SOM White Coat Ceremony Welcomes Class of 2026 Into Medical Profession

Growing up in Hawaii with a father who’s a doctor, Justin Paeste, a first-term School of Medicine student at St. George’s University spent the majority of his childhood at the hospital where his dad worked. So, it came as no surprise when he decided to also become a physician. His decision to attend SGU was also solidified by his brother, who is a fourth-term SOM student. At the recent SOM White Coat Ceremony, Mr. Paeste was honored to be coated by his father.

“Today is a very special day, which has been years in the making,” shared Mr. Paeste. “I practically grew up in the hospital. My babysitters were the nurses. It seemed inevitable that I wouldone day become a doctor. Having that background and seeing that example from my dad really helped me push toward that goal.”

Although Mr. Paeste’s father was influential in his decision to enter the field of medicine, it was his older brother Jonathan, a Term 4 SOM student, who solidified his choice to go to SGU.

“I’m very proud of him,” said Jonathan Paeste. “Med school isn’t easy and it’s a big commitment. I’m glad that he’s willing to go down this route with me. It’s really nice that I have someone to go through this with.”

Dr. Rosalo Paeste, an internal medicine specialist in Waipahu, HI, echoed the sentiments of just how special the day was to him: “To have one son training to become a physician would’ve been enough, but to have two sons is awesome. And especially with the shortage of physicians in the world today, I’m sure they will both become assets to their community.”

 

 

The Class of 2026 walked across the stage on September 10 at Patrick F. Adams Hall on SGU’s True Blue campus, receiving their white lab coats, which signified the official beginning of their journey to becoming physicians. After being coated—often by family members or mentors who have become doctors before them—students then recite the Oath of Professionalism, where they pledge to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating their patients.

In his keynote address, Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of SGU and a tropical disease specialist, shared three touching stories providing lessons on what it means to be a good physician. After which he left the newest class of future doctors with a few additional words of wisdom.

“You’ll learn all about the science of medicine from your faculty at SGU, but you’ll learn the art of medicine from your patients,” said Dr. Olds. “Listen to your patients, care about your patients, and they will make you a really great doctor.”

 

 

The president’s advice rang true for Eromosele Oboite, having heard many of those lessons from his older sister Dr. Michelle Oboite, who was happy to share the stage and welcome her brother into the medical profession.

“It was a surreal moment being coated by my sister,” said Mr. Oboite. “Becoming a doctor is something I’ve dreamed about for many years. It’s a blessing to be here and I’m so grateful that SGU gave me this opportunity.”

“As someone who has also gone through this experience, I know what it takes,” said Dr. Oboite, currently practicing pediatric and adult medical dermatology in Philadelphia, PA. “I have so much respect for my brother. He’s gone through a lot throughout this whole process, and he’s been so resilient. I believe in him, and I know that he’s going to do amazing things in the world. I’m happy to be his sister and get to witness all of it.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Related Reading

From patient to advocate: SOM student recognized with prestigious award

For some, pursuing a career in medicine is less of a choice and more of a calling. This is true for Nathaniel Kleytman, a Term 4 School of Medicine student at St. George’s University and a recent recipient of the Sanofi TORCH award.

“Nathaniel is a true advocate and embodies the characteristics of a TORCH award winner. As he continues the next chapter of his life in medical school, it is without a doubt that Nathaniel will carry on making a difference in the lives of rare disease patients,” said Kate Tighe, head of US Public Affairs & Patient Advocacy – Rare Diseases at Sanofi. “We are honored to call him a TORCH Award recipient and look forward to his many future achievements on behalf of the rare disease community and in the practice of medicine.”

The Sanofi TORCH award recognizes those who have contributed and brought awareness to a lysosomal storage disorder community or a Sanofi research and development area. Mr. Kleytman was nominated and recognized for his continuous patient advocacy and research on Gaucher disease, a cause that has personal significance. He was diagnosed with the rare disease as a teenager, after a nearly decade-long medical journey of pain, bone crises, rehabilitation, homeschooling, misdiagnoses, and avoidable surgeries.

