SGU President Dr. G. Richard Olds was recently featured in a US News and World Report article about successful medical school admissions strategies. The article, titled “What are Your Chances of Getting into Medical School?”, includes insights from medical school administrators, faculty, admissions counselors, and other experts.
Dr. Olds explains that school selection is a crucial component of the application process and can make or break a student’s chances of admission to their institution of choice. “The most common mistakes in the med school admissions process are either not applying to a sufficient number of schools or not applying to the most appropriate types of schools. Olds says it’s crucial to apply to a wide range, including reach, match and safety schools.”
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The emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) forced just about every individual, and every organization, to discover new ways to achieve their goals and reach positive outcomes.
Shyamal Majithia, MD ’14, a family medicine physician at Western New York Immediate Care in and around Buffalo, NY, has been accustomed to providing in-person urgent and emergent care for patients of all ages and backgrounds. However, in light of recent events, much of that care has shifted online, including Teladoc Health, for which Dr. Majithia serves as an independent contractor.
He sat down with St. George’s University to describe his experience with administering telemedicine during a crucial time in healthcare.
St. George’s University: What has your experience been like working for Teladoc Health?
Shyamal Majithia: During the current pandemic, the need for access to medical advice and care has grown rapidly. Working with Teladoc was relatively easy to get used to from the obtaining of emergency medical records and ‘seeing patients’ aspect. We provide care via video and/or over the phone. For minor complaints, patients can be seen quickly and efficiently allowing them to get a genuine medical opinion from a licensed professional rather than being left to find their own answers during the pandemic.
SGU: What are some of the trends you are seeing in telemedicine?
SM: I believe telemedicine will soon become a staple of most healthcare practices. It provides a much wider access to care. Minor injuries are treated with relative ease. Patients now upload their photos or are being evaluated by a physician over video chat. These trends are particularly used as viable tools in specialties such as dermatology and psychiatry.
SGU: How has the telehealth traffic been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
SM: There has definitely been an increase in the use of telemedicine in recent months. I remember logging onto Teladoc and seeing the patient queue with a wait time of over three hours at times of patients waiting for callbacks. It was understandable as everyone was trying to shelter in place and help flatten the curve. Now that the country has been reopening, people have continued to seek telemedicine options because they’ve had their issues resolved, resulting in a positive experience.
“I remember logging onto Teladoc and seeing the patient queue with a wait time of over three hours.”
SGU: How have hospitals/medical practitioners had to adjust to practicing telemedicine?
SM: There was a learning curve when it came to adjusting to practicing telemedicine. Medicine is such a personal experience, usually practiced face to face with a physician. It was hard to imagine not doing a full physical exam, or having immediate access to a set of vitals. My colleagues and I have definitely had to adjust the way we navigate health problems over the phone. This is where new features such as being able to see uploaded photos or logging on to a video chat can be a big help in aiding in diagnosis.
In preparation for the upcoming possible second wave coupled with flu season, we have also begun integrating telemedicine into our clinics to allow our patients a safe way to seek care.
SGU: Can you share a time when practicing telemedicine was particularly helpful to you? Also, where do you see it going in the future?
SM: With the shelter in place order, volumes dropped in emergency rooms and urgent care practices. Telemedicine allowed me another way to fill my schedule and feel like I was contributing during the pandemic. It allowed me to set my own work hours, and see patients after my urgent care job as well. I see telemedicine here to stay. With today’s access to technology such as phones, tablets, and computers, patients have almost 24-hour access to care from the comfort and safety of wherever they are.
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Earlier this month, The WashingtonPost chronicled what one physician, a 22-year veteran, at Saint Barnabas Medical Center called “the craziest day of [her] career.” That’s when a 40-year-old mother, whose condition quickly worsened due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Upon being told that the patient’s blood pressure and oxygen level were dropping, Fariborz “Bobby” Rezai, director of critical care and medical/surgical intensive care at Saint Barnabas, made the decision to do an emergent C-section on the mother. In a matter of minutes, the babies were delivered, each at just over two pounds. His team’s attention continued on the mother, and in a span of 48 hours, she was “a new person.”
“I’ve been a critical care physician for over 13 years, and I’ve never seen anything like that,” Dr. Rezai told the Post. “Especially with COVID patients, you know when a patient is going to survive or not, and Ebony was not looking like she was going to survive. The decision to do the C-section really saved her life.”
Several graduates of St. George’s University who recently started their residencies at hospitals in the state of Nevada were featured in an article by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Of the 14 residents who started this July, all but two are in family medicine or internal medicine, both areas where Nevada is in short supply of physicians.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which “really stresses a hospital system, particularly from a manpower standpoint,” having residency training programs is particularly important, said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University.
More than 40 SGU graduates have matched into Las Vegas-area residencies over the past five years.
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In a recent edition of the Los Angeles Times, pulmonary and critical care specialist Baljinder Sidhu, MD ’06, was praised for the role that he played in the treatment of a patient who was intubated and on a ventilator at Marian Regional Medical Center due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Even after receiving a plasma infusion, she remained extremely ill and it was recommended that she be moved to another facility to be put on a lung bypass machine.
To facilitate this move and avoid any adverse consequences, Dr. Sidhu accompanied the patient in an ambulance for the three-hour trip to Providence St. John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, CA.
“I owe this doctor everything,” said the patient’s husband. “I’m not kidding you, this guy went above and beyond, riding in the ambulance all the way to make sure she got there safely.”
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“To reduce the threat posed by COVID-19—and other infectious diseases like it—our healthcare system must do a better job managing, treating, and preventing chronic disease, especially in vulnerable populations,” Dr. Liebowitz wrote. “Primary care physicians can do that job. And there’s no better source of primary care physicians than international medical schools. It’s time to bring more of their graduates in—and expand post-graduate training capacity to allow them to further their careers as US doctors.”
