SOM Alumni Association Set to Host Art of Medicine CME in March

This March, the St. George’s University School of Medicine Alumni Association (SOMAA) will take a closer look at the beauty and methods of medicine, welcoming graduates and other medical professionals to Grenada for the Art of Medicine 2019 continuing medical education (CME) conference.

Held in association with the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the conference will take place from March 4-7 at the Radisson Grenada Beach Resort on Grand Anse Beach. According to SOMAA President Bruce Bonanno, MD SGU ’83, it’s an opportunity for alumni to further harvest their passion for medicine, on an island where the foundation for their careers was built.

“Medicine is an art, not just a profession driven by numbers and statistics,” said SOMAA President Bruce Bonanno, MD SGU ’83. “This conference is a great way for physicians to reconnect with medicine and to get back to their roots.”

Presentation topics cover a wide range of medical realms, including ophthalmology, emergency medicine, hyperbaric therapy, and medicine in Grenada (complete schedule to be finalized soon). By partaking in the CME, attendees are eligible to receive 16 CME credits.

In addition to academic presentations, the conference will also feature activities such as island and campus tours, dune buggy tours, a catamaran sunset cruise, and alumni grand rounds.

“The conference also allows attendees the opportunity to explore the island and enjoy everything it has to offer,” Dr. Bonanno said. “Those of us who studied in Grenada know full well how wonderful of a place it really is.”

Dr. Bonanno also stated that they are looking to welcome members from the January 1979 entering class, the School of Medicine’s fifth-ever class of students.

To learn more about the conference or to register, visit sgualumni.org.

Jersey Shore University Medical Center Joins St. George’s University’s CityDoctors Scholarship Program

This week, St. George’s University announced Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center as its newest hospital partner in the CityDoctors Scholarship Program.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jersey Shore University Medical Center to the CityDoctors Scholarship family,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “CityDoctors has helped dozens of aspiring doctors from New York and New Jersey launch their careers in medicine. Now, Jersey Shore University Medical Center will have the opportunity to hand-pick some of the next crop of distinguished CityDoctors.”

Beginning in 2019, Jersey Shore University Medical Center will be able to select one student for a full, four-year scholarship—amounting to about $250,000—or several students for partial scholarships.

Priority consideration will be given to applicants who are from Monmouth or Ocean Counties or affiliated with Jersey Shore University Medical Center. Veterans, those with demonstrated financial need, and those from groups underrepresented in medicine will also receive priority.

Founded in 2012, the CityDoctors program provides partial- and full-tuition scholarships to St. George’s University medical students with a demonstrated interest in practicing medicine in the New York metropolitan area. Additional partners in the program include NYC Health + Hospitals.

“This new scholarship program allows us to grow our academic programs and help area residents, perhaps even the children of our team members, pursue their dreams of becoming doctors,” said Dr. David Kountz, vice president for Academic Affairs at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and co-chief academic officer of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Although there is no commitment for these students to return to Jersey Shore University Medical Center for their residency, we are hopeful they will want to return ‘home’ when they complete their studies.”

SGU Students Register 95% Pass Rate on Veterinary Licensing Examination

St. George’s University’s veterinary medical students made the grade once more on the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination (NAVLE), posting a 95 percent pass rate on the exam in 2017-2018 according to the International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA).

A student’s passing grade on the 360 multiple-choice-question test is required for licensure to practice veterinary medicine in the United States and Canada. Since 2000, ICVA has used the exam and other assessment tools “to protect the public, and animal health and welfare.”

“Our students’ success on the NAVLE is a testament to their commitment to their studies and to their future as veterinarians,” said Dr. Neil Olson, Dean of St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. “Throughout their basic science and clinical years, they must endure a rigorous course load and absorb a wealth of information, and we’re pleased that the curriculum has adequately prepared them to meet the highest of practicing standards.”

SGU’s pass rate on the NAVLE compares favorably with other veterinary medical schools around the world. The pass rate for all criterion group examinees in the November/December 2017 and April 2018 periods was approximately 95 percent. To be an accredited college of veterinary medicine in good standing, the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE) requires that at least 80 percent of students who take the exam will have passed at the time of graduation.