The work Mr. Kleytman was recognized for includes connecting and speaking with patients with Gaucher disease and other lysosomal storage diseases across the US through educational articles, motivational videos, blog posts, and question-and-answer forums. His other projects include clinical research, abstract presentations, and published papers on Gaucher disease. The recognition comes with a $5,000 donation to a charity of Mr. Kleytman’s choice.

Mr. Kleytman said the award reinforces his drive to become a doctor and continue to be an advocate and researcher for the rare disease community.

“Winning this award is immensely heart-warming and gratifying as the recognition that comes with it confirms the value of my effort and once again underscores the need for the work that I, and those I have been honored to work with, do,” Mr. Kleytman shared. “I appreciate the opportunity to advocate for patients and positively impact their lives.”

In addition to his advocacy work, Mr. Kleytman’s clinical and basic science research at Yale University resulted in a published paper, Incremental biomarker and clinical outcomes after switch from enzyme therapy to eliglustat substrate reduction therapy in Gaucher disease, that shows novel conclusions about treatment regimens with the potential to reduce the disease burden for Gaucher Disease patients.

“Not only are the conclusions of this research immensely gratifying and important for the scientific community and patients struggling with Gaucher, but I walked away with a plethora of medical, practical, and professional knowledge to carry with me into clinicals,” said Mr. Kleytman.

“The work Nathaniel has done is truly deserving of this recognition,” said Dr. Marios Loukas, dean of SGU’s School of Medicine. “We are so proud of him and know the lessons from this experience are emblematic of the calling of a true physician and hopefully is just the beginning of what he will accomplish throughout his career.”

Mr. Kleytman is expected to graduate from SGU in 2025. He hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon.

Beyond that, Mr. Kleytman added, “I want to make direct and palpable changes, to be a part of the team that helps patients walk out of the hospital independently and with a smile.”

—Sarah Stoss and Laurie Chartorynsky

 

Related Reading 

St. George’s University School of Medicine Accreditor Grenada Medical and Dental Council Achieves WFME/NCFMEA Recognition

The Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC)—the accrediting body of SGU’s School of Medicine (SOM)—was recently recognized by the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME), with recognition for the full 10 years through September 2032.

The recognition is important because the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) announced that, effective in 2024, physicians applying for ECFMG certification to participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP) will be required to graduate from a medical school that has been appropriately accredited by an institution recognized by the WFME. This result ensures that SGUSOM students will continue to have access to the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), participate in the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP), and apply for licensure to practice medicine in the United States, Grenada, and elsewhere.

“Since opening in 1977, we have proudly called Grenada our home, and could not be prouder of the future that we will build together,” said Dr. Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George’s University. “WFME recognition of the GMDC is evidence of the strength of our accreditation. With the continued guidance and high standards of the GMDC, students’ pathway to becoming highly skilled, well-trained physicians is as strong as ever.”

The National Commission on Federal Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA), a panel of experts organized by the US Department of Education, recently determined that the GMDC uses standards that are comparable to the standards used to accredit medical schools in the United States, further strengthening the pathway for aspiring physicians in Grenada and around the world to receive a world-class medical education at SGU.

The WFME reviews accrediting bodies based on international standards backed by the World Health Organization, to support the highest possible quality of global medical education. The WFME Recognition Programme is the only one accepted by ECFMG for the recognition of medical school accrediting agencies.

“At SGU, we’re equipping students with the skills they need to treat patients worldwide,” said Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor of St. George’s University. “We’re proud of the difference our graduates make and are excited to support more students on their journey toward becoming knowledgeable, empathetic, and passionate physicians.”