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St. George’s University’s chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) recently received international recognition, as it was honored with the Paul R. Wright Chapter Success Award at this year’s AMSA National Conference and Exposition.
The award, named after AMSA Executive Director Emeritus Paul R. Wright, emphasizes chapter commitment to improving member solidarity by promoting AMSA’s mission of inspiring future physicians through local events, innovative programming, leadership development, calls to action and the display of teamwork.
“We are honored and deeply humbled to receive this award,” said Tasha Phillips-Wilson, former president of AMSA SGU. “However, the best part about it is being able to give back to a place that has given us so much. We can never repay what Grenada has given us. St. George’s University has opened the door for us to fulfill our dreams and participating in AMSA SGU chapter activities is just one of the ways that we try to show our gratitude.”
AMSA National notified the students of their candidacy earlier this year and invited them to Washington, DC to receive the award at this year’s conference, scheduled for April 16-18. However, in light of travel restrictions and an ever-evolving situation related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, AMSA National made the necessary adjustments to the 2020 convention and awarded the students virtually. The conference included three days of more than 30 sessions, speakers, competitions, and fairs to join medical students from across the globe through full accessibility from the safety of their homes.
“Winning the Paul R. Wright Chapter Success Award at the 2020 AMSA National Convention in the US is an outstanding accomplishment by our AMSA SGU chapter,” praised Dr. C.V. Rao, dean of students at SGU. “It is a culmination of sustained efforts by our students for over the past two decades. It is also an acknowledgement of our students—future physicians, who have gone above the traditional requirements of the medical school curriculum. It recognizes their passion to help uplift the community even when they don’t necessarily have the time and inspires future medical students to go beyond the books and give more of themselves.”
The SGU chapter is the largest international AMSA chapter and is actively involved in the Grenadian community, coordinating health fairs, blood drives and promoting medical education on the island.
“Being a physician is about service, and AMSA SGU really takes that to heart,” said Ms. Phillips-Wilson. “Our team is always so excited about participating in the community health fair experiences because it parallels our future patient-physician relationships and allows us to build on those skills while serving the Grenadian community.”
The American Medical Student Association (AMSA) is the oldest and largest independent association of physicians-in-training in the United States. Today, AMSA is a student-governed, national organization committed to representing the concerns of physicians-in-training. AMSA members are medical students, preclinical students, interns, residents, and practicing physicians. Founded in 1950, AMSA continues its commitment to improving medical training and has more than 62,000 national and international members.
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St. George’s University preclinical student Hiranya S recently collaborated with the police department in Tamil Nadu, India, on a song that preached social distancing.
According to the World Health Organization’s most recent report, India’s swift measures to prevent virus transmission have resulted in just over 16,000 positive tests, in a country of more than 1.3 billion people. Ms. Hiranya’s message encourages citizens to continue to take precaution.
Translated into English, the song reads …
There are possible ways to escape from corona virus attack, please listen. government instructions will help us and doctors’ advice will guide us to face the virus infection as individual by facing alone without fear. chase out the virus infection from our society it is a deadly virus and dangerous, but if we are cautious, we can win. it is important to wash your hands, and wear a mask keep the distance if you have cough, cold and fever, immediately do testing if anybody have symptoms, you should inform stay home, stay home, stay home.
stay at home and obey the law if you roam around, you will get virus infection we (the police) are protecting you and you must realize that even though we know we will get infected, we are doing our duties to protect you the police is your friend the whole world is worrying about this situation we have to save our lives; we have to save the mankind stay home, stay home, stay home.
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Matt Heckroth, MD ’19, a first-year internal medicine resident at University of Louisville, was interviewed by his hometown local paper, the Tallahassee Democrat, on what its like to be a resident during COVID-19 pandemic.
“The things I am sure I am going to see over the next couple of weeks and the next couple of months are going to be helpful,” Heckroth told the newspaper. “We are learning about this virus and about how it affects people.”
Dr. Heckroth had a nontraditional path to medicine. The aspiring gastroenterologist originally wanted to become a professional baseball player. He was a highly touted pitching prospect before suffering a shoulder injury that prevented him from playing past his sophomore year in college.
He credited his strong relationship with his orthopedic surgeon for helping him decide on medicine.
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St. George’s University announced that it has awarded nine incoming students with CityDoctors scholarships. The winners hail from several cities and towns, including Bronx, Brooklyn, and Monmouth County in New Jersey.
“This program gives medical students from New York and New Jersey the unique opportunity to return home after graduation and serve their communities,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “We’re thrilled to welcome the 2020 recipients to our campus community.”
Created in 2012, CityDoctors Scholarships are awarded cooperatively by St. George’s University and several partner hospitals in New York and New Jersey to applicants who wish to start their studies in the January term.
Students chosen for a NYC Health + Hospitals CityDoctors Scholarship must commit to working in one of the system’s 11 public hospitals following graduation. Those who receive a CityDoctors Scholarship from Jersey Shore University Medical Center or HackensackUMC need not commit to working in those hospitals.
To be eligible for a NYC Health + Hospitals CityDoctors scholarship, students must have maintained a permanent residence within the five boroughs of New York City for five or more years, graduated from high school or college in New York City, or have other ties to NYC Health + Hospitals.
Residents of Monmouth County, Ocean County, or Bergen County, as well as students with some connection to JSUMC or HackensackUMC, are eligible for the CityDoctors Scholarships from St. George’s New Jersey hospital partners.
“New York and New Jersey need more highly skilled physicians to meet the needs of their residents,” Dr. Olds said. “We have no doubt that this class of CityDoctors scholarship winners will emerge as leaders in the practice of medicine.”
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