SGU students have a proven track record of success on the NAVLE, including a 94 percent pass rate among test takers in 2016-2017.

“We congratulate our students for demonstrating that they are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to have long and successful careers in veterinary medicine,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “We also salute our faculty and staff for helping to build a sturdy foundation for not only these students but for all of our graduates who are currently in practice.”

St. George’s University has produced more than 1,600 veterinarians since opening its doors in 1999. The SVM obtained full AVMA accreditation in 2011, and its graduates have gone on to practice in 49 US states and in 16 countries worldwide.

Student Health at the Heart of New Belford Centre Fitness Center

 

The health of a student’s mind, body, and soul is crucial to his or her academic success, which is why St. George’s University demonstrated its commitment to such achievement, building a state-of-the-art multi-purpose gym and fitness center within the brand new Andrew J. Belford Centre.

The facility overlooks the Caribbean Sea and features a wide array of weight-training and cardio equipment.

“The Belford Centre is a tremendous addition to the campus experience at St. George’s University,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of SGU. “Pursuing a tertiary degree is an enormous challenge, which is why we encourage students to carve out time for themselves so that they’re in the best state physically and mentally to take on that challenge.”

The Belford Centre gym features:

  • An 8,400 square foot gym that houses 66 cardio machines, such as treadmills, stairmasters, arc trainers, rowing machines, and exercise bikes, as well as 60 weight training machines and a full complement of free weights and other equipment.
  • A 940 square-foot yoga/multi-purpose room designed for martial arts, dance, yoga, and fitness classes, as well as TRX systems for suspension weight training programs.
  • A 600 square-foot spin room with 22 spin bikes.
  • An 800 square-foot space that includes locker rooms and bathrooms complete with shower stalls.

In addition to the Belford Centre facilities, an outdoor exercise area is expected to be completed by October 2018. The area will feature a beach volleyball court, two basketball courts, a CrossFit rig and training area, and bouldering wall. An irrigation system has been installed under the re-engineered playing field, allowing for activities such as soccer, softball, and more.

SGU broke ground on the Belford Centre construction in June 2017. Chris Parke, the University’s Assistant to the Director of Athletics since 2008, said that the gym facility has been a welcome addition to the True Blue landscape.

“The ambience is different from the old gym,” he said. “With much more equipment and space to work with, students and staff can come in and relieve their stress. It’s a much more conducive environment for working out, in addition to being more convenient.”

The Belford Centre gym is open to students, staff, and faculty from 6 am – 12 am seven days a week.

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.”

Graduates Help Usher in New Class of Medical Students at St. George’s University

 

Walter Bakun, MD SGU ’83, had once traversed the stage as a medical student himself. Three years ago, his eldest son, Zachary, followed in his footsteps, and is now a third-year student doing his clinical rotations. This fall, his second son, Walter II, joined the SGU community by taking part in the Fall 2018 White Coat Ceremony at Patrick F. Adams Hall.

Having enjoyed a long and fruitful career as an internist in New Jersey, Dr. Bakun looks back fondly on his time in Grenada, and is overjoyed to see both his sons take the same path.

“I wouldn’t have traded my SGU experience for anything else,” said Dr. Bakun. “I’m very happy with what SGU gave to me and equally pleased with what it’s continuing to give to the community and the world over with the doctors that it’s producing. Today was a great personal honor for me to coat my son because I feel that he will continue the work that I’ve been doing after I’m gone.”

Dr. Bakun wasn’t the only alumnus coming back to SGU to coat his son. All together, this fall’s incoming SOM and SVM class welcomed backed 11 SGU graduates, including members of the Class of 1983 and 1991 to join in the special privilege of coating their children. The 2022 Grenada SOM class joined their fellow students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, who began their journey two weeks before at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom. The Grenada ceremonies helped make up the University’s bi-annual Beyond Spice Family Weekend.