Related Reading 

 

President Emeritus Dr. Richard Olds shares a potential solution to the US physician shortage

In an article published by the American Medical Student Association in The New Physician, Dr. Richard Olds, president emeritus at St. George’s University, provides insight on the physician shortage in the US and shares how international medical graduates, like those from SGU, can help solve it.

In the article, Dr. Olds breaks the problem down by the numbers. He conveys that by 2034, the US population will increase by about 10 percent, with the number of older people rising by 40 percent. Those growing older include doctors, states Dr. Olds. Approximately two in five doctors will reach retirement age by that same year, complicating the shortage even more.

But all is not lost according to Dr. Olds. While US medical schools have low acceptance rates, some at just three percent, international medical schools provide a substantial number of qualified doctors to the US. The number of practicing international medical graduates increased by 18 percent since 2010 according to the American Medical Association. This number is expected to continue to swell and could be the key to solving the physician shortage.

 

 

Related Reading 

How international medical school graduates can solve the physician shortage in their hometowns

Sammie Gutierrez, MD ’22, is only one of the many St. George’s University School of Medicine graduates who are returning to their hometowns to help solve the ongoing physician shortage.  Dr. Gutierrez hopes is a first-year family medicine resident in Tennessee, one of the states expected to be hardest hit by this shortage according to the National Institutes of Health.

In a recent article published by the Commercial Appeal, Dr. Gutierrez speaks about her experience as an international medical student and why she chose to return to her hometown of Memphis after receiving her medical degree.

“When I was thinking, ‘where can you practice and really make an impact?’ Memphis is such a good city for that because we have this wealth gap. And we have such a large population of people that live at or below the poverty level, and they need family care doctors,” said Dr. Guiterrez in her quoted statement.

Dr. Richard Olds, president emeritus at SGU, is also quoted in the article explaining the need for international medical graduates like Dr. Guiterrez in the United States. He speaks about the need to recruit doctors who not only have excellent exam scores and grades but who also can connect with patients and belong to underserved and underrepresented populations.

“Until the United States builds enough medical schools for its own needs, and probably more important in the short run, builds more graduate medical education slots…we’re going to continue to have a fairly significant shortage,” Dr. Olds said in his quoted statement. “So this situation is going to get considerably worse. And obviously, international medical graduates are going to have to fill the void.”

To read more, please find the subscriber-access-only article below.

 

 

Related Reading 

From the Office of the Dean of Students: Check in with Dean Lucy Clunes

Passionate about providing students with the support they need to succeed and thrive while at St. George’s University, the Office of the Dean of Students is constantly working to ensure an enhanced student experience each term.

“Our mission is to create a dynamic and inclusive campus community that supports students’ personal, social, and academic growth,” said Dr. Lucy Clunes, dean of students. “Our goal is to provide each student with a strong infrastructure that buoys their success.”

One of the major ways they provide this support is by acting as a liaison between students and other departments, including facilities, IT, housing, and academic departments. DOS also stays current with the student body and their needs by meeting regularly with the Student Government Association and overseeing all student organizations to ensure students get the most out of their university life experience.

SGU News sat down with Dr. Clunes to find out what’s new on campus to help students (regardless of their program) acclimate back to campus, and her advice for how all students can make the most of their experience in Grenada.

St. George’s University: This term, most of the student body is returning to in-person learning for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic. How has your office prepared for this return and what are you most excited to share about the plans?

Dr. Clunes: We are thrilled to welcome students back to in-person learning and campus life. We understand that this is the first time some students have traveled since the beginning of the pandemic and that there are anxieties associated with this. DOS provided orientation sessions for all students this term (not just incoming Term 1 students) so that everyone had all the information that they needed for a safe and successful return to Grenada and campus.

We are most excited about the return of both on-campus and off-campus student events such as local health fairs, the School of Medicine College Olympics, and intermural sports. We are also looking forward to seeing students socialize and make those lifelong friendships with their peers that are so important to help support them through their academic journey.

Get in touch! 

