St. George’s University Expands “Pay It Forward” Tuition Refund Program to US Applicants

St. George’s University has announced the expansion of its “Pay It Forward” program, which will permit US students who enroll in the School of Medicine’s January 2019 class to claim a refund of their tuition if they subsequently matriculate at an allopathic medical school in the United States in Fall 2019.

“‘Pay It Forward’ allows students to begin their medical educations early and to see if St. George’s University is right for them on essentially a risk-free basis,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “We’re confident they’ll decide to complete their degrees at St. George’s after spending a semester with our esteemed faculty and tight-knit community.”

St. George’s University graduates have obtained more than 935 PGY-1 residency positions in the United States in 2018.

The program initially launched last year for Canadian applicants. Students who enrolled in the January 2018 term could claim a tuition refund if they later matriculated to a Canadian or US allopathic medical school in Fall 2018.

Three-quarters of current St. George’s students are US citizens. SGU is the number-one provider of US doctors into first-year residencies for the last eight years combined, with more than 930 St. George’s graduates securing PGY-1 positions in the United States in 2018. SGU is the fourth-largest source of doctors for the entire US workforce according to a recent census by the Journal of Medical Regulation.

“St. George’s University graduates are meeting the medical needs of countless patients across the United States,” Dr. Olds said. “We hope that ‘Pay It Forward’ will introduce more aspiring doctors to the top-notch medical education we offer at St. George’s.”

St. George’s University Welcomes Dr. Richard Liebowitz as New Vice Chancellor

Today, St. George’s University announced that Dr. Richard Liebowitz will assume the role of Vice Chancellor effective September 17.

As Vice Chancellor, Liebowitz will be the Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at St. George’s University, with responsibility for all academic affairs at the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Graduate Studies, and Arts and Sciences. He will work closely with faculty and staff as well as members of the senior leadership team to promote student success, faculty development, and academic excellence.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Dr. Liebowitz to the St. George’s University community,” said Charles Modica, Chancellor and Co-Founder of St. George’s University. “We’re fortunate to be able to add someone with his depth of experience in academic medicine, clinical training, and strategic development to our leadership team.”

“St. George’s University has produced thousands of graduates who have distinguished themselves as leaders in medicine, veterinary science, and other fields,” Liebowitz said. “I look forward to advancing the work of St. George’s University, upholding the highest standards of academic excellence, and preparing our students for lives of service and leadership.”

Liebowitz most recently served as president of NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital. Before taking the helm, he also served as senior vice president and chief medical officer at NewYork-Presbyterian Medical Center, one of the leading academic medical centers in the world.

Previously, Liebowitz served as medical director of strategic initiatives and network business development at Duke University Health System; section chief of general medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine; and medical director of the Massachusetts-based Fallon Clinic. He has been deputy editor of the Archives of Internal Medicine and is also a fellow of the American College of Physicians.

“Our students will benefit enormously from the insight that Dr. Liebowitz has gleaned from his decades of experience leading major hospital systems,” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds said. “He’s the ideal person to help our students prepare for successful careers in medicine and the sciences, and I am eager to begin working with him.”

Global Scholars Take First Steps in Medical Profession at White Coat Ceremony

The longstanding partnership between St. George’s University, Grenada, and Northumbria University, UK, was strengthened again as 72 students joined the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP). The relationship between the two institutions, now in its eleventh year, enables SGU students to take the first year of their MD degree—basic sciences—at Northumbria University, before returning to Grenada to continue their studies.

The occasion was marked by a traditional White Coat Ceremony, where the students were ‘robed’ in their white coats, a symbol of the medical profession, before taking an oath of commitment to use their training for the benefit of others. A key focus of the KBTGSP is to encourage medical students to devote at least a portion of their professional lives to the service of developing countries, underserved regions of the world, or international NGOs.

Leading the occasion was Master of Ceremonies, Gordon Bourne, MD SGU ’17, a graduate and faculty member of the KBTGSP at Northumbria, where he serves as a clinical tutor. As the grandson of SGU’s first Vice Chancellor, Dr. Geoffrey Bourne, and nephew of its third Vice Chancellor, Dr. Peter Bourne, his family has a long history with SGU. A former Royal Marine, Dr. Bourne spent seven years working and traveling in Sub-Saharan Africa, principally working with anti-poaching units in Tanzania. “Learning how to adapt and how to survive” is as useful in medical school as in the marines or the bush, he told the students.

Dr. Bourne introduced Baroness Howells of St. Davids, the only Grenadian in the UK’s House of Lords and president of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF)—SGU’s research arm. Baroness Howells welcomed the students, and remarked, “You will enjoy your time at this splendid university before continuing your studies at SGU in Grenada, where you can bask in the land of perpetual sun”.

