St. George’s University and Cardiff University Create New Student Exchange Program

An agreement has been made between St. George’s University and Cardiff University in Wales that will provide opportunities for students to participate in exchange programs to bolster their training and further develop international partnerships between leading healthcare institutions.

The new five-year agreement, signed between SGU and Cardiff University’s School of Healthcare Sciences, will pave the way for students studying nursing, midwifery, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, radiotherapy, and operating department practice to spend three weeks studying at the partner university, gaining international experience and new professional connections.

Under the agreement, exchange students will continue to pay tuition fees to their home university, with the host university waiving their tuition fees for the duration of study. They will be fully registered members of the host university, and have the same access to all academic, support, and recreational services as the resident student body. They will also receive a Statement of Attendance for their period of study at their host institution.

“We’re delighted to have struck this new agreement with Cardiff University,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “It is a testament to the growing prominence of SGU as a highly regarded international center of healthcare education, and a strong endorsement of both our programs and our students—recognized around the world for their quality.”

This new exchange program with Cardiff University will allow SGU students to benefit from studying with one of the top-ranked research departments in the UK. In turn, Cardiff students will have the chance to further their education at our beautiful True Blue campus in Grenada, alongside their contemporaries from more than 140 countries around the world.

“Our school in Cardiff University is committed to enhancing global networking. This MOU allows healthcare students an opportunity to experience healthcare education and practice in a different cultural context,” said Professor Dianne Watkins, Cardiff University Deputy Head of School, International and Engagement. “The first exchange of nursing students is underway and they are very excited to be part of this collaboration. We hope our partnership with St. George’s University will develop further and encompass opportunities for teacher exchange and joint research in the future.”

The partnership compliments SGU’s existing UK presence, with all MD students already offered the opportunity to undertake the first year of their program at Northumbria University in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program—now in its 12th year. SGU students can also take advantage of third year core placements at 16 NHS affiliated UK hospitals.

SGU recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Health Education England (HEE), which is expected to enable 50 to 100 SGU graduates every year to undertake postgraduate training in England. Under this agreement, SGU School of Medicine graduates will join the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) Program, an initiative within the NHS to recruit overseas postgraduate doctors into underserved specialisms, including General Practice and Psychiatry.

St. George’s University and Felician University Announce Medical and Veterinary Educational Partnership

St. George’s University and Felician University have launched a program that will allow qualified applicants to Felician to receive early admission to the medical or veterinary schools at St. George’s.

“We are excited to welcome Felician University’s best and brightest to our campus in Grenada,” Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said. “This partnership will allow aspiring doctors and veterinarians to focus on their studies at Felician, secure in the knowledge that they’ll have a spot reserved for them in our medical or veterinary school.”

Students who wish to pursue one of the combined degree programs apply to Felician. St. George’s will consult with Felician on their applications and conduct interviews with qualified candidates. The universities will jointly makes offers for the combined program.

According to Dr. Anne Prisco, President of Felician University, “Several Felician students have attended St. George’s University. This partnership expands our relationship to a new level and provides our incoming students who qualify for this program the peace of mind they need to focus their efforts on preparing for their professional studies.”

In order to proceed to the St. George’s University School of Medicine, Felician students must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.4 and an MCAT score within three points of the previous term’s average score at St. George’s. To be eligible to continue onto the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, Felician students must have a grade point average of at least 3.1 and a GRE score of at least 300. A letter of recommendation from the appropriate Felician University faculty is also required.

Medical students will complete their first two years of medical study in Grenada and then undertake two years of clinical training at hospitals affiliated with St. George’s in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Students pursuing degrees in veterinary medicine will study in Grenada for three years and spend their final clinical year at affiliated universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, or Australia.

Felician University joins a network of dozens of institutes of higher learning in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom that have teamed up with St. George’s to offer students an accelerated path to a career as a doctor or veterinarian.

“It’s a privilege to educate the next generation of doctors and veterinarians,” Dr. Olds said. “These future graduates of Felician and St. George’s will play a critical role in addressing the world’s most pressing health challenges.”

Belford Centre Named for St. George’s University Visionary

St. George’s University dedicates a bronze plaque at Andrew J. Belford Centre in honor of Andrew Belford, SGU’s first Director of Admissions and visionary architect of SGU’s True Blue Campus.

