SGS Class of 2020 Encouraged to Embrace Its Uniqueness and the Prospects of Tomorrow

Dr. Calum Macpherson, SGS Dean

The School of Graduate Studies virtual commencement ceremony began with Dr. Calum Macpherson, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and the University’s chancellor, Dr. Charles R . Modica, who offered the 2020 graduating class a warm welcome as well as congratulatory remarks.

Although the current health climate prompted St. George’s University to move its customary in-person event online, the 2020 School of Graduate Studies (SGS) commencement ceremony nevertheless featured the celebratory nature and well wishes that have become a hallmark of events held each year in Grenada. The virtual ceremony was held on held on Saturday, May 30.

In total, the class’s 150 graduands from 34 countries were bestowed degrees such as a Master of Public Health, Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts, Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy. In addition, SGU hosts the Gamma Kappa chapter of the Delta Omega Honors Society and inducted the top 10 percent of this year’s MPH graduates into the chapter for demonstrating excellence in education and scholarship in research and service.

To begin the online ceremony—the first of its kind in the University’s 43-year history—Dr. Calum Macpherson, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, and the University’s chancellor, Dr. Charles R. Modica, offered the 2020 graduating class a warm welcome as well as congratulatory remarks. They then gave the virtual stage to this year’s speaker, the Honorable Nickolas Steele, Grenada’s Minister for Health, Social Security, and International Business, who shared his excitement for the graduates’ future.

“Your class is unique in so many ways,” said Minister Steele. “Embrace that uniqueness and let it be the beacon that guides your future steps. You are armed with not just any education but with a St. George’s University education—an institution with not just a spirit but a mantra of overcoming challenges. So, go forward, onwards and upwards with your personal stock, the tools you have been given by SGU, the benefits of the battles you have just fought, and the certainty in the opportunities of tomorrow’s uncertainty.

“The difficult we do today, the impossible—tomorrow,” added Minister Steele. “You are the product of the very institution that epitomizes this and as such, the difficult you will do today, you will graduate today; the impossible you will do tomorrow, you will change the world.”

Class speaker Tanya Martelly, MBA ’20, offered a few heartfelt words on behalf of her fellow graduands, echoing the minister’s words acknowledging that this year had been filled with uncertainty and a range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, anticipation, and excitement.

“However, regardless of the origins of the emotions we felt,” stated Ms. Martelly. “What caused each of us to start our academic journey was courage, and a desire to move forward in our lives. Today, I encourage you to seek and ascertain what your purpose is in this life and decide on the impact you want to have on this world beyond yourself. With courage and God’s leading, you will be able to make the difference that this world so desperately needs. God bless you all in your academic and professional endeavors and congratulations.”

The School of Graduate Studies was launched 17 years after establishing a successful  School of Medicine, further evolving St. George’s University as an international center for excellence. Last year, the school celebrated 25 years of excellence, having graduated more than 1,300 students. At present, the SGS has 34 different graduate degree programs, and also provides students the opportunity to earn dual degrees such as the DVM/MSc, DVM/MBA, MD/MSc, and MD/MPH, which has more than 1,000 graduates and celebrated its 20th anniversary, last year.

 

–Ray-Donna Peters

 

School of Graduate Studies Celebrates 25 Years of Excellence

Seventeen years after establishing a successful School of Medicine, St. George’s University further evolved as an international center for excellence with the launch of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Spearheaded by SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, Dr. Keith B. Taylor, it was his vision for international expansion which led not only to forming SGS but to creating the Office of Research, the Panel on Research and Scholarly Activity and most noteworthy the founding of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF)in 1994.

This year, the school celebrated 25 years of excellence, having graduated more than 1,300 students.

“Dr. Taylor recognized that if a tertiary education institution wanted to enhance its excellence in medical education, this could be done through expanding its academic offerings,” said Dr. Calum Macpherson, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and director of research at SGU. “Today, SGS aims to achieve and sustain excellence in every area of its graduate programs, evolving its reputation as a world-class school, and enriching international, national, and regional communities through the outcomes of its programs and the skills of its graduates.”

