SGU Alum Promotes Advances In Women’s Healthcare In Grenada

OB/GYN specialist Philip Lahrmann, MD ’81 (left)According to OB/GYN specialist Philip Lahrmann, MD ’81, if it wasn’t for St. George’s University, he wouldn’t be a doctor today. And as a proud graduate of SGU’s Charter Class, Dr. Lahrmann has dedicated more than 16 years to providing essential women’s health services to the place where he began his medical career almost four decades ago.

“SGU and Grenada gave me the chance that I wouldn’t have gotten elsewhere to be a physician,” said Dr. Lahrmann, a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut. “I feel a strong sense of obligation to give back, and even though there are other places I could go, I always choose to come here. Whenever I come back, I’m always welcomed from everyone on the campus to the people I meet out in the community. I especially enjoy meeting up with familiar faces and friends from my time here.”

Returning twice a year, Dr. Lahrmann routinely presents lectures at SGU’s clinical teaching unit at the Grenada General Hospital, in addition to regularly donating vital family planning supplies, including intrauterine devices which are frequently in short supply on island.

During his most recent visit, Dr. Lahrmann also brought along his son and fellow alum, Jeffrey Lahrmann, MD ’15, currently a fellow in the UCONN/Hartford Hospital Neurology Department. The duo was invited to give an alumni talk to SGU students entitled, “Life Beyond the Caribbean.” The talk spanned their respective experiences attending SGU, general guidelines for succeeding in a medical career, and discussed their individual specialties.

“It was one of the proudest days of my life to share the podium with my son,” said Dr. Lahrmann. “It was a unique opportunity for both of us, as parent and child and being a grad myself I know that the number of legacy students enrolling at SGU continues to grow each year. My son actually visited SGU as a high school student—this was before the creation of SGU’s Med-Vet Summer Leadership Academy. I’m honored that he chose to follow in my footsteps.”

As the lead OB/GYN, Dr. Lahrmann visits are arranged through the SGU-Physician Humanitarian Network (SGU-PHuN), a program whereby a collection of St. George’s University alumni donate their time and expertise to providing much-needed healthcare services such as ophthalmology, podiatry, endoscopy, and cardiology among others at no cost to the Grenadian public.

“Programs like the SGU-PHuN are extremely beneficial not only to the people of Grenada but to the University community as well and need to continue,” added Dr. Lahrmann. “In addition to our continual efforts to further advance the level of care for women’s health in Grenada, we should also strive to strengthen our connection to the Grenadian medical community and reinforce the bond between the University and its host country. As graduates, we have a unique opportunity to act as ambassadors.”

“Dr. Lahrmann is one of our cherished SGU graduates,” said Brendon La Grenade, vice provost for institutional advancement. “He holds SGU and Grenada very close to his heart. This is evident in both his personal and professional life. In addition to his son also being an SGU grad, Dr. Lahrmann has continued to give back as a volunteer physician returning to the island of Grenada with the SGU-PHuN, supported SGU growth initiatives through the Alumni Admission Mentor Program (AAMP), provided academic support with the basic sciences department, and he features SGU prominently in his profile as his alma mater.”

About Dr. Lahrmann

Dr. Philip Lahrmann graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine in 1981 and completed his residency at Sisters of Charity Hospital, in Buffalo, NY. He began his career with a solo obstetrics and gynecology practice in Connecticut, which eventually expanded to five physicians and three certified nurse midwives. After serving as the lead physician for 25 years, his interest in teaching led him, in 2010, to a full-time position at Hartford Hospital, where he teaches medical students at the University of Connecticut and Dartmouth University as well as residents in the University of Connecticut’s obstetrics and gynecology program.

In Dr. Lahrmann’s work he focuses on patient safety and adoption of new techniques, including advanced laparoscopic techniques in the hospital and in office-based surgery. He currently practices at the Women’s Ambulatory Health Services (WAHS) clinic at the Hartford Hospital Campus in Connecticut. Dr. Lahrmann also has a medical practice in West Hartford, CT named “A Woman’s Life Center”.

