A Doctor’s View Podcast: Alum shares his medical school experience

There are many questions surrounding international medical schools and what attending one means for a grad’s career outlook. Joshua Ramjist, MD ’11, knows something about that. He is a St. George’s University alum who developed his medical career in four different countries—the UK as part of the SGU/Northumbria University Program, in Grenada to complete his medical education, then on to the US for residency, and two research years in his native Canada.

To share his journey and provide answers to common questions regarding international medical school, Dr. Ramjist joined Dr. Paul Polyvios on the podcast A Doctor’s View in the episode titled “Studying medicine at an international university and working in the USA” to provide insight on his experience at St. George’s University and detail his career that followed.

As for Dr. Ramjist’s advice to those who hope to follow a path similar to his, he said: “It’s not for everyone. But for individuals who are open minded and really are excited to have this experience and are looking for a little bit of variability in their life, it’s one of the greatest experiences I’ve had.”



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SGU Featured in Forbes.com Article on High-Demand Medical Specialties

The United States is facing demand for more doctors across dozens of specialties. As a new article in Forbes.com outlines — “Five Medical Specialties That Need More Doctors” — internationally trained physicians will play an outsized role in meeting that growing need.

As author and admissions counselor Kristen Moon of Moon Prep writes, “Interestingly, graduates of international medical schools, including St. George’s, make up a disproportionate share of the doctors practicing in some of the specialties where demand will be greatest in the years to come. About one-fourth of doctors practicing in the United States today graduated from an international medical school..

As Dr. G. Richard Olds, the president of St. George’s University on the Caribbean island of Grenada, told Moon Prep, “Future doctors want to know where they can do the most good … We love helping students find their passion — and meet critical medical needs.”

Some specialties that face particularly concerning shortages are critical care, geriatrics, endocrinology, infectious disease, and psychiatry. This spring, SGU graduates matched into residencies in these specialties across the country.

For a full list of SGU’s 2022 residency matches, visit our website here.

Op-Ed: How International Medical Graduates Ease the Doctor Shortage

St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds was recently featured in the Naples Daily News.

In the op-ed, “International medical graduates ease the U.S. doctor shortage,” Dr. Olds shed light on the pressing doctor shortage facing America. He also highlighed how international medical graduates, like the thousands who graduate from SGU, can help close that gap.

“The United States desperately needs doctors,” Dr. Olds wrote. “According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, we could face a deficit of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034. The shortfall could cost as many as 7,000 lives a year.”

In addition, “zip codes with disproportionate shares of racial and ethnic minorities also tend to lack adequate access to doctors,” he added. “Black and Latino Americans are roughly twice as likely as their white peers to live in areas with few or no primary care providers.”

The statistics are daunting. But a solution lies in SGU’s own hallways: International medical graduates (IMGs) “tend to be the ones who head to high-need communities like these,”  accounting for more than two-thirds of doctors in areas of the US with high populations of ethnic and racial minorities, according to Dr. Olds.

“International medical graduates also gravitate to specialties in high demand. They account for more than half of doctors in geriatrics, where the shortage is yawning as the population ages. IMGs likewise account for outsized shares of the endocrinology, oncology, and cardiology workforces,” he wrote.


SGU President Offers Advice to Medical School Applicants in U.S. News & World Report

A recent article in U.S. News & World Report demystifies the challenge of getting into medical school, featuring insights from St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds.

The article, “Why Is It So Hard to Get Into Medical School?” breaks down why applying to medical school has become increasingly competitive in recent years. Overall, there has been an increase in medical school applicants without an equal increase in programs themselves. The situation is often daunting for prospective students.

According to Dr. Olds, few medical schools opened between the late 1970s and early 2000s, with very little expansion of med schools during that period thanks to an inaccurate but widely publicized labor market forecast projecting a doctor surplus. Meanwhile, the need for doctors in the U.S. was rapidly rising due to a growing and aging population.

“The aging is still going on despite losing a lot of older Americans to COVID,” he said, “Aging, by the way, is the biggest driver of our need for more physicians.”

