9 Questions with MD Student Ololade Akinfemiwa

Ololade Akinfemiwa

Ololade Akinfemiwa, MD ’21 (expected), is enjoying her challenging internal medicine rotation as a fourth-year student at a clinic affiliated with Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center.

Originally from Toronto, Canada, she chose St. George’s University because, after speaking with a number of graduates practicing in the US and Canada in various specialties—all encouraged her to apply. “I am glad I did,” she said.

Hoping to inspire more black women to go into medicine, Miss Akinfemiwa is active within the Student National Medical Association (SNMA), serving as vice chair of the national chapter’s Community Service Committee. SNMA is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students by addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of “clinically excellent, culturally competent, and socially conscious physicians.”

Get to know Miss Akinfemiwa below.

1. What are you learning right now in your internal medicine rotation?

Ololade Akinfemiwa: I am currently on an outpatient rotation and I am learning the importance of effective communication of health-related information. It makes a huge difference when patients have a good understanding of their medical conditions and how to manage them.

2. What is the most surprising or exciting lesson/case learned while in clinical rotations?

Akinfemiwa: I saw a patient with Lyme disease with the classic rash that looks like a bull’s eye. I had so many questions about it and was excited to actually see it in person.

3. Do you plan to go into primary care or specialize?

Akinfemiwa: I plan on going into emergency medicine and I have an interest in global health.

4. Favorite rotation/elective so far?

Akinfemiwa: Emergency medicine, of course!

5. What do you miss most about Grenada?

Akinfemiwa: I miss the warm weather, beaches, and Umbrellas Beach Bar.

6. What has been the most challenging part of clinicals?

Akinfemiwa: Right now, the most challenging part of clinicals has been seeing the devastating effects of COVID firsthand.

7. What has stood out to you most about the role of physicians during this pandemic and how has it affected the type of doctor you aspire to be?

Akinfemiwa: This pandemic has highlighted the need for more doctors and revealed the vulnerabilities in the healthcare system. Knowing that things could have gone better has only inspired me to be a part of making that possible.

8. February 3 is National Women Physicians Day. What does it mean to you to be a black woman about to enter the medical field? What do you hope to accomplish as a doctor?

Akinfemiwa: Black female doctors represent only about 2 percent of physicians in the US. I decided to go into medicine to help fight for health equity. I hope to inspire more black women to pursue medicine because we are truly needed. Black physicians are essential to achieving equity in medical care and I look forward to supporting and advocating for patients as an emergency medicine physician.

9. Best piece of advice about clinical rotations for basic sciences med students?

Akinfemiwa: Take care of yourself and listen to your body. If you love to take naps like me, take those naps!

 

 

— Laurie Chartorynsky

 

Prioritizing Student Support During Clinical Rotations: Faculty Spotlight on Associate Dean Dr. Sherry Singh

Sherry Singh, MD '00, associate dean of SGU’s US clinical studies program and director of the US Onsite Clinical Student Support Program.

This month’s faculty spotlight is on Dr. Sherry Singh, a 2000 graduate of St. George’s University and associate dean of SGU’s US clinical studies program. She also is the director of the US Onsite Clinical Student Support Program.

In her current role, Dr. Singh has her hands in many facets of the clinical student’s journey to graduation, including visiting SGU’s clinical sites, overseeing curriculum, ensuring academic standards are met, as well as participating in the development and implementation of clinical student support modalities. She also enjoys interacting directly with students to offer guidance as they navigate their clinical years.

Among the topics she discussed with SGU News—advocating for women in healthcare as well as the need for students to prioritize self-care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

St. George’s University: Navigating clinical studies is an important time. What advice do you have for students?

Dr. Singh: I consider the third year of medical school at SGU the toughest year of their medical studies but also the most rewarding as they apply their basic sciences knowledge directly to patient care.

The third year will require a daily diligent commitment to learning both in the clinical environment as well as study time. I encourage students to keep an open mind as they approach each specialty and consider these years an opportunity to learn about all medical specialties, many of which they may not get a chance to experience directly once they enter into their chosen residency.

