Grateful, Inspired, Motivated: Term 1 SOM Students Describe What It Means to Put on a White Coat

Dominique Assing, BS ’23, was no stranger to the lecture halls at St. George’s University. As a child her mother, Brigitte Assing, MBA ’12, would bring Dominque to SGU’s True Blue campus while she completed her graduate studies. Later, Ms. Assing would go on to complete her undergraduate degree at SGU before beginning her medical education in the School of Medicine.

At the recent SOM White Coat Ceremony, Ms. Assing was coated by her aunt Lisa Radix, MD ’95, who inspired her to follow her dreams of becoming a physician at SGU.

“I felt a mixture of emotions at the White Coat Ceremony—excitement, nervousness, anxiety, and most of all gratitude,” said Ms. Assing. “I’m grateful to my family and to my aunt who came to coat me. After having such a positive undergraduate experience here at SGU, I couldn’t think of anywhere else I would want to study medicine. I really love being able to live in my home country, while also getting a truly international medical education.”

 

The occasion was monumental not only for Ms. Assing, but for her aunt as well.

“It was such a special feeling putting the white coat on the next generation,” said Dr. Radix. “Seeing Dominique grow from a toddler to a hard-working adult about to start her own medical career at SGU as I once did more than 30 years ago. In a way this was also my White Coat Ceremony, since I never had one because the tradition started the year after I graduated. Reciting the oath with my niece and her fellow students was doubly moving for me.”

On February 10, the Class of 2028 walked across the stage at Patrick F. Adams Hall during the milestone event that marks their entry into the field of medicine. After being coated—sometimes by family members or mentors who had become physicians before them, the students then recite the Oath of Professionalism—pledging to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating their patients.

 

 

Hear from four other aspiring physicians on what it means to be able to wear a white coat.  

 

“I feel amazing after putting on my white coat. I’m excited and nervous at the same time but I also feel ready to take on this journey. It was such an honor being coated by my dad. He is the reason why I wanted to become a doctor. I was inspired by the work that he does and I’m happy to follow in his footsteps.”

– Abhigna Kandimalla 
Trinidad and Tobago

 

“I am super excited to have my white coat. It signifies that I’m clearly moving forward with my medical education. Previously, I worked in the pharmaceutical industry for about 30 years, but I always wanted to become a doctor. I applied to SGU because it had a great matriculation rate and great success rate of students getting into the residencies of their choice. So, I knew it was the best place for me to fulfill my dream of becoming a physician.”

– Tanette Brown
North Carolina

 

“I can’t even describe the emotion I felt while being coated by my father, SGU Associate Dean Dr. Dolland Noel. It was like he was passing the torch on to me. Initially I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. But then my father really started to stand out to me. The way his work positively affected the people around him and all the gratitude surrounding him made me realize you can have a huge impact on your community and country as a physician. And just seeing the amazing doctor he became and knowing that he went to SGU definitely made me want to come here too.”

– Donan Noel
Grenada

 

 

   – Ray-Donna Peters

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Georgian Court Renews Partnership with St. George’s University for Pre-Med, Pre-Vet Students

Georgian Court University and St. George’s University (SGU), located in Grenada in the West Indies, are renewing and recommitting to their agreement which creates pathways for GCU students to pursue studies in medicine and veterinarian medicine.

“St. George’s University is thrilled to continue this partnership with Georgian Court University and to offer their most qualified students multiple pathways to a degree in medicine or veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor of St. George’s University. “We look forward to empowering GCU students to pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor or veterinarian.”

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) sets up a 4+4 program with the two institutions. After completing four years of pre-medicine or pre-veterinarian studies at GCU, students who meet the requirements will be granted admission to SGU’s School of Medicine or School of Veterinary Medicine to continue their studies.

It also establishes a 3+4 program, in which students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology: biomedical sciences will complete three years at GCU and then be granted entry into the SGU School of Medicine if meeting requirements.