–Ray-Donna Peters 

SGU Veterinary Students Present Research at Parasitology Conference and Heartworm Symposium

 

SGU Veterinary Students Present Research at Parasitology Conference and Heartworm Symposium

St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine student Rebecca Howell has stayed the course. An animal aficionado from a young age, she shadowed a veterinarian in both middle school and high school, and later worked in a vet’s office.

Now in her sixth term at SGU, the aspiring veterinarian seized the opportunity to present her first poster at the 27th Conference of the World Association for the Advancement of Veterinary Parasitology (WAAVP) in Madison, WI. Her research titled, “Leptospira: Asymptomatic Carrier Status and Seroprevalence in Unvaccinated Canines Presented for Elective Sterilization to the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine Junior Surgery and Anesthesia Lab” focused on spreading awareness of the zoonotic bacteria, which poses a serious public health concern since it can be transmitted from animals to humans, as well as encouraging exercising safe practices when cleaning up after pets, since the disease is spread through their urine.

“Attending my first-ever conference was a great experience,” Ms. Howell said. “In addition to connecting with fellow vet students and analyzing research from all over the world, I also learned about new technologies being used in the field today. For example, in Europe there’s an app that allows pet owners and veterinarians to report ticks, therefore it can help track the migration of ticks from one country to the next. This is something that is useful in animal adoption, especially from other countries, because when you adopt an animal, you adopt their diseases as well.”

Also representing SGU at her first international conference was fellow SVM fifth-term student Kathleen Kila. She presented her poster at the 16th Triennial Heartworm Symposium, in New Orleans. Titled, “Reducing ambiguity in canine heartworm disease classification” Ms. Kila’s research unveiled a new classification scheme for identifying heartworm disease in dogs.

“Attending the American Heartworm Society’s meeting was a big deal for me,” stated Ms. Kila. “Getting the chance to present our research on the international stage has been an invaluable experience. With this study, we hoped that by making the process of classifying the different stages of heartworm disease easier, it would remove much of the overlap between classifications that was found within the old system. Our goal was to improve the system by getting rid of that ambiguity thereby making it more objective when evaluating each clinical case of the disease.”

The research conducted by Ms. Howell and Ms. Kila both stemmed from their Veterinary Research Investigator class, a series of SVM core curriculum courses developed in order to enhance student exposure and involvement in research. Students from terms 1 through 4 were placed into small research groups and paired with a faculty mentor, together with whom they worked through each step of designing and implementing a small research project—tackling a different phase of research each term, including writing a manuscript and creating a poster.

“I think the opportunity for our students to conduct research is beneficial because it exposes them to research methodology,” said Dr. Tara Paterson, associate professor in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery. “Having the knowledge of how research is conducted allows them to gain a better understanding of evidence-based medicine, which is what we encourage throughout our curriculum so that our students learn to be more critical in their review of scientific work.

“For Rebecca and Kathleen, I believe allowing them the opportunity to present their work to the wider veterinary community at these conferences has not only boosted their self-confidence but has also helped to validate the work they’ve done during this series of courses.”

– Ray-Donna Peters 

Diabetes Diagnosis as a Child Leads SGU Alum to Forge Path in Pediatrics

Madelin Brinson, MD '19Madelin Brinson, MD ’19, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when she was just 6 years old—following months of illness and unanswered questions of why she could not hold food down and was drinking gallons of water—literally—each night. The detection and ongoing management of her diabetes not only changed the course of her life forever, but strongly influenced her future career path, even at such a young age.

As a first-year pediatrics resident at the UF (University of Florida) Health Shands Children’s Hospital in Gainesville, FL—her first choice for residency—Dr. Brinson is repaying her positive experience with healthcare professionals who treated and helped her manage her diabetes. Dr. Brinson sees children who come to the hospital with a variety of ailments and focuses on giving her patients’ families proper information and education so they can make informed health decisions.

“Every time I am caring for a diabetic patient, I love sharing my experience with them, so they know that I am on their side and they’re not alone,” said Dr. Brinson, who’s originally from Orlando. “I think putting yourself in the child’s and family’s shoes is important. Some health issues that are routine to us as doctors might be terrifying or confusing to parents. I make sure to always try to see things from their point of view, especially when diagnosing something like Type 1 diabetes that will affect the patient for the rest of their lives.”