This miraculous University with four schools, 52 academic programs, and students and faculty from over 140 countries had a humble beginning, powered at the time by a few people with vision, dedication, guts, and determination. A 26-year old youth, Charles Modica, had a vision whose outcome 40 years later far surpassed any of his wildest dreams. Andy Belford was by his side the whole time. Andy was the first Director of Admissions. He believed so much in the vision, in his friend, Charlie, that he was able to articulate that amazing dream to 200 incoming medical students in January of 1977.

After recruiting the first few years of entering students, and helping to shape the University’s mission, curriculum, and underlying ethos, Mr. Belford was responsible for transforming an empty peninsula into the iconic True Blue Campus landscape, a, world-class campus filled with striking neo-Cape Colonial buildings which form the perfect place to learn and live. Under his guidance and vision, the University erected more than 65 beautiful, functional buildings along the True Blue peninsula. The vibrant, magnificent campus we see today is a result of his inspiration and indefatigable spirit.

At a July 1 ceremony attended by family and friends, the University honored Andy Belford by naming its new, grand, multipurpose, fitness and study center the Andrew J. Belford Centre. A bronze plaque in front of the Andrew J. Belford Centre—outlining the foundation he built and his immeasurable impact—was unveiled in front of the SGU administrators, faculty, and staff, as well as family and friends, in attendance.

“Although he didn’t do the architectural design this time around for our newest building, he was part of its inspiration,” said Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University. “All of his ideas for the University, his devotion and dedication, from getting students here in the beginning to creating this amazing campus, are all embodied in this legacy to his vision.”

Belford Centre features an open-air ground floor along with an exterior pavilion just off the beach, while the second-level fitness center overlooking the Caribbean Sea includes cardio and weight training equipment, and other recreational instruction. The building’s upper levels house a new group study space.

“Andy was also much more than the designer of this campus,” said Margaret Lambert, Vice President and Dean for Enrollment Planning. “I believe that SGU would not be what it has become today without his constant, intuitive, and intelligent contributions to the large initiatives of the Chancellor and the other Founders, and his tireless involvement with the development of both the campus and the University as a whole.”

After nine years as Director of Admissions, Mr. Belford embarked on an entirely new journey, enrolling in architectural school. When he returned to Grenada, he became an instrumental piece of the University’s extensive growth, working closely with Grenadian builder Anslem La Touche to transform the few original structures in True Blue into a sweeping master plan that is now SGU’s campus.

“Andy designed and built this place one building at a time but managed to put the whole thing together in such a way that it looked like the entire campus was planned 42 years ago—that was part of his genius,” added Chancellor Modica.

Andy Belford’s perspective during the University’s infancy and throughout its growth into an international hub of education was greatly valued by Chancellor Modica, SGU’s academic board, and to the entire administration. For his impact on the University’s evolution and success, Mr. Belford was awarded the Order of the Mace, the University’s highest honor, in 2010, joining Chancellor Modica, Sir Kenneth Stuart, and Provost Emeritus Allen Pensick on the short list of recipients.

“Many of us created St. George’s together, but I know in my heart that St. George’s would not be this marvelous place, this magnificent University, without Andy Belford,” Dean Lambert said. “Andy’s spirit runs deep throughout this entire campus—and through its people.  It is fitting that he will be remembered by all those that use this striking building in years to come.”

Charles Modica, Chancellor and Founder of St. George’s University, embraces his longtime confidante, Andy Belford, in a ceremony in which the campus’ new fitness and study center was named the Andrew J. Belford Centre.

For Students, Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy Is a Glimpse of Their Future

For the past 16 years, St. George’s University’s Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy has provided college and high school students from around the world with an insider’s view of medical or veterinary medical school. This summer, more than 80 aspiring physicians and veterinarians were provided with insight into their future professions to help them make a well-informed decision before fully committing to such rigorous careers.

Successfully balancing a challenging academic program with extracurricular activities selected to highlight the culture and innate beauty of Grenada, the Summer Academy program offers courses that combine didactic lectures, small-group problem-solving sessions, practical lab work in state-of-the art facilities, and hands-on training through simulated and real-life situations.

Attending this year’s program was Pranav Lakhan, a 16-year-old student from Mumbai, India who traveled to Grenada from Paris, France. Mr. Lakhan enrolled in the Academy with hopes of interacting and gaining insight from existing students on what he would be experiencing in a few years when he enters medical school.