“Georgian Court University has always been committed to creating educational opportunities that help students excel academically and provide the guidance and support they need to achieve their career goals,” said Dr. Janice Warner, provost of Georgian Court University. “Through this partnership with SGU, we can provide a growing number of students interested in medical and veterinary school a clear integrated path into an accredited, reputable medical school with a good track record for residency placement in the US.”

Georgian Court campus

Georgian Court University and St. George’s University are renewing and recommitting to their agreement which creates pathways for GCU students to pursue studies in medicine and veterinarian medicine.

 

To be eligible for the SGU School of Medicine route, students must maintain a 3.4 grade point average and a 3.2 grade point average in the sciences. They also must score within five points of the average scores for entering students on the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

For the School of Veterinary Science, students must maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.3 while at GCU and complete a recommended 500 hours of animal experience alongside a veterinarian or animal care professional.

Both programs have options to complete part of the program at SGU, with remaining clinical rotations and education at various SGU affiliates, including those in the United States. SGU School of Medicine works with a network of more than 75 hospitals and health systems in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom offering clinical and ambulatory training. The School of Veterinary Medicine offers clinical training at over 30 affiliated institutions in six countries.

Students who are accepted into the 3+4 or 4+4 programs for medical sciences will be eligible to be considered for all of SGU’s School of Medicine scholarships. SGU granted more than $50 million in scholarships in the 2022-2023 academic year.

For more information about how to apply for the pathways program contact Tracy McCarthy, Assistant Director of Undergraduate Admissions at Georgian Court University, call (732) 987-2759, or send an email to: tmccarthy@georgian.edu.

 

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SGU Reinforces Focus on Medical Humanities for Students

Developing a holistic and compassionate approach to the treatment of patients is a key competency needed by physicians in order to address today’s global healthcare needs. Learning these soft skills and acquiring knowledge that focuses on the humanities is an important part in a med student’s overall training. St. George’s University School of Medicine students can expand their humanities knowledge and learnings through the recently formalized Department of Medical Humanities and History of Medicine.

“Medicine is not merely a profession. It’s a noble pursuit—a calling to serve humanity and alleviate suffering,” said School of Medicine Dean Dr. Marios Loukas. “Being a good doctor means actively seeking to understand the unique experiences and perspectives of patients by acknowledging and addressing health disparities and providing the highest quality of care to every individual.”

SOM’s new Department of Medical Humanities and History of Medicine aims to emphasize and integrate humanities and history of medicine courses throughout SGU’s four-year MD program. The department is led by Robert Hage, MD, PhD, DLO, MBA as chair, and Arlette Herry, PhD, assistant dean of multicultural affairs, as its deputy chair.

Disseminated information will strengthen students’ communication skills and empathy, enrich their patient relationships, help build rapport with patients and colleagues, enhance their cultural competency, and mitigate burnout, among other benefits.

“Pure curriculum-based biomedical sciences do not pay sufficient attention to quality of life,” Dr. Hage said. “SGU’s medical humanities department helps students tap into crucial attributes such as introspection/reflection, empathy, and cultural humbleness—all of which are pivotal in creating a physician who is ready to serve a global community.”

What are the medical humanities?

The field of medical humanities is an interdisciplinary approach that incorporates various aspects of the humanities and social sciences into the study of medicine and healthcare. It provides a broader and more holistic understanding of health, illness, and medicine, taking into account the cultural, social, and ethical dimensions of these topics.

On the blog: What makes a good doctor? 7 surprisingly useful skills for physicians

 

SGU’s School of Medicine currently offers  offers students a range of extracurricular selectives to choose from delivered by faculty with a special interest and are far from the normal standardized courses. Faculty from other departments, such as the Department of Public Health and Preventative Medicine, will collaborate to offer relevant courses to basic sciences students. Clinical students will be able to register for a medical humanities elective through the New Jersey-based hospital system, Atlantic Health.

“Currently, we are creating the foundation to coordinate all these activities, including involvement by student clubs,” according to Dr. Herry.

SOM students can earn recognition in the medical humanities through research activities, certificates, a diploma, and eventually, a Master of Science.