Email: DOS@sgu.edu 

For SVM students, email: SVMDOS@sgu.edu

SGU: There are some very exciting new campus developments, including the new Global Student Lounge. What is the significance of this new area?  

Dr. Clunes: The Global Student Lounge contains the Offices of the International Student Services, Accommodation and Accessibility Services, Immigration Services, and the Student Government Association office.

It is a space that has many different functions and is there to support all our students. In the past, the International Student Services supported primarily our students that were non-US, non-Canadian, and non-Grenadian; however, we are aware that many of our students have immigration or other concerns that can be supported by this office. We are always looking for ways to expand our support throughout the entire student population.

SGU: What else is new in the Office of the DOS that those on campus, and/or online, can look forward to?

Dr. Clunes: We have a few new things I would like to point out.

  • The School of Medicine now has an Office of Career Guidance located in the library on campus that is here to support and guide students from the beginning of their medical school journey through officially becoming a physician. We encourage SOM students to reach out and speak with one of our OCG advisors so that they can optimize their path to a successful residency.
  • We also encourage all our SOM students to watch out for announcements on the new College Cup Competition that is being launched this semester!
  • For our SVM students, we have a new email address, SVMDOS@sgu.edu, so that all queries and concerns can be answered as quickly as possible.
  • Another exciting addition, I would like to welcome Dr. Ayesha Sultana to my office as assistant dean of students for the School of Medicine and Ms. Mercedes Velazquez de Zerpa as assistant dean of students for the School of Veterinary Medicine. SOM and SVM will now have two assistant deans, and the new appointees will join the existing assistant deans in strengthening the support of students in their respective schools.
  • We’re also incorporating as many virtual student organization events as possible and are excited to have those choosing an online or hybrid learning environment from SAS, and all students who are on campus, participate.

SGU: How can students make the most of their time in Grenada?

Dr. Clunes: For some students, the adjustment to campus life and Grenada can be challenging but I encourage all to try to utilize as many of the support services on campus as possible. We are here to not only ensure academic success but to make your time in Grenada memorable and enjoyable. We have many student organizations that provide the opportunity to get involved with community projects and allow you to see different parts of the island. Your time in Grenada will pass quickly so make sure that you experience all that it has to give.

SGU: What’s the best way for students to get in contact with the Office of the DOS?

Dr. Clunes: Students are encouraged to drop into the physical office on campus whenever they need as well as utilize our emails: DOS@SGU.EDU and SVMDOS@sgu.edu. Students, of course, can also email any of my team, including me, individually and can be assured of a timely response.

—Sarah Stoss

 

Related Reading

 

Egyptian grad finds his way to pediatric residency in the US

Ahmed Hussein, MD ’22, has never been one to settle. He started his career in pharmacology in 2010 but soon realized it wasn’t the right fit for him. He found himself longing to make a greater difference in the lives of patients and decided to follow his dream of becoming a doctor in the US.

As someone who had grown up in Egypt, he didn’t have much knowledge of the US healthcare system and knew he needed to select a school that could help him gain this knowledge while providing high-quality medical education. Dr. Hussein soon found SGU, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Today he is a first-year pediatrics resident at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. Dr. Hussein shared with SGU News how he successfully reached his goal of becoming an MD with the resources provided to him throughout medical school.

St. George’s University: What made you want to pursue medicine and why did you choose pediatrics specifically?

Dr. Hussein: ”If you are lost in a desert and you know that you are walking in the wrong direction, will you keep going in the same direction or will you stop and change it?”

These words, said by my mother, resonated with me when I was thinking about changing my career as a pharmacist to pursue medicine. We can all be helpful to the vulnerable, but being on the frontline, diagnosing and treating patients, was my main drive to pursue medicine.

Pediatrics as a specialty wasn’t something I considered before starting my clinical rotations. However, I enjoyed it so much during my clinical training that it quickly became the only specialty I applied for during Match. Seeing how resilient the children are while fighting their illnesses is very rewarding. Plus, the cuteness factor is very real!