The fourth year is a time to strengthen their knowledge as they prepare to enter into residency. With such a tremendous network of clinical sites, I encourage students to take this opportunity to diversify where they do their electives.

SGU: You are a strong supporter of student wellness initiatives at SGU. Why it is important for medical students to take self-care seriously, especially during the pandemic?

Dr. Singh: “Wellness” has become somewhat of a buzz term in today’s world, yet it is not necessarily embraced by those in the world of medicine. As caregivers, it is very difficult to remember to care for yourself. With the pandemic adding yet another layer of complexity, physician burnout—and the number of healthcare workers as a whole—is on the rise. The perseverance with which our students have withstood these difficult times is a testament to their abilities.

Nonetheless, it is critical they manage their time and make self-care a priority—be it exercise, connecting with others, or learning and practicing mindfulness. Learning how to incorporate and build on these skills will lead to a more resilient physician in the long run. Students should take advantage of the various services SGU has to offer available via the University Portal (The Well and through BCS Group).

SGU: National Women’s Physician’s Day is Feb. 3. How has the landscape of medicine changed over the recent years for women physicians?

Dr. Singh: Women are now a majority in medical schools which is helping to balance the ratio of physicians in the workforce. As a result, there continues to be increased awareness of the issues that female physicians face, including work-life balance, compensation discrepancies, and gender equity. Women have taken on roles in both the medical world as well as in leadership positions to help fuel change. In addition, with increased awareness, more men are also helping to equalize the opportunities for men and women. As we recognize and continue to discuss the issues women in medicine face, it is imperative to develop amenable solutions to ensure their success and impact in healthcare.

 

St. George’s University School of Medicine Alumni Association will be hosting a virtual event to celebrate National Women Physician’s Day on February 3 at 9 pm ET. Students are encouraged to log on to the Facebook Live event that will be held simultaneously. 

 

SGU: As part of the Advisory Council for the Women Business Collaborative, you recently hosted the first Healthcare Forum for WBC. What were some of the key takeaways from that discussion?

Dr. Singh: This was a very exciting opportunity to connect with several leaders in healthcare. With SGU being the largest provider of physicians to the US workforce, hosting this forum was a very important start for me.

Key points of discussion were:

  • The ongoing need for mentorship for women (from both women and men), not just awareness but acceptance of the specific issues that women face in striving for work/parenting/life balance;
  • The need to find ways to support women physicians in innovative ways and remove barriers so they can continue successfully as physicians as well as leaders in healthcare; and
  • The positive impacts on patient care from women physicians.

SGU: How can female med students implement these lessons? 

Dr. Singh: Our female students should continue to strive for excellence in all fields of medicine. I encourage them to seek out mentorship as well as lead the way for others toward their goals. Embracing diversity and inclusion and procuring a sense of belonging along the way are essential as we work toward a more equitable environment. This is true for all students, not just our female students.

SGU: How has your career in medicine influenced your role in academia?

Dr. Singh: My career in medicine has been a strong influence on my role in academic medicine by allowing me to bring my own experiences from my teaching roles in understanding the complexities that clinical students face and the particular skill sets they must develop.  By understanding the practice of medicine in our ever-changing world, it has allowed me to contribute to the ongoing refinement of our clinical program at SGU with the goal of continuing the essential and positive impact our students continue to have in the US and around the world.

SGU: What is your best memory from attending SGU?

Dr. Singh: I am often reminded of the surreal excitement I felt as a student arriving in Grenada—in particular, at our White Coat Ceremony. Just as fondly, I recall the overwhelming feeling as I entered Lincoln Center in New York City for the commencement ceremonies with my classmates. Those friendships have long endured. For me, I not only get to pay it forward but to share those moments of excitement as I help new students put on their white coats and, during commencement, hood our deserving graduates. It is truly the best gift!