On the blog: Recognizing the importance of cultural competence in healthcare

 

“Medical humanities play a vital role in broadening the education and training of healthcare professionals by emphasizing the importance of cultural and social contexts, effective communication, and empathy in patient care,” Dr. Hage said.

Students interested in learning more go to the department’s section on the University portal.

 

— Laurie Chartorynsky

 

7 key benefits of the medical humanities

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Moving with Family to Grenada? SGU’s Student Family Network Offers Support and Resources

Student Family Network

How does St. George’s University support students who come to the island with significant others and families? What housing options are available for students with families? What is the schooling like for my kids in Grenada? Is my spouse able to work in Grenada while I’m in school?

These are some of the most common questions asked by students who make the move to Grenada with their significant others and family members.

SGU’s Student Family Network (SFN) (formerly known as the Significant Others Organization) can help. The student organization was established in 1994 as a support system for families of SGU students living in Grenada. Today, SFN prides itself on being a network of spouses, housemates, friends, family, partners, and pets—and offers resources to help them adjust to living on island.

SFN ambassador and School of Medicine student Brooke Hildebrand shared more details about the organization and how students (and faculty) with families can make the most of their time in Grenada.

SGU: What support can the SGU Student Family Network offer to students and their families?

BH: Moving to a new place is challenging. Moving to a whole new country is oftentimes emotionally terrifying! The SFN aims to ease some of the concerns and apprehension of acclimating to a new way of life by providing support, advice, and connections to anyone affiliated with SGU!

From knowing if there are eggs at the store, to finding buddies to go to the beach with, the communication and the community of SFN has proved a lifesaver for me and my family, so I can only hope it can help another in some way shape or form.

Student Family Network

 

 

SGU: What are some examples of resources that SFN offers to students?

BH: We offer various forms of communication options allowing ample questions and intercommunication among participants. Since we are a resource and not a traditional organization, there are no membership fees/dues or requirements for participation!

There are infinite “where to go” and “how to do” types of answers offered to the community through SGU Family Network communication avenues. Among our various social media presences and communication options we have sub-groups aimed toward uniting similar interest-minded individuals. Examples of a few of our group communications include: remote workers, playdates for children, SFN dudes group, book club, t-shirt design, non-kid events, and the monthly event planning groups.

SGU: What other ways do you help students and their families?

BH: Our diverse community has extensive knowledge in all aspects of life on the island, both on and off campus. We can assist with medical professional and dental referrals, lactation options on campus, any pet-related information, car and housing rental information, free time exploring options, and visa and passport renewal.

Importantly, the community bands together when things may seem amiss and jumps to help one another to ensure everyone is safe and well taken care of at all times.

SGU: Does the SFN organize activities? If so, how often?

BH: Yes! Our goal is to host a minimum of one official sanctioned event per month. We had a September kickball game; on Halloween, we trick-or-treated to the various departments on campus and other organizations hosted activity tables for kiddos, and a Thanksgiving end-of-term potluck meal!

In addition to the official activities, we do book club gatherings every

month, and a few participants have hosted gatherings off campus in various locations—some of which included hiking to the waterfalls and an evening beach party!

Student Family Network

SGU: Best piece of advice for students coming to the island with their families?

BH: I would recommend joining any of the SFN communication groups to understand the interworking’s of the island from an SGU point of view. For example, if you are living off campus, how far is a ‘5 minute’ walk going to take in rainy season and what is the terrain of that walk?

The SFN Exchange group may assist those trying to prioritize what to pack and condense their luggage into two bags. Take the time to follow and read what other people are posting or asking about in the groups to enhance your understanding of how to best prepare for the transition.

Connect with the Student Family Network


Website
SGU Student Family Network 

Facebook
SGU Family Network (SFN) 

SFN of SGU 

SFN of SGU Exchange

Instagram
@sfn_sgu

WhatsApp
Join chat

 

— Laurie Chartorynsky

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Southeast Missouri State University Starts Partnership with St. George’s University for Pre-Med, Pre-Vet Students

Southeast Missouri State University

Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) and St. George’s University (SGU), located in Grenada in the West Indies, entered an agreement this month to create a pipeline to medicine and veterinarian studies for students.