Since graduating from pharmacy school in 2010, I was fascinated by the hematology/oncology field, and it is my goal to sub-specialize in it once I successfully finish my residency.

SGU: What was the application process to SGU like and how did you feel once you were accepted?

Dr. Hussein: My application process to SGU was seamless, which I believe was the case for my colleagues as well. There was always someone to contact for questions, aid, or just reassurance.

Once I got the news about my acceptance, I felt that I was about to embark on a new journey that would require hard work, day in and day out, to reach my destination—MD.

SGU: How did you participate in campus life at SGU?

Dr. Hussein: I enjoyed the extracurricular selectives offered by SGU, such as dissection (Anatomy Cadaver lab) and wilderness medicine. The new campus gym and the intramural soccer league were my favorite physical activity to participate in on campus.

SGU: What was your favorite aspect of living in Grenada and what do you miss most?

Dr. Hussein: THE BEACH! And I can’t forget to mention the beautiful sunsets.

SGU: How did SGU help you with your academic achievements and USMLE preparation?

Dr. Hussein: I came to find out that SGU has very high USMLE passing scores for a reason! The modules taught and tested during the basic science years are very detailed. I was provided with all the tools that I needed to do well in standardized exams, such as DES facilitators who helped me set up study schedules, go over materials that I didn’t grasp well, and many other things.

SGU: Where did you do your core clinical rotations and what was your experience like?

Dr. Hussein: I did my clinical rotations at Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York. I had a wonderful experience rotating between different departments during my core rotations as well as my electives. Also, I met the love of my life in this hospital, who is currently my wife. So, this place will always be memorable!

 

“My application process to SGU was seamless, which I believe was the case for my colleagues as well. There was always someone to contact for questions, aid, or just reassurance. Once I got the news about my acceptance, I felt that I was about to embark on a new journey that would require hard work, day in and day out, to reach my destination—MD.”

 

SGU: What was the Match application process like for you?

Dr. Hussein: I believe the Matching process is one of the most stressful parts of the MD journey. However, preparing for it mentally by reaching out for advice from recent graduates and the Office of Career Guidance and Student Support helped me a lot.

It’s crucial to have a game plan to tackle the application process and interview season. But I was provided with assistance while still in Grenada. OCG provided me with a framework for filling out the application and my CV, and they provided reviews before the submission date. In addition, each clinical site has mentors that tailor their advice based on the students’ Step 1 grades, clinical performance, and the specialty they are applying for!

SGU: What did it feel like when you learned you Matched?

Dr. Hussein: I didn’t believe it. I kept checking the National Residency Matching Program website every five minutes to be sure!

SGU: Why was SGU the right fit for you?

Dr. Hussein: Coming from the Middle East, I didn’t have much information about the US healthcare system, which is very different from Egypt and the UAE (where I used to work). So, to be able to integrate myself into this system, I was looking for a medical school with a great track record of graduates matching with US hospitals. And the answer was SGU!

SGU: Do you have advice for international students (especially those from Egypt) considering medical school and insight on why they should consider SGU?

Dr. Hussein: Grenada is a wonderful island that accepts students from all over the globe and luckily for us (Egyptians) it doesn’t require a visa application process. In addition, in my experience, SGU was successful in matching me into the US healthcare system which is ultimately the goal.

SGU: Since graduating from SGU and matching in pediatrics at Maimonides Medical Center Program, what has your transition from med student to MD been like?

Dr. Hussein: One thing I learned quickly in med school is you’ll never “feel” 100 percent prepared for an exam or patient encounter during clinical rotations! However, I channeled this self-doubt to do my best, analyze my shortcomings and try to address them before my next exam or patient encounter. With the same mindset, I tackled my first block of residency. It’s a lifetime journey of learning and it begins by being open to self, peer, and supervisor appraisals.

