Match Day 2024: Grenadian SGU Student Secures Highly Competitive US Residency Position

What does it feel like to match into residency? Just ask St. George’s University medical student Toya Ameda, BSc ’21. Toya, who hails from Grenada, secured a highly competitive residency in the United States in interventional radiology. She is one of 930 soon-to-be graduates of SGU to secure US postgraduate residencies in the 2024 match cycle.

“As you can imagine, the match process was both nerve-wracking and incredibly fulfilling,” said Toya, who is expected to graduate next week from SGU’s School of Medicine. “Finding out that I matched felt surreal. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders, as I now had confirmation that I would actually be an interventional radiologist.”

In July, Toya will be relocating to Miami, FL to begin her career as a preliminary surgery resident at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She will then transition to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA to start her integrated interventional radiology residency in 2025.

 

 

At the Forefront of Medical Treatment

Match Day is a monumental occasion for all aspiring doctors—the moment they discover where they are going for residency training and what specialty they will be entering.

SGU students matched into at least 22 specialties this year, including highly competitive positions in fields such as: anesthesiology, vascular surgery, urology, and Toya’s chosen field of interventional radiology— a medical sub-specialty of radiology utilizing minimally-invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.

One of the reasons why an interventional radiology residency is seen as so competitive is the rapid pace of technological advancement in this field. Interventional radiologists must stay up to date on the latest imaging techniques and treatment options and be skilled at using complex equipment like CT scanners and fluoroscopes.

Toya chose interventional radiology as her specialty because she believes it is a revolutionary medical field—offering minimally invasive treatments to patients from routine procedures to lifesaving ones.

“Its incorporation of the latest technologies and innovative techniques ensures that patients receive the most innovative advances in treatment without having to opt for the traditional invasive route,” she said.

Dr. John Madden, director of SGU’s Office of Career Guidance and a former faculty member at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, was thrilled to learn that Toya matched into the university’s interventional radiology residency program.

“She will be part of a very large and prestigious healthcare system in the Philadelphia region,” said Dr. Madden. “I know from personal experience at this academic center that she will be joining fellow residents and staff who are at the cutting edge of medical procedures and has the potential to become a world class interventional radiologist.”

SGU Alumni Support

Many students rejoiced and breathed a sigh of relief on Match Day 2024. For Toya, she is forever grateful to her mentor and SGU alum, Sumeet Bahl, MD ’13, and couldn’t imagine not having him guiding her through the process.

As someone who had been in Toya’s shoes vying for a residency spot in the same specialty, Dr. Bahl is now a practicing interventional radiologist at The Brooklyn Hospital Center and one of her biggest champions.

“I saw the fire in her as soon as I met her,” Dr. Bahl said. “She had incredible board scores, was well-spoken, and showed up for everything. She was called to one of the most competitive fields in medicine. There are very few black women in our field, let alone international medical graduates. This is a huge deal for the field, women in medicine, and her country.”

 

A Daughter of the Soil

From as far back as she could remember, it seemed Toya, who grew up in New Hampshire, St. George’s, desired academic greatness. In 2015, she garnered public recognition of her scholastic prowess by winning the Grenada Brain Bee Challenge, while attending St. Joseph’s Convent (SJC), St. George’s.

Two years later, Toya brought home the coveted Alan A. La Grenade Shield Award to SJC and promptly topped that a year later, when she was honored at the National Youth Awards ceremony for academic excellence.

Toya’s academic dominance led her straight to SGU, where after becoming one of Grenada’s prestigious Island Scholars she was awarded a scholarship to attend the University in 2019. She enrolled as a premedical student in SGU’s five-year MD pathway and two years later graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) with a bachelor’s degree in medical sciences.

“From the moment she arrived on campus, Toya has been impressing us all with her outstanding academic abilities,” praised Dr. Lucy Eugene, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “As a graduate of SAS, we are extremely proud of Toya and all that she has accomplished so far. Her accomplishments can be an inspiration to our students and speak to all that is possible with hard work and dedication. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the soon-to-be Dr. Ameda.”

The Journey to Future Dr. Ameda

Practicing medicine was not always the goal for Toya. She originally wanted to be a veterinarian.

“It wasn’t until my late teens that I recognized the need for improved healthcare in Grenada and felt that my calling was instead human medicine,” shared Toya.

The journey to making that dream come true began with her decision to apply to SGU as a premedical student. By choosing SGU, Toya felt that it made sense not only because she is Grenadian, but she would also get to remain close to home, while still receiving an international education encompassing academic excellence and a rich, multicultural environment.

Another benefit for Toya was that she also received SGU’s Grenadian Scholarship Award.

“I am incredibly grateful to have received this scholarship,” said Toya. “It has allowed me to pursue my studies without worrying about tuition and provided additional benefits that greatly enhanced my medical school experience.”

