World Cancer Day: FDA Oncologist Shares Advice on How We Can All Help to Save Lives

With more than 10 million people dying from cancer each year, did you know that it is the world’s second-leading cause of death?

World Cancer Day takes place on February 4, and the theme for 2022 through 2024 is “Close the Care Gap,” working toward ensuring equitable access to cancer care from diagnosis to treatment. The initiative was started in 2000 by the Union for International Cancer Control as an opportunity to raise awareness for the disease and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. But how can society contribute to its mission?

St. George’s University alumna Preeti Narayan, MD ’12, one of the leaders of the breast/gynecologic malignancies team in the Division of Oncology 1, Office of Oncologic Diseases at the Food and Drug Administration, has some ideas.

“Cancer has likely touched all our lives in some way or another,” said Dr. Narayan. “If you know someone affected by cancer, take some time to reach out and check how they are doing. If possible, offer to run an errand for their family or drive them to an appointment. However, I hope we all can remember to do these things anytime during the year, not just on World Cancer Day.”

Dr. Narayan provided insight into how we can contribute to World Cancer Day’s mission of closing the care gap and stresses the importance of education.

“Unfortunately, despite all the progress made for cancer treatment over the last few decades, inequities in cancer care delivery still exist across the world and within the United States for access to quality cancer care,” said Dr. Narayan. “Everyone can learn more about barriers to care to understand the challenges {of the disease} better and empower us to educate others.”

Daily habits to reduce cancer risk from Dr. Narayan: 

1. Don’t smoke

2. Make time for exercise

3. Eat a well-balanced diet


Dr. Narayan is at the forefront of cancer treatment in her work with the FDA and is passionate about advancing this cause. The Division of Oncology 1, for which Dr. Narayan is part of the team that leads the breast/gynecologic malignancies team, regulates investigational new drug applications, new drug applications, and biologic licensing applications for breast, gynecologic, and genitourinary cancers, as well as supportive care (non-hematologic) products. However, she didn’t always know this was her career path, deciding to pursue oncology during her internal medicine residency at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn after graduating from SGU’s School of Medicine.

“At that time, I was doing a rotation in oncology, and my experiences working with patients with cancer resonated with me and also seemed to bring together my past research experience and interest in cellular signaling pathways involved in cancer,” Dr. Narayan said. “One of the patients I rounded on at that time was a young mother with late-stage breast cancer with leptomeningeal disease. Unfortunately, she ultimately needed hospice care, but the experience of being part of her end-of-life care during that difficult time had a profound impact on me and on my decision to become an oncologist.”

Although Dr. Narayan found her path to oncology after medical school, she gained valuable experience in global medicine at SGU, starting from her first days as a student, which helped shape her career at the FDA.

“Learning from faculty and fellow students with such diverse backgrounds and experiences was very rewarding and broadened my interest in policy and equity in care, which is related to aspects of my career today,” Dr. Narayan added.

Throughout her career, from the decision to explore her interests before entering medical school to being curious about different career opportunities for oncologists after graduation, Dr. Narayan has remained open to new experiences. Looking back, she sees these as being some of her most formative decisions and recommends the same mindset to aspiring physicians.

“All your experiences can contribute to your learning and lead to career opportunities in the future that you may have never considered,” said Dr. Narayan. “There are many career settings to contribute to healthcare as a physician, and most importantly, you can make a meaningful impact in the lives of others that you care for, whether directly through patient care or, in my case, ensuring therapies are safe and effective for a large population of patients.”

And for us all on World Cancer Day, Dr. Narayan shared crucial advice:

“Keep up with your age-appropriate cancer screenings and see your primary care doctor regularly. Cancers such as breast, colon, and cervical cancer have recommended screening guidelines you can discuss with your primary care doctor,” said Dr. Narayan, emphasizing that that screening may catch cancers at precancerous or early stages, which allows for more effective treatment.

“In addition, keep up with recommended vaccinations, as some of these may prevent chronic illnesses that in some cases are associated with cancer risk,” she added.