 

— Laurie Chartorynsky

1,000 Residency Slots Approved by Congress: What it Means for Medical Students

Congress recently passed a measure to fund 1,000 postgraduate residency positions over five years as part of the Medicare-supported program—the first increase in nearly 25 years according to the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC). St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds explained to SGU News what the increase means for our medical students. In addition, Dr. Olds also recently appeared on Action News Jax (Jacksonville, FL) to discuss the new medical residency funding in the stimulus package.

St. George’s University: St. George's University President G. Richard OldsWhat does this mean for SGU medical students, especially those applying for residency?

Dr. Olds: This new legislation should help our students in the Match no matter what specialty they decide to go into. Also, these new slots are permanent in contrast to the teaching health center funds that have to be renewed by Congress every few years.

SGU: What specialties will be included?

Dr. Olds: Potentially all specialties are included, but an institution can’t just expand specialty slots. Half must be for primary care, which includes OB/GYN.

SGU: Residency positions in rural and underserved communities were highlighted as a particular focus in the legislation. Why is that important?

Dr. Olds: The population is both growing and aging. The real problem, however, is a maldistribution of doctors geographically and a maldistribution of doctors by specialty. The first issue points out that affluent urban and suburban areas of the US often have a surplus of doctors, while underserved rural and urban areas have severe shortages. In big states, for example, the surpluses in affluent areas often mask the severity of shortages in rural and poor urban areas.

The second problem of maldistribution by specialty is created by the fact that 70 percent of US medical students specialize. The country needs over half to go into primary care fields. To make this issue worse, primary care doctors as a group are older, and age and COVID-19 are driving them into retirement faster than specialists.

SGU: How and why did these positions become available?

Dr. Olds: The issue that is causing problems in the physician pipeline are residency slots—not medical schools and students. Although there are far too few US medical schools for the current need, 25 percent of all residents in US residencies are international medical school graduates (such as SGU grads), and there are far more doctors who want to train in the US than we have residency slots to accommodate them. The shortage of graduate medical education (GME) slots is driven by a decision made in 1997 to cap GME funding by Medicare. Pressure has been growing to increase GME slots because of the growing doctor shortage. This is the first time in over 20 years that Medicare has increased the GME caps on most teaching hospitals.

While the number of additional residencies will not be enough to solve the doctor shortage in the US, and only a percentage of these slots will go to rural primary care residencies where they are most needed, it’s a start.

SGU: What is the rough number of Medicare-funded residency positions now, and why is adding these residency positions such an important breakthrough?

Dr. Olds: Medicare currently funds about 90,000 GME slots, the US Department of Veterans Affairs funds about 12,000, and children’s hospitals fund about 7,000 each year. Remember that training in internal medicine or pediatrics takes three GME slots spread over three years; general surgery five GME slots, etc., since you need a funded slot each year of your training. If you crunch the numbers, we have the ability to train about 35,000 new residents each year, mostly through the Match.

While the addition of 1,000 slots spans five years, and some of those slots will go to big teaching hospitals that are currently over their cap, it’s the first time in decades the number of Medicare slots have increased. It’s a big deal.

 

– Laurie Chartorynsky

The News Stories that Defined the School of Veterinary Medicine in 2020

top vet stories of 2020

From being on the front lines of animal care during the COVID pandemic to discussions on diversity and equality within the veterinary field, St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine students, faculty, and alumni made their mark in 2020.

In early June, 180 SVM graduates joined the network of more than 1,900 Doctors of Veterinary Medicine making an impact through veterinary medicine around the world. Many of these graduates took the next step in their careers as aspiring veterinarians by matching into highly competitive postgraduate positions.

When it comes to the ongoing COVID pandemic, it’s not just human healthcare that has been dramatically impacted—animal medicine had its own challenges and some surprising opportunities for veterinarians, including in zoos and aquariums. In Grenada, School of Veterinary Medicine also sprung into action as the country’s national testing site at the onset of the pandemic.