During her time at SGU, Toya immersed herself in several extracurricular activities and student clubs. She was a part of the Iota Epsilon Alpha (IEA) International Honor Society and Women in Medicine (WIM) student organization while on island, where she had the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community.

“I couldn’t imagine another medical school experience other than my time at SGU,” stated Toya. “One of my greatest accomplishments was conducting the mini-health fairs in Grenada that I pioneered during my clinical years. I worked with the Grenada Government’s Ministry of Health to reach the wider community and recruited first and second year SGU medical students to participate. I felt honored to give back to my Grenadian community and can’t wait to continue doing so on an even bigger scale.”

With a highly competitive residency position secured, the future Dr. Ameda said she ultimately hopes to practice interventional radiology in Grenada.

“This will allow me to help Grenadians and other Caribbean nationals gain access to advanced healthcare without having to travel abroad,” said Toya. “Until then, I plan on being a part of global health initiatives like RAD-AID, a nonprofit public radiology service that delivers life-changing healthcare to underserved communities worldwide.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

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The Legacy Lives On: SGU Alums and Brothers Witness their Children Match into Residency

The Rienzo family standing with a sunset in the background at their White Coat Ceremony

(from left to right) Francis Rienzo, MD ’88; Emily Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected); Jake Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected); and Peter Rienzo, MD ’85

When brothers Francis Rienzo, MD ’88, and Peter Rienzo, MD ’85, began their medical school journeys at St. George’s University School of Medicine, who could have predicted that both their children would also become doctors thanks to SGU?

This year marked another successful Match Day for SGU with over 930 soon-to-be grads matching into US postgraduate residencies including Francis’ daughter, Emily Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected), and Peter’s son, Jake Rienzo, MD ’24 (expected).

For the Rienzos, who are New Jersey natives, having multiple family members in the medical field is not only significant, but highly sentimental. Choosing to follow in their fathers’ footsteps at the same institution is deeply meaningful to Jake and Emily Rienzo.

“Knowing that I’ll be continuing the legacy of my father, both by attending the same medical school and pursuing a career in anesthesiology, fills me with an indescribable sense of pride,” said Jake Rienzo, who matched at HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center. “There’s a palpable sense of pride in carrying on the family legacy, knowing that I am continuing the tradition of service and healing that has been passed down through generations.”

Emily Rienzo, who matched in general surgery at HMH Jersey Shore University Medical Center, feels similarly.

“I was familiar with SGU from a very young age as I grew up hearing stories about my dad and uncle’s time in Grenada,” she said. “I visited my dad’s office fairly frequently and always heard stories from his patients raving about him, his medical knowledge, and his bedside manner. I believe that SGU played a big role in this, and as pre-med, I was confident SGU could provide the same for me.”

A Family Affair

The connections do not end at just attending the same medical school for the Rienzos. Jake Rienzo matched into the same specialty that his father practices. Additionally, Emily Rienzo matched into her first-choice hospital, which is the same hospital where her father completed his residency and internship. The cousins will be together for a period during each of their residencies.

“Being Jake’s co-resident for five months will be fun since the anesthesia program rotates through surgery!” said Emily Rienzo.

Emily Rienzo, also an SGU CARE Scholarship recipient (formerly called CityDoctors in New Jersey) through Jersey Shore University Medical Center, is the first female physician in four generations of doctors in her family.

Francis and Emily Rienzo on match day

Francis and Emily Rienzo, an SGU CARE Scholarship recipient, celebrated her match.

On her Match Day success, her father, Francis Rienzo, said, “I could not be prouder and happier for my daughter… I am truly excited and cannot wait for her to start her journey as a surgical resident.”

Happiness and celebration rippled through the family.

Jake Rienzo expressed his excitement on Match Day, “As I opened the email, I felt a rush of emotions—joy, anticipation, and a profound sense of gratitude for the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Jake Rienzo’s father, Peter, expressed his sincere elation for Jake carrying on the family’s medical legacy as a fourth-generation physician and second-generation anesthesiologist.

“From the moment I heard the news, a smile has been etched on my face, a smile that refuses to fade even after a week has passed. Knowing that he’s chosen a path so integral to our family’s history fills me with a sense of fulfillment that’s hard to articulate,” Peter Rienzo said.

These feelings were the culmination of years of dedication and support from their families.

“My MD journey has been a remarkable and transformative experience, marked by moments of profound learning, personal growth, and unwavering determination. From the first day of medical school to the culmination of Match Day, each step along the way has shaped me into the physician I am today. As I reflect on my MD journey, I am filled with gratitude for the countless individuals who have guided and inspired me along the way,” especially his dad, said Jake Rienzo.

Jake and Peter Rienzo celebrating match

Peter and Jake Rienzo celebrating Jake’s match.