DIAGNOSED AT A YOUNG AGE

An estimated 23.1 million people in the US have been diagnosed with diabetes, more than 7 percent of the American population. Of those, about 1.5 million, or 5 percent of all diagnosed cases, have Type 1 diabetes, according to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, citing the Centers for Disease Control. In 2015, approximately 193,000 Americans under the age of 20 were estimated to have diagnosed diabetes.

Dr. Brinson recalls that as a child she had a particularly rough stomach virus, which at first was brushed off only later to be determined as a trigger for developing diabetes. After months of suffering, her mother finally realized something was very wrong.

“She noticed that I was constantly fatigued and drinking a lot of fluids,” she said. “I had empty jugs of water on my bed, and I would go to the garage to get more water in the middle of the night. We finally went to get a second opinion, and the doctor tested my blood right there and immediately sent us to the hospital where I was diagnosed with diabetes.”

While she remembers being “pretty scared” at the mention of going to the hospital, “every part of the treatment was a positive experience including good patient education—they gave me a teddy bear to practice insulin shots,” Dr. Brinson said, adding that her mom encouraged her to learn how to give herself insulin shots to become more independent while living with the disease.

 

“Every time I am caring for a diabetic patient, I love sharing my experience with them, so they know that I am on their side and they’re not alone.”

Madelin Brinson, MD

 

As she got older, she attended and then eventually volunteered as a counselor at the Florida Camp for Children and Youth with Diabetes, a University of Florida program devoted to providing a fun and safe environment for children living with Type 1 diabetes, while also educating campers and giving them more control over their diabetes. Working with the kids, “I realized I was not alone,” she said, and found role models in the doctors and medical specialists who ran the camp.

“With diabetes, if you get sick, you’re prone to get a lot sicker than a regular kid. When I talked with doctors and nurses, I was able to get a preview of the medical field and it piqued my interest,” Dr. Brinson said. “Having those good role models and seeing them help other people, I wanted to do the same thing. But it was after my pediatric rotation at Brooklyn Hospital Center that I knew I really wanted to be a pediatrician.”

MANAGING DIABETES AS A RESIDENT

Diabetes is caused by the body’s inability to create or effectively use its own insulin, which is produced by islet cells found in the pancreas. Insulin helps regulate blood sugar (glucose) levels – providing energy to body cells and tissues. Without insulin, the body’s cells would be starved, causing dehydration and destruction of body tissue. People with type 1 diabetes must have insulin delivered by injection or a pump to survive, according to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation.

Long hours and stressful workloads can take a toll on a person with diabetes more severely than others. Dr. Brinson said these days she is extra vigilant, making sure she always has insulin with her at work and frequently checking her glucose levels. “One time I had come down with a virus and my blood sugar was not coming down. I woke up three times in one night to give myself insulin which caused me to wake up late for work, but my colleagues understood,” she said.

Dr. Brinson is joined in Gainesville by her fiancé, Jack Schneck, MD ’19, whom she met as a student at St. George’s University. Last March, they couples-matched on Match Day, him into an anesthesiology residency at UF. Between an intense work schedule each, they are set to be married on November 30.

“Advances in management of diabetes has been game changing for Maddie. New devices allow her to monitor 24/7 on the fly, right to her phone and even mine,” Dr. Schneck said. “It’s definitely a challenge to balance residency and your health in general, especially adding in a chronic illness. She’s really dedicated and does an amazing job at controlling her diabetes. I’ve learned how to help her monitor and give reminders when things get hectic. “

As a resident, Dr. Brinson is getting experience in a variety of pediatric sub-specialties from GI to nephrology to NICU and endocrinology—a rotation she is particularly looking forward to doing, given her diabetes illness. She is also working with some of the same doctors that run the camp, allowing her to come full circle in her life.

In pediatrics, Dr. Brinson said sometimes it’s difficult to stay objective especially when seeing issues with infants and children that may not be medical-related. “Sometimes it’s hard as a doctor, but I want to try to make a difference in their lives—even if it’s a small difference,” she said. “I am super fulfilled—exhausted, but very fulfilled.”