It was also a year in which diversity and equality was brought to the limelight. The University had frank discussions with its entire community about the importance of listening, learning, and supporting, not only in the current climate but going forward.

These are the stories that underscore the School of Veterinary Medicine’s strengths and define us as a University as we aim to enhance student success and grow the number of animal health professionals around the world. Read on to see the top SVM news stories of 2020 on SGU.edu.

SVM Commencement 2020

The School of Veterinary Medicine celebrated its 17th annual commencement on June 6, with 180 students from nine countries and 39 US states graduating from the school. For the first time in history, the ceremony was held virtually, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many SVM alums began highly competitive postgraduate positions in a variety of clinical specialty areas such as orthopedics, cardiology, ophthalmology, anesthesiology, immunology, diagnostic imaging, and pathology, matching into positions at reputable veterinary hospitals throughout the US and Canada.

 

Dr. Heather Douglas, DVM ’06

How COVID Impacted Veterinarians

It’s not just human healthcare that has been dramatically impacted as a result of the COVID pandemic—animal medicine had its own challenges and some surprising opportunities for veterinarians.

Heather Douglas, DVM ’06, for example, discussed how the disease is changing the way that small animal veterinarians treat patients and interact with pet owners.

“Initially, businesses like my own were slow when lockdowns were in place,” said Heather Douglas, DVM ’06, owner of Douglas Animal Hospital in Osseo, MN. “Then in mid- to late-April the floodgates opened. This influx was due to clients waiting to bring their pets in during lockdown, clients paying more attention to their pets while at home for extended periods so that illnesses were being detected much sooner, and people adopting new pets to decrease loneliness and feelings of isolation at home. … I’ve had to become more efficient and spend more time communicating with owners.”

 

SGU's Large Animal Resource Facility

A Look Inside SVM’s Large Animal Resource Facility

SGU’s Large Animal Resource Facility (LARF) is a one-acre farm that is home to the equine and bovine teaching herds that students of the School of Veterinary Medicine use to gain crucial large animal clinical skills prior to their fourth year.

Dr. Inga Karasek, director of the Large Animal Resource Facility, was one of a handful of SGU staff who remained on the island to care for the animals during the early days of the global pandemic. In this video, she shared why the farm’s ecosystem—even while students are learning remotely—is important to studying veterinary medicine at SGU.

 

The Laboratory Personnel Behind SGU’s COVID Testing Site

Even before the coronavirus disease reached the shores of Grenada, the School of Veterinary Medicine, together with the Government of Grenada and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), were prepared for it. With the proper equipment and a team led by two staff members—both SGU graduates—in the SVM’s molecular virology lab, served as Grenada’s national testing site at the onset of the pandemic.

The effort facilitated testing for more than 2,000 SGU students, faculty, and staff, over 1,200 members of the Grenadian community, as well as individuals arriving in Grenada via plane or cruise ship.

 

VOICE SGU chapter

VOICE Seeks to Champion Veterinarian Diversity at The Student Level

It’s no secret that Black and Hispanic Americans are underrepresented in the veterinary profession. Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment, or VOICE, a national organization with student chapters across US and Caribbean veterinary schools, seeks to increase “awareness, respect, and sensitivity to differences among all individuals and communities in the field of veterinary medicine.”

VOICE SGU chapter and its current president, Antonia Nickleberry, MBA, a Term 2 student in the School of Veterinary Medicine, discussed with SGU News why diversity in the field matters and how SVM students can get involved.

“The world around is us diversifying rapidly,” Ms. Nickleberry said. “Veterinary medicine seems to have a delayed response to this diversification and therefore, those within the profession are not as aware as they should be. This can lead to major sensitivity issues between classmates and colleagues that can be avoided by educating and empowering those in this profession, starting with the students.”

The News Stories that Defined the School of Medicine in 2020

2020 Top News Stories

For a wide range of reasons, 2020 is a year that we won’t soon forget—from the heroism on the front lines of medicine, powerful demonstrations surrounding racial equality, and the change to our day-to-day lives and our perspectives.