SGU and the Rienzo Legacy

Both generations of the Rienzos expressed gratitude for SGU and its larger community of faculty and alumni for making them physicians. The Rienzos hope that the connection to the University will live on. “My younger brother is looking to attend veterinary school at SGU, although I’m trying to push him toward medicine!” said Emily Rienzo.

“My grandfather, father, and uncle were all physicians, and SGU gave my brother and me the opportunity to become successful physicians and now it is allowing my daughter and nephew to follow in our footsteps and continue the family legacy,” Francis Rienzo said. “I cannot thank Dr. Charles Modica and all of SGU enough for everything they have done.”

Jake Rienzo is immensely grateful for the role that SGU has played in shaping his family’s legacy in medicine.

“Its dedication to educational excellence, supportive community, and opportunities for professional growth have laid the groundwork for my journey as a physician that I may have missed out on had I not attended SGU,” he said.

 

— Juliette Kimmins

 

 

 

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SGU Physician Humanitarian Network Brings Life-Changing Eye Care to Grenadians

SGU PHuN ophthalmology team

Grenadians received critical eye care services recently through the St. George’s University (SGU) Physician Humanitarian Network (PHuN) ophthalmology clinic—the first specialized eye clinic since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former SGU student Dr. Bernard Spier headed the ophthalmology clinic in Grenada, along with two ophthalmologists, Dr. Elliot Crane and Dr. Zachary Mendelson, and two assistants, Ms. Karen Rodriguez and Ms. Carrie Rivera. The clinic took place from February 19 to March 1, 2024.

The team completed 139 examinations and consultations for those suffering from eye-related ailments such as cataracts and glaucoma. Additionally, the team did more than 40 procedures including small-incision cataract surgeries, corneal transplants, YAG laser procedures, and Avastin injections that restored and improved sight for many Grenadians. The team completed these procedures with $117,656 USD worth of donated medical supplies, surgical equipment, corneal tissue, and more, organized by Dr. Spier.

Dr. Spier, an ophthalmologist with a practice in South Orange, NJ, participated in his first PHuN ophthalmology clinic in 2006. This past trip marks his 13th trip to Grenada to serve the local community through PHuN. According to Dr. Spier, he chose to donate his time and skills to the Grenadian people because it is “a basic act of human kindness.”

“For me, it’s the idea of improving a person’s life with these procedures,” Dr. Spier said. “Simply, it feels good to do that.”

Dr. Spier poses with ophthalmology equipment

Dr. Spier stands with a piece of ophthalmology equipment

The SGU PHuN Program has a history of making an impact on the lives of Grenadians in other specialties such as cardiology, vascular surgery, and obstetrics/gynecology.

“The SGU PHuN program is extremely beneficial to the Grenadian community because it provides valuable support in the form of medical services to the people of the island as well as donations of medical supplies to the ophthalmology clinic,” said Dr. Brendon La Grenade, vice provost of St. George’s University. “It also provides an outlet for a variety of SGU doctors of various disciplines to give back to the island where they got both their education and medical career starts.”

For Dr. Spier, the chance to give back to the people of Grenada is deeply meaningful.

“I have a special place in my heart for Grenada because that’s where I got my start in medicine,” said Dr. Spier. “Grenada gave me an opportunity to become a doctor. If I hadn’t gone to Grenada, I would’ve done something else [besides medicine].”

Dr. Spier encourages other former students and alumni of SGU to consider participating in the SGU PHuN program, naming it as a profoundly rewarding experience.

“If you want to help the people of Grenada and want to go back to Grenada you should do it,” Dr. Spier said.

 

–Juliette Kimmins

 

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SVM Students, Staff, and Faculty Honored at Spring Term Awards Ceremonies

SVM students and faculty stand together as a group posing with their awards.

SVM students and faculty celebrate their achievements at the SVM Spring 2024 Term Awards

The St. George’s University (SGU) School of Veterinary Medicine and its honor society, Phi Zeta, celebrated the accomplishments of its students, staff, and faculty in April at two distinguished ceremonies—its Spring 2024 Awards Ceremony and Phi Zeta induction, respectively.

Dr. Tara Paterson, associate dean of Year Four Clinical Training at SGU and chair of the SVM Awards Committee, said, “The SVM community takes pride in recognizing the amazing accomplishments of its students, staff, and faculty. Congratulations to all those honored.”

Thirty-one sets of awards were presented during the SVM Term Awards, which took place on April 19, including the newest awards added this term the Dr. Ravindra Nath Sharma Pathology Excellence Award and the Veterinary Professionalism Award.

Students at the Phi Zeta Induction Ceremony

Students at the Phi Zeta Induction Ceremony

Also of note was the induction of 35 students into the Alpha Delta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta April 26. Phi Zeta is the national veterinary honor society created to recognize students for their superior academic achievement, and it is headed by Dr. Melinda J. Wilkerson as interim president and Dr. Sonia Cheetham as interim president and treasurer.