“St. George’s is thrilled to form this partnership with Southeast Missouri State University and to offer their most qualified students multiple pathways to a degree in medicine or veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor of St. George’s University. “We look forward to empowering SEMO students to pursue their dreams of becoming a doctor or veterinarian.”

The agreement sets up a 4+4 program with the two institutions. After completing four years of pre-medicine or pre-veterinarian studies at Southeast, students who meet the requirements will be granted admission to SGU’s School of Medicine or School of Veterinary Medicine to continue studies.

It also establishes a 3+4 program, in which students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology: biomedical sciences will complete three years at Southeast and then be granted entry into the SGU School of Medicine if meeting requirements.

“We recruit a lot of high-achieving international students who aspire to become physicians,” said Kevin Timlin, executive director of International Education for Southeast. “However, admission to U.S. medical school is very challenging, even more so for international applicants. Our agreement with SGU guarantees all SEMO graduates from the pre-medical program who meet the requirements will gain admission into their program. This is a great opportunity for qualified pre-med students to know that a seat at an accredited medical school is guaranteed.”

“For the last few years, there are more SGU graduates practicing medicine in the U.S. than any other medical school,” Timlin said. “While SGU is in the beautiful Caribbean nation of Grenada, their students do their residencies and internships in the U.S., and the programs seamlessly lead to practicing medicine in the U.S.”

Students who are accepted into the 3+4 or 4+4 programs for medical sciences will receive a $10,000 scholarship to be evenly dispersed throughout the SGU program. Students can apply for the 4+4 or 3+4 program when they apply to Southeast or while enrolled as students.

Interested students can visit SEMO’s dedicated landing page for the partnership with SGU to learn more about program requirements and opportunities.

 

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5 top SGU School of Medicine stories in 2023

SOM Must Read News of 2023

From lifelong dreams coming true on Match Day to expanded clinical opportunities to a prestigious grant that paved the way for students to complete mental health research in underserved communities, the St. George’s University School of Medicine community made its mark in 2023. 

Find out which stories made our list of SOM “must reads” this year. And when you’re done, don’t forget to read our top trending School of Veterinary Medicine stories this year as well. 

 

 

1. Match Day 2023 

Dreams came true for many aspiring physicians on Match Day 2023.

More than 1,000 medical students and graduates secured first-time residency positions in the US across specialties that included neurology, urology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more. Wondering what it feels like to match? SGU Students shared what it felt like to discover that all their hard work led them to being able to add “MD” next to their name.

Read how Dreams came true on Match Day 2023
View 2023 residencies

 

2. Back to School: Campus gets a mini makeover

Students coming to campus for the first time or returning to medical school in August 2023 came back to several expansion and redevelopment initiatives on the True Blue campus. This included a revamped bookstore, expanded Welcome Centre, renovations of the Charter Hall Radiology Lab, additional classrooms, and a new area for School of Veterinary Medicine communications curriculum.

See the renovations and mini makeover at the SGU True Blue campus

 

3. Clinical rotation opportunities: SGU expands its partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals

Earlier this year, SGU renewed and expanded its relationship with NYC Health + Hospitals to bolster the pipeline of physicians from diverse backgrounds into New York’s healthcare system.

The agreement extends opportunities for SGU medical students to complete clinical rotations at affiliated NYC hospitals during their third and fourth years of study, gaining hands-on experience at some of the most culturally diverse hospitals in the country.  The agreement also increases the number of full-tuition medical school scholarships awarded through the SGU School of Medicine CityDoctors scholarship program from 12 to 15 each year.

Learn how SGU and NYC Health + Hospitals are strengthening the clinical rotation pipeline

 

4. Making a difference: Students use grant to further mental health research

Two School of Medicine students used a prestigious grant awarded to St. George’s University to further their research in mental health initiatives for underserved communities.

SGU and fourth-year students John Crane and Janice Lee were among the 2022-2023 recipients of  The American Psychiatric Association Foundation’s (APAF) Helping Hands Grant Program. SGU is one of the few international medical schools to receive the award since the program’s inception in 2005.