The keynote address was delivered by Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. In his speech, Dr. Olds told three personal stories from his medical career that shaped him into the doctor he is today. “I hope to leave you with something you remember for longer than you are in this room”, he said. Dr. Olds emphasized, in all three cases, “always do what’s best for your patients, ahead of all other considerations.”

Having been robed in their white coats, the students joined their friends and families at a reception, before taking their first steps into a career in medicine.

Dr. Stuart Noble-Goodman Appointed Dean of School of Arts and Sciences

Education can not only empower students but change entire communities. Dr. Stuart Noble-Goodman has witnessed it firsthand, having spent the last quarter century as an administrator and faculty member at universities across the United States. His students have built a foundation of skills and knowledge, putting them into a position to serve as the “economic engine” for the cities and towns in which they go on to work.

Named the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at St. George’s University this month, Dr. Noble-Goodman brings a wealth of experience and ideas that can help prepare students to become leaders in their professions and in turn enhance businesses in Grenada and throughout the surrounding islands.

“I am looking forward to serving the Grenadian and Eastern Caribbean community by creating pathways for students to earn degrees and advance professionally,” Dr. Noble-Goodman said. “This work is extraordinarily attractive to me and aligns with my deeply held belief in the transformative power of education for the individual, and of the value of education to the community as a whole.”

Dr. Noble-Goodman’s academic experience has included stops at Benedictine University, North Carolina State University, the University of Redlands, and Marylhurst University. In addition to working with tertiary level students, he has successfully built and developed online degree programs and adult education programs, as well as integrated liberal arts into business training.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Noble-Goodman join St. George’s University as Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, Interim Provost, SGU. “Throughout his impressive career, he has exhibited a commitment and dedication to both educating and elevating students in the arts and sciences to reach new heights. We look forward to welcoming him on campus and to the continued growth and success of our students in the SAS.”

The School’s service to the people of the island heavily influenced Dr. Noble-Goodman to accept the position, and will also be the impetus for his efforts as dean.

“We need to focus on allowing people to really generate an economic engine and energy that’s centered specifically on Grenadians and the people of the Eastern Caribbean. I want to start by meeting the educational needs of Grenadians, but I also want to attract students from across the EC and then internationally,” said Dr. Noble-Goodman. “Looking forward, I believe that with what I would call Grenada’s brand—the original Spice Island with world-class education, incredible beaches, and a culture of safety, friendliness, and respect—that we should aspire to become the premiere university in the Caribbean for all tertiary education. That is what I’m aiming for.”

At SGU, he will focus on maintaining the already strong programs available to students but also on expanding these opportunities.

“I would like to broaden and enhance the School of Arts and Sciences signature programs in the sciences, humanities, social sciences, business, and nursing, but I also want to create new programs to give our students access to professions in areas such as hospitality management, construction management, and social entrepreneurship,” said Dr. Noble-Goodman. “It is very important to me that Grenadians benefit directly from the development of these industries on the island. I want to prepare our graduates for management and leadership positions in those industries.”

Currently, the School of Arts and Sciences is heavily staffed by Caribbean professionals. SGU has pointedly stacked the faculty role with professors who are from the region to educate the region. According to Dr. Noble-Goodman, comparatively to the other Schools within SGU, the SAS is the most endemic. He believes one of the strengths of the School is creating capacity within the region while also pulling from that same capacity to help build the next generation.

“We certainly encourage the students we educate here as undergraduates, or even in our graduate programs, to continue their education elsewhere if that is their goal,” stated Dr. Noble-Goodman. “Yet, we also hope that these individuals come back to the island and establish themselves in whatever field, contributing to the island’s economy, resilience, and culture. This is an issue every island faces—after we educate our citizens, where are they going to work? Will they stay here or are they going to have to go abroad? By effectively preparing our students to work in Grenada’s expanding range of professional fields, we are creating opportunities for them to stay right here, with their families, and help us grow this economy.”

Dr. Noble-Goodman earned a Bachelor of Arts in English at UC-Berkeley and a Doctor of Philosophy in American Literature at Duke University. Among his academic roles prior to SGU was a 16-year tenure at the University of Redlands, the majority of time spent as Dean of the School of Business, a stint that included creating a successful industry mentorship program and International MBA program with students from India and China. He also served as the Dean of the School of Continuing Studies at Redlands. While in his most recent position as the Director of the School of Business at Marylhurst, Dr. Noble-Goodman was instrumental in helping launch a new bachelor’s degree program in hospitality management, the first of its kind in the Portland metro region.

In addition, Dr. Noble-Goodman’s past research efforts have focused on a broad range of sustainability issues facing humanity and the planet. As the former Chair of Environmental Studies at Redlands and a professed nature lover, he looks forward to exploring the forests and reefs in Grenada, and is eager to help with the conservation efforts on the island.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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.”