“We at the School of Veterinary Medicine are proud to recognize the success and achievements of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the SVM. “It is a true testament to the hard work on the part of the SVM community this term.”

 

 

This semester’s awards are as follows:

Outstanding Colleague Awards

Term 1:  Gabriel Cordero Bruno

Term 2: Ashley Humphreys

Term 3: Faith Van Rengen

Term 4: Daphne Harris

Term 5: Brittany Watson

Term 6: Elena Tanakova

Dean Olson’s Award for Academic Excellence

Elena Tanakova

Adrienne Lotton Memorial Award

Lindsay Ferguson

Zoetis Revolution Awards of Excellence

Small Animal Internal Medicine: Nathalie Rodriguez

Small Animal Surgery: Kristi Cerami

Equine Medicine and Surgery: Alyssa Carpenter

Food Animal Medicine and Surgery: Sarah Hendrickson

Scholarship of Service: Lindsay Ferguson

Student Research Award: Stephanie Smick

Dr. Jim Nave Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice

Elena Tanakova

Dechra Awards of Excellence

Small Animal Internal Medicine: Chenoa Hope-Tomlinson

Equine Sports Medicine: Sean MacPherson

SVM Alumni Scholarship Award

Bianca Mower

Giant Paws Giant Hearts Foundation “Hercules” Award

Marissa Peck

Dr. Ravindra Nath Sharma Pathology Excellence Award

Valeria Cheron

AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) Outstanding Senior Award 

Lauren Abrams

The Veterinary Professionalism Award

Matthew Peterson

PAWS Recognition Sixth Term Facilitators

Matthew Peterson, Elena Tanakova, Diego Soler, Erinn Schmidt, Isabel Jurenka, Samantha Birkl, Allison Lott, Nicole Osorio, Sydney Garcia, Bianca Mower, Bradford Holman, Alexandra (Lexi) Lawson, Lindsay Ferguson, Juan Pablo Padriza, and Marissa Peck

SAVMA: Student Chapter of the AVMA

SAVMA Executive Board Extraordinary Service Award: Katherine Smith

Feral Cat Project

Cat-tastic faculty: Dr. Tara Walcot

A-meow-zing member: Mallory Ryan

Veterinary Public Health Committee

Outstanding Member: Lindsay Ferguson

Outstanding Faculty Members: Dr. Wayne Sylvester and Jude Modeste

SGUSVM Large Animal Society

Ace of Initiative Award: Morgan Eckstein

Producer of Excellence: Dr. Nyoni Winchester

WAG: Wellness Aide and Guidance

The Prized Pothound Award: Courtney Duguay

The Diligent Doctor Award: Dr. Ashiq Bhat

AAARF: Angels in Armor Animal Rescue Fund

AAARF’s Armor: Katrina Gong

AAARF’s Angel: Dr. Liza Vasechkina

VAC: Veterinary Anesthesia Club

Anesthesia Excellency Award: Breanna Maramag

Distinguished Veterinary Anesthesia Educator Award: Dr. Nuria Quesada

P&E: Pride and Equality

Excellence in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)—faculty: Dr. Farah Mohammed

Excellence in Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DEI)—student: Alexandra Prince

SCACVIM: Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine

Most Dedicated Member: Elim Yee

SVECCS: Student Chapter of the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society

Outstanding 6th Termer: Melitsa Loannou

Outstanding Faculty Award: Dr. Elizaveta Vaschekina

SCVMA (Students of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association)

Notorious NAVLE Nerd: Dylan Glasser

Friend of Canadians Faculty Award: Dr. Anne Corrigan

SNP: Spay Neuter Pothound

Staff Pothound Hero Award: Tracy Andrews

Student Pothound Hero Award: Mia Kaminsky

SCACVP: Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists

The MVP (Most Valuable Pathologist): Leslie Escobar

EWS: Exotics & Wildlife Society

Wildlife Warrior Award: Cheyenne Roth

WAVMA: World Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Association

MVP (Most Valuable Porpoise): Juana Argiro

Green Consortium

Ex’SEED’ the Expectation: Marissa Peck

SVM Surgery Club

Faculty Appreciation Award: Tara Paterson

Spotlight Award: Michael Starrett

SGA: Student Government Association

SGU SVM Outstanding Faculty Term 1-3: Dr. Hector Zerpa

SGU SVM Outstanding Faculty Term 4-6: Dr. Firdous Khan

SGA SGU Awards of Excellence Term 1-3: Matthew Charles

George B. Daniel Award: Sydney Garcia

DES Recognition Awards:

Liani Tremor (T6), Kristen Anderson (T5), Anne Manganiello (T4), Michael Starrett (T5), Nicole Gasparian (T5), and Samantha Hild (T4)