The COVID pandemic has also exacerbated longstanding shortages of primary care physicians, Dr. Olds explained.

Despite current trends, the takeaway message for prospective students: Apply.

“Premeds who cast a wide net and apply to schools at a range of selectivity levels are the most likely to get accepted,” Dr. Olds said.


NCFMEA: SGU Med School Accreditor On Par With US Schools 

St. George’s University School of Medicine’s accrediting body, the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC), was recently reviewed by the US National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA) and determined to use standards that are “comparable to the standards used to accredit medical schools in the United States” such as the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). 

SGU’s accreditation by the GMDC helps prioritize student success by assuring access to federal loans and licensing exams, as well as the opportunity for graduates to apply for licensure to practice in the US. In choosing the GMDC as its accreditor, SGU is no longer accredited with the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Other Health Professions (CAAM-HP). 

Throughout our 45-year history as a leader in international medical education—and with the guidance of such accreditors as the GMDC—we have held ourselves to the highest standards of academic excellence,” said Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor at St. George’s University. “Our mission remains to help each and every student realize their dream of becoming a physician, one who is highly skilled, compassionate, and inspired to provide high-quality care in whatever field or community they choose.” 


The impact that St. George’s University graduates have had on healthcare reaches every corner of the world, from the largest cities to the smallest towns.”


During its reviews, NCFMEA measures accrediting bodies based on the following criteria: analysis of admission process, curriculum, faculty qualifications, student and graduate achievement, basic science and clinical training facilities, and academic support. For complete details on NCFMEA accrediting guidelines, visit the NCFMEA website. 

St. George’s University is the largest source of physicians for the entire US workforce, with more than 12,000 graduates licensed to practice in the US in 2020. For the last 12 years combined, SGU has been the number one provider of new doctors to first-year residency programs, spanning a wide range of states and specialties. 

“The impact that St. George’s University graduates have had on healthcare reaches every corner of the world, from the largest cities to the smallest towns,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of SGU. “They have made this indelible mark on the lives of so many individuals, families, and communities. By aligning our education with the high standards of the GMDC, we as a University look forward to providing the next generation of SGU graduates with knowledge and skills they need to continue that tradition.”

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St. George’s University Announces Partnership with St. Francis College

St. George’s University announced today two new programs that will allow qualified pre-medicine or pre-veterinary students at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, to gain streamlined admission to the St. George’s University Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

“We are excited to establish our first pathway program in New York City,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “As the COVID-19 pandemic has shown, New York faces a shortage of physicians. We look forward to welcoming aspiring doctors from St. Francis and equipping them with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to serve their communities.”

Students in the “4+4” program will complete their four-year undergraduate degree at St. Francis in a pre-medicine or pre-veterinary medicine program and proceed directly to medical school at St. George’s in Grenada. Those pursuing a Doctor of Medicine degree, the final two years of this combined program consist of clinical rotations at SGU’s affiliated hospitals in the United States and/or the United Kingdom. The final year of the combined Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program consists of clinical rotations at SGU’s affiliated veterinary schools in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and/or Ireland.

Exceptional pre-medicine students can qualify for the “3+4” program, under which they complete their degrees in three years and then move onto medical school at St. George’s before spending the final two (2) years in clinical rotations at hospitals affiliated with SGU.

Students who wish to participate in one of the direct admissions partnerships must indicate their interest upon applying to St. Francis. Qualified students will be prioritized for interviews and admissions decisions, provided they meet the admissions criteria for both schools.

In order to proceed to St. George’s, applicants must maintain a 3.4 grade point average at St. Francis and obtain a competitive score on the MCAT. A 3.2 grade point average and competitive score on the GRE are required for entry into the St. George’s veterinary program.

Students accepted into the medical program will receive a $10,000 scholarship upon matriculating at St. George’s.

“We look forward to a very productive partnership with St. George’s University. Offering our students a direct pathway into advanced programs in medicine and veterinary science strengthens our commitment to support our students to reach their personal and career goals,” states SFC President Miguel Martinez-Saenz.