 

—Sarah Stoss

Related Reading 

SOM Grad: Becoming a clinical faculty member is a “great way” to give back

Dr. George Mammo may have graduated St. George’s University in 2017, but as a clinical professor and hospitalist at Humboldt Park Health, he interacts with future SGU doctors almost daily.

“I find it very rewarding because I was in their position not too long ago,” Dr. Mammo said of working with clinical students. “As a young attending, I see so much of myself in many of them. I feel that it’s a great way for me to give back.”

Humboldt Park Health is a 200-bed acute care hospital located in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago, IL. Formerly named Norwegian American Hospital, the institution rebranded in 2021 as part of a wider initiative to better serve its local community.

Dr. Mammo was part of the inaugural class of residents at the hospital. Now he is not only an attending physician there, but has joined SGU’s clinical faculty on site to teach third- and fourth-year med students the clinical skills they need to prepare them for residency.

SGU News asked Dr. Mammo what clinical students at Humboldt will learn and the lessons they will be able to take with them in their career.

St. George’s University: How long have you been a clinical faculty member?

Dr. Mammo: I’ve been part of the clinical faculty for six months now.

SGU: What are some of the day-to-day ways that you interact with SGU students?

Dr. Mammo: From bedside teaching rounds to lectures in clinical medicine, I directly interact with students on a one-on-one basis and guide them in their development as clinicians, especially in their ability to formulate a differential diagnosis and plan of care for a patient. I emphasize to students and residents that the diagnosis in the vast majority of cases can be narrowed down from collecting a detailed history and physical examination, and this is mastered by the art of applying the full breadth of pathophysiological knowledge that is unique to their journey as a physician-in-training.

SGU: What are some of the skills that students might acquire over the course of their time here?

Dr. Mammo: I would say the two most important skills that students should acquire are first, how to take a thorough history from a patient. And with that history, learn how to narrow down their differential diagnosis to come up with what will be the ultimate best course of action and best treatment route for that patient. But it all starts with taking a good history. From day one I try to impart that in the students. I just can’t emphasize that enough. As they improve their physical examination skills they will also improve their clinical skills.

SGU: Why did you choose medicine as your career path? What appealed to you about going to med school?

Dr. Mammo: I chose to go to medical school wanting to understand the fabric that binds and connects us as humans, and by understanding this fabric to solve the problem of pain and suffering. I have always imagined that if we can alleviate people’s pain, physically, mentally, and emotionally, that there is hope in the healing of the human condition, and years later I see this positive impact on countless lives on a daily basis in practice.

SGU: What fascinates you about family medicine? Why did you choose that specialty?

Dr. Mammo: Family medicine is really the one specialty that allows you to do the most good for the most amount of people. It allows you to be as specific and focused, yet as well-rounded and skilled as you’d like, or as general as you’d like. You can really tailor your practice and the way that you approach medicine, see patients, and take care of patients.

SGU: How did you choose SGU and how would you describe your SGU experience?

Dr. Mammo: I was born in the metro Detroit area, definitely a blue-collar city, to immigrants from the Middle East. Throughout my life, they gave me all the virtues of hard work, persistence, and committing myself fully to the goals that I set for myself and my life.

What piqued my interest in going to SGU was the fact that it’s probably the most diverse place where you can go to get a medical education. In my experience at SGU, it was phenomenal and wonderful to get to know people from all over the world. Not just from the US or Canada, or even students from the local area in the West Indies, but from all over—Brazil, Italy, China, South Asia, Africa, and the rest of the world. I don’t think you would get that experience anywhere else. So I think it just enriched my experience of being a student in a way that being at an American medical school you may not get.

SGU: What is one piece of advice that you would like to pass on to students to be successful in their clinical education?

Dr. Mammo: My advice to all students would be that medicine is a profession of lifelong learning. And so as you approach every milestone and move forward, remember that we’re all students of medicine for life and we’re always learning and that includes even when we get into practice.