“I think the Summer Academy is an invaluable platform for aspiring medical professionals to get experience while still in school, which is an absolutely rare opportunity,” said Mr. Lakhan, who was one of more than a dozen Academy attendees who hailed from India. “We visited the labs for anatomy, suturing, and ultrasounds, which was mind blowing. I felt like I was a real medical student in medical school. Although the pressure may be a little overwhelming at first, it was still an amazing experience that just filled you with knowledge and all you had to do was absorb it. I think this program gives you a good indication of what medical school will actually be like. To any aspiring students that want to come here, it’s an absolutely surreal experience.”

Also, participating in the Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy was 16-year-old Reet Kohli, a 12thgrade student also visiting from India. Coming from a family of doctors, Ms. Kohli has known since sixth grade that she wanted to become a doctor. Enrolling in the Summer Academy gave her a closer look into the practical aspects of the profession that she expects to pursue.

“This was my first time traveling alone, but once I got here it has been a really fun experience,” Ms. Kohli said. “I feel at home in Grenada. It is such a beautiful place. My parents were very supportive of me coming here and very happy that I was going to get this opportunity. In India, we are taught from the textbooks, so although we know what a cadaver is, to actually see one in real life was a truly great experience. Getting to wear a stethoscope, using all the equipment that doctors use and hearing the professors refer to you as ‘doctor’ is just an amazing feeling. This experience has given me more confidence that yes, this is what I want to do with my life. Putting on those scrubs, I can imagine myself living in them for the rest of my life.”

Heather Brathwaite, who has directed the Met-Vet Summer Leadership Academy for the last 13 years, has seen many of the students come full circle.

“It’s been an amazing opportunity and very rewarding to be able to see the students come to the program and then later come back as enrolled students at SGU,” added Ms. Brathwaite. “Many of these same students also come back to work for the Summer Academy while they’re studying at SGU.”

“One of the major goals of the Academy is to help students decide whether this is the path they want to choose,” she added. “With a mix of academic and fun activities, they go to lectures and labs just like our regular SGU medical and veterinary students do. They receive one-on-one attention, working closely with our actual SGU faculty who provide hands-on experience utilizing equipment and materials that most students their age would not have the chance to.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Supports Sports and Education With Jason Roberts Foundation

Each year since its inception in 2007, the Jason Roberts Foundation (JRF) has held a no-cost football summer program aimed at providing opportunities for children and young people to participate in structured football activities across Grenada and the Caribbean. As a premier supporter of the Foundation from the beginning, St. George’s University offers assistance in the form of administration, accommodation, educational facilities, and physical practice areas and, starting this year, transportation for participants residing outside of St. George’s.

“The free football summer program is a great way of keeping the kids engaged in something positive once the school term ends,” said Andre Paterson, Chairman, JRF. “As this is our first time utilizing the Woburn playing field, we are really grateful for SGU’s assistance in bringing those kids who live outside of the St. George’s area to participate. Having this transportation makes a big difference. We’re able to give kids an opportunity to take part in a free program that they probably wouldn’t have had a chance to do otherwise.”

Since the launch of its pilot program 11 years ago, which attracted more than 650 young people, the Foundation has developed a weekly timetable of structured sporting activities which include: After-School Clubs, Saturday Morning Coaching Centers, St. George’s University Team Training, and a Special Needs Training Session, as well as Women’s Football and Monthly Floodlit Football sessions.

“We’ve now also grown to where we have three parish programs that are ongoing. Three to five times a week, we deliver sporting and social programs in Gouyave, Grenville, and the Limes in Grand Anse,” stated Mr. Paterson. “We use sports to get the kids interested and bring them in after school, and there we offer the social aspects where we teach them about bullying, equality, and even nutrition. All of these different concepts normally should be taught in schools, but because we’re a more relaxed environment, we seem to be getting more out of it and out of them.

Jason Roberts (left) welcomed England’s Prince Harry to Grenada in November 2016.

“The biggest step forward we’ve had so far this year is with girls’ empowerment,” added Mr. Paterson. “We’re specifically targeting young girls to get them more involved because there is a situation in our culture where the girls have to go straight home after school to take care of their siblings, or maybe start dinner for their parents, so they miss out on a lot of opportunities. That’s why we’re now trying to reengage our young girls to the forefront.”