Disclaimer: This interview represents the perspective of Dr. Narayan and does not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. FDA or the Office of Oncologic Diseases.

—Sarah Stoss


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SOM Spring White Coat Ceremony: The Legacy Continues for SGU President and Son

With a distinguished career spanning more than 30 years in medicine, Dr. G. Richard Olds, president emeritus at St. George’s University was thrilled to have his son, Trevor Olds follow in his footsteps. In addition to being this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. Olds also had the honor of coating Trevor at the Spring 2023 School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.

“I’m extremely proud of Trevor and happy to share in this milestone moment as he takes his first official steps into the medical profession,” said Dr. Olds. “I have three wonderful sons, but none of whom seemed to want a career in medicine. In fact, Trevor started his career as a professional actor, but I’m delighted he decided to transition into the MD program here at SGU and that I had the special privilege of coating him.”

The future Dr. Olds joined his fellow students in the Class of 2027 as they walked across the stage on January 28 at Patrick F. Adams Hall to receive their white coats. At the end of the ceremony, which marks their entry into the field of medicine, they recited the Oath of Professionalism, where they pledge to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating their patients.

In his keynote address, Dr. Olds shared three moving stories providing lessons on what it means to be a good physician. His second story centered on Trevor giving his family a medical scare but ended with them being comforted by a physician wearing a white coat.

“All of the men in the Olds family are quite sentimental,” shared Trevor Olds. “So, I was glad that I had a bit of time between my father’s keynote address and when I had to go up to be coated—because I needed to compose myself a little bit. It was such a sweet and special moment, and his speech was very touching and meaningful.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

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Photo Diary: Class of 2027 Begins Journey as Future Physicians at Spring White Coat Ceremony

It was an emotional day for the newest class of medical students at St. George’s University. Nervousness mixed with excitement filled the air as students took to the stage at the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony, held on January 28 at Patrick F. Adams Hall.

During the ceremony, which signifies students officially beginning their journey to becoming physicians, a white coat is placed on their shoulders—often by family members or mentors who have become doctors before them. Later, they would each recite the Oath of Professionalism, in which they pledged to honor the sacred trust and privilege society places on medical professionals.

What was it like to be coated? Check out the photos from the White Coat Ceremony.

  • It was all smiles, as students eagerly awaited their name being called for their turn to walk across the stage and put on that white coat.

  • But first, a few warm words from SGU Chancellor Dr. Charles R. Modica. The chancellor shared his appreciation for how far the University had come and his excitement as SGU approaches its 50th anniversary.

  • Dr. Modica was followed by this year’s keynote speaker, Dr. G. Richard Olds, president emeritus of SGU and a tropical disease specialist. In his address he shared three touching stories providing lessons on what it means to be a good physician.

  • Dr. Olds also had the pleasure of coating his son, Trevor Olds in this heartfelt moment—an experience the Olds family will treasure.

  • Trevor Olds and his father, Dr. G. Richard Olds

  • Also sharing a moment on stage was SOM Term 1 student, Carlie Hanlon who had the privilege of being coated by her grandfather, Dr. Robert Hanlon—a retired physician who practiced internal medicine and cardiology. The New Jersey native praised his granddaughter, confident that she will make a wonderful physician.

  • Carlie Hanlon and her grandfather, Dr. Robert Hanlon

  • Holding back tears was Dr. Patrick Borgen, as he coated his daughter Dana Borgen and her fiancé Ezekiel Sanchez. The high school sweethearts chose to attend SGU together after meeting several SGU alumni residents at Maimonides Medical Center where Dr. Borgen serves as chair of the Department of Surgery.

  • Already part of the SGU family, Frances Emmanuel, a Grenadian staff member in the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Small Animal Medicine and Surgery (SAMS) Department, couldn’t be any prouder of her daughter Shanique Emmanuel, BSc ’22, who is on track to becoming the first doctor in their family.

  • Also, now a part of the SGU family is SOM Term 1 student Rashiqa Abdel-Jabbar. She left her Louisiana home to join her cousin, SOM Term 2 student Haneen Awawda in fulfilling her dream of becoming a doctor here at SGU.

