving scientific platform with enormous changes in the prevention and treatment of diseases.
In my lifetime I have seen how many infectious disease patterns have drastically changed with improvement in hygiene, housing and education, with the development of antibiotics and vaccination programmes  resulting in the reduction of most and elimination of some infectious diseases.

But then, for example, due to lack of hospital hygiene and abandonment of principles taught to us by Lister in the nineteenth century, together with inappropriate and overuse of antibiotics, seen nature come fighting back with MRSA and clostridium difficile.
The treatment of sexually transmitted diseases was increasingly successful, until a major revolution arrived in the form of HIV.

In surgery, streptomycin drastically changed the necessity for lung surgery for Tuberculosis. Stomach resection operations regularly performed for decades for peptic ulcer are virtually now no longer necessary because of the development of powerful gastric acid reducing drugs.
New treatments for cancer are being developed all the time: now we hear of the ability of ultra violet light to be able to release coated antibodies to kill cancer cells having reached their malignant target, thereby avoiding the side effects of chemotherapy.

One of my old surgical mentors used to say many years ago “Rodney, all the answers lie on the biochemist’s bench” Then, he was right, but now to that I think has to be added the geneticist’s and the stem cell researcher’s bench.

Many people in the developed countries of the world do not now die of old age but the degenerative diseases of old age. It seems stem cell research will in the not too far distant future be able to halt and even prevent the degeneration of tissues, so theoretically we could live forever. What enormous population problems that would cause together with all the ethical problems and end of life issues with which you all will be involved.

The Professional, ethical and financial debates all these changes will generate will be endless and will be a daunting but nevertheless interesting challenge which you will experience during your future medical careers.

This constantly moving scientific platform is not only a challenge for you but also for your teachers: we too have to keep apace!

Furthermore, if you decide to specialize, choose your speciality carefully. Streptomycin changed the necessity for all the pulmonary surgeons many years ago: The many stomach operations I performed in my career for peptic ulcers are no longer necessary, operations I performed for many years gaining access to major intraabdominal arteries via large abdominal incisions can now be accessed by using a fine arterial catheter placed via an artery in the groin. So if I were beginning vascular surgery today I would perhaps be wise to opt for interventional vascular radiology. There are numerous other examples but remember when the time comes to decide on a chosen speciality do try to envisage how it may look in 20 years time.

An interesting gaze into the medical crystal ball.

So it is not just life-style issues, so fashionable with the present generation, which are pivotal in wisely choosing one’s future medical career.

A significant number of you wish to return to your home countries to practice medicine, many of which are developing countries and you may be in awe of the task ahead of you as on qualification you may think what difference can you make to your fellow countrymen, women and children.

I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying you can make an enormous difference not only to the individual patients you treat but in turn to their families and communities so the beneficial effect is far reaching.

In 1967 when I was a final year clinical student at The Middlesex Hospital Medical School in London, I did my three month clinical elective in a Mission Hospital in Zululand, now Kwazulu in South Africa. This was of course at the time of Apartheid. The hospital was the Charles Johnson Memorial Hospital situated in Nqutu, a tiny settlement on the veldt about 30 miles from the nearest town Dundee. The hospital then had over 600 in-patients, had departments of medicine, surgery, obstetrics, gynaecology  paediatrics and a two large TB wards.

The Doctor in charge was an absolutely amazing man called Anthony Barker who with his doctor wife Maggie, went out to Nqutu in 1945 having served as a ship’s doctor in WWII in the British Merchant Navy. When he arrived there the so called “hospital” was a simple wooden dilapidated disused store containing seven frightened and suspicious patients. Dr Barker and his team over a period of years transformed that dilapidated old store into the hospital I have just described. It continues with its wonderful work to this day. When I was there in 1967 we operated most days; we had outreach clinics at trading stations on the veldt, often held in the stables; one clinic indeed on the Battlefield of Isandlwana which preceded the heroic defence of Rorke’s Drift in 1879 as depicted in the famous epic film Zulu. The way Anthony Barker changed the lives of the Zulu people and the people who were fortunate enough to know him was immeasurable. He really was a truly remarkable man.

There are of course many other examples around the world of such leviathan human efforts to improve the health of the needy; so the message is: it has been done, it is being done, more needs to be done and for many of you on the Keith Taylor Global Scholars programme your turn can come and you can be successful in such a mission.