–Laurie Chartorynsky

More Than 100 Students Awarded Legacy of Excellence Scholarships in Fall 2019

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

This fall, St. George’s University welcomed another class of Legacy of Excellence scholarship winners, continuing its tradition of rewarding individuals who have demonstrated academic excellence throughout their studies.

This term’s 25 Chancellor’s Circle Legacy of Excellence (CCLOE) scholarship recipients hailed from 12 United States, the District of Columbia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, and from such undergraduate institutions as Johns Hopkins University; the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Miami; and the University of Guelph. The CCLOE partial-tuition scholarship is awarded to incoming students who meet or exceed an overall undergraduate GPA of 3.7, a science GPA of 3.5, and an MCAT score of 506 or above.

Eighty-nine American and Canadian students were bestowed Legacy of Excellence (LOE) scholarships this term. The award is granted to students who exhibited the dedication necessary to achieve excellence in medicine, both in the classroom and the field.

“This class of Legacy of Excellence recipients is made up of highly accomplished students who have very bright futures in the field of medicine,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, SGU president. “We are thrilled to present them with this scholarship, which allows them to focus more on their studies and less on the financial element of their education.”

Since the University launched its Legacy of Excellence Scholarship program more than 10 years ago, CCLOE/LOE scholarships have been presented to hundreds of students who have gone on to successful careers as physicians. All told, approximately 28 percent of each entering class is granted an institutional scholarship, with awards based on academic excellence and/or need.

– Brett Mauser

Mother’s Cancer Battle Motivates SGU Grad to Become Breast Surgeon

Joseph Di Como, MD '14A doctor delivered the news—cancer, an aggressive form. Joseph Di Como’s mother, a cornerstone of the family, would have to undergo surgery and many months of treatment.

Her struggle changed the course of his life forever. More than 15 years later, now a doctor, Joseph Di Como, MD ’14, is providing important care and instilling hope in patients as a breast surgical oncology fellow at Brown University, Women and Infants’ Hospital of Rhode Island.

“Although I enjoyed all of my clinical rotations, surgery was the one that called to me the most, and even though I enjoyed every subspecialty of surgery, I felt that breast surgical oncology would give me the most personal satisfaction,” he said.

He was just a sophomore in high school when his mother learned that she had inflammatory breast cancer. The diagnosis blindsided the family. His mother was healthy, still young, and there was no family history of cancer.

“It was extremely difficult, as a young kid in high school, to juggle between school, extracurricular activities, and coming home to that situation every day,” Dr. Di Como said. “We were all optimistic at first, but as her health continually worsened and we learned more about what was going on during the different stages of the disease, it was very difficult for everybody.”

Antonina Di Como battled the disease for 16 months before passing away in November 2003 at age 44. Her death was the turning point for Dr. Di Como. He went from being an average student to a superior one—and his career path was clear.

“After that, I knew I wanted to be a doctor, specifically to treat cancer,” Dr. Di Como said. “I tried to keep an open mind throughout medical school, but I knew what I wanted to treat.”

Now fully immersed in cancer care, he works toward achieving positive results for patients in Rhode Island. Dr. Di Como operates on patients with both benign and malignant conditions, using the most up-to-date surgical techniques. He marvels at how these techniques are rapidly evolving and how treatment has become tailored for patients based on the biologics of a tumor. As a fellow, he preps patients for surgery or any extra imaging or testing they may need, and also co-coordinates a weekly tumor board, for which he and another oncology fellow present all new cancer patients or those with any benign masses or conditions for further workups.

“Different tumors behave differently, and different factors will direct how we tailor the therapy,” said Dr. Di Como. “It will depend on everything from a patient’s hormone receptor status and their reaction to chemotherapy to his or her age, medical comorbidities, and where they are in life. There’s no one cure that fits all.”

 

“A doctor’s job shouldn’t just be treating and curing disease; it’s about improving the life of a patient through empathy and compassion.”

Joseph Di Como, MD

 

In addition to his clinical responsibilities, Dr. Di Como is committed to conducting research to help progress oncology even further. Current projects include the use of radiofrequency identification (RFID) to tag breast cancers for surgical excision, in comparison to the standard use of wire localization in breast tumors, whereby wires mark lesion locations prior to surgery. Also, with the help of new technology, he conducts intraoperative angiograms using a florescent green marker to identify vessels in the patient’s breast prior to doing a mastectomy with reconstruction.