Another familiar face returning to SGU was the evening’s master of ceremonies, Corey Schwartz, MD SGU ’98, a hematologist and oncologist specializing in sarcoma and breast cancer at Kaiser Permanente in Northern California. Dr. Schwartz is also a member of the inaugural combined MD/MSc class, and knew exactly how this new class of aspiring physicians felt, as he embarked on the same journey almost a quarter of a century ago.

“For me, what SGU meant was opportunity. I jumped at the opportunity to be part of the first Master’s/MD program offered by the University,” stated Dr. Schwartz. “Another amazing thing about SGU is that it allows you to achieve your dreams. Yes, there are challenges along the way, but the school gives you all the support that you need to make this happen and it does a fantastic job of that. The USMLE scores speak for themselves.

“It’s very easy to get caught up in the treadmill of one task after another trying to become a doctor and forgetting why you started in the first place,” added Dr. Schwartz. “So, I would encourage you right now to ask yourself ‘what does medicine mean to me?’ and ‘why am I here?’ Your answers are really unique to you, and it’s important that you carry them in your heart and your mind throughout your career if you want to stay on track and make sure your dreams come true. Abraham Lincoln said, “discipline is choosing between what you want right now and what you want the most.” I urge you all to work for what you want the most.”

Also returning to SGU to deliver his second keynote speech was John J. Cush, MD SGU ’82, a practitioner, educator and leader in the field of rheumatology, and a member of the second graduating class of St. George’s University School of Medicine. Dr. Cush had previously delivered the keynote address at the August 2007 White Coat Ceremony and was excited to share a few excerpts from a letter by Dr. Adam Cifu from the Journal of the American Medical Association on advice for students starting medical school.

Lesson number 1: Often the most important service we provide for a patient is not what we think. For instance, there’s a lot more than knowledge to becoming a doctor. Your time, interest, curiosity, are all fabulous ideals that are very important to your patients.

“Lesson number 2: Much of what you are taught is wrong. For example, getting too close to patients is a dangerous thing and to never except a gift from a patient. Patients want to thank you and accepting their gifts is a lot like accepting their compliments. You have to be careful. Don’t shun them. Don’t minimize them. Be gracious, admit that the gift means a lot to you, and thank them.

Lesson 3: Keep a sunshine folder. In it you can stash your notes from patients, your pictures, great letters of recommendation, and other small accolades of things you’ve done for your patients. On good days, they’ll be very important to you and you’ll be able to add to them. On bad days, you’ll come to look at that sunshine folder and realize that life is not so bad. That sunshine folder is there to lift your spirits when you need it most.”

In closing, Dr. Cush left the students with a final few words of inspiration.

“Today as we put the white coat on you, our hands on your shoulders means that we have confidence in you and great expectations of you and we expect to hear your success story a few years from now.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Future Veterinarians Embark on Unique SGU Experience Beginning With White Coat Ceremony

As veterinary medical students all across the United States recited the Oath of Professional Commitment at their own White Coat Ceremonies, Dr. Lauren Wise, Master of Ceremonies at St. George’s University, assured members of the Class of 2022 that although they would be held to the same exceptional standards as their counterparts abroad, their experience in Grenada would make them very unique veterinary medical students.

“You now live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Embrace it and love every second of it,” said Dr. Wise, Associate Professor, Department of Large Animal Medicine and Surgery, SGU. “For the next three years, you get to be a part of a culture that is fascinating and has a rich history. The people are proud and friendly, and they want you to be a part of this community while you’re here. So, don’t stay in your dorm room, get out there.

“The last thing that sets you apart is that you’re far away from home,” she added. “However, it’s going to make you be more resilient, stronger, and you’re going to form life-long friendships.”

Dr. Jack Hammett and his wife Denise traveled more than 2,000 miles from Spotsylvania, Virginia to sit among the proud family members and friends in attendance at the Fall 2018 SVM White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Hammett has spent over 30 years in mixed animal practice, and the last 15 in equine small animal. The proud dad who had the honor of coating his son, Jared, on stage during the ceremony was among 11 SGU graduates who returned for this fall’s SOM and SVM White Coat Ceremonies.