  • Twins Mark and Michael Yassa are as different as night and day, except in their pursuit of becoming physicians. Although older by one minute, it was Mark who followed his brother Mike, a Term 2 SOM student from Toronto to SGU.

  • After receiving their white coats, the ceremony ended with students and other physicians in the audience reciting the Oath of Professionalism—pledging to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating their patients.


– Ray-Donna Peters

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The Scoop on SGU Student Organizations: Why You Should Get Involved

Are you involved in one of St. George’s University’s many active student organizations?

There are nearly 80 clubs to choose from, and the organizations offer students a great way to make friends, feel a greater sense of community, and connect to others with shared passions. With each having a unique mission and regular activities, the clubs present ample opportunities to get involved on campus by joining groups centered on different areas of student life.

“There’s a lot of value in getting involved in student organizations,” said Claire Purcell, director of university campus life at SGU. “They’re a great source of support as students progress through their degree programs, not only for professional development but also to help them adjust to campus life and thrive during their time here. There’s an organization for every interest, and if there isn’t, students can create a new one!”


A few of the organizations SGU has available for students to join include the Business Students Association, the Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the American Medical Student Association, Women in Medicine, Pride and Equality, the Nursing Student Association, and multiple cultural organizations to name a few.

Recently, several new organizations established themselves across campus, joining the already diverse list of club offerings. SGU News spoke with four of them to find out more.

The Creative Arts Society (CAS)

Mission statement: To advance the extrinsic, intrinsic, and artistic evolution of all members through the production and presentation of art, and the arrangement of interactive art-related events and activities.

Number of current members: 85

Open to: All SGU students

How to join: CAS Membership Form.

Upcoming events/announcements:

  • February: Talent show in collaboration with the Exotic Wildlife Society’s Avian Club
  • March: Music concert
  • April: World Art Day Exhibition in partnership with the International Student’s Office.

Contact: or @cas_sgu on Instagram.

St. George’s University: If you had to describe your organization in three words, what would they be?

CAS: Creative, connected, and community.

SGU: Why did you create this organization?

CAS: It is possible to excel in both artistic and academic pursuits, and students should feel empowered to follow all their passions. This is the ideology that CAS was built upon.

SGU: What are your goals for 2023?

CAS: This year, we hope to expand our social outreach, grow in popularity within SGU and the Grenadian community, promote nationwide interest in the Creative Arts Sector, and continue providing a platform for our members to nurture their artistry and master their respective crafts.

Wellness Aid and Guidance (WAG)

Mission statement: The mission of WAG is to provide financial support for animals that are in need of advanced medical treatment and don’t fit the SNP/AAARF selection criteria.

Number of current members: 70

Open to: All Foundation to Veterinary Medicine (FTV), SVM, and SOM students

How to join: Reach out to

Upcoming events/announcements:

  • Tie-die event: Saturday, March 25, 2-4 pm on the playing field (pre-purchase a white T-shirt from WAG or bring your own article to use)
  • Creation of SOM WAG representative: The position is open to any SOM student

SGU: If you had to describe your organization in three words, what would they be?

WAG: WAG stands for Wellness Aid and Guidance, three words that sum up the organization pretty neatly. We are dedicated to finding animals in urgent medical need, providing financial aid for these animals to receive treatment, and educating the public on practical animal care they can achieve at home.

SGU: Do you have a fun fact related to your mission that you’d like to share?

WAG: One fact about WAG is that we don’t only help unowned animals; we also provide financial support for locally owned animals who need advanced medical treatment. This has allowed us to widen the scope of animals and people we can help.

SGU: What are your goals for 2023?

WAG: Since we are now an official organization, we hope to have a more significant impact this semester. We are looking forward to helping more animals and people.

A primary goal this semester is to increase our presence school-wide. This is an excellent time to remind students that WAG (and our animals available for foster or adoption) is open to all FTV, SVM, and SOM students! And hey, we would love to see some professors at our events too.

Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM)

Mission statement: Foster an understanding and awareness of the multitude of complementary and alternative medical practices. The club hopes to allow students an outlet to critically review and discuss new research and to develop these abilities into clinically relevant and valuable skills. The club will allow students to interact with peers and lead discussions about CAM practices. This knowledge will enable future physicians to apply skills in a clinical setting.

Number of current members: 30

Open to: All SGU students

How to join: Reach out to @sgu_CAM on Instagram or email

Upcoming events/announcements: CAM plans to have at least one event every month this term! They’ll host activities like yoga and have speakers from all different areas of alternative medicine speak to students. These events will be open to everyone.

SGU: If you had to describe your organization in three words, what would they be?

CAM: Inclusive, distinct, and devoted

SGU: Do you have a fun fact related to your mission that you’d like to share?

CAM: A fun fact is that almost everyone has either taken part in or knows of an alternative therapy that falls under the scope of CAM! Some of the most common are yoga, chiropractic, and acupuncture.

SGU: What are your goals for 2023?

CAM: Our goals are to choose a charity that aligns with our mission statement to give back to and educate students about what alternative medicine entails, how it can complement our practice as MDs, and how we can use it to benefit our health and wellness.

Nutrition Medicine Club (NMC)

Mission statement: To provide opportunities for students to learn about the role of nutrition science in medicine and participate in tasty, nutrition-oriented events. NMC strives to provide an open forum to discuss current nutrition research and practices, host guest lecturers by nutrition experts, hold compelling workshops, and exciting social events aimed at increasing our knowledge of the practical application of nutrition medicine while having an enjoyable time. By building on our nutritional insight, NMC members will be able to use their unique skills in their patient care and employ nutrition medicine, an increasingly critical part of patients’ treatment plans.

Number of current members: 104

Open to: All SGU students

How to join: Follow our Instagram @nmcsgu, join our WhatsApp chat, or email us at

Upcoming events/announcements:

  • February 20: “Welcome to the Island” workshop, focused on cooking for yourself on the island and introducing students to the food options available.
  • February TBD: Raffle for a chance to win a wide variety of gift cards to local businesses. Raffle proceeds will be donated to Grenada Community Fridge.
  • April TBD: Nutrition Jeopardy night. Proceeds will be donated to food pantries in Ukraine.

SGU: If you had to describe your organization in three words, what would they be?

NMC: Innovative, welcoming, and rewarding

SGU: Do you have a fun fact related to your mission that you’d like to share?

NMC: An unhealthy diet contributes to approximately 678,000 deaths each year in the United States.

SGU: What are your goals for 2023?

NMC: For 2023, we’re striving to grow our NMC community by severalfold, expand our presence on campus and in the outside community, collaborate with other campus organizations, raise $1000 XCD for various charitable causes, and as always, spread nutrition knowledge through social and educational events for the SGU community.

—Sarah Stoss


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SGU Students to Use Prestigious APA “Helping Hands Grant” to Benefit Underserved Populations

Two School of Medicine students will use 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 are 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.

“This grant is a great honor for both our students and SGU. I look forward to hearing about the students’ findings,” said Dr. Laurence Dopkin, assistant dean of students for the School of Medicine’s US Clinical Program and a Distinguished Fellow within the APA. He served as the supervising faculty for Mr. Crane and Ms. Lee’s application, created in collaboration with the Manhattan Psychiatric Center, a fellow student from another medical school, and the team at WINDREF Research Institute.

The Helping Hands Grants Program provides grants of up to $5,000 to medical schools for “mental health and substance use disorder projects, particularly in underserved minority communities. The funded projects are created and managed by medical students and can be conducted in partnership with community agencies, or in conjunction with ongoing medical school outreach activities,” according to the Foundation’s website.

“The APA Foundation is pleased to award a Helping Hands grant to St. George’s University,” said Rawle Andrews, Jr., Esq., executive director of the APA Foundation. “Through the efforts of St. George’s dedicated medical students and all the other grantees’ schools, these grants will help improve the quality and accessibility of mental health services in underserved communities.”


“Working on this project has fortified my love of psychiatry and provided me the opportunity to interact with a variety of mental health professionals that I probably would not have had the chance to otherwise.”