Founded by Jason Roberts MBE, former UK Premier League and Grenada National Team football player, the Foundation was created as his family’s way of giving something back to society through sport, with the aim of supporting young people, celebrating diversity, and promoting respect across communities. In 2016, Mr. Roberts was honored with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters by SGU’s School of Graduate Studies for his longtime work on behalf of disabled children in Grenada through the Foundation.

Mr. Roberts received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at SGU’s 2016 Grenada Commencement.

In recent years, the work of the Foundation has broadened to provide a more holistic program of support, including mentoring, life skills, and education and training projects within its wider sports activities. Additionally, it has worked with young people at risk of offending, those excluded from school or struggling in the school curriculum, and young people with physical and learning difficulties.

“The aim of the Foundation is to empower youth through sport. Sports made me who I am today. It teaches you how to work within a group, how to get along with others, and how to deal with success and disappointment,” commented Mr. Paterson. “And unless you’ve been on a team and played sports, I believe that part of your character doesn’t really get developed probably to its fullest extent. The kids in our program learn to accept defeat graciously and that there’s always a chance to win again tomorrow. We haven’t had many instances of conflict or fights because the kids know that, at the end of the day, it’s all about having fun and enjoying the sporting discipline that we’re teaching them.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

Health Education England and St. George’s University Reach Agreement on New Program to Fill Postgraduate Medical Training Programs in England

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University (left), and Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England, sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will allow SGU graduates to undertake postgraduate training in England through the NHS’ Widening Access to Specialty Training program.

At a ceremony in Grenada, leaders of Health Education England (HEE), part of the National Health Service (NHS), and St. George’s University signed a Memorandum of Understanding to enable SGU School of Medicine graduates to undertake postgraduate training in England, with the first intake expected in the autumn of 2018. SGU School of Medicine is the only Caribbean medical school in a direct agreement with Health Education England for the first 18-month program to provide graduates for postgraduate training. The agreement is expected to facilitate 50-100 trainees annually from SGU School of Medicine entering the NHS in England.

This agreement establishes a pathway for a significant number of SGU School of Medicine graduates to join the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) Program, an initiative within NHS that recruits overseas postgraduate doctors, with a focus on ensuring they are able to enter general practice and psychiatry training programs, the expansion of both specialties being a key priority for the NHS. Sixteen SGU graduates will begin WAST in the next seven months, with many more in the application process.

Graduates will undertake one or two postgraduate foundation years, depending on prior experience, followed by entry into specialty training. This postgraduate training is recognized for licensure and given credit in the UK, the European Union, and Commonwealth countries.

“Our role is to ensure the health workforce in England can meet the challenges faced by the NHS, which includes the provision of services in underserved areas,” said Professor Ian Cumming, Chief Executive of Health Education England. “We are very impressed that graduates provided by SGU are of the high standard demanded by the NHS; I look forward to the first intake arriving in 2018.”

St. George’s University has graduated more than 16,000 physicians who have gone on to practice medicine throughout the world.

HEE Director of Global Engagement Ged Byrne added, “St. George’s students are well qualified and talented. We anticipate they will have great success in our postgraduate training programs and in practice in the UK afterwards.”

“This agreement highlights the increasingly important role played by SGU as an international institution in global health care,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “Our extensive network of partner universities and teaching hospitals around the world, including in England, ensures our students receive a comprehensive education in a range of clinical environments. This is reflected in the fact that we are the only Caribbean medical school to enter into an agreement with HEE, enabling our graduates to apply for the WAST program. England has one of the most stringent regulatory frameworks in the world, and that our graduates now have this opportunity is reflective of their caliber. We are delighted that this major development has taken place in the 70th anniversary year of the NHS.”

With intakes in February and August each year, most successful applicants will join a one-year postgraduate foundation clinical course in England, where they will improve the skills and competencies required for admission to specialty training. The program will typically consist of six months of psychiatry training followed by six months in an acute hospital setting. Upon completing the program, graduates will be eligible to apply for an Alternative Certificate of Foundation Competencies, after which they can apply for a three-year program of specialty training in England.

Commenting on the importance of the agreement for SGU in the UK, Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies, UK, said, “I am delighted that St. George’s medical graduates, some of whom have received clinical training in our 17 NHS affiliated hospitals in England, will now have the opportunity to return to England to practice—thereby helping to offset the numerical and specialty shortage of doctors we are presently experiencing.”