Read how SGU students used a prestigious APA “Helping Hands Grant” to benefit underserved populations

 

5. Why a Caribbean school was right for me: SOM grad featured in AMSA’s The New Physician

Earning an MD from a Caribbean medical school offers several benefits to future physicians, and SGU alum Joshua Ramjist, MD ’11, shared his advice for those weighing the pros and cons of attending an institution outside of the United States.

“My advice? Go for it, but do your research first,” according to an editorial written by the pediatric surgery fellow in the Spring issue of the American Medical Student Association’s The New Physician.

Titled, “A Global Education Helped Me Become a Better Doctor It Can Do the Same for You,” Dr. Ramjist shared his positive experience as a student at St. George’s University and why he chose to attend a Caribbean medical school.

Read about the School of Medicine grad featured in AMSA’s The New Physician

 

-Laurie Chartorynsky 

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2 New Canadian Sites Join St. George’s University Clinical Elective Network

clinical students and attending in hospital

St. George’s University School of Medicine has added two new clinical elective sites in Canada, offering aspiring physicians’ more ways to gain hands-on experience in the country.

The addition of the two clinical sites—Park Street Clinic and Heart Care Canada, both located in Ontario—brings the school’s total elective options for students to nine in Canada. Students can choose elective rotations at sites including North Bay Dermatology Centre, Ottawa Cardiovascular Centre and Booth Neurology Clinic, as well as Pembroke Regional Hospital in Ontario, among others. By engaging in elective rotations in Canada, fourth-year students interested in practicing there are introduced to the country’s healthcare system.

Since 2020, more than 200 SGU students have participated in elective rotations in Canada. * All told, more than 75 hospitals and clinics in the US, UK, and Canada are available for students to obtain clinical training.

Valuable Learning Experience

“SGU is committed to preparing our students with the foundation of knowledge and clinical skills to succeed in their medical careers,” said Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor at St. George’s University. “We are excited to offer students more opportunities to train in Canada. This speaks to the emphasis the University places on offering valuable learning experiences to students who eventually wish to return to Canada to practice medicine.”

On the blog: The international student’s guide to landing a medical residency in Canada

 

Engaging in electives in Canada also provides students with networking opportunities and the potential to obtain a letter of reference, “which is critical for those seeking postgraduate medical training opportunities back home,” said Jibran Vahidy, director of admissions and partnerships at St. George’s University.

Students may choose from elective specialties that include pediatrics, ophthalmology, OB/GYN, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, and more.

“Our newest elective partners offer exceptional clerkship opportunities in ENT (Ear, Nose, and Throat) and cardiology in key locations across Ontario, where a large percentage of our Canadian students hail from,” Mr. Vahidy said.

“We are excited to welcome students to Heart Care, a modern high-volume cardiology and internal medicine practice,” said Dr. Rishi Bhargava, internist and cardiologist at Heart Care Canada, and an SGU alumnus. “I hope to give back to SGU and its trainees in hopes of providing them with a unique opportunity to train close to home.”

More than 2,200 graduates of SGU’s School of Medicine are from Canada. ** SGU has placed 196 Canadian graduates into Canadian residencies. ***

The electives are currently available for fourth-year students.

Park Street Clinic in Ontario, Canada

Park Street Clinic is one of two new elective sites in Canada where fourth-year SOM students can choose to do elective rotations.

 

*Data as of November 2023.

**Based on the number of students who have completed the Doctor of Medicine program from 1981-2023.

***Data as of July 2022.

 

 

– Laurie Chartorynsky

 

 

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3 ways integrative medicine can lower cervical cancer risk: SOM grad featured in mindbodygreen

doctor examining patient

What is the difference between integrative and traditional medicine solutions? 

“Integrative practitioners heal by treating your whole body, including the environment your body lives in and the lifestyle you expose your body to,” according to St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate, Dr. Dana Cohen

Dr. Cohen graduated SGU in 1995. As an internal and integrative medicine specialist practicing in New York City, she treats patients by offering alternative approaches to health and wellness that can complement traditional methods of treatment.  