“My son has worked with me in the practice for years, gone everywhere with me, and he’s such a great young man,” praised Dr. Hammett. “When trying to describe how I felt coating my son, words fail me. I’m so proud of him. He’s done such a great job so far and I have great expectations for him. I was ecstatic for him when I found out he got accepted to SGU. I’ve practiced veterinary medicine for decades and there’s nothing else I’d rather do. It’s just a great profession and a great and fulfilling way to serve the community.”

“I’ve always wanted to be a veterinarian—ever since I was small and going on farm calls with my dad,” shared Jared Hammett. “I’ve been working at his clinic during my summer breaks from college for the past three years, so I’ve seen firsthand that being a vet is the best job in the world.”

Echoing this sentiment was the evening’s keynote speaker, Dr. Andrew T. Maccabe, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC).

“Be curious, not complacent, be skeptical, but not cynical and keep wondering because the world is full of wonder and you’re about to embark on a wonderful career,” Dr. Maccabe said.

The Class of 2022 will work toward joining the more than 1,600 graduates of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine, which accepted its first class in August 1999. The School has since gained full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and the Small Animal Clinic became the second practice outside the United States and Canada to earn American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) accreditation. The AVMA Council on Education will conduct a site visit this April, as part of the reaccreditation process for the School of Veterinary Medicine.

– Ray-Donna Peters

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.

SGU Student Wins Business Challenge at X-Culture Business Symposium

Dominic Gaspard, a student of the School of Arts and Sciences at St George’s University, aided by his team of international students, was presented with one of the four company challenge trophies at the 2018 Global X-Culture Conference and Symposium held at the University of Macerata in Italy.

Mr. Gaspard, a finance and international business major was among 140 students from 29 countries spanning different continents to attend the summer event, which saw the students participate in both theoretical and practical sessions. Mr. Gaspard stated that the award is not only individual but also one for team members Gillian Chan, Lauren MacPherson, and Dominique Scalisi as well.

“I feel proud and humbled at the same time,” said Mr. Gaspard, the President of the Business Students Association at SGU. “Our team had good synergy and it was one of the things the company noticed and complimented us on. This, together with our presentation, I think brought it home for us.”

European companies involved in the challenge included Tenuta Cocci Grifoni, Eurosole, Macerata Opera, and Nuova Simonelli. Mr. Gaspard’s team competed with several others teams in the Nuova Simonelli challenge, which required them to develop a brand strategy for the Victoria Arduino coffee brand.

The company wanted the brand to appeal to their customers’ emotional side and create a “cool” image for their specialty coffee and espresso machines. The brand appeal was to young adults (18-35 years old) in Europe, North America, South America, and Asia.

“X-culture provides a real-life platform in that you work on real-life businesses, work with real people, and deal with things like language barriers,” he said. “It is working around these things to actually get the project together. So I will recommend X-Culture to all business students because business is what will bring the world together.”

X-culture, a component of the International Business course at SGU, allows students working in global virtual teams to develop solutions to international business challenges that are presented by the X-culture corporate partners. Students also participated in development workshops that gave instruction on cover letter and resume writing, interview skills, and elevator pitches.

This year’s visit marks the third time that students from the School of Arts and Sciences have participated in the X-Culture international conference, and each year an SGU representative has been bestowed an award. At the 2016 event in Mexico, SGU student Renee Latouche was recognized for her elevator pitch, and last year in Miami, Marlon Horsford and his team won the Hard Rock Challenge.

“The X-Culture program presents that opportunity for students to get a firsthand approach to the international business world, which places an added value to the degree obtained at SGU,” said Dr. Reccia Charles, Professor of International Business at SGU. “It also falls in line with the slogan of St. George’s University which is Think Beyond.”

Launched in 2010, X-culture is a large-scale international experiential learning project administered by X-Culture, Inc., in collaboration with more than 150 universities around the world. Approximately 5,000 students from 150 universities in 40 countries participate in X-Culture every semester.

– Gennil Reuben