The location of training for those on the WAST program will be assigned by HEE, with most programs focusing on areas of acute shortage, predominantly in the Midlands, East, North and South West of England, Yorkshire, and the Humber. Successful applicants will be offered their highest available location preference.

“One of our central aims is to find ways to train doctors in the areas they are needed most,” said Dr. Olds. “The global shortage of medical professionals is exacerbated by maldistribution, both by geography and specialty. This agreement, which will encourage our graduates to train in family medicine and psychiatry in areas of England with the greatest need, is one example of how we are making a significant positive impact around the world.”

MD Grad Goes the Distance to Provide Health Care in Impoverished Communities Worldwide

No mission had quite an impact like the first one.

Jessica Willett, MD SGU ’13, fresh out of residency and eager to experience international medicine, joined the Flying Doctors of America team on a trip to Al-Mafraq, Jordan. There she helped to operate a pediatric clinic for Syrian refugees who were forced to travel south to escape their war-torn homeland. Many of their patients had experienced unthinkable trauma.

“The issues we heard about blew me away. They had physical scars as well as emotional scars,” she recalled. “We did as much as we could for them, even though we knew the trauma would affect them for the rest of their lives. Going into it, I didn’t really think about the impact that it might have, but I’m thankful that I went.”

While the experience might have shell-shocked some, it only fueled Dr. Willett’s passion for such work. Through the Idaho-based not-for-profit, which provides treatment to the most impoverished countries and communities around the world, she has since treated patients in remote portions of Fiji, in villages deep in the Amazon rainforest in Guyana, and at Palmasola Prison in Bolivia, where she and her colleagues provided correctional care for criminals and their families, all of whom live on the premises. She even coordinated a mission to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, providing much needed care just to Grenada’s north.

The experiences have changed her not only as a doctor but as a person.

“The more you know, the greater your perspective you have,” said Dr. Willett, an emergency physician at San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, CA. “Being an ER physician, I had a little of that to start with; when you get a flat tire, I can say that it’s been worse and I’ve seen worse. But when you bear witness to these people’s lives and their stories, that feeling is emphasized.”

Her work with Flying Doctors feeds into Dr. Willett’s thirst for world travel. She has traveled to more than 40 countries, and like in life, her journey to medicine from tiny Rumney, NH, was very much a scenic route. As an undergraduate student at Ithaca College, she had designs on becoming a music teacher, but shifted paths to another passion of hers—health and physical education—two years in. Studying human anatomy opened the door to medicine, and after fulfilling her prerequisite courses, she applied to and enrolled at St. George’s University.

Dr. Willett thrived in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, for which students spend their first year at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. She further enriched her basic science and clinical training by participating in a tropical medicine selective in Kenya, and learning about healthcare methods in India as part of the medical experience selective in Karad. Even then, however, she had no idea the global path she was headed down.

Her involvement in Flying Doctors started as a curiosity—“I figured I would try it and see how it goes.” In two short years, she has not only provided care around the world but also joined the Flying Doctors inner circle, having been named to its 10-person executive board. In her new role, she has helped plan future missions to places like Ethiopia, Peru, and Tanzania, as well as return trips to Jordan and St. Vincent. Dr. Willett estimated that each trip cost around $2,000 for Flying Doctor volunteers, enough to cover costs ranging from transportation and food to lodging and supplies. They customarily bookend the missions with a day or two to plan and/or debrief, as well as relax.

Flying Doctors operates under the “Mother Teresa Principle,” seeking out and setting up in the world’s most impoverished communities. Its slogan: “Bringing hope and healing to the poorest of the poor.” In its 28-year history, the organization has embarked on more than 200 missions and treated over 185,000 patients.

“They are difficult trips,” she said. “In America, we have all the fancy machines, but on these trips, it’s almost like going back in time. Instead of focusing on technology and electronic technology, which take away a little bit from the practice of medicine, it’s really all about that connection—talking to people, examining them, learning about all these different social factors, and different types of medicine. Doing more with less and coming back to the states with that experience has improved our practice here.”