Dr. Cohen recently shared her expertise in wellness blog, mindbodygreen. In her article, I’m a holistic MD: What I tell my patients to do to lower cervical cancer risk,” she discussed holistic strategies to lower the risk of cervical cancer.  

Her three tips included ways to:   

  • Take care of your immune system with essential nutrients and supplements; 
  • Keep hydrated; and 
  • Reduce stress. 

“Taking a holistic, proactive approach to your immune health will also enhance your overall well-being and quality of life—yet another reason to start implementing these tips today,” Dr. Cohen wrote.  

 

 

 

 -Laurie Chartorynsky

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On the blog: What is preventive medicine?
Grad tackles hem/onc and integrative medicine fellowships to treat patients’ “whole health”
A first of its kind: SGU launches center for integrative medicine

SOM White Coat Ceremony: Students Describe What it Means to Put on Their White Coat

First-term student Paige Persaud received the gift of a lifetime at the recent St. George’s University School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony: Not only did Ms. Persaud receive her white coat on her birthday, but she was coated by her aunt and mentor, SGU clinical instructor Dr. Deborah-Ann Stephens-John.

“This is a very special day for me because it’s also my birthday and I got my Aunt Deborah to coat me. She is the reason I wanted to get into medicine, so this is a very special moment,” said Ms. Persaud, who hails from St. George’s, Grenada.

 

It was an emotional moment for both Ms. Persaud and Dr. Stephens-John.

“I’m super proud of Paige,” Dr. Stephens-John said. “Today brings up all sorts of feelings because 21 years ago on this day, I helped deliver Paige into this world and now I’m putting on her white coat. Growing up as a child Paige always said she wanted to be a doctor just like her Aunty Deborah. I’m here to give her all the encouragement and to see her dream come true.”

 

 

On October 20, Ms. Persaud, along with her fellow students in the Class of 2027, walked across the stage at Patrick F. Adams Hall during the milestone event that marks their entry into the field of medicine. At the end of the ceremony, students then recite the Oath of Professionalism—pledging to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating their patients.

Hear from three other aspiring physicians on what it means to be able to wear a white coat.

 

 

“It’s a very surreal feeling being coated. I’m very proud of everything that I’ve done, which I obviously didn’t do alone. It’s with the help of my family and my community and God—that’s the reason I’m here today.”

– Yousef Karabala

     Stockton, CA

 

 

“It was an honor to be coated by my stepmom, who’s a general surgeon from the Dominican Republic. It feels like all of my dreams are falling into place. I honestly can’t believe that I’m here right now. I still feel like the little girl that would dream of this very moment.”

– Keegan Savage

Plymouth, MA

 

 

 

“It feels like I’ve come full circle. I didn’t always want to be a doctor. Initially I went into business and that was lucrative, but it didn’t give me the fulfillment that I was looking for and the challenge that I needed. However, when I got the opportunity to attend SGU it felt like a sign pushing me in the right direction. And I know it was the right decision because I’ve accomplished so much to get here and now, I’m at the starting point of my journey and I’m excited to keep going.”

– Brook Yohannes

Maryland

 

 

   – Ray-Donna Peters

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SGU alum shares journey to a fulfilling career in cancer outreach

Patrick Dineen, MD, MBA, is the current program manager of cancer prevention and screening at Stony Brook Cancer Center where he leads their mobile mammography program. The program provides breast cancer screenings to historically underserved communities.

One St. George’s University School of Medicine and School of Graduate Studies alum is playing a key role in making screening for breast cancer more accessible for women on Long Island through his career in cancer outreach.

Patrick Dineen, MD, MBA, is the current program manager of cancer prevention and screening at Stony Brook Cancer Center. In his role with Stony Brook, he helped establish their mobile mammography program. The program provides breast cancer screenings to historically underserved communities.