During my very memorable time in Zululand which means “Heaven land”, I naturally assimilated some of the language: I still to this day remember amatispuni amabili gatatu neylanga….two teaspoonfuls three times a day.

On leaving Nqutu, I returned to Johannesburg prior to returning home to England and was met by the wife of a friend of mine who was the Managing Director of Canada Dry in South Africa. I was in my student rig and was met at the station by this beautiful lady, Grace, wearing a lovely summer’s dress and gorgeous hat. She took me over to a stunning cream convertible Mercedes with the roof down thereby showing off its beautiful red leather upholstery. The chauffeur dressed in his very smart grey uniform with cap and shining black knee length boots was a native African (a Zulu in fact) and as we drove through the streets of Johannesburg with the sun shining, Grace asked how I had managed conversing with the Zulu patients. Having been asked this question by a lady, I just automatically came out with a string of Zulu phrases used in the gynaecology clinics on the veldt including “get undressed” “hurry up please”,(this was related to the inordinate time it took the Zulu ladies to undo their heavy leather pleated skirts) and ”lie down, look up at heaven”.  “Lala pansi begape Zulu”.

Now in 1967 at the height of Apartheid, fraternizing with native African females was I recall a capital offence. The chauffeur obviously totally unaware of my medical connection, turned round and glared at me in total amazement and utter horror to which Grace briskly patted him twice on the shoulder and said “It’s perfectly all right Mhambi, Baba’s a doctor, he was treating patients; drive on!”. Serenity was restored!

All of you White coat students here today have a marvellous opportunity ahead of you with the global medical passport a St.George’s MD affords you. So grasp it, as there are great works to be done and wonderful ambitions to be achieved. Enjoy your student life with your colleagues, teachers, families and friends, especially as it really does go quite quickly!

Again many thanks to St.George’s for their kind invitation to address you on this wonderful and memorable occasion of your White Coat Ceremony here today which I have no doubt will live long in your memories.

Also again, many congratulations to the January 2008 students who are entering the St. George’s Keith Taylor Global scholars programme at Northumbria University.

In conclusion, may your student days and indeed the journey throughout the whole of your future medical careers and lives prove to be for you all, a fulfilling, worthwhile and joyous adventure.
For if it is so and I am confident it shall be, you will then justifiably be able to say at the end of your medical careers and indeed lives,

“My time on earth was not wasted”.

The very best of luck to you all!

Thank you.

New Class of KBTGSP Medical Students Take Oath at White Coat Ceremony

news-croftwwc3St. George’ s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) along with Northumbria University’s School of Applied Sciences (NU) officially welcomed a new class of medical students into the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP).  On January 17, 2008 the incoming class, which is nearly double the size of the inaugural Jan ’07 class of 54 students, participated in the symbolic White Coat Ceremony held at Northumbria University.

The SGU faculty, staff, students and their families were honored to have Mr. Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies, UK deliver the Keynote Address. Dr. Brian Curry, Associate Dean, Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, led the Processional while Dr. Peter Beaumont, an SGUSOM alumnus, served as the Master of Ceremonies.  They were joined by Calum Macpherson, SGU’s Vice Provost for International Program Development and NU’s  Vice Chancellor  Kel Fidler .

Dean Croft has had a distinguished career in both General and Vascular surgery in London.  As the UK’s Principal Expert on cardiovascular implants since 1993, he has been involved with establishing major Standards for cardiovascular implants and has been published in many scientific journals.

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Dean Croft’s association with St. George’s University began in 1980 when he started teaching SGUSOM students at the North Middlesex University Hospital.  Beginning in 1986, he served as the Director of Medical Education for 15 years.  He also held the posts of Professor of Surgery and Chairman of the UK Surgical Faculty before his 2003 appointment as Dean of Clinical Studies, UK.

As he addressed the KBTGSP incoming class, now representing 14 countries throughout the world, Dean Croft emphasized the critical link between art and medicine.  He urged each student to take stock in the importance of both the scientific knowledge of medicine and the art of nurturing the patient-doctor relationship.  “Knowledge of the science of medicine is crucial but dealing compassionately and empathetically with patients and their relatives is truly the art of medicine,” said Dean Croft.  “Teaching the Art as well as the Science is rightfully a great priority for St. George’s”, he continued.