At present, the SGS has 34 different graduate degree programs, including a Doctor of Philosophy, Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts, and Master of Education programs. In addition, students can earn dual degrees such as the DVM/MSc, DVM/MBA, MD/MSc, and MD/MPH, which has more than 1,000 graduates and is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Established in 1999, SGU’s Master of Public Health program has been fully accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) since July 2010, having recently earned CEPH re-accreditation of the MPH program through 2022. According to Dr. Christine Richards, chair of public health and preventive medicine, that makes it the only accredited program in the region and only one of five such programs accredited by the CEPH outside of the United States.

With approximately 25 percent of graduates hailing from Grenada, the School of Graduate Studies has had a significant impact on Grenada and research in the Caribbean as a whole—especially on the quality of jobs and the level of Grenadians entering senior posts in the country and within the region. Many SGU grads have gone on to hold high-profile positions in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), occupy top placements in Grenadian financial and health institutions, and assume the role of Grenada’s Chief Medical Officer, including Drs. Carlene Radix and George Mitchell.

 

“Today, SGS aims to achieve and sustain excellence in every area of its graduate programs, evolving its reputation as a world-class school, and enriching international, national, and regional communities through the outcomes of its programs and the skills of its graduates.”

Calum Macpherson, Dean of the School of Graduate Studies

 

In terms of research, substantial work has been completed in collaboration with the Ministries of Health, Education, and Agriculture through WINDREF, also commemorating its 25th year. The foundation is a non-profit charitable trust which attracts considerable contributions of grants and donations from international organizations and private donors. WINDREF has hosted several dinners at the House of Lords in the UK with notable speakers, such as Lord Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee. It has also held a number of fundraisers, including one in 2000 at the United Nations in New York, which raised US $400,000, of which $200,000 was donated to renovating Grenada’s General Hospital.

“WINDREF brings in approximately US $1.2 million a year in research funds,” said Dr. Trevor Noël, deputy director, WINDREF. “It is also one of the largest employers of our MPH graduates, providing not only employment but exciting research opportunities for Grenadians so they don’t have to move abroad to become research scientists. They now have the opportunity to work on well-funded research projects right here in Grenada.”

The foundation’s largest research projects have included partnerships with SGU’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHPM) and the Ministry of Health covering both noncommunicable and infectious disease research through the lens of their public health and epidemiological importance in a small island developing state. Appropriate, applied research has been the foundation’s focus with practical solutions such as instituting the Touch Toe Test—a simple examination to help diabetes sufferers detect loss of sensitivity in their feet. Along with a PSA, the program potentially reached thousands of Grenadians in hopes of resulting in a reduction of diabetic foot amputations.

Similarly, with the introduction of the Chikungunya virus (CHIKV) epidemic in 2014, WINDREF also collaborated with Drs. Clare Heath and Desiree LaBeaud of Stanford University to study the epidemiology and long-term effects on those infected with the virus. At present, the foundation has partnered with renowned Dengue expert, Dr. Timothy Endy from SUNY Upstate Medical University on an incidence study of infection within the SGU student population, as well as the immunology of the primary infection and the feasibility to support dengue vaccine development.

With much of the School of Graduate Studies’ research conducted on its True Blue Campus, SGU also houses the first WHO Collaborating Centre on Environmental and Occupational Health in the Caribbean, the Global Water Partnership (GWP)’s Caribbean network, and one of six regional collaborating centers of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in the world.

“One of the largest research focuses in the future will be the effects of climate change,” added Dr. Macpherson. “In addition to the environment, it’s going to have an impact on both human and animal health. We hope to be at the cutting edge of research into this global problem. Our capacity to develop research protocols and partnerships will certainly be of importance regionally but will also have relevance globally.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Career Day Helps Students Choose Path Toward Successful Future

For more than a decade, St. George’s University and Rotaract Club of Grenada Career Day has been important not only for the future of Grenadian citizens but for the island as a whole.