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Royal College of Pathologists Recognizes Longtime SGU Professor

St. George’s University pathology professor Shivayogi Bhusnurmath was recently honored with an RCPath Achievement Award by the Royal College of Pathologists for his outstanding contributions to pathology education. He was presented with his award virtually as part of the College Council meeting in November.

The College, which oversees the training of pathologists and scientists working in 17 different specialties, including hematology, clinical biochemistry and medical microbiology launched the awards to celebrate excellence in pathology practice and promote high standards in pathology education, training, and research.

Dr. Bhusnurmath attributes this award to the successful joint efforts in planning and execution of many educational innovations with his wife, Dr. Bharti Bhusnurmath, co-chair of the Department of Pathology and director of the medical pathology diagnostic laboratory at SGU’s School of Medicine.

“Winning the award from the Royal College of Pathologists is truly humbling,” said Dr. Bhusnurmath, dean of academic affairs, SGU. “The College has outreach throughout the globe, including Asia, Africa, Far East, and Australia. It is satisfying to see the recognition of the combined efforts of Dr. Bharti and I spanning four decades in pathology education worldwide.”

Drs. Bharti Bhusnurmath (left) and Shivayogi Bhusnurmath

Dr. Bhusnurmath and his wife are two of SGU’s longest-tenured faculty members, having joined the University in 1996. Their accomplishments include revolutionizing clinical problem-based teaching of pathology through the extensive use of clinical vignettes in lectures; initiating audience polling systems in lectures; introducing small-group learning activities with objectives related to communication skills and professional behavior; creating a unique international clinical tutor teaching fellowship program, which has benefitted over 300 international medical graduates to study pathology; and generating an interest in pathology that has resulted in dozens of SGU graduates entering pathology residency programs in the US each year.

“In many ways, this award represents the excellence in education platforms and innovations at SGU,” added Dr. Bhusnurmath. “It was achieved only with the support of visionary leaders such as Chancellor Charles Modica, former dean of basic sciences; Dr. Allen Pensick, former vice chancellor; Dr. Keith Taylor; Dr. Steve Weitzman, dean emeritus; and our energetic new dean full of exemplary educational ideas, Dr. Marios Loukas and his team. This award should allow the flag of SGU to fly high internationally and help more students achieve their dreams of becoming a doctor at our university.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

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SGU alumni rally around Grenada amid COVID pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic put Grenada back on its heels, St. George’s University alumni put their best foot forward, bringing hope to their one-time home and setting the country on a promising path.

In the span of mere weeks, more than 200 School of Medicine alumni have volunteered their medical services, helped to procure all-important supplies, and contributed more than $70,000 through its newly created Grenada Medical Assistance GoFundMe page.

The Grenada COVID Crisis Group (GCCG), led by SGU graduates Michele Friday, MD ’88, Dwight Matthias, MD ’92, and Lisa Radix, MD ’97, has spearheaded the campaign—facilitating in-person and online patient care and crowdsourcing both funds and supplies that will help healthcare workers on the ground treat those who have contracted the virus. In addition, they aspire to educate the Grenadian community about the benefits of adhering to health protocols and, above all else, they support the COVID-19 vaccine in the population to flatten the curve, lessen the effects of recurring COVID infections, and lessen the burden of long COVID syndrome in recovering patients.

While addressing COVID-19, Dr. Friday hopes that the support received in recent weeks is the start of a long-term healthcare solution in Grenada.

“This pandemic has given us an opportunity to impact the healthcare of our fellowmen and families on the island and has imparted in us the vision to continue with the existing momentum to grow a stellar medical environment in Grenada,” said Dr. Friday, an interventional cardiologist based in Kentucky. “We hope that this medical ideal that we are striving towards, is something that each and every one of our Grenada-trained doctors—who have been educated at SGU, live in Grenada, or who work off island but are Grenadian in heart—would be proud of.”

