Commonwealth Conference Focuses on Student Success

 

More than 350 educators from Grenada and around the world descended on St. George’s University for the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) 2019 annual conference. Highlighting the presentations at the two-day event, titled “Students: Our Common Wealth – A Focus on Student Success,” was a keynote address by The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, the second secretary-general of the Commonwealth from the Caribbean and the first woman to hold the post.

“Students who are educated to think creatively will have a distinctive advantage,” Secretary-General Scotland said. “They will be equipped to master the new ideas and new areas of knowledge and will have truly portable, flexible, applicable skills for the future. They will be able to collaborate across cultural and disciplinary boundaries and thrive in enterprises that have not yet even been invented.”

To this end, she proposed four pillars for building a “common wealth” among Commonwealth students:

  • Learning for life – with readily available skills-based training and higher education programs that respond to market needs
  • Employment – as a focus for ensuring brighter prospects and widening opportunity within the global development agenda
  • Entrepreneurship – so that enterprise and innovation create employment and sustainable growth
  • Engagement – to encourage well-informed consultation and responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of all.

“This can only be achieved through education,” the Secretary-General said. “Through firm commitment always and everywhere to do our utmost to treasure and support students our common wealth.”

The 2019 conference marked the first time that the CEC’s annual event had been held in the Caribbean region.

“A conference of this nature does one thing—it inspires,” said Samantha Antoine-Purcell, Principal, Westmorland Secondary School. “It inspires you to think beyond the usual. It inspires you to try new things, new approaches, and new perspectives so that at the end of the day, the student wins. Judging from the high caliber of presenters, which included educators, principals, students and others in the industry, we were able to have a really rich discourse because the perspectives were so varied. I believe the biggest takeaway for me and my fellow educators is to make sure that what we learn here today, we adapt, and we follow through.”

“We were honored to host the first-ever CEC annual conference in the Caribbean,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, Provost, St. George’s University. “SGU’s faculty and students represent over 140 countries across the globe, including more than 20 percent of our students who hail from Commonwealth countries. This conference provided the kind of association and diversity we value on our campus. We were delighted to welcome international and local representatives from throughout the commonwealth to share their ideas on addressing how educational institutions can make a difference and ensure students get the most out of their studies and be successful.”

Currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, this year’s Council for Education in the Commonwealth conference was designed to explore the main challenges facing education provision across the 53 member states. In addition to the CEC annual conference being held for the first time ever in the Caribbean, it was also the second-ever held outside of the United Kingdom. The Council’s 2021 conference will be held in Kenya.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Grenada Class of 2019 Inspired to Bloom

In a riveting speech, H.E. Mrs. Akima Paul Lambert, Grenada’s Ambassador to the Holy See and keynote speaker at the 2019 Grenada commencement ceremony at St. George’s University, encouraged the new graduates to see that their past struggles often provided the best teaching moments.

These challenges and conquests have provided inspiration for the nearly 420 graduates from 31 countries. The 2019 class included more than 230 students from the School of Arts and Sciences, and 110 from the School of Graduate Studies, with one PhD graduate in attendance. Medical doctorates were conferred on 77 new physicians from the School of Medicine. Ceremonies for the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine will take place at New York City’s Lincoln Center in June.

“Graduands, I beseech you to go forth in your authentic selves, bring your light of change to the world,” said Ambassador Paul Lambert, who as both a diplomat and solicitor advocate, champions issues related to international economic development and human rights. She was one of the youngest awardees of the United Nations Global 500 Award for services to the environment.

She went on to reference three Grenadian sayings that share lessons that benefited her in her much accomplished life. “Do not succumb to the shadows of regression or prejudice and frame your challenges as your finest teachings. Burn bright around the globe as proud agents of change, proud citizens of the world and proud graduates of St. George’s University. Bloom in your dry season.”

In addition to the three lessons imparted by the keynote speaker, in her valedictory address, Nanditha Guruvaiah, BSc ’19, offered three ingredients in order to succeed at SGU—willpower, a plan, and not enough time in the day.

“The will to succeed, the aspiration to win, and the impulse to maximize your full potential are the keys that will unlock the pathway to individual greatness,” said Ms. Guruvaiah. “St. George’s University has given us the key that will unlock a future of endless opportunities. Let us use it to solve global issues and become the change we want to see in this world.”