Interspersed with humorous retrospectives of his personal journey as a medical student, Mr. Croft explained that the opportunity which lay ahead of this group of young men and women is in fact, a great privilege.  As they begin to experience the academic and enriched cultural life of the KBTGSP, they must not forget that with privilege comes obligation, to their professors, families, fellow students and above all, themselves.

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Many of the KBTGSP students will return to their homes in developing countries, thereby fulfilling a dream shared by the late Vice-Chancellor Emeritus Keith B. Taylor himself.  In his closing remarks, Dean Croft applauded these endeavors, which he believes have far-reaching beneficial effects on health care in the world.  “I have no hesitation whatsoever in saying you can make an enormous difference not only to the individual patients you treat, but in turn to their families and communities.”

Mr. Croft’s knowledge of UK undergraduate medical education is extensive, having served 13 years as Clinical Sub-Dean at The Royal Free Hospital Medical School, now the Royal Free University College Medical School.  Dean Croft was a member of the Governing School Council for nine years, the lead controlling Committee for the Medical School.  In 1993, he was awarded the School Medal of the Royal Free, the highest award given, and one which is highly regarded by London University.   He was appointed Honorary Senior Lecturer in Surgery at London University in 1994.

Educated at Selwyn College in Cambridge and Middlesex Hospital Medical School, Mr. Croft obtained a Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 1972.  Two years later, he received a Master of Surgery degree at Cambridge University and became a freeman of the City of London and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons.    From 1972-1974 he was commissioned s a Captain in the Royal Army Medical Corps TAVR attached to C Squadron 21 SAS and thereafter as Surgeon Lieutenant Commander Royal Naval Reserve (1974 – 1983). Mr. Rodney Croft lives on the outskirts of London, is married with three grown children.  He enjoys travel and rowing, and is a keen clarinetist and saxophonist.

Read Dean Rodney Croft’s complete Keynote Address.

“One World, One Health, One Medicine” Clinic a Success

group picture of one health one medicine 2007On Saturday, November 10th over 60 medical and veterinary medical students joined forces to assist the community of Dierre Morne, St. David in Grenada. “One World, One Health, One Medicine” Project was the University’s first health clinic providing both human and animal health care to those who attended.  The event was the brainchild of third term vet student Brittany King, who was inspired by a woman who attended a previous vet clinic. While appreciative of the care her pet received she expressed concern that the health care and education of the pet owners themselves was being overlooked.

Brittany took these remarks to heart.  As a class representative for the Student Affiliate of the American Veterinary Medical Association (SAAVMA), Brittany is well aware of the convergence of animal, human and ecosystem health and the importance of the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” concept.  Armed with the belief that improving health care worldwide is a collaborative effort, she approached American Medical Student Association (AMSA) President Asad Bandealey about a health clinic that would address the needs of both humans and animals.   Enthusiastic about this initiative, both began to solicit volunteers from their respective schools, raise money, seek donations and select a location.

With the help of SGU faculty, student volunteers and clinicians from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital (VTH), an impressive health clinic for humans and animals was successfully created.  One week prior to the event, local radio, television and print advertisements promoted the event. SGU’s Communications Office facilitated this by producing the flyer, scripting and placing the radio and television advertisements and inviting the media, as is the case with every health fair.  “This,” said Brittany “was critical to the success of the health clinic.”  One local television station actually attended the event.

Proudly wearing bright green t-shirts designed by King, all volunteers began their day with enthusiasm and a desire to make a difference. Two tremendous tents were erected, accommodating medical and veterinary medical student volunteers and their patients.  Medical students also used the Parish church to ensure privacy for patients during medical exams and screenings.

Throughout the day, 40 medical student volunteers treated 140 patients, including 20 senior citizens at a local nursing home and five home-bound patients.  Tests were administered for blood pressure, blood glucose, eyes and hearing.  Breast cancer screening and self-examination techniques, along with patient education and children’s health were also part of the day’s activities.  AMSA was joined by IEA, the SGU academic honor society, SGU’s Pediatrics Club and Women in Medicine (WIM), a group under the AMSA umbrella.  According to Stephanie Muriglan, the President of WIM, her group’s mission is not just medicinal: “At these health fairs, WIM has set a goal to bring awareness to women about the importance of these clinical measures. Knowledge and control over their reproductive health is an important form of empowerment.”