This month, the True Blue campus welcomed hundreds of secondary school students and young adults from across the nation to explore a diverse range of career opportunities and the educational tools to help them reach their goals. It allowed attendees to mix with Grenada’s industry leaders and other respected professionals in smaller group settings to evaluate how they can develop themselves, their families, and their country.

“St. George’s University provides an ideal setting to offer this kind of guidance to students in answering the oft-difficult question of what career to choose, given this constantly evolving and competitive global marketplace,” said Colin Dowe, associate dean of admissions at SGU. “It is critical that we encourage our young Grenadians to explore non-traditional and emerging disciplines, which can foster both personal and national development.”

The SGU/Rotaract Club Career Day experience featured dozens of presentations utilizing its Career Track System, as well as interactive sessions led by current St. George’s University students. Eight different career tracks, ranging from agri-business and fashion to communications and meteorology, were set up in each of the major halls on campus. In addition to presentations for the students, the event featured the popular and informative Parents Session led by Mr. Dowe. The special session covered a range of topics—from financing your education to responding to the challenges faced by today’s students.

“I’m elated that SGU offered a special Parents Session at Career Day,” said Camme Roberts McIntosh, a Cherry Hill resident and mother of three. “I found the discussion on letting go and allowing your child to make their own decisions most helpful. It’s easier said than done when dealing with my eldest son, but I’m learning how to step back, release the reins a little bit, and trust him.”

“This is our second time coming to the Parents Session,” stated Petal Duncan from Laborie, St. Paul’s. “My husband and I were here last year when our daughter attended Career Day. We thought it was informative then and found it even more valuable this time around. There’s something very comforting about knowing you’re doing all you can to help prepare your child for university life and their future career. We thought it was important to be here and our daughter felt so too—in fact, every parent should be here.”

By holding Career Day, SGU’s goal is to assist students and parents in making informed career choices and motivating them along their journey towards educational and career fulfillment. As the largest private employer in Grenada, the University makes a point to fulfill its mandate as a good corporate citizen, embracing the opportunity to equip students with the tools to build a successful career path.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Commonwealth Conference Focuses on Student Success

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ray-Donna Peters

Grenada Class of 2019 Inspired to Bloom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Ray-Donna Peters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

St. George’s University Hosts Record-Breaking Research Day

Faculty, students, and local and regional citizens recently descended on Louis and Marion Modica Hall for the 18th St. George’s University Research Day and Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day, during which a record 145 presentations were showcased.

Of the presentations, 79 were posters and 66 were oral presentations. A faculty panel made up of judges from SGU and outside of the University reviewed the submissions, choosing three to four winners for each category based on originality, scientific merit, and level of involvement. Three winners were selected for Best Faculty and four for Best Student Oral Presentations, and three for Best Faculty and Best Student Poster Presentations each.

The complete list of winners can be seen below. The campus-based Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) will present each with a plaque on April 15.

“This year’s Research Day received the largest number of submissions of both poster and oral presentations in its 25-year history,” said Dr. Calum Macpherson, director of research at St. George’s University. “This event saw the sharing of scholarly contributions from students, faculty and collaborators. Many thanks to all who presented, attended, or assisted with this year’s Research Day and made it such a memorable one.”

In addition to the faculty and students from all four schools at SGU, faculty from T.A. Marryshow Community College, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the University of the West Indies also presented at the conference. Co-authoring the work featured was an impressive list of collaborators from 14 countries and representing more than 50 institutions, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Oxford, the University of Sydney, Temasek in Singapore, and Pretoria in South Africa.

St. George’s University Research Day began in 1994 as a means to disseminate outcomes of research being conducted by faculty and students at the University, which at the time comprised the Schools of Medicine and Graduate Studies. With the expansion of the University’s programs and the development of the School of Veterinary Medicine in 1999, the Alpha Delta Chapter of Phi Zeta Honor Society for veterinary medical students held its first Research Emphasis Day in February 2010 combining with the University-wide Research Day. The Society aims to foster the constant advancement of the veterinary profession, higher education, and scholarship, and to promote research in matters pertaining to the welfare and disease of animals. In keeping with the emphasis on One Health One Medicine, Phi Zeta conducts its Research Emphasis Day in collaboration with the other schools at the University. The next SGU Research Day and Phi Zeta Research Emphasis Day is scheduled for October 24, 2020.