Also addressing her fellow graduates was the class speaker for the School of Graduate Studies, Tyann Gabriel, MD ’15. She too offered up her own nine lessons as reminders for the students as they continued along their journeys. Her words of wisdom included having goals but remembering to be flexible, making time for self-reflection, seizing the moment, creating change, and knowing that the journey doesn’t end here today.

“Today I urge you, I challenge you to continue to think beyond,” said Dr. Gabriel. “I challenge you to go beyond. Go beyond all your uncertainties. Go beyond all your fears. I challenge each and everyone one of us to go beyond excellence.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

New Agreement Provides International Students with a Unique Pathway to Medicine

Aerial images of Sir Eric Gairy Hall and Andrew J. Belford Centre.

St. George’s University has announced a new agreement with NCUK – The University Consortium (NCUK), based in Manchester, United Kingdom, to establish a pathway to study medicine or veterinary medicine at St. George’s University. Qualified NCUK students will be eligible to apply for the SGU International Peace Scholarship and students enrolled in the NCUK-SGU Medical Pathway Foundation program will be granted a dedicated scholarship to defray the cost of tuition.

“This important agreement will provide international students with a passion for medicine a direct pathway to a top medical education from St. George’s University,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to welcoming aspiring physicians and veterinarians from NCUK’s global network of study centers to St. George’s.”

NCUK is a consortium of leading UK universities dedicated to giving international students access to universities worldwide. NCUK offers a range of pathway qualifications designed by its universities exclusively for international students wanting to study abroad at top universities. Students who enroll in the medical pathway at one of many NCUK Study Centers around the world and meet SGU’s admissions criteria are guaranteed a place in order to complete either the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees at St. George’s University.

Students who meet the requirements for entry to the medical program can choose to study for their first year on the True Blue campus in Grenada, or in the UK at Northumbria University’s campus as part of the St. George’s University of Grenada School of Medicine/Northumbria University five-year MD program. Those opting to take their first year at Northumbria will study an identical curriculum to their counterparts at SGU’s True Blue campus in Grenada—providing a strong foundation in the basic sciences and non-science subjects.

Students then complete one year of integrated basic sciences in Grenada before undertaking two years of clinical rotations, a portion of which can be taken in the UK, with the remaining rotations in the US or Canada.

“I am delighted to announce the unique pathway for NCUK International medical students into our medicine programs at St. George’s University and the new cooperation between our organizations,” added Pete Fiaschi, Director of Recruitment Asia and UK.

Graduates of SGU’s MD program are eligible to apply to the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) program—a Health Education England initiative within the National Health Service (NHS) that provides a pathway for U.K. registration through postgraduate training following the completion of an internship. This postgraduate training is recognized for licensure in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Commonwealth countries.

“NCUK is delighted to include St George’s University as a study option for our aspiring young medics. We are confident that the partnership will provide opportunities for many young people wishing to study medicine,” said Maria McKenna, Regional Director (EMEA) for NCUK. “NCUK’s global network of Study Centres are excited to introduce this new dedicated medicine pathway and looks forward to helping many young people realize their dreams of pursuing a medical degree at a leading medical school.”

SGU Grad Reveals “The Truth About Caribbean Medical Schools”

For Jessica Willett, MD ’13, St. George’s University was her first-choice medical school. The education and experience she had at SGU have propelled her to become an emergency medicine physician at San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp, CA. She set out to learn from an international faculty, with an international student body, and through international experiences like the St. George’s University of Grenada School of Medicine/Northumbria University four-year MD program (formerly the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program), and as a physician and board member for Flying Doctors of America. With philanthropy high on her list of values, she appreciates the opportunity to practice medicine in underserved and underdeveloped communities throughout her medical career.

KevinMD.com recently published her story titled “The Truth About Caribbean Medical Schools,” in which she stated, “I suspected that SGU held unique options that would help me to mold my career down the road, and I wasn’t wrong.”

St. George’s University and Ramaiah Group of Institutions Establish Mini-Medical School Program in Bangalore

St. George’s University School of Medicine, in association with Ramaiah Group of Institutions, Bangalore, India, have established a Mini-Medical School program on the campus of Legacy School and Ramaiah in Bangalore for students interested in a career in medicine.