Twenty veterinary medical students and seven clinicians from the VTH treated more than 60 dogs and cats through a variety of treatments including oral dewormers, mange treatments and vaccinations.  Brittany explained that they used a new three-year continuum DAP-R vaccine from Intervet, which will keep the animals protected from distemper, rabies, adenovirus and parvovirus longer than the previous one-year vaccine.   The animals’ owners also received Banfield leashes, collars and bandanas, in addition to a wealth of information about the health of their animals.  The veterinary medical students were surprised but not daunted by the attendance of six goats joined together by a rope.  With no large animal vaccines available, volunteers did their best to examine the animals and educate the owner about their care.

The impact of the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” Health Fair has reached beyond Grenada. Intervet, the supplier and sponsor of the veterinary vaccine DAP-R, matched the 200 vaccines used at St. David with a donation of 200 vaccines for animals in Africa.   This is proof that a unified effort within the broader health science profession is the most powerful and effective tool in improving health care worldwide.

For more photos of the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” Health Fair….

Published on 12/10/07

St. George’s University Hosts 30th Anniversary Global Education Symposium

Left to Right: Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan; Dr. John Rowett; Dr. Charles Modica; Dr. Allen Pensick; Dr. Calum Macpherson; Dr. Wally Morrow

Left to Right: Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan; Dr. John Rowett; Dr. Charles Modica; Dr. Allen Pensick; Dr. Calum Macpherson; Dr. Wally Morrow

On November 10, 2007, a panel of world-renowned experts on global education and health delivery captivated the audience by contrasting the opportunities created by developed and developing nations, and the subsequent impact on their economies.  St. George’s University’s Provost Allen H. Pensick welcomed over 300 participants to the True Blue campus for this 30 th  Anniversary Symposium titled “The Role of Education in Global Human Development.”

The first speaker, Dr. John Rowett, focused on the inequality of tertiary education in his address titled   “Challenging Global Inequality: Tertiary Education in the South.”  As the former Secretary General of the Association of Commonwealth Universities, Dr. Rowett has been involved in a number of new Commonwealth education initiatives.  Drawing upon his expertise, Dr. Rowett highlighted the additional imbalance created by places like the UK where efforts are made to ensure that the top performing international students studying there are retained for jobs within the UK.  Dr. Rowett suggested strengthening policies for tertiary education, expanding scholarships, improving networking among tertiary institutions and increasing funding for tertiary education as some of the possible approaches to dealing with the problem.  Quoting Nelson Mandela, Dr. Rowett identified the existing problem as urgent and warranting immediate action at all levels “to close the circle of history.”

Under his leadership, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Association of African Universities developed a ten-year US$8 billion partnership program.  With his expertise, he contrasted the tertiary education in Ghana and Malaysia since their achievement of independence 50 years ago.  He indicated that the education sector is one of the contributing factors in Malaysia’s economic development and that by 2020 it is expected to become a developed country.  In comparison, Ghana, plagued by weak educational institutions, “brain drain” and other challenges, has failed to make similar strides.

Dr. Rowett has been honored in England for his contribution to UK – South African relations.  In 2003, he co-founded the Mandela Rhodes Foundation which is dedicated to education and human capacity development in Africa.  Under his leadership as the Chief Executive of the Rhodes Trust he has committed £10 million over the next decade to the Foundation’s development

Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, the George Washington University Head Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, is an expert on human resources for health with a long record of research and publication on the issues of the US and global health workforce.  Dr. Mullan’s presentation titled “The Hinged World: Doctors and Diseases on the Move,” reinforced Dr. Rowett’s concerns with “brain drain” occurring in developing countries.  Dr. Mullan noted the direct correlation between increased mobility of persons and the spread of diseases – a reality which places an increasing burden on healthcare sectors.   Unfortunately for developing countries, Mullan described a “success quandary”: the better they do in terms of educating personnel, the more likely they are to lose these successful professionals to developed countries.  Creative incentives for healthcare workers, enforceable bonding programs, emigration regulations and opportunities for trained personnel to practice within their home countries were among measures employed in some developing states to address this challenge. These, he said, have had limited success.   Dr. Mullan acknowledged that these would enjoy far greater success if developed countries were to meet their own demand for professionals, which is a situation he himself does not think likely.