It was a monumental year in so many ways for St. George’s University School of Medicine, its faculty, staff, and students. SGU made history when students and graduates secured 1,124 residency positions across the US and Canada in 2020—a 95 percent residency placement rate for eligible 2020 US graduates who applied for US residencies* and a record for the University. Over the summer, approximately 450 of those grads began their residencies in New York-New Jersey area hospitals, some of the hardest-hit hospitals in the nation during the early days of the COVID pandemic.

SGU profiled many alumni across specialties and locales who tirelessly donated their time and services to help those suffering from the disease, some of those who sacrificed seeing their own families to help the sickest of COVID patients.

It was also a year in which diversity and equality was brought to the limelight. The University had frank discussions with its entire community about the importance of listening, learning, and supporting, not only in the current climate but going forward.

These are the stories that underscore the School of Medicine’s strengths and define us as a University as we aim to enhance student success and grow the number of healthcare professionals around the world. Read on to see the top news stories of 2020 on SGU.edu.

*SGU student data as of November 2020

Match Day 2020

Match Day 2020

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, SGU students and graduates were called on to assist in the fight against the virus. On Match Day 2020 in March, they learned of where they would begin their career as physicians. Positions were secured across a wide range of specialties—including anesthesiology, emergency medicine, orthopedic surgery, pathology, and many more—and spanned across the United States.

All told, 1,124 SGU graduates had started residency in the US and Canada in 2020, which equals a 95 percent residency placement rate for eligible 2020 US graduates who applied for US residencies*—a record for the University—including some 450 SGU grads in New York-New Jersey area hospitals. They joined a proud network of 18,000 SGU physicians who have made a difference in healthcare around the world.

*SGU student data as of November 2020

 

A Conversation on Diversity in the Medical Profession: Thoughts from SGU’s Student National Medical Association

With the tragic deaths of people like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others, and as social justice events were held around the world, SGU News connected with SGU chapter members of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). The national organization is committed to supporting current and future underrepresented minority medical students by addressing the needs of underserved communities, and increasing the number of “clinically excellent, culturally competent, and socially conscious physicians.” SGU chapter members shared their perspectives on the world around us, the importance of the SNMA’s mission, and how students can get involved.

 

Wyckoff Hospital

SGU Adds New US Clinical Sites for Medical School Student Core Rotations

SGU’s clinical network is growing. This fall, seven US hospitals joined the SGU family, including several in California as well as a new venue into the South that allow third-year medical students to receive core clinical training during a crucial time in healthcare.

These hospitals included:

  • Baton Rouge General Medical Center in Baton Rouge, LA
  • Doctor’s Medical Center in Modesto, CA
  • Hemet Valley Medical Center in Hemet, CA
  • MacNeal Hospital in Maywood, IL
  • Mission Community Hospital in Panorama City, CA
  • Westchester General Hospital in Miami, FL
  • Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY

 

Georgios Mihalopulos, MD '18

True Calling: From the Navy to the OR

Critical problem solving. A wide array of challenges. The operating room was exactly the type of workplace atmosphere that Georgios Mihalopulos, MD ’18, set out to find when he began working toward a career in medicine. It also mirrored his life as an officer in the Canadian Navy, a position that he held before and during medical school.

“I always say I love stress and I hate sleep, so that’s why surgery is the perfect field for me,” said Mihalopulos, now a third-year surgery resident at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut. “It just seemed like the most natural thing in the world for me to do.”

 

SGU and Grenada partner to address COVID-19 pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic spread throughout the world, SGU and the Government of Grenada worked hand in hand, developing and operating a COVID testing facility, and bringing in new devices to treat ill patients.

SGU President Dr. G. Richard Olds Publishes Op-ed on IMGs Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

An op-ed by SGU President Dr. G. Richard Olds was recently featured in The Orange County Register.