Dr. Willett has taken the reins of Flying Doctors’ return trip to St. Vincent, which she calls a “little known gem in the Caribbean.” In the inaugural visit in March, her team included two internal medicine doctors, an ophthalmologist, two dentists, and two dental assistants, all of whom collaborated with local health workers to provide medical and dental checkups, administer basic vaccines, and treat a wide variety of eye issues—by far the most abundant medical condition on the islands.

“It was great to be able to come back and use my knowledge of the Caribbean to help people in St. Vincent and on the adjacent islands,” she said. “Because of their exposure to the sunlight and dry heat, everybody had vision problems, but none of them wore eyeglasses or sunglasses despite them being so common and accessible. It’s amazing how powerful and life-changing they can be.”

“We want to see patients, but we also want to leave a community better than when we found it by connecting with people and fostering a little more ownership there,” she added. “If we continue to do that, if we empower the people in these communities, we can get to a point where they no longer need us.”

Until then, however, the Flying Doctors of America are prepared to provide care wherever it’s needed most.

“Some of these people are in places where they’ve been told or feel that they don’t matter, that they don’t deserve health care,” Dr. Willett said. “For us to come and tell them otherwise is really encouraging and overwhelming to them. We let them know that somebody cares. Somebody wants to hear their story.”

– Brett Mauser

St. George’s University’s School of Medicine Introduces College System

St. George’s University has entered a new era of medical education with a radical restructuring of the incoming classes in the Doctor of Medicine program.

Set to launch this fall, all incoming students will belong to one of nine Colleges set up to frame a learning community system with student wellness, interaction, and support at the center of the curriculum and student experience at SGU.

The mission of the system is to create a diverse collegiate environment in which students are comprehensively supported to develop and demonstrate the skills, knowledge, compassion, tolerance, commitment, and personal integrity required to be a practicing physician.

“I’m enthused about the foundation for success that this new system will create for our students,” said Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University. “Since we opened our doors more than 40 years ago, the University has always placed great pride on student success and the support they receive from faculty and their peers, and the new College structure will strengthen them both.”

Each College represents an academic family that supports the wellness of students and fosters the academic, personal, and professional development of its membership. Each will have its own director and associate director, as well as dedicated personnel for student support, including academic advisors, faculty, learning strategists, advisors, and other support staff.

The Colleges will also provide a sense of community, with each College having a dedicated master schedule of classes, and all small group work will be centered around the Colleges. College and intercollegiate social events and competitions will also take place throughout the year.

“The new College system will enhance the student experience here at SGU, not only in lectures and labs but as students live, work, and interact with each other, both on and off campus,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “We truly believe that it provides our students with the best chance to be successful in their studies and as they pursue their dream of becoming a physician.”

In addition, St. George’s University will also integrate a wellness program for students in their first term, featuring seven classes that cover such topics as lifestyle medicine, diet and nutrition, and test-taking strategies.

The nine Colleges were named after some of the most influential physicians and scientists in history, including:

  • Blackwell: Elizabeth Blackwell was a British physician who became the first woman to receive a Doctor of Medicine in the United States.
  • Curie: Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist who pioneered research on radioactivity, and the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences.
  • Fleming: Alexander Fleming was a Scottish physician-scientist best known for his discovery of  antibiotics.
  • Galen: A Greek physician and philosopher whose medical research influenced and developed the fields of anatomy, pathology, pharmacology, and more.
  • Hippocrates: The Greek physician who is commonly regarded as the Father of Medicine.
  • McIndoe: Archibald McIndoe was a New Zealand-born surgeon whose tactics to treat burns during World War II revolutionized plastic surgery.
  • Metrodora: Greek physician who wrote one the oldest surviving medical text written by a woman and who was one of the first to suggest surgical treatment for both breast and uterine cancer.
  • Peabody: Francis Peabody was an American turn of the 20th century physician famous for his dedication to compassionate patient care, as well as his work on typhoid and polio.
  • Taylor: Keith B. Taylor was SGU’s second Vice Chancellor and one of the most cited gastroenterologists of his time. This College is reserved for students who enter SGU through the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program.

– Brett Mauser

Renowned Horse Owner on SGU MD Alumnus: He “Saved My Life”

Bloodhorse.com, one of the racing industry’s leaders in covering horse racing and breeding, told the story of how horse owner Robert LaPenta was hospitalized with a rare disease back in March. That’s when St. George’s University graduate Peter Saikali, MD SGU ’15, intervened. Then an internal medicine resident at Norwalk Hospital in Connecticut, Dr. Saikali suspected that Mr. LaPenta had contracted Legionnaires’ disease.