“By doing this procedure, our hope is to preserve these vessels to see if that has any impact on tissue viability and flap viability,” he said. “Having a flap that isn’t getting enough blood flow is one of the biggest and most detrimental complications a patient can have, so we’re trying new ways to avoid that, in order to help these patients that are undergoing reconstruction right after surgery.”

Each day, he is reminded of his family’s own encounter with breast cancer. It has changed him as a person and as a doctor, and has indirectly assisted the patients that he treats.

“I know how it feels to be on the family side of these diagnoses,” Dr. Di Como said. “Even if the prognosis is poor, it’s very important that, even if you cannot cure the patient, that we find a way to make everybody feel comfortable. A doctor’s job shouldn’t just be treating and curing disease; it’s about improving the life of a patient through empathy and compassion, to try to do everything you can to make the rest of their time here as comfortable and fulfilling as possible. Patients and their families are appreciative as long as they know that somebody cares, that somebody is on their side.”

He describes it as a “vital, sacred experience that cannot be underestimated.” With the care his own mother received, Dr. Di Como witnessed the kind of difference it can make for a family, and the experience has helped shape the rest of his life—and the lives of those he treats.

“Before she passed, I told my mom that I was going to be a doctor,” he said, “and I’m proud to say that I am.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

For more SGU coverage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, check out Cancer Scare Inspires Grad To Become Oncologist At Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Clinician, Teacher, Researcher: Silicon Valley Gastroenterologist Kept “On His Toes”

Andrew Roorda, MD ' 04, gastroenterologist

Gastroenterologist Andrew K. Roorda, MD ’04, is thrilled when he holds an endoscope in his hands. He is likely helping a patient suffering from any number of symptoms affecting his or her digestive tract. From a person who has food stuck in his esophagus, to those who are bleeding or managing chronic illnesses, such as irritable bowel syndrome, Dr. Roorda encounters patients with a wide variety of ailments.

“What’s nice about gastroenterology is you can be in the endoscopy suite in the morning, the emergency room during your lunch hour, and assessing patients in the office in the afternoon,” he said. “I love the multiple settings of my job.”

Originally from San Francisco, Dr. Roorda has been practicing in the Silicon Valley since 2012 and is affiliated with three Northern California hospitals—El Camino Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, and Stanford University Medical Center. He also performs outpatient endoscopy at the Silicon Valley Surgery Center.

Thanks to advancements in technology, the field is evolving to become more interventional, allowing Dr. Roorda and his peers to diagnose and treat more complex cases.

“Technology is helping the field in many ways,” Dr. Roorda said. “Both endoscopes, such as the newer high-definition ones, those with a wider field of view, as well as their endoscopic accessories are in a constant state of development. Artificial intelligence is on the horizon in many fields, including endoscopy, and we anticipate that it will be used to help us identify polyps during colonoscopy. The more options we have in our endoscopic toolbox, the more we are able to offer our patients during their procedures.”

EARLY BEGINNINGS

Dr. Roorda credits his early interest in becoming a doctor after reading Erich Segal’s “Doctors” during a summer vacation. The book follows a group of fictional characters through their training at Harvard Medical School, and it gave Dr. Roorda an in-depth look into what medical school is like. “I saw how almost super-human those characters were and thought this would be something really cool to do,” he said.

In college, Dr. Roorda got his first chance to be a superhero himself when he helped stopped a person from committing suicide. Seeing how he could contribute to saving someone’s life moved him. “We were there to help somebody who really needed it and we changed the outcome,” he said. “While doctors don’t get to do that every day, there are definitely times that I still get to feel that way.”

While he didn’t immediately set off to medical school. Dr. Roorda graduated from the University of California San Diego with a bachelor’s degree in history and considered becoming a history professor. But his interest in medicine was never far from his mind. Going to SGU “was initially a leap of the faith, but I got over that very quickly,” Dr. Roorda said. “When I got down to Grenada, I started to see the caliber of students who were there and began to learn more of the success stories, so I knew things were going to work out.”