Dr. Wally Morrow, a respected and progressive academic, is one of the most distinctive thinkers in South African education.  With a career in tertiary education that spans over 30 years, he emphasized the necessity of prioritizing education at the national level in his presentation titled “Education for All in South Africa: Thirteen Years after the Transition to Democracy”.  “Good intentions are not enough,” said Morrow, who contended that although access to education has increased, quality has suffered.  He identified the root causes as the shortage of financial and other resources, reverse discrimination where students must be promoted despite their lack of academic achievement, side-lining of academic professionals, marginalization of the practice of teaching, poor distribution of teachers and underemployment of human resources.  The former Dean of Education at two South African Universities, Morrow proposed redefining the perception of the education sector beyond a mere service provider to a system that sees teachers as respected professionals who must be integrally involved in planning outcomes for their students.  Dr. Morrow also believes that it is essential to separate the teaching function from the other support services necessary for learning to take place.  Finally, according to the presenter, in South Africa there is a need for fairer distribution of professional teachers.

The final speaker of the day, St. George’s University’s Vice Provost for International Program Development Dr. Calum Macpherson, outlined the institution’s contribution to education and research in the region and beyond.  Dr. Macpherson showed WINDREF’s partners throughout the world and highlighted the accomplishments of the research teams which have presented at international conferences for over 13 years.  St. George’s has almost 7,000 graduates from more than 130 countries working around the globe.  With the creation of the Windward Islands Research & Education Foundation (WINDREF) on its campus in 1993, research students have collaborated with Ministries of Health, alumni, other universities, non-governmental organizations and communities on various projects.  Dengue fever, the Mona Monkey, HIV, AIDS and water are among the critical subjects studied by WINDREF researchers.

Dr. Macpherson shared Dean Margaret Lambert’s presentation as she was unable to attend.  This presentation showed the true nature of SGU’s international community.  Fully 40% of the students are non-US, up from 10% 15 years ago.  The University is realizing its goal of creating a truly international educational haven for students to live and work side by side and create a worldwide, lifelong network of colleagues and friends.
30th anniversary symposium

Lively and dynamic question and answer sessions followed each main speaker which challenged presenters and participants to analyze the implications of the topic as it applied to individuals, institutions and nations as a connected entity.  SGU’s Dr. Antonia MacDonald-Smythe, Associate Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, successfully facilitated the discussions throughout the day.

The objective of the 30 th  Anniversary Symposium was two-fold: encouraging greater deliberation on the issues affecting the delivery of education and the consequences for national development, and challenging the University and other institutions to respond to the demands on and responsibility of education in a world with abundant resources, unequal distribution and disproportionate opportunities.

For complete presentations by Dr. Wally Morrow and Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan please see:

Dr. Wally Morrow Power Point Presentation
Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan Power Point Presentation

Published 11/19/2007

Dr. Mahr’s School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony Keynote Address

Dr. Roger K. Mahr, Immediate Past President of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), inspired a new class of 82 veterinary medical students during his keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony held at St. George’s University on August 21st, 2007.

Congratulations as you enter the veterinary medical profession!

As a student at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, and as you now receive your white coat, you are a part of the veterinary medical profession.

It is indeed a privilege for me to bring greetings and congratulations on your achievement from the 75,000 members of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In a few short years you will be stating the following words: “I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society”.

Those words are part of the Veterinarian’s Oath, and you will repeat those words as you receive the value of a lifetime…the value of your veterinary medical diploma.No other profession, I believe, has a comparable value to society.

No other profession for sure has as much impact on the health of both animals and people.

Acquiring that value and entering the veterinary medical profession is a great privilege.

You are indeed privileged.

With each privilege…and with each value… comes responsibility.

This evening as I welcome you into the veterinary medical profession, I would like to share with you a quote which has formed the basis for my outlook on life, and in particular my career in veterinary medicine.  It is by a philosopher named Huston Smith, and he states:

“Infinite gratitude towards all things past;
Infinite service towards all things present;
Infinite responsibility towards all things future.”

“Infinite gratitude towards all things past”.

As colleagues, you and I can be justly proud of our rich heritage.

Think about your past, your achievements, and your experiences that have led to this day.

I am grateful for my roots growing up on a dairy farm and for those life experiences that I had prior to becoming a veterinary medical student at Iowa State University.

Like most of you I sought to become a veterinarian because of an early human-animal connection.