SGUSVM Outstanding Staff Awards

Administrative Staff: Ulanda Richards

Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award: Dr. Heidi Janicke

Alpha Delta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta

Spring 2024 Inductees

Term 5: Jayme Clarke, Courtney Conway, Elizabeth Fournier, Germaine Germundson, Haley Harraka, Shana Hodosh, Jessica Martin, Julia Moretz, Alexandra Morris, Nicole O’Connor, Samantha Palmer, Brie Pavol, Bianca Perez, Wesleigh Porter, Michael Starrett, Elena Wafford, and Rebekah Wilson

Term 6: Seung Hyun Bong, Trevor Cooke, Courtney Duguay, Molly Jones, Mackenzie Keaney, Tiffany Longo, Cassandra MacLaren, Megan Messick, Elizabeth Owens, Veronica Passannante, Matthew Peterson, Andrew Richterkessing, Hannah Reil, Nicholas Santangelo, Taylor Sforza, Megan Strunk, Emma Wood, and Miller Young

Spring 2024 Phi Zeta Scholarship: Samantha Palmer

 

–Juliette Kimmins

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Called to Serve: 76 Students Inducted at SAS Nursing Induction Ceremony

The newest class of nursing students eagerly listened to the remarks of keynote speaker, Darian Joseph, BSN ’23, while trying to contain their excitement, at the recent St. George’s University School of Arts and Sciences Nursing Induction Ceremony.

As a recent graduate of SGU’s nursing program, Nurse Joseph was someone who had once been in their shoes. Now a passionate and dedicated registered nurse, she reminded students what she learned while at SGU.

“Nursing is not just the profession, it’s a calling, a passion to serve and profoundly impact the lives of others,” Nurse Joseph said during her remarks.

 

Nurse Joseph proudly looked on as 76 aspiring nurses gathered on March 15 at Louis and Marion Modica Hall on SGU’s True Blue campus to mark their entry into the field of nursing. Each student received The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s golden Mobius loop pin, which serves as a visual reminder that in order to deliver the best care to their patients, compassion and empathy must be the hallmark of their clinical practice.

Along with being presented with the pins, the future nurses recited the International Council of Nurses pledge during the ceremony.

Three SAS nursing students shared what it was like to join this honorable profession.

 

“I chose to become a nurse because I’ve always wanted to serve in the medical field and be able to work directly with patients on a one-on-one basis. I want to be able to offer them compassionate care and get to know them and to nurse them back to health. To me that’s so rewarding, and I look forward to being able to do that.”

– Deborah Charles 
Third-year nursing student

 

“Becoming a nurse is such a remarkable thing—being able to serve my country on a professional level and most of all giving back to my community. Also being a male nurse is exciting stuff. I get asked about it all the time. I guess it’s because it’s not as common.”

Kenneth St. Bernard
       First-year nursing student

 

“I have always wanted to be a nurse and my dream is finally coming true. I feel a huge sense of pride at being able to join such a noble profession. The Latin term for nurse is nutrire, which means to nourish and to care for. I have a very caring personality, so I feel that this profession is very befitting of who I am.”

– Narah James
Second-year nursing student

 

        – Ray-Donna Peters

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Back to School: 47 SGU Alumni Return to Grenada for CME Conference

This March, nearly 50 alumni from St. George’s University School of Medicine returned to the True Blue campus and to the island where for many, it all began. Hosted by the SOM Alumni Association (SOMAA), SGU graduates came back to attend the 2024 Art of Medicine continuing medical education (CME) conference.

During the four-day event, held in association with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), participants had the opportunity to learn about new advancements across the medical landscape, while earning up to 16 CME credits. SGU grads also had a chance to reunite with classmates and faculty, while making connections with future inductees (students) into the 22,000-member alumni network.

“As a single event, this SOMAA CME conference consistently accomplishes several key success objectives,” said Dr. Brendon La Grenade, vice provost for Institutional Advancement and head of Alumni Affairs. “It provides an avenue for our alumni to reconnect with this island and this institution where it all began; it allows them to connect with current students who are inspired by their stories of success; and it gives them a chance to network with fellow alumni, strengthening this outstanding community of 22,000 strong and growing—all while sharing and enhancing their medical education.”

 

 

Alumni and Students Connect

The Alumni/Student Speed Networking event was a highlight of the CME conference this year, giving Term 4 and 5 SOM students the opportunity to connect with alumni, many of whom are top specialists in their fields.

Students had the chance to establish professional relationships with returning alumni and ask questions about their journeys to a career in medicine, opening avenues for the returning physicians to share their insights about the rigors of the profession.

“I love attending events like these because you get to talk to an actual SGU alum in person,” said Emilee Atkins, a Term 5 SOM student. “This is someone who has been in my shoes and can offer valuable insight on what’s going to come and some good advice on how to tackle it. This is beneficial not only now as I’m about to start my clinical years, but also later when I’m applying for residency.”

Wondering what this year’s CME conference was like? Check out the photos to see what you missed.