The article, “Physicians educated abroad can fill COVID-induced doctor shortage,” outlines how the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the country’s looming shortage of physicians. Many doctors are choosing to retire early, either out of concern for their health or financial struggles. This disproportionately harms rural areas, many of which already face provider shortages. Dr. Olds explains that internationally trained doctors can help meet these communities’ healthcare needs.

“International graduates also have a history of practicing in high-need areas,” he said. “Compared to doctors trained at US schools, IMGs are typically ‘more likely to look after underserved populations and to live and work in rural areas.'”

He argues that graduates of St. George’s are playing a particularly significant role in meeting the country’s current—and future—healthcare needs.

“Thousands of promising students graduate from international medical schools each year,” Dr. Olds said. “More than 1,100 graduates of the school I lead, St. George’s University in Grenada, began residencies in the United States this past summer.”

The Importance of Clinical Skills Training: Faculty Spotlight on Department Deputy Chair Dr. Anna Cyrus-Murden

Dr. Anna Cyrus-Murden

Successful physicians are not only strong diagnosticians and skillful when it comes to offering solutions to their patients’ ailments and illnesses, but they are also exceptional communicators.

This month’s faculty spotlight is on Dr. Anna Cyrus-Murden, the deputy chair and assistant professor of the School of Medicine’s Department of Clinical Skills. She is also the director of the Simulation Center. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Cyrus-Murden has been responsible for organizing and implementing online clinical skills solutions for all terms.

She discussed with SGU News the importance of medical students learning to be proficient in clinical skills, so they are aptly prepared for their clinical rotations.

St. George’s University: What are some key clinical skills that are taught to SGU students?

Dr. Cyrus-Murden: Competency in clinical skills best occurs as an integrated and longitudinal educational process, meaning that clinical skills development must occupy a central position in medical education. As students obtain exposure to an incrementally challenging skills curriculum, they have the opportunity to progressively master that set of skills.

SGU emphasizes a patient-centered approach to patient care. As the name indicates, most of the student experiences are designed to be hands-on, including via small groups and hospital SIM lab visits, to offer students the opportunity to develop and become competent of their clinical skills.

In Clinical Skills (CS), students are taught to:

  • Develop their communication and interpersonal skills with patients, families, and other members of the care team, and examine patients;
  • Develop clinical reasoning skills;
  • Document findings from a patient encounter; and
  • Understand the important role of the doctor-patient relationship in patient care.

SGU: Why is it important to learn these soft skills before students start clinical rotations?

Dr. Cyrus-Murden: It is of the utmost importance for students to learn an effective communication skillset so that they can establish a strong patient-provider relationship that can positively influence patient satisfaction, cooperation, and health outcomes.

SGU: What are some best practices when it comes to speaking with patients?

Dr. Cyrus-Murden: Students should be able to:

  • Communicate and engage with patients to build a physician-patient relationship for the purposes of information gathering, guidance, education and support;
  • Demonstrate empathy and professional behavior throughout the encounter;
  • Consider the determinants of health when obtaining an appropriate history;
  • Use effective and empathic verbal and nonverbal communication (and avoid the use of medical jargon);
  • Verify the patient’s understanding and validate the patient’s concerns; and finally,
  • Summarize the clinical information and intended plan of action.

SGU: How have these skills been taught/measured in a virtual setting?

Dr. Cyrus-Murden: Creating online solutions for learning clinical skills as well as developing an online alternative for in-person OSCEs (objective structured clinical examinations) took primary importance in the early days of the pandemic. I was among the clinical skills team at SGU who successfully developed and implemented the Online Clinical Evaluation Exercise (OCEX) at SGU— an online alternative to OSCE.

We are using telemedicine cases as an alternative to the hospital/clinic visits, where students can interview real patients in real time—similar to virtual rounds—and virtually “shadow” physicians to perform their patient encounters. From this experience, they are able to gather enough information to develop a preliminary differential diagnosis and a diagnostic workup plan, as well as begin to develop an effective physician-patient relationship.