Best Faculty Oral Presentation

  1. Dr. Bhumika Sharma – SVM
  2. Dr. Damian Greaves – SAS
  3. Dr. Cheryl Cox Macpherson – SOM

Best Student Oral Presentation

  1. Amber Lee – SVM
  2. Masha Phillip – SAS
  3. Matthew Carvey and Paul Feliu – SOM

Best Faculty Poster Presentation

  1. Dr. Naudia Dundas – SVM
  2. Gwen Burbank – SAS
  3. Rachael George-St. Bernard – SOM

Best Student Poster Presentation

  1. Lauren Kiebler – SVM
  2. Zoya Buckmire – SAS
  3. Jennifer Nguyen – SOM

Phi Zeta plaques/certificates were awarded to the following students for their participation: Yu Wang, Sarah Tabin, Chris Memonagle, Monica Tetnowski, Caitlin Moraland, Lindsey Hattaway, Andy Hsueh, Teresa Monroe, Dexton St. Bernard, Jaelene Haynes, Katelyn Thille, Nia Rametta, Shekinah Morris, Vishakha Vasuki, Devin Cruz-Gardillo, Haidi Janicke, and Alexandra Baker.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Robert Alig Named New Vice President of Alumni Affairs

In November, St. George’s University named Robert Alig as its new vice president of alumni affairs, a role for which he looks forward to connecting with the more than 20,000 graduates across the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies. We sat down with Mr. Alig to discuss his background and the goals that he has for SGU and its alumni.

St. George’s University: What elements of your background sets you up to take the reins of alumni affairs at SGU?

Bob Alig: I was the assistant vice president of alumni relations at the University of Pennsylvania for seven years, overseeing alumni programming and engagement for its four undergraduate schools and all graduate programs. Prior to that, I was the director of MBA admissions and financial aid at the Wharton School, for which I was able to travel to 35 countries and share the message of a place that, as an alum, meant a great deal to me. I saw firsthand the energy, commitment, and enthusiasm of Penn’s alumni, not only to give back in terms of philanthropy, but also their time, talent and enthusiasm.

Collectively, I saw what we could accomplish when working in partnership, and what the advocacy of Penn alumni meant for the momentum of the university, anchored in strengthening its reputation and expanding its international footprint. I think this experience dovetails beautifully with what I’ve observed and learned during my brief tenure here.   SGU is on a remarkable trajectory and it has so much to be proud of. I am committed to an alumni relations effort that reflects the momentum and the diversity of the University.

SGU: What do you hope to accomplish in the first few months?

BA: I think it’s vital to connect with alumni to understand their own paths to SGU and what made it a special place for them. Listening and learning now, and agreeing on a plan that leverages our unique strengths will position us for success and continued momentum.   

It’s also important to help alumni understand how SGU can support them in their careers, in their continuing education, and at the same time, for them to advocate for SGU. In years past, education was thought of as an episodic period of time—you’re a student for four years and you get your degree. Now, I think it’s much more about a lifetime of learning and engagement. SGU can and should be the intellectual home of its alumni.

Sometimes I think about my role as helping several thousand current SGU students to feel like alumni, and helping 16,000 SGU alumni feel like students, reconnecting them with their experiences and what’s currently happening on our True Blue campus.

SGU: What do you view as the biggest challenge that faces alumni affairs here and in general?

BA: I think getting my arms around alumni data here is very similar to the challenge I faced when I started at Penn. Every higher education institution struggles with capturing data and using it effectively.

SGU: How can staying connected with SGU help our alumni in their careers?

BA: It makes perfect sense that we could keep our alumni engaged so that they can learn from each other and tap into each other’s networks and experiences. The pace of change in our work and personal lives has escalated significantly. The practice of radiology—or any field—has evolved dramatically in the last 15 years, so it’s important that our graduates not only stay current, but set the standard for the future through continuing education and engagement with their alma mater.