 

  • The seventh annual SOMAA CME grew in participation since last year, with 85 attendees, 47 of whom were SGU alumni, as well as 11 Grenadian physicians who practice locally.

  • Alumni received a warm welcome from Vice Provost Brendon La Grenade; SOM Dean Marios Loukas; Grenada’s Minister of Health, the Hon. Phillip Telesford; and Provost Glen Jacobs (from left to right).

  • Joseph Allen, MD ’90, was happy to reunite with Dean C.V. Rao and SOMAA President Bruce Bonanno, MD ’83.

  • Conference attendees were able to purchase a variety of SGU and SOM Alumni Association memorabilia.

  • A highlight of the four-day conference was the Alumni/Student Speed Networking event, which allowed the visiting physicians to share some words of advice with current medical students.

  • Proud alumnae, Alena Wade, MD ’06 and Katusha Cornwall-Griffith, MD ’11 were the event’s co-hosts.

  • Learning strategist, Jessica Milner, MD ’22, came back to Grenada to work in the Department of Educational Services here at SGU. She shared that the reason she returned was to give back to the community that gave her the chance to pursue her dreams.

  • Year 4 SOM student, Folarin Adeyemi was eager to have his questions answered, especially since finding out he recently matched into a general surgery residency.

  • For conference-goers, their time in Grenada wasn’t only about lectures and education. The SOMAA provided plenty of opportunities to experience a taste of culture and hospitality on the island many called home during their studies.

 

– Ray-Donna Peters

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Match Day 2024: 8 SGU Students Secure Residency Positions in Canada Through CaRMS Match

Alexandra Robertson

Eight St. George’s University students will be joining the healthcare system in Canada this summer with MDs at the end of their names.

Eight St. George’s University students will be joining the healthcare system in Canada this summer with MDs at the end of their names, having matched into competitive residency programs through the first iteration of the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) R-1 Main Residency Match.

Students matched into residency programs in four Canadian provinces: Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and Ontario. More SGU students are expected to earn residency positions in the second Canadian Match iteration on April 25.

“We are extremely proud of our students for matching into competitive programs across the country,” said Jibran Vahidy, SGU’s director of admissions and partnerships, Canada. “These students will join hundreds of other SGU alumni who have returned to Canada to pursue their medical careers. We acknowledge and celebrate their accomplishments, as well as the positive impact they will have on communities as well-rounded, caring, and competent physicians.”

Dr. Alexandra Robertson, MD ’23, felt a combination of relief, excitement and “pure joy” upon learning that she matched into an internal medicine residency at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Robertson, who hails from Edmonton, Alberta, is looking forward to returning home to practice medicine and to “continue to grow both as a doctor and as a person as I navigate whatever new challenges residency brings.”

“My journey in medicine at SGU has taken me from the United Kingdom, to Grenada, and across the United States and Canada. I have been enriched by being exposed to many different healthcare systems, electronic medical records, teaching environments, team structures, cultures, and patient populations. I have had the good fortune of being able to make deep and meaningful connections with mentors and friends along the way,” Dr. Roberston said. “The path is difficult but rewarding for those who are willing to go on an adventure!”

On March 15, more than 930 SGU students and graduates secured post-graduate residencies at health centers around the United States in the 2024 match cycle. Visit our 2024 residency listing page for a complete list of SGU physicians who will begin their residencies this summer.

 

 

– Laurie Chartorynsky and Juliette Kimmins

 

 

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SGU Celebrates 25 Years of Excellence of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine

The Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University School of Medicine is celebrating 25 years of offering a Master of Public Health to students and contributing to building a competent public health workforce globally.

 

The Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at St. George’s University (SGU) School of Medicine is celebrating 25 years of offering a Master of Public Health to students and contributing to building a competent public health workforce globally.

The program, which opened its doors in the spring of 1999, has since matriculated more than 1,000 students specializing in health policy administration, environmental and occupational health, preventive medicine, veterinary medicine, global health, epidemiology, and other professional fields.

“On behalf of the St. George’s University community, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the founding of our Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine,” said Dr. Marios Loukas, dean of the School of Medicine at St. George’s University.  “The department, with its focus on preparing students for the wide range of careers in the field of public health and preventive medicine, exemplifies SGU’s commitment to our mission of positive global impact and a truly international education.”

Early Beginnings

SGU’s public health program was the brainchild of Dr. Allen Pensick, former provost of the University. His desire to establish a public health program stemmed from the importance of equipping medical students with a holistic approach to medicine—allowing SGU-trained physicians to not only provide clinical care to patients but also have the knowledge to offer patients preventive education and tools as well. In the fall of 1999, the first students began courses in public health at SGU.

Over the years, the department has evolved to include not only School of Medicine students, but also those within SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine and School of Arts and Sciences, who are interested in pursuing careers in public health. The program proudly hosts students and faculty from countries around the world, contributing to its diverse perspective on public health.