My first bonding was with a Guernsey calf.  I still recall the thrill of participating in my first pet parade.  With a bottle of milk replacer, I proudly led my calf around the hometown square with a sign on my back, “June is Dairy Month, We Drink Milk”.

I know each of you have stories that you can share as well…Experiences that have brought you to this achievement of becoming a student of veterinary medicine.

As fitting as it is to reflect on our past and express our gratitude, I believe that it is more important to look to the future, knowing that our past will always be a part of our future.As we look to the future of the veterinary medical profession, the necessity for unity of our profession is apparent.

Veterinary medicine is a small profession with great responsibilities and vast opportunities.Companion animal practice, food supply veterinary medicine, public health, and biomedical research are only a few of the career opportunities that will be open to you.

It is this diversity of expertise combined with a commitment to working together that defines our veterinary medical profession.

The AVMA is that unified voice and unifying voice of our profession.

We are all partners in striving to fulfill the AVMA Mission, “Improving Animal and Human Health, Advancing the Veterinary Medical Profession”.

“Infinite Service towards all things present”.

Your first and primary service now is to make the most of your educational opportunities here at St. George’s University.

Utilize your excellent resources, including your professional educators and facilities, to develop your knowledge and skills.

I encourage you to become involved with your student organizations, and specifically invite you to become actively involved with the Student AVMA, to help shape the future of our profession.  Serve your profession now by joining together with your colleagues, fellow students and veterinarians alike.

Your education provides you with the knowledge necessary to become a veterinarian.  But lifelong friendships and relationships built through Student AVMA and AVMA activities, and other organizations, will also provide an unlimited source of knowledge as well as professional strength and satisfaction.

“Infinite responsibility towards all things future”.

You are the future leaders of the veterinary medical profession.

The AVMA recognizes and values your role in the future of the veterinary medical profession as a leader.

The AVMA strives to nourish that leadership development by supporting Student AVMA activities and having students serve in the AVMA House of Delegates and as valuable members of several AVMA committees.Your voice is needed to address the important issues facing our profession now and in the future.

It was my privilege to have served last year with Dr. Kara Tassone who graduated this year from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine.  Kara served as president of the Student AVMA.

As SAVMA president Kara served in the AVMA House of Delegates, served on the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee, and attended all AVMA Executive Board Meetings.
Leadership from the veterinary medical profession is critical to the future well being of our global society.

Consider these facts:

  • 75% of all emerging diseases in people in the past 25 years are zoonotic

 

  • 21 billion animals were produced for food and fiber throughout the world last year alone
  • 38,000 animals cross the US borders every day

Animal health and public health are truly at a crossroads.

The convergence of animal, human, and ecosystem health dictates that the One World One Health One Medicine concept must be embraced.  Avian influenza, tuberculosis, HIV, West Nile Virus, monkey pox and many more certainly underscore the one health concept.

As veterinarians, and as veterinary medical students, collaborating and cooperating with our colleagues in human medicine, public health, and the environmental sciences is imperative.

Together we can accomplish more to improve health worldwide than we can alone…and we, as the veterinary medical profession have the responsibility to assume a major leadership role in that effort.

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend the White Coat Ceremony for the School of Medicine.  In a short time they too will acquire the value of their lifetime…the value of their medical diploma.I encourage you to collaborate, cooperate and communicate with the other health science professional students here at St. George’s University.

I would further encourage you to take the leadership initiative to enhance that relationship.  In closing, let me return to where I started… Value…Privilege…Responsibility

I challenge you to periodically ask yourself the question…What is my value and responsibility as a veterinary medial professional?

It is my fervent hope and vision, that we as veterinary medical professionals, together with our other health science professional colleagues, will assume our collaborative responsibility…to protect and promote our immeasurable value, to utilize that value to its fullest, and to make sure that our future is a promising future…a future of even greater value.

Congratulations again, as you embark on your professional career in veterinary medicine!

Published 10/2/2007

Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation/St. George’s University to Host Childhood Obesity Symposium on March 11-12, 2008

robert wood johnson foundation logoOn March 11-12, 2008, St. Georges University (SGU) in collaboration with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) will host a Symposium on Childhood Obesity to be held in the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in the School of Medicine.  This event is being funded by a $50,000 USD grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), one of the world’s largest private philanthropies which, for over thirty years, has been devoted exclusively to improving the health care of those it serves.