SGU: In what ways are you looking to connect with SGU alumni?

BA: There is nothing better than meeting SGU alumni in person, ideally on the True Blue campus, but I’ve also connected with alumni via social media, phone, and email, and want to continue to do so. I want to quickly figure out how we can connect and make it easy for them to stay in touch with me, their fellow alumni, and SGU.

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.”

Caribbean Professionals Mentor Future Conservation Leaders at St. George’s University

With an eye toward the future, St. George’s University welcomed the second cohort of future Caribbean conservationists at the Conservation Leadership in the Caribbean (CLiC) workshop, an intensive 18-month program aimed at assisting 18 young professionals from 13 Caribbean countries in launching, developing, and implementing successful conservation campaigns.

“CLiC is a fellowship program offered free of cost to Caribbean nationals and professionals in the wider Caribbean,” said Dr. Leo Douglas, Assistant Professor, New York University and Immediate Past President of BirdsCaribbean. “This much-needed program was designed to help young people who are trying to get established in environmental careers and have a broad passion for the environment but really are lacking in the resources, institutions, and the training to actually advance their careers.”

Originally funded by a $125,000 grant from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 2014, CLiC’s collaborating partners include St. George’s University (the base of the training program) and the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), along with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), another important collaborator, administering the program in its second year.

“We’ve been incredibly fortunate to be able to partner with SGU and use its facilities here because the University offers the ideal setting to meet all of our needs,” added Dr. Douglas, CLiC Coordinator. “When CLiC was formed, we wanted to keep it entirely Caribbean. We needed a location that was accessible, and not prohibitively expensive, that we could have our fellows come and be a part of a community of scholars, a place where there would be accommodations but also have access to classrooms and state-of-the-art technology.”

This second cohort completed a three-day leadership and project management planning workshop, followed by a 10-day (in-person and virtual) short course on Advanced Conservation Planning based on the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Participants were broken up into five teams, and each team launched a research conservation initiative with the help of an assigned mentor. Over the next two years, through workshops, online and in-person courses, and hands-on project implementation exercises, fellows would be provided with the knowledge and training of best practices in conservation, potential funding mechanisms for their projects and proposal writing and networking skills both with their advisors and each other.

Having worked for four years as a conservation officer at a local nature center in Trinidad, Kimberly Chu Foon, a PhD candidate at the University of Prince Edward Island was eager to join CLiC’s training and become a better conservationist. Along with her teammates from Team Macaw, Ms. Chu Foon’s conservation campaign focuses on Trinidad’s reintroduced population of blue and gold macaws, which had been extirpated in the wild since the 1960s.

“Our project is centered on looking at the main reasons why pet owners acquire these birds, where the birds are coming from illegally, and trying to find ways to develop a behavior change program to make sure that people are no longer hunting or poaching these birds from the wild,” said Ms. Chu Foon. “As a PhD student, a lot of the methods I’ve been using to conduct my research are some of the same ones I’ve been using on this project. So, this has really been helping me to build my skills in such areas as qualitative data analysis and data collection and in giving me the experience that I need to further my research career.”

Continuing to expand upon a two-year pilot leadership-training program, Caribbean Emerging Wildlife Conservation (CEWCL), which mimicked the Emerging Wildlife Conservation Leaders (EWCL) training program, a successful venture in the US for more than a decade, CLiC’s current cohort of fellows will also be the first to achieve certification.

“We’re very excited about this. Thanks to SGU, these fellows will be receiving graduate-level, degree-type certification which is a huge deal when trying to find jobs and move on to the next level,” Dr. Douglas said. “We’re also offering an increase in funding to our next batch of cohorts because we want them to work with a broader, deeper, more extensive network of partners than ever before especially in terms of working on projects that have on-the-ground benefits such as recycling, endangered species, and climate change projects, so that they can access people with specific types of training.

“CLiC’s future is bright, as it continues to provide its fellows with greater resources that they can use to advance themselves and their careers, all while benefitting their local environments and habitats in the Caribbean.”