“For the past 25 years, SGU’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine has been at the forefront of promoting public health through education and practice,” according to Dr. Kerry Mitchell, assistant dean of students and chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. “In Grenada, the region, and even beyond, our students and faculty have tirelessly worked to raise awareness and address the social and environmental determinants impacting the health of our communities.”

Added Dr. Mitchell: “In addition, our alumni, many of whom are practicing physicians globally, hold pivotal roles in shaping public health policies and decisions. This solidifies the crucial role that St. George’s University and the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine have played in shaping a healthier future for all.”

 

 

Recognized Globally

A significant achievement of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine is its success in gaining full accreditation by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) in 2010. It is one of the few non-US based MPH programs recognized and accredited by the organization. The program continues to be accredited through 2030.

“With this accreditation, we are able to guarantee our students an approved public health master’s education as other CEPH-accredited schools internationally,” Dr. Mitchell said.

As the program has adapted to the changing needs of public health, it welcomed Collaborating Centers from the World Health Organization (WHO) in Environmental and Occupational Health in 2012 and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2013. These collaborations allow both faculty and students to carry out research and service activities in those respective fields.

The department has additional plans to keep up with the changing needs of students as well as the public health workforce.

“Our multidisciplinary team has collaborated closely with numerous local communities and global institutions to tailor and strengthen our public health training,” Dr. Mitchell said. “This adaptability is particularly evident in our reliance on guidance from our community advisory members and the international collaborating centers housed within our department. As a result, we have been able to tailor our educational approach to produce the public health practitioners our communities need.”

For example, despite the global challenges faced in recent years, the department has successfully navigated through various instructional methods, emerging as a leader in public health hybrid education.

SGU graduates with dual MD/MPH and DVM/MPH degrees are making a difference around the world.

 

Darren Cuthbert, MD, MPH

Darren Cuthbert, MD/MPH ’16
Emergency medicine physician
New Jersey

“SGU’s MPH program opened the door of opportunity for me. One of the things I love about medicine today is the increased emphasis placed on evidence-based medicine—public health is the backbone to this practice. Not only does having an MPH make you stick out as a leader amongst your peers, but it broadens your horizon of the world and medicine—eventually creating a better doctor and scientist.”

 

Alicia Persaud, MD, MPH '20

Alicia Persaud, MD, MPH ’20
Family medicine physician
Ontario, Canada

“I believe completing the MD/MPH dual degree program gave me an edge with residency programs simply by having an additional degree. It was reflective of my commitment to medicine and healthcare in general. Completing my MPH in Grenada gave me a unique insight into the global public health sector, and also gave me crucial research experience. I was able to apply both degrees to my research projects during residency.”

 

MPH Program Milestones - (1999-2023)

 

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SGU Student Receives Competitive Veterinary Medicine Research Scholarship 

Shelley Lownds, SVM student

Shelley Lownds, a School of Veterinary Medicine Term 3 student, was recently selected for the competitive Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholar program.

A St. George’s University student’s passion for conservation and commitment to research has helped her secure a prestigious veterinary research scholarship. Shelley Lownds, a School of Veterinary Medicine Term 3 student, was recently selected for the competitive Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Student Scholar program.   

I was very honored when I found out I received this scholarship. The Morris Animal Foundation is a reputable organization that does so much good work, and it was exciting to hear that they thought my research was as important as I do,” said Ms. Lownds, who is in the DVM/MSc dual degree program.   

With the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Sophie Moittié, an assistant professor at the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Pathobiology, and other professors and researchers, Ms. Lownds is studying the prevalence of Chytrid Fungus and Ranavirus in the four species of amphibians that inhabit Grenada. These two pathogens have significantly contributed to amphibian extinctions and population declines worldwide.  

“There is still much to learn about Chytrid and Ranavirus, so the more knowledge we can acquire about their effect on different populations, the better we will be able to protect amphibian species worldwide,” Ms. Lownds said. She believes that researching in Grenada is especially important because of the startling presence of these pathogens and because it is home to the critically endangered Grenada frog.    

Ms. Lownds, Dr. Moittié, and other members of the project’s research committee have been traveling around the island collecting skin and mouth swabs from all four amphibian species. With these samples, Ms. Lownds will test for the pathogens and other factors that impact pathogen presence.   

“We hope this research will assist in conservation efforts of the Grenada frog and contribute to the greater research of Chytrid and Ranavirus,” Ms. Lownds said. 

According to Dr. Moittié, Ms. Lownds is making great progress with the fieldwork, having already sampled half of the targeted number of samples for the project.   

Grenadian frog

Ms. Lownds believes that researching in Grenada is especially important because of the startling presence of these pathogens and because it is home to the critically endangered Grenada frog.