This is the first time SGU, through the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), has been the recipient of a RWJF grant.  Through this Symposium, SGU intends to continue the Foundation’s mission by addressing the concerns of childhood obesity as an urgent public health problem.  WINDREF/SGU have invited a panel of world-renowned specialists in the fields of Public Health, Childhood Obesity, Communications, Nutrition, Law and Bioethics to raise awareness and identify solutions to the obesity epidemic.

Invited participants will address the epidemiologic, ethical and anthropologic issues inherent in societal approaches to childhood obesity.   Topics will include: state of the science on health risks and causality, ethical issues on interventions when knowledge is incomplete and anthropologic approaches to policies and programs affecting multiple risks simultaneously.

The ultimate purpose of the Symposium is to provide information which will directly impact evaluations and programs in childhood obesity, as well as future research in each of the panel areas.  Speaker recommendations will be assembled into a white paper suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed format.  Oxford University Press is currently evaluating a proposal for publication.

The overall success of this program will be measured in the publication of results, and how they influence funding and evaluation activities in the coming years.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides grants for projects in the US and US territories that advance its mission to improve health and healthcare for all Americans.  Reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015 by improving affordable healthy foods and increasing opportunities for physical activity in school communities, is one of several specific goals of the Foundation.  SGU and WINDREF are proud to support the RWJF in its initiative.

Published 10/2/2007

School of Veterinary Medicine Welcomes Incoming Students at White Coat Ceremony

roger k mahr portraitDr. Roger K. Mahr, Immediate Past President of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), inspired a new class of 82 veterinary medical students during his keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony held at St. George’s University on August 21st, 2007.  Dr. Michelle Cook, SGUSVM ’05 alumni and a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was the Master of Ceremonies and introduced the speakers.  Chancellor Charles R. Modica graciously welcomed the students and encouraged them to pursue their profession with integrity and commitment.  Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, SVM, expressed the importance of continuously upholding standards in a profession they are privileged to serve.

As he addressed his audience of students, family, friends and SGU faculty, Dr. Mahr drew upon an impressive 34-year career in small animal practice and his experience as 2005/06 President-Elect of the AVMA.  Dr. Mahr emphasized the critical role veterinary medicine plays in securing the health and welfare of both people and animals.   “No other profession, I believe, has a comparable value to society,” he expressed.

Dr. Mahr shared a quote from contemporary author, scholar and philosopher, Huston Smith:

“Infinite gratitude towards all things past;
Infinite service towards all things present;Infinite responsibility towards all things future.”

“This,” said Mahr, ”formed the basis for my outlook on life, and in particular my career in veterinary medicine.”  He continued to define the relevance of this to his audience.  “All things past” referred to the motivation that led to this day.  Dr. Mahr spoke of his youth, being raised on an Iowa dairy farm, which supremely influenced his pursuit of a career in veterinary medicine.

While the past will always remain a part of our lives, Dr. Mahr stressed the importance of looking toward the future, as “veterinary medicine is a small profession with great responsibilities and vast opportunities.”  He spoke of the need for unity in the profession, and the role the AVMA plays as that singular voice.  He encouraged each of the students to serve the profession by building relationships through both the Student AVMA and AVMA activities, mentioning recent SGUSVM grad and Past President of the Student AVMA , Dr. Kara Tassone, who actively served in various AVMA capacities.  “You are the future leaders of the veterinary medical profession,” said Dr. Mahr.  “Your voice is needed to address the important issues facing our profession now and in the future.”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Mahr discussed the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” concept whereby animal, human and ecosystem health converge.  He stressed the critical role that leadership plays in the future well being of our global society.  It is the responsibility of today’s veterinary medical students in collaboration with other health science professional students to assume this role in the years ahead.

A native of south-central Iowa, Dr. Mahr received his veterinary medical degree from Iowa State University in 1971.   Following graduation, he moved to suburban Chicago where he established, owned and directed the Meadow View Veterinary Clinic in Geneva, Illinois, an accredited hospital member of the American Animal Hospital Association from 1974 to 2004.  Dr. Mahr has been active in organized veterinary medicine his entire career, holding many influential positions at regional and national veterinary organizations.

SGU was privileged to have Dr. Mahr speak at the University.

Read Dr. Mahr’s complete keynote address.

Published 10/2/2007