“St. George’s made me resilient,” he added. “In your clinical years, you get to go to a lot of different hospitals. It taught me how to adapt quickly to new settings which helped me to be flexible during rotations in my residency and fellowship.”

Dr. Roorda, who is 6’6″, originally wanted to be a surgeon. However, his height posed a problem when standing for long periods of time during operations. He became interested in gastroenterology after realizing he still could do plenty of procedures that were shorter in duration.

SECURING A RESIDENCY IN A COMPETITIVE SPECIALTY

Obtaining a residency or fellowship in a competitive specialty like gastroenterology is not easy. Students who take the extra step to make themselves stand out will likely be more successful in securing a position, recommends Dr. Roorda.

For GI, it was identifying mentors who conducted research. “I was very fortunate—I learned how to write papers and I presented the research as posters at conferences. That stood out on my resume.”

Dr. Roorda completed his internal medicine residency at St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, CA. He then went on to become a clinical fellow in gastroenterology at West Virginia School of Medicine in Morgantown, WV.

Dr. Roorda has published research in scientific journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, Digestive Diseases and Sciences, Diseases of the Esophagus, and Practical Gastroenterology. In between seeing patients, he also teaches at Stanford University School of Medicine as an adjunct clinical assistant professor in the school’s Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Sharing his knowledge with aspiring doctors is important to Dr. Roorda.

“The science cannot really advance unless people are teaching it to a new generation of trainees,” he said. “I love the exchange of knowledge and in the process I learn new things myself. The trainees ask questions that keep you on your toes.”

– Laurie Chartorynsky

SGU APAMSA Student Organization Recognized at National Conference

St. George’s University’s chapter of the Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association (APAMSA) was recently presented the Best Fundraiser Award at the 2019 APAMSA National Conference, held this year at the New York University School of Medicine. It marks the second consecutive year that the student organization has been recognized for its achievements in promoting diversity and awareness in Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) healthcare, having previously won the award last year for Best Chapter of the Year.

“As the first and only international medical school to be a part of APAMSA, we are extremely grateful for the recognition at the national level for two years in a row,” said Kathy Guo, a fourth-year medical student currently completing her clinical rotations at Brooklyn Hospital Center. She is also a former president of the SGU chapter of APAMSA. “While studying in Grenada, we became really involved with the Mt. Airy Young Readers Literacy Program. In addition to our volunteer work tutoring the Young Readers, we received this award for our continued fundraising efforts in which we donate all event proceeds toward this program.”

Themed “The Land of Opportunity: Breaking the Barriers in APIA Healthcare”, this year’s conference focused on the evolving landscape of healthcare and how representation of APIA physicians in leadership positions play an important role in this change. The three-day conference brought together pre-health and health students from across the country to share information on addressing and analyzing a variety of health topics in hopes of inspiring the next generation of leaders that advocate for APIA healthcare issues in their communities.

“We joined APAMSA’s national organization in the US because we wanted our chapter’s involvement to be part of something bigger,” said Ms. Guo. “Many of us who attended this year’s national conference were founding members of the SGU chapter—including our own Clara Sze, who was recently appointed to a national board position as the 2019-2020 Network Director.

“The conference provided invaluable interactions with other medical students from the US where we heard about their experience in med school and during their clinical years,” added Ms. Guo. “They told us about what kind of adversity they encountered, ways to counteract that, and how to help educate our colleagues when navigating our future medical careers.”

About APAMSA

The Asian Pacific American Medical Students Association (APAMSA) is a national organization of medical and preclinical students committed to addressing the unique health challenges of Asian and Pacific Islander American (APIA) communities. APAMSA serves as a forum for student leaders to engage these health issues and develop initiatives and projects addressing those needs. The local, regional, and national activities of APAMSA aim to promote the health of the APIA community and help healthcare workers understand how to care for APIA patients in a culturally sensitive manner. Finally, APAMSA provides an important venue for medical students to meet, exchange experiences, and develop personally and professionally through leadership and service.

– Ray-Donna Peters

SGU Welcomes Two Canadian Institutions to Clinical Network

Through new agreements with two Canadian facilities, St. George’s University medical students can now receive highly specialized clinical training north of the US border.