SGU: With the emergence of COVID-19, how has telemedicine become an important aspect of clinical skills training? 

Dr. Cyrus-Murden: The unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a host of challenges for physicians. As a result, telemedicine, in many cases, is now conducted in lieu of hospital or doctor visits. Learning effective telemedicine strategies will provide students with the confidence to utilize this tool in their future practices and permits students to go beyond geographic and socioeconomic boundaries to deliver high-quality care to in-need patients. Telemedicine has become a necessary alternative to conventional acute, chronic, and preventive care.

 

 

–Laurie Chartorynsky

SGU Vice Chancellor Dr. Richard Liebowitz Featured in KevinMD

An op-ed by SGU Vice Chancellor Dr. Richard Liebowitz about the importance of internationally trained doctors within the U.S. physician workforce was recently featured in KevinMD.

In the article, “We need more doctors. International medical schools can provide them,” Dr. Liebowitz outlines the increasingly competitive nature of U.S. medical schools. He explains that although our country’s doctor shortage is growing rapidly, these institutions have been unable to respond to the increase in demand. U.S. schools received almost 900,000 applications in the 2019-2020 cycle, but enrolled less than 22,000 new students.

“Consequently, thousands of promising U.S. students who would make excellent doctors are victims of a cruel numbers game,” he writes. “According to a 2019 survey from U.S. News and World Report, the average acceptance rate at 122 U.S. medical schools was just 6.7 percent. And the odds of admission could grow even longer, as the pandemic motivates people to consider careers in medicine.”

Dr. Liebowitz outlines how top-tier international medical schools are resolving this educational bottleneck — and producing the doctors of the future.

“Already, thousands of U.S. citizens head abroad for their medical training. And that number has been growing in recent years. Three-quarters of students at the school I lead are U.S. citizens. Most of them return home to the United States to practice; more than 1,000 started residencies in the United States this summer.”

For a full list of the 2020 residency matches, visit our residency archive. More information about SGU’s admissions deadlines and scholarship programs can be found here.

SGU Instagram Takeover: Emergency Resident Says “Be Willing to Be Open, Take Risks, and Invest in Yourself”

Chris Reilly, MD '20

What’s it like to be an emergency medicine resident?

In a recent takeover of St. George’s University’s Instagram page, Chris Reilly, MD ’20, unveiled what life is like as a PGY-1 in emergency medicine at HCA’s Brandon Regional Hospital in Brandon, FL.

 

 

Dr. Reilly also answered viewers’ questions in a follow-up live Q&A for which he addressed topics like:

  • Why he chose emergency medicine as a specialty;
  • Tips to help students secure an EM residency;
  • How to study and be successful in med school; and
  • Opportunities for personal and professional growth in emergency medicine.

His biggest piece of advice for students? Keeping an open mind about what specialty to enter.

“You’re going to have so many different experiences from first year through fourth year,” Dr. Reilly said. “Really try to enjoy every rotation you are on and try to really envision yourself being in that specialty because that will give you perspective. If you can have an appreciation for and perspective for that specialty, then it was a successful rotation.”

The Instagram Q&A has been viewed by more than 2,300 people as of early December.

 

VOICE: Championing Diversity in the Veterinary Profession at the Student Level

VOICE SGU chapter

It’s no secret that Black and Hispanic Americans are underrepresented in the veterinary profession. According to data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 104,000 veterinarians in the US in 2019, 89.8 percent were white, 6.1 percent were Asian, while just 1.6 percent were Hispanic or Latino, and virtually none were Black or African American.

Veterinarians as One Inclusive Community for Empowerment, or VOICE, seeks to increase “awareness, respect, and sensitivity to differences among all individuals and communities in the field of veterinary medicine.” The national organization has nearly two dozen student chapters across US and Caribbean veterinary schools.

Veterinary students at St. George’s University created the VOICE SGU chapter in 2018 and currently has more than 280 members, according to its Facebook group.