Students enrolled in the Mini-Medical School program have an opportunity to gain valuable insights into a career in medicine and the life of a medical student, as well as have an opportunity to network with instructors, including Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University, who will be lecturing in the program.

“Students in India have demonstrated a growing interest in a career in medicine,” said Dr. Olds. “It is our hope that this program, designed to expose students to a range of topics in medicine in a practical and student-friendly format, ignites a desire to learn more about a rewarding and prestigious career path.”

The three-day Min-Med School program courses include:

  • Medicine as a Global Career
  • Need for Doctors in Emerging Countries like India
  • Introduction to Medical Instruments and Devices
  • Introduction to the Heart and Cardiovascular System
  • Understanding the Nervous System
  • Introduction to Lungs and Pulmonary System
  • What is First Aid, Triage, and Suturing

The registration fee of Rs 5000 for the three-day program includes all classroom fees and lunch each day.  The program starts 12 June and runs through 14 June at Legacy School in Bangalore.

Salil Gupta, South Asia Regional Manager for St. George’s University, is enthusiastic about bringing this successful medical school preview program to India.

“This program is perfect for those who may not have a physician as a member of their family, “said Gupta.  “While there is a lot of interest in medicine as a career choice for their children among parents, navigating the path to medical school and then on to practicing can be confusing. The Mini-Med School program exposes students to the exciting and challenging career options that are present in the noble profession of medicine.”

To register for the Mini-Med School Program, contact admissionindia@sgu.edu or call India Toll Free at 1800-572-9921.

St. George’s University, Northumbria University Expand Joint Medical Education Program

Today, St. George’s University and Northumbria University announced an expansion of their joint medical training program that will allow students to complete up to two years of their pre-clinical and medical education in the United Kingdom.

“St. George’s has students and faculty from more than 140 countries around the world,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “For many of our students, the United Kingdom is a more convenient location in which to pursue their studies. This relationship with Northumbria offers our students flexibility while ensuring they receive a top-notch education identical to the one we provide in Grenada.”

Under the terms of the expanded relationship, students in the St. George’s University School of Medicine of Grenada/Northumbria University five-year MD program will be able to spend up to two years at Northumbria’s campus of more than 33,000 students in the United Kingdom developing a foundation in the principles of clinical medicine. They will follow the same curriculum as their counterparts at the St. George’s campus in Grenada, in both Pre-Clinical Studies and Basic Principles of Medicine. They will also earn a Diploma in Higher Education in Medical Sciences from Northumbria.

The Gateshead Millennium Bridge illuminates the River Tyne in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

Students then complete one year of the Principles of Clinical Medicine in Grenada before undertaking two years of clinical rotations, with up to six months of those in the United Kingdom and the remainder in the United States or Canada.

The St. George’s/Northumbria joint program was founded in 2007 to create a pathway for highly qualified international students to pursue a world-class western medical education. More than 1,700 students have since begun their physician training with St. George’s at the Northumbria campus.

Program graduates will be eligible to apply to enter the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) program, a Health Education England initiative within the National Health Service that provides a pathway for U.K. registration through postgraduate training following the completion of an internship. This postgraduate training is recognized for licensure in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Commonwealth countries.

“We strive to send our graduates where they are needed most,” Dr. Olds said. “Our graduates are well-equipped to meet the needs of communities facing shortages of qualified medical personnel in the United Kingdom and around the world.”

“We are excited to further develop our relationship with both Northumbria University and the wider NHS,” said Dr. James Coey, Assistant Dean of Basic Sciences at St. George’s University and the academic lead in Newcastle. “The relationship between St. George’s and Northumbria affords our students experience with healthcare systems in Grenada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and beyond. I am confident our graduates will not only stand out from their peers when they interview for residency positions but go on to be exceptional physicians with a truly global perspective.”

“We have a longstanding relationship with St. George’s University, and we are incredibly excited to be working with them to offer an innovative new joint medical program, which will involve educating the doctors of tomorrow,” said Professor Peter Francis, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Northumbria University.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to welcome even more students from around the globe to Newcastle.  Studying for longer with us, they will benefit from our world leading academic staff, research-informed teaching, outstanding facilities and the exciting city life which Newcastle offers.”