In addition, always remember that, whatever it was that fueled you to go into medicine, keep it there and allow that to continue to be what drives you to do the best thing for your patient. But that requires you to continue to learn, stay up to date, and always be a student of medicine.

 

 

– Brett Mauser and Laurie Chartorynsky

 

 

Related Reading

Grad Performs Life-Changing Heart Surgery for 9-Year-Old Ukrainian

Photo courtesy of Catholic Health – St. Francis Hospital & Heart Center®

Dr. Sean Levchuck is a 1989 St. George’s University graduate.

One of St. George’s University’s very own alumni came through during a time of need for a 9-year-old girl from Ukraine, performing life-changing heart surgery free of charge.

Through the Gift of Life program, Sean Levchuck, MD ’89, the chair of pediatric cardiology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, NY, performed a non-invasive Amplatzer ASD Occluder procedure that closed a hole in the child’s heart.

“It is always a special day when you can give an assist to someone who is struggling through tough times,” said Dr. Levchuck, according to the news article featured on Catholic Health’s website. “It’s especially great given the circumstances that surround this little girl’s case. She comes to St. Francis from a country that is in pieces and going through the worst of times. I know I speak for the whole team when I say how honored, blessed, and grateful we are to be given the opportunity to help this beautiful child live a long and healthy life.”

 

Related Reading 

Kenya study abroad experience for future MDs returns

For the first time since 2019, a group of St. George’s University School of Medicine students honed their cultural understanding and competency in providing medical care through a unique study abroad experience.

Last month, 20 students embarked on a two-week trip to Kenya as part of the 2022 Kenya Selective. During the experience, students were introduced to the culture of the country as well as to the way Kenyans, in different parts of the country and under different circumstances, receive health and community care. The students participated in activities such as ward rounds at several hospitals, visiting a local orphanage, and even got to hike amongst the wildlife in the Great Rift Valley in Hells Gate National Park.

“Going to Kenya was an eye-opening experience for me,” said Kadee-Ann Fleming, an incoming Term 2 SOM student who participated in this year’s selective. “I gained a wider perspective of global healthcare and was amazed by the exceptional work ethic of the healthcare professionals there.”

Ms. Fleming aims to become a well-adapted physician and be an excellent representation of hope and positivity to her future patients, she said. As an experience focused on emphasizing compassion in medicine, the Kenya Selective brought Ms. Fleming several steps closer to achieving this goal, she said.

 

 

What Is the Kenya Selective?

The Kenya Selective provides Term 1 and 2 SOM students with practical experience in tropical medicine. The opportunity to participate in ward rounds—a highlight of the trip—is unique, as students typically need to wait until their clinical years for this type of training. The curriculum helps students gain insight into the field of global health and the specific healthcare dynamics in Kenya.

“The most common feedback from students is that the selective provides a life-changing experience,” said Dr. Calum Macpherson, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, director of research at campus-based Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), and course director for the Kenya Selective.  “They’re able to see a part of Africa in a unique way and understand the significance of One Health, which broadens their perspective as aspiring physicians.”

In the past, international selectives available to students included trips to Thailand, Prague, Sweden, and India. Information on future selectives will be available on the Basic Sciences Selectives portal page.

“Selective courses offer students unique experiences that may not be covered in their regular curriculum, based on the passions and experience of each individual instructor,” said Charles ‘Wes’ Price, director of the Center for BioMedical Visualization and instructor of anatomical sciences. “We are passionate about teaching concepts that we use daily and that enhance the offerings students normally receive in their degree.”

As for what the 2022 Kenya Selective offered Ms. Fleming, she reflected on how the uniqueness of the experience increased her passion for medicine: “I truly developed a greater appreciation for my chosen career, for which I am very grateful.”

 

 

—Sarah Stoss

Related Reading