SGU News reached out the VOICE SGU’s current president, Antonia Nickleberry, MBA, a Term 2 student in the School of Veterinary Medicine, to hear more about why diversity in the field matters and how SVM students can get involved.VOICE SGU 2020-2021 president, Antonia Nickleberry, MBA, a Term 2 student in the School of Veterinary Medicine

St. George’s University: What is the overall mission of VOICE SGU?

Antonia Nickleberry: The overall mission of VOICE can be best described by the following excerpt on the national website: The organization aims to “celebrate diversity within our profession, to encourage campus environments that embrace diversity and promote the success of all students, and to emphasize the importance of cross-cultural awareness in veterinary medicine in order to meet the needs of our diversifying clientele. Lastly, in order to ensure a more diverse future for veterinary medicine, VOICE chapters provide leadership and mentorship to youth, particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds, who are interested in careers as veterinarians.”

SGU: Why is it important to raise awareness of and encourage diversity in vet medicine?

Antonia Nickleberry: The world around is us diversifying rapidly. Veterinary medicine seems to have a delayed response to this diversification and therefore, those within the profession are not as aware as they should be. This can lead to major sensitivity issues between classmates and colleagues that can be avoided by educating and empowering those in this profession, starting with the students.

SGU: How does the organization champion equality and diversity in veterinary medicine at the student level?

Antonia Nickleberry: The organization brings awareness to our classmates. It is important that we begin, and continue to understand, that diversity is more than just race; it is also age, gender, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, etc. These differences commonly separate us. However, by acknowledging and being aware of those differences, we can make a large impact not only within veterinary medicine, but across the world.

SGU: What kinds of activities/events are you holding, especially as students are virtual, to bring the group together?

Antonia Nickleberry: The pandemic has made it fairly difficult to host events, but we hosted our first virtual diversity trivia night via Zoom on November 17. It was a huge success! We had about 22 attendees and we were able to have fun and open dialogue about overall diversity as well as diversity specific to veterinary medicine. There were first, second, and third place winners who won $100, $60, $30 electronic visa gift cards, respectively.

Additionally, every month, we feature a “DVM of the Month” on our Facebook page, which highlights veterinarians of all backgrounds to shatter the image of who and what a veterinarian looks like. Being that the field was dominated by white men for many years before shifting to white women, we believe it is important to display those who can identify in different genders, races, nationalities, etc. Diversity is cloaked in this profession and this is our way of removing that cloak.

In addition, when we are on campus, we also visit children at the orphanages in Grenada. While visiting, we spend time with the children and teach them how to handle animals as well as inform them on what veterinarians do and what the field of veterinary medicine consists of. This event allows us to impact these children and hopefully influence the future racial demographic of veterinary medicine.

SGU: How has SGU’s overall student/faculty diversity contributed to the mission of VOICE SGU? And how will it help students in their overall careers as veterinarians?

Antonia Nickleberry: The diverse student and faculty population encourages diverse relationships and fosters an environment that is comfortable for students from all walks of life. This will better prepare students to interact with diverse clientele once they begin practicing.

SGU: Who should join VOICE SGU? How can they join?

Antonia Nickleberry: Anyone who desires a diverse, aware, educated, and empowering experience in veterinary medicine should join VOICE SGU—no matter what race, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status they represent. Being that VOICE is a sub-organization of Student American Veterinary Medical Association, there are no dues and students are able to join by attending our general body meetings, following us on Facebook, and participating in our events.

SGU: What are your personal career aspirations and why did you choose vet medicine as your career?

Antonia Nickleberry: I am originally from Texarkana, TX. I am interested in specializing in radiology, surgery, or emergency medicine, and starting my own private practice. Additionally, I aspire to continue to give back to the veterinary community by providing resources, scholarships, and mentorship to Black pre-veterinary and veterinary students through my newly founded online resource platform, TwoPointOne.

 

– Laurie Chartorynsky