Medical Education Without Borders: SGU/NU Faculty Present at Prestigious Scientific Conference in Iraq

Three members of St. George’s University of Grenada School of Medicine/Northumbria University (SGU/NU) Four-Year MD Program faculty presented six platform and four poster presentations at the Second International Scientific Conference of Medical Sciences Institute (ISCMS), held on April 10 and 11 at University of Al-Qadisiyah College of Medicine in Diwaniyah, Iraq.

Following visits to NU’s campus in Newcastle, United Kingdom, by the dean, Professor Aqeel Al-Barqawee and nine other Al-Qadisiyah faculty members; Drs. Nahidh Al-Jaberi, clinical instructor; Gordon Bourne, MD ’17 clinical tutor; and James Coey, assistant dean of basic science were invited to deliver keynotes at a conference attended by more than 1,000 participants. Delegates included Professor Emad Aldin Toma, chairman of the Iraqi Medical Council, representatives of the Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and the Minister of Health, as well as participants from nations including Australia, India, Turkey, and Pakistan.

“The attendance at conference of our international friends from SGU has reinforced our commitment to strengthening academic collaboration between Iraqi medical schools and international counterparts,” said Professor Ferdous Al-Tarahi, president of University of Al-Qadasiyah. “We are now developing plans to send students and faculty members for training in UK hospitals and medical schools.”

Dr. Al-Jaberi is a graduate of Al-Nahrain College of Medicine in Baghdad, and trained as a physician at Al-Kadhimiya Teaching Hospital. He went on to head of Department of Histology and Embryology at the hospital, and is now a discipline manager and clinical instructor at SGU/NU. He pointed out that Iraq has historically been a center of medical education going back to the establishment of Mesopotamia.

“That rich history means that, in spite of the recent past, its medical practitioners and educators remain committed to excellence and keen to engage with the international medical community,” he said.

Dr. Coey is a firm proponent of enabling future physicians to provide evidence-based medicine through “evidence-based medical education.” The advancement of medical education in Iraq has been hindered by the academic isolation brought about by conflict, sanctions, and terrorism over the past 30 years.

“As physicians working in the field of medical education, we have a moral and ethical obligation to share best practice so as to enhance patient outcomes across the globe,” he said.

The SGU/NU program (formerly the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program) was established to provide students with the opportunity to study within and experience a different healthcare environment and culture. Sharing and exchanging knowledge internationally are at the heart of the program’s ethos.

SGU has been an innovator in the field of medical education over the past 40 years, being the first medical school of its kind in the Caribbean. It has now educated more international medical students than all US medical schools combined and contributed more than 16,000 physicians from over 140 countries to the global physician workforce.

The SGU MD program is underpinned by small group sessions of 6-8 students facilitated by medically qualified clinical tutors and instructors. Gordon Bourne, MD ’17, clinical tutor and grandson of Geoffrey Bourne, SGU’s first vice Chancellor, believes that “using clinical tutors not only reinforces the clinically relevant aspects to prehospital studies but also engenders professionalism through near peer mentorship.”

Cancer Survivor Sets Sights on Becoming an SGU-Trained Physician

NJ.com recently caught up with CityDoctors Scholarship recipient Timothy Malone, whose journey to becoming a first-year medical student at St. George’s University included a long bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in 2010. Below is an excerpt from the NJ.com story.

Once he understood what a doctor does, Timothy Malone knew that’s what he wanted to do with his life.

The kid from Mahwah was only 5, maybe 6-years-old when he made that decision.

Malone’s thinking wasn’t challenged — until his health tilted out of control in 2010.

Constant headaches came out of nowhere in high school. He lost 30 pounds, thinking that was normal for a 16-year-old teen getting in shape. He had a pale complexion and itchy skin that bled from his scratching. Doctors thought he had allergies. A chest x-ray saw something else.

“That’s when they found the tumors,” Malone said.

He had Hodgkin Lymphoma, a cancer that affects the lymph system, turning his life upside down.

“I wanted nothing to do with hospitals,” Malone said. “It made me want to run in the opposite direction.”

But Malone, now 25, is sprinting back toward his childhood dream. He’s a first-year medical student in Grenada at St. George’s University, which has a teaching partnership with the Bergen County hospital that helped him beat cancer.