“You read about treatments for pneumonia and viruses, but if they don’t know which exact bacteria to give you, you are in serious trouble,” Mr. LaPenta said. “It was this really smart young doctor, Dr. Saikali, who saved my life. Thank God for his diagnosis. … I was about five hours from lights out.”

Mr. LaPenta said that he will honor Dr. Saikali’s heroic efforts by naming one of his 2-year-old horses after him.

Read more about Mr. LaPenta’s treatment on bloodhorse.com.

Nursing in a New Environment

Eighteen nursing students from San Jose State University (SJSU) spent the summer building their public health resumé at St. George’s University in Grenada as part of a more than five-year partnership between the institutions. SGU hosted the SJSU students on the True Blue campus, providing an opportunity for the California nursing students to enhance their leadership skills, professional development, and management skills, all within a cultural context.

Deborah Nelson, a nursing lecturer at the Valley Foundation School of Nursing at San Jose State, was one of the three faculty members escorting the students on the study abroad course to Grenada. After a 37-year-long career, the retired nurse joined SJSU 12 years ago and has been a part of its Global Service Learning in Nursing program since its inception.

“The program primarily focuses on cultural competence, collaboration, and community-needs assessment,” said Ms. Nelson. “We’re not here to do what we think we need to do; we’re here to find out what the Grenadian community needs from us and what they want us to do. As a partner, SGU provides a cultural atmosphere that engages interaction between our students and both the local nurses and nursing students at the University. We are fortunate to have this partnership and this continued sustainable program.”

According to Ms. Nelson, this is one of the first programs of its kind in the US to offer credits towards a major, which grants the SJSU students the opportunity to graduate one semester earlier. She believes that with the current nursing shortage in the US and the SJSU students’ desire to enter the nursing profession, this program is highly beneficial to the future nurses.

“Additionally, our students are here learning from another culture and being aware of others and that they are the ‘other’,” added Ms. Nelson. “It’s just transformational. I’ve seen it over and over each year. To work alongside other nursing students and to find out that they have similarities as well as differences is key to their success. It’s amazing for me to see this as an educator, and it brings me back every year.”

Among those who participated in the program was Kaelyn Fetters, a third-year nursing student currently completing her final year at San Jose State. Ms. Fetters hopes that, upon returning to the US and passing the national nursing exams, she and her fellow classmates will become licensed nurses. Her goal is to start out as an emergency room nurse at a hospital back home, providing care and various diagnoses to a diverse population.

“I immediately knew I wanted to participate in this program. The idea of being able to travel abroad and be enveloped in a culture so different from my own was something I could not pass up,” said Ms. Fetters. “Throughout this journey, I feel like we’ve learned how to take what we’ve been taught as nursing students in California and bring it over here to Grenada while picking up diverse techniques and a different perspective in Grenada that we can bring back to the US.”

The students spent three weeks immersed in the Grenadian culture, where they worked with caregivers at various clinical sites and held a full day of classes on professional development at the Grenada General Hospital. Along with SGU nursing students, they visited the St. Martin Home for the Aged, Grenada Planned Parenthood, the Dorothy Hopkins Home, and conducted personal home visits to the Mont Tout and Limes communities. The students completed their clinical rotations by attending a health fair in Carriacou where the SGU and SJSU teams collaborated to provide screenings for blood pressure and blood sugar, disseminated free condoms, and took part in sexual education discussions on topics such as STD prevention and rapid HIV testing.

“What we’ve noticed over the five years of our partnership is that not only do the SJSU students benefit from learning from a different culture but our SGU nursing students are really improving their cultural competency as well,” stated Jennifer Solomon, Chair and Director, Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, SGU. “We can see the maturity in the way they are looking internally at their own bias and some of the assumptions that we all make in society and really are becoming the amazing nurses they want to be.

“In addition to the SJSU students visiting Grenada, as part of this course, we also offer the opportunity for our SGU nursing students to be global citizens as well,” she added. “They get the chance to travel abroad to the US or UK to obtain that global perspective and have that interaction with someone from a completely different background while learning about the healthcare system in another country. This is such a great advantage for them.”

– Ray-Donna Peters