In August, SGU welcomed Ottawa Cardiovascular Centre and Booth Neurology Clinic to its clinical network of more than 70 training locations, further expanding the opportunities available to fourth-year students to broaden their skills and knowledge in preparation for residency.

“We’ve been thrilled by the response from our students,” said Sandra Banner, St. George’s University’s director of admissions for Canada. “With these training opportunities, they obtain a close-up sense of the Canadian healthcare system, and are able to experience some of the differences between the US and Canada, inevitably improving their chances of success on their exams and in pursuit of residency.”

 

“With these training opportunities, students obtain a close-up sense of the Canadian healthcare system, and are able to experience some of the differences between the US and Canada, inevitably improving their chances of success on their exams and in pursuit of residency.”

Sandra Banner, Director of Admissions, Canada

 

Applications for training positions at each site are now being taken for the charter class intake in November 2019. Ms. Banner said that SGU students are able to pair up the elective opportunities, giving them two full months in Canada’s capital city. At each clinical site, they will work directly with physicians who have dual appointments with University of Ottawa Medical School.

“Rotating in clinical training facilities throughout Canada, the US, and UK gives our students a worldly view of medicine that they can’t get just anywhere,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “We firmly believe that taking advantage of these unique opportunities not only benefit them as they ramp up toward residency but well into their medical careers.”

Canadians have flourished at SGU and beyond, with 94 percent of eligible students and graduates applying for residency in North America successfully obtaining one in 2019. Eighteen Canadians who applied through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) secured residencies in competitive fields ranging from anesthesiology and emergency medicine to pathology and psychiatry.

– Brett Mauser

St. George’s University Celebrates IMG Recognition Week

The St. George’s University community is thrilled to join the American Medical Association in celebrating “IMG Recognition Week,” which extends from October 21-27.

“International medical graduates play a pivotal role in the physician workforce,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “It’s important that we recognize their valuable contributions to the US healthcare system. This week gives us the perfect opportunity to do so.”

St. George’s University is the second-largest source of doctors to the entire United States. In 2019, SGU graduates matched into residencies in 42 different states and 18 different medical specialties. No other medical school in the world provides more new doctors to the US healthcare system.

IMGs currently account for roughly one-quarter of all US doctors. Forty percent of internal medicine physicians graduated from an international school. IMGs also compose about 30 percent of pathologists and psychiatrists.

Many of these aspiring doctors originally come from the United States and return home to practice. Seventy-five percent of St. George’s students are US citizens. The percentage of US citizens who graduated from Caribbean medical schools increased by roughly 30 percent between 2010 and 2018.

IMGs disproportionately choose to work in high-need specialties and underserved areas. They selected primary care residencies at nearly twice the rate of US medical school graduates in 2019. They also tend to practice in low-income, rural, and majority-minority parts of the country.

Given the nation’s growing healthcare needs, these doctors are more important than ever before. The Association of American Medical Colleges recently reported that the United States will face a shortage of up to 122,000 doctors by 2032. Those shortfalls will disproportionately hurt “rural and historically underserved” areas.

“As our population grows and ages, so will demand for health care,” said Dr. Olds. “International medical graduates can meet the nation’s healthcare needs. We’re honored to have the opportunity to train these future doctors. And we’re confident they’ll continue to provide high-quality care to all Americans.”

For more information about IMG Recognition Week, please visit the American Medical Association website.

CityDoctors: Scholarship Paved Way for Grads to Practice Medicine in Greater NYC

What makes a CityDoctor? Since 2012, St. George’s University’s collaborative scholarship program has provided more than 150 aspiring physicians opportunities to foster their medical careers.

While each CityDoctor’s story is unique, they’re all tied together by the fervent desire to serve communities in and around New York, to connect with their patients, and the willingness to do what is necessary to reach their goals.

The CityDoctors scholarship program is made possible through a partnership with three affiliate hospital systems—NYC Health + Hospitals, Hackensack University Medical Center, and Hackensack Meridian Health Jersey Shore University Medical Center.

As SGU prepares to greet a new class of CityDoctors on campus in January, four scholarship recipients shared how the award helped them realize their dreams of becoming doctors, and how the diverse patients and communities they work with will benefit from their training.