AMSA SGU Donates EC$16,000 to Grenada Heart Foundation

On the heels of another successful Valentine’s Day Date Auction, the St. George’s University chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) leapt at the opportunity to support an important local cause. The group of physicians-in-training recently donated the proceeds of that auction—EC$16,000—to the Grenada Heart Foundation (GHF) as part of its longstanding partnership in providing lifesaving interventional cardiac care to those in need, especially children.

As the group’s biggest and most popular fundraising event of the year, the Valentine’s Day Date Auction featured attractive donations from local businesses, including spa treatments, two-night hotel stays, and dinner for two at a popular resort. These prizes were paired with students showcasing various talents, such as; fire-breathing and belly dancing, and auctioned off “dates” for potential bidders.

“We had an amazing turnout. Over 200 students came out to show their support for this worthy cause,” said Chanelle Dufreny, fifth-term medical student and vice president of finance for AMSA. “It’s one thing for us to learn about cardiovascular diseases in school but then to actually be able to donate and participate in providing opportunities for children to receive life-saving heart surgeries at no cost to their families—that’s something that everyone wants to be a part of.”

For over two decades, the Grenada Heart Foundation has aided in more than 300 children and young adults receiving crucial cardiovascular care through direct funding and partnerships abroad. The foundation is supported locally by the Government of Grenada to provide free healthcare services to children who suffer with congenital or acquired heart disease and by international donors, including Children’s Health Organization Relief and Educational Services (CHORES), and a network of generous hospitals at which the patients are treated.

Having been with the Foundation for more than 25 years, the last 20 of which have been as its president, Dr. Chamarthy Subbarao has seen first-hand the life-altering work that the Foundation has done and continues to do.

“We are extremely grateful to AMSA, as one of our biggest supporters,” stated Dr. Subbarao, who is also a professor of clinical skills at SGU. “To date, they have donated over EC$100,000 to the GHF which goes toward helping achieve our mission of providing lifesaving interventional cardiac surgeries to children and other underserved members of the community.”

Founded in 1950, the American Medical Student Association is the oldest and largest independent association in the US, of physicians-in-training. Today, AMSA is a student-governed, national organization committed to improving medical training and has more than 62,000 national and international members, comprising of medical students, premedical students, interns, residents, and practicing physicians.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Student Success at the Center of Council for Education in the Commonwealth Annual Conference in Grenada

A total of 61 abstracts have been submitted for consideration to the annual conference of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC), which is to be hosted by St. George’s University on May 21-23, 2019. The conference, titled “Students: Our Common Wealth – A Focus on Student Success,” will hear from international representatives from throughout the commonwealth on how educational institutions can ensure students get the most out of their studies.

Submissions include oral presentations, poster presentations, and workshops, and cover a range of topics based on delegates’ extensive experience working in education. Topics on accessibility include “Inclusive Education in Ghana: Barriers Faced by Deaf and Blind Students in accessing Higher Education”; “An exploration of the inclusion of students with special needs in traditional schools in the Eastern Caribbean region”; and “Supporting Individuals with dis(Abilities) Through Universal Design in Learning”. Those interested in early years learning will have the chance to listen to presentations including “Designing a STEM Program for Delivery in Primary Education Settings; and “Can Reflection Help Junior Educators Teach Better?”. Extracurricular measures will also be up for discussion, as attendees consider an “Assessment of Pet Ownership on Student Academic Performance.”

The conference will also showcase a Technology Test Kitchen, an interactive space offering a hands-on experience for attendees to learn and explore how to integrate and apply technologies for educational purposes.

Conference attendees will include The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, who will deliver a keynote address. It is hoped that a delegation from the University of Nairobi will also be in attendance to prepare the ground for the CEC’s conference in 2021, which it will host. A delegation from the University of Namibia, which hosted the 2019 conference, will be led by Professor Kenneth Matengu.

“We are delighted to welcome international delegates from across the Commonwealth to our conference on the theme of student success,” said Sonny Leong CBE, Chairman of the CEC. The fact that these include representatives from the University of Namibia, our former hosts, and the University of Nairobi who will host us in two years’ time, demonstrates the value of these international events in creating lasting pan-Commonwealth networks.”

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said, “I am pleased that the response to our call for abstracts has resulted in so many responses on a wide range of topics. SGU’s faculty and students represent some 140 countries around the world, and this conference is an excellent opportunity for them to share their experience with Commonwealth education leaders, as well as hearing new perspectives from our esteemed attendees.”