Raised in Richmond Hill, St. George’s, Dr. Friday is one of more than 60 Grenada-born physicians who have rallied to support their home country. Three grads—Philip Bonaparte, MD ’89, Molara Alexis, MD ’05, and Carina David, MD ’16—arrived on island last week to begin working with local doctors, nurses, and staff.

VIDEO: Dr. Alexis and Dr. David speak about COVID-19 vaccines in Grenada

“I felt that it was important to help in a meaningful way, with the reduction in the workforce as some members contacted COVID-19, the likely possibility of fatigue due to an increased volume of work related to the surge, and the opportunity to provide moral support to frontline workers,” said Dr. Alexis. “As an infectious disease physician, I was keen to share any knowledge and experience with my colleagues in Grenada and to continue to educate the general population regarding the importance of vaccination.”

They’ll also work on building up the telemedicine infrastructure so that hundreds of SGU graduates can provide personal care from afar. The network of volunteers spans a variety of specialties, including infectious disease, pulmonology, pediatrics, cardiology, and emergency medicine.

Supplies in demand

The wide alumni network has procured hospital supplies that specifically address needs in Grenada General Hospital and other clinics. These supplies—which began arriving in late September—include much-needed personal protection equipment (PPE) and oxygenation equipment, as well as pharmaceutical support such as monoclonal antibodies, antibiotics, and steroids.

The GCCG GoFundMe page has secured donations from more than 400 alumni and friends of SGU. These funds will be used to secure additional medications, supplies, and equipment to be sent to Grenada. GCCG is working closely with the Ministry of Health to monitor existing supply levels and secure fortifications as needed.

“You feel like you’re connected to a bigger thing that’s about to surround Grenada with all the love and help they can think of providing,” said Dr. Radix, a nephrologist who was born and raised in St. George and attended Anglican High School. “It’s great to be part of a group that has such an innate love for Grenada, Carriacou, and Petit Martinique.”


“As an infectious disease physician, I was keen to share any knowledge and experience with my colleagues in Grenada and to continue to educate the general population regarding the importance of vaccination.”

Dr. Matthias, who was raised in Belmont, St. George’s, added: “My colleagues, Dr. Friday and Dr. Radix, clearly epitomize the SGU alumni and have illuminated the spirit of Grenada national anthem—’we pledge ourselves… heads, hearts, and hands in unity…  As one people, one family.’ I’m so appreciative of the fellow alumni who have extended helping hands and made generous donations.”

Graduate contributions are part of a larger effort from the entire SGU community to provide care, spread information, and limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Working with the Government of Grenada, SGU faculty members have stepped up to volunteer in the Government’s most recent initiative—hosting mobile testing and vaccination clinics throughout the island. Students have also mobilized in response to the call for help, volunteering at testing and vaccination sites hosted by the Ministry of Health.

– Brett Mauser


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Dr. Carina David

Forbes: More med school candidates turning to Caribbean

Even though medical school applications have skyrocketed, the number of seats in US schools hasn’t kept pace. It’s led more and more qualified MD candidates to choose the Caribbean to continue their studies, this according to a recent story on Forbes.com.

“For decades, medical schools weren’t meeting the needs of an increasingly older U.S. population. Now, they’re forced to play a game of catch-up,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University.

Read more about how SGU is helping to provide a foundation for aspiring physicians to enter medicine in the United States, in the places where healthcare is needed most.

America Needs More Doctors: SGU President Writes Op/Ed for The Hill


The Hill has published an op/ed by St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds titled “To get the doctors we need, expand their opportunities to train,” which focuses on the need to increase postgraduate opportunities in the US.

In the published piece, Dr. Olds stated that America will face a shortfall of up to 124,000 doctors by 2034, according to data from the Association of American Medical Colleges.

“This physician shortage will disproportionately hurt historically marginalized communities, where many people already struggle to find care,” Dr. Olds wrote. “Funding more residencies — so that more newly minted MDs can actually join the physician workforce — is the most straightforward solution to the doctor shortage.”

While the number of residency positions has been growing in recent years, “given the scale of the doctor shortage, we need even more,” he wrote.