“We screen uninsured women, we also screen insured women. The working woman, who works hard, has a family, takes care of a partner, children, the last person she takes care of is herself,” said Dr. Dineen. “When we’re parking outside of her business, and she sees us, she knows she can be back at her desk in 15 minutes and get her annual screening done.”

The impact of outreach

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, nearly 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. In 2023 alone, there will be almost 300,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer in the United States. One of the most important prevention measures for invasive breast cancer is early detection.

 

Dr. Dineen spent his first few years at Stony Brook getting the mobile program off the ground and presenting its value to the community and businesses across Long Island. The program began servicing the community in 2018 and has since performed over 7,000 cancer screenings and detected over 40 cancers. A priority for Dr. Dineen in the inception of the program was ensuring the mobile unit’s staff was representative of the community, emphasizing the need for diversity.

“An interesting statistic is that in the brick-and-mortar facility at Stony Brook Breast Cancer, 12 percent of the women screened are minorities. Almost 80 percent of the women screened on the mobile unit are minorities,” Dr. Dineen added.

Dr. Dineen reviewing Stony Brook’s mobile mammography unit’s blueprint with his staff.

Dr. Dineen’s outreach efforts extend beyond the Long Island community. He publishes papers and speaks at conferences to inspire other healthcare professionals to think about how they can better serve communities in need. He is also the co-chair of mammography for the Mobile Healthcare Association, a national organization dedicated to increasing access to quality healthcare.

“Health equity means bringing healthcare, especially what we offer in breast cancer screening, to as many people as possible regardless of their gender, insurance status, immigration status, social determinants of health that stand in their way; making healthcare as accessible as possible to as many people as possible. And that is exactly what our program at Stony Brook was built for,” said Dr. Dineen.

Finding his path

Dr. Dineen’s interest in  cancer outreach is personal. His father, an orthopedic surgeon, passed away from cancer at 54 years old. In response to his father’s death, Dr. Dineen started a non-profit foundation that strives to bring happiness to cancer patients, the Dr. Patrick J. Dineen Memorial Foundation.

“My father was a doctor, and seeing how he led his life and the impact he made on other people’s lives made me want to be just like him,” Dr. Dineen said. “I know he would be proud of me as he has since passed from cancer, which led me down the path I’m on today.”

While Dr. Dineen ended up with a career in cancer outreach, the path he took to medical school was not a traditional one. He majored in accounting and planned to enter a career in business after graduating with his bachelor’s degree. Dr. Dineen also pursued his other passion, ice hockey, playing on a minor league team. It wasn’t long, though, until he realized his true calling was in medicine. And for Dr. Dineen, choosing SGU for his medical school journey was an easy decision.

“What made SGU stand out to me were the people that I knew in the healthcare system,” said Dr. Dineen. “Growing up in the world of medicine, SGU was a name that I repeatedly heard. I knew I would find the right home at SGU because of its reputation and others before me who had similar paths and were now happy, comfortable, and successful upon graduation.”

Once he was on his way to a career as a physician, Dr. Dineen realized he didn’t want to give up his passion for business. He decided to combine his interests and pursued his MBA with the goal of working on the business side of medicine.

A perfect day on the job

Dr. Dineen eventually crossed paths with Stony Brook Medicine. They approached him with the opportunity to lead their mobile mammography program.

“I stepped back and thought about my values and what I love. I love speaking with people, I’m a person of the community, I love having an impact,” Dr. Dineen said. “Despite it being a different path than the one I originally intended, a career in cancer outreach was the right way for me to move forward in healthcare.”

Dr. Dineen meeting with community members to discuss the importance of breast cancer screenings.

Evaluating where he is now, Dr. Dineen is grateful to have taken the road less traveled. It allows him to experience what he deems his perfect day in the role.

“My perfect day is getting feedback from those I supervise or our community partners about the impact we made. Although it’s a bittersweet moment when our team finds someone’s cancer, we also recognize that if we hadn’t discovered it, the patient might never have undergone screening for various reasons. Screenings allow us to find cancer before there is a physical manifestation. I can’t imagine a better day than hearing stories about the lives we’ve saved.”

—Sarah Stoss

 

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