About the Veterinary Scholar Program 

Securing a place as a Veterinary Student Scholar is no easy feat. Dr. Moittié emphasized the competitiveness of the scholarship saying that “each project proposal undergoes an exhaustive review process including evaluations by the foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, Research Oversight Committee, Board of Trustees, and Animal Welfare Advisory Board.”   

Ms. Lownds joined the most recent cohort of 24 scholars from all around the world and the roughly 600 students to have participated in the program since it began in 2015, according to Veterinary Practice News. Each recipient is awarded a stipend of up to $5,000 USD by the Morris Animal Foundation. In addition to the stipend provided by the foundation, SGU’s Office of Research matched Ms. Lownds’ scholarship via the Small Grants Research Initiative, which covers direct and indirect costs associated with the project.  

Ms. Lownds credited her mentors and SGU as being instrumental in helping her through the whole application and research process. When deciding on a research topic, she met with many professors who helped her narrow her focus and guide her in the right direction.  

She is especially grateful to Dr. Moittié who Ms. Lownds said, “always makes herself available, has been extremely helpful in guiding me through every step of the project, and has taught me so much.”   

Shelley Lownds (right), Dr. Sophie Moittie (left)

Ms. Lownds (right), Dr. Moittié (left), and other members of the project’s research committee have been traveling around the island collecting skin and mouth swabs from all four amphibian species. With these samples, Ms. Lownds will test for the pathogens and other factors that impact pathogen presence.

Looking ahead  

Guided by wanting to work with animals and in conservation, Ms. Lownds decided to pursue veterinary science at SGU. She said she was drawn to the DVM/MSc dual degree program’s greater emphasis on wildlife and conservation research. Ms. Lownds aims to be a board-certified specialist in zoological medicine with an interest in combatting illegal wildlife trade and, of course, staying involved in conservation-based research.  

There are not many vet schools where you can begin doing wildlife and conservation work [on] day one, so this was a large draw for me. Wildlife medicine is also a very competitive field to enter, so having an MSc upon graduation will be very valuable in setting me up for my future career,” she said.   

Additionally, this grant has allowed Ms. Lownds to get an early start in conservation-based veterinary research and to work with species she has less experience with. Given her lifelong passion for wildlife conservation, this scholarship is another way Ms. Lownds is helping contribute to a meaningful cause.  

Dr. Moittié added that Ms. Lownds’ accomplishment shows that motivated SGU students seeking to conduct impactful research can successfully find support from internal and external funding bodies. She sees a place for Ms. Lownds’ research in presentations at international conferences and peer-reviewed publications. Furthermore, Dr. Moittié is hopeful that the recognition by the Morris Animal Foundation and the significance of this research project will bring visibility to SGU’s research community.   

Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, commended Ms. Lownds on her efforts. “The School of Veterinary Medicine along with the larger SGU community are immensely proud of Ms. Lownds’ amazing accomplishment. We are eager to see where this new opportunity takes her and her contributions to the field of veterinary medicine,” he said.  

  

  

  

— Juliette Kimmins   

  

  

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SGU Students Secure 910+ U.S. Residencies in 2024 Match

Match Day collage

This article has been updated from its original publish date with SGU’s match results as of March 20, 2024.

St. George’s University School of Medicine announced today that more than 910 of its students and graduates have secured post-graduate residencies at health centers around the United States in the 2024 match cycle.

This marks the 10th consecutive year in which SGU has been the largest provider of new doctors to first-year U.S. post-graduate residencies.*

“Match Day is a pivotal moment in a new doctor’s career,” said Dr. Marios Loukas, dean of the St. George’s University School of Medicine. “The entire St. George’s University community looks forward to this day, and together we congratulate this remarkable class of medical students on their success.”

SGU students and graduates matched into residences in 22 specialties across 40 states and the District of Columbia. More students will find out where they will be doing residency training in the days and weeks to come.

“St. George’s University graduates have been meeting the medical needs of communities across the United States for decades. We look forward to seeing all the great things that this newest class of SGU graduates will accomplish.”

 

St. George’s University graduates will begin residency programs in several highly competitive specialties, ranging from urology and neurology to emergency medicine and pediatrics. Many will be returning to their home states or cities to begin their careers in medicine.

“Each one of these matched students represents the next step in a dream come true, and each one is a vital addition to the availability of care, and to the medical professional community,” said Dr. Loukas.

This new group of doctors will play a crucial role in addressing America’s growing physician shortage. Since 2015, St. George’s University has been the largest provider of new doctors to the U.S. healthcare system annually. More than two-thirds of SGU graduates enter primary care specialties, and a number of SGU alumni work in medically underserved areas.

“St. George’s University graduates have been meeting the medical needs of communities across the United States for decades,” Dr. Loukas said. “We look forward to seeing all the great things that this newest class of SGU graduates will accomplish.”

 

* As the medical school graduating the largest number of students per year, SGU places the largest number of graduates into residency programs each year, based on internal SGU graduate/expected graduate and residency placement data as of March 2024.

 

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