The two aspiring psychiatrists applied for the grant to further their research measuring the success of patients transitioning from inpatient psychiatric units back to community living. A unique challenge that many psychiatric patients face is integration within their community, which is amplified when following inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, they said.

“There are a lot of obstacles that prevent effective reintegration, and our grant is attempting to better understand this process,” Ms. Lee said. “We will follow patients that have been discharged from Manhattan Psychiatric Center and evaluate how successful they are in assimilating back into their community based on identifiable data outcomes, such as inpatient readmission, outpatient follow up, and housing.”

Mr. Crane, who completed his psychiatry rotation at Manhattan Psychiatric Center, said he is passionate about improving patients’ access to high-quality healthcare and reducing the stigma of mental health treatment. He shared that he went into medicine to serve underserved populations and improve their well-being.

“I realized there were opportunities to help patients through research, which made me want to apply for the grant and conduct research during my fourth year of medical school,” said Mr. Crane, who previously worked as a research assistant on several projects ranging from cognitive psychology to HIV prevention. “It is an honor to be a medical student working in a lead role on a grant from the APAF. Receiving this grant provides validation and reassurance that I am on the right track to do great things for my future psychiatry patients.”

Mr. Crane credited Dr. Dopkin and other SGU educators for the recent achievement, as well as SGU alum, Dr. Valentino Vasy, a PGY-4 psychiatry resident at Metropolitan Hospital for his guidance through the application process. He hopes the research will make him a competitive applicant for psychiatry residency programs.

“I could not have received this grant without the help of SGU and its alumni network,” said Mr. Crane.

Ms. Lee echoed his sentiments.

“Research is becoming increasingly necessary to evaluate different aspects of psychiatric care, whether it be in clinical care, pharmacological, or different social determinants of health,” she said. “Working on this project has fortified my love of psychiatry and provided me the opportunity to interact with a variety of mental health professionals that I probably would not have had the chance to otherwise.”

Like other grant recipients, the students will be invited to present a poster about their project at one of the American Psychiatric Association’s conferences in 2024. The 2022 award was also given to medical students from: Howard University College of Medicine, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, University of Chicago, University of Tennessee, and University of Washington.


Ronke Idowu Reeves and Laurie Chartorynsky



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St. George’s University School of Medicine Re-Approved By New York State Department of Education for Clinical Clerkships for Full Seven-Year Term

St. George’s University’s School of Medicine has received renewed approval from the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) for long-term clinical clerkships at affiliated hospitals and health systems in the state. Previously approved in 2015, the new approval again covers a full period of seven years, through the year 2029.

NYSED’s approval process entails an extensive review of documentation of SGU’s resources, programs, processes and outcomes, including a series of meetings with school academic and administrative leadership in spring 2022. The School of Medicine was evaluated in five areas: institutional setting and clinical affiliate relations; faculty affairs, including teaching qualifications; medical education, including objectives, assessments and outcomes; student affairs, including financial aid and debt management; and educational resources. The School of Medicine also demonstrated that it is financially stable, and that students have access to sufficient space, reference materials, and information technology platforms.

Approval from New York State ensures that SGU medical students will continue to be able to pursue placements at affiliated teaching hospitals in New York for clinical training, an essential part of their preparation as physicians. SGU works with over 70 teaching hospitals and health systems in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom to offer clinical and ambulatory training and support, including 17 affiliated hospitals in New York.


“The experience, skills, and professional relationships students build during these clinical experiences in New York teaching hospitals are invaluable to their futures as practicing physicians. We are honored by this recognition of our commitment to training future generations of doctors licensed to practice in the United States.”


Recently, SGU’s accreditor, the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC) received recognition by the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME) through 2032. Starting in 2024, only graduates of schools accredited by an organization with WFME recognition will be eligible to take USMLE exams or be placed in residency positions in the United States. With this recognition by WFME, SGU students have a clear and secure route to qualification to take the United States Medical Licensing Examinations (USMLE) and to post-graduate residency training programs in the United States.  The re-approval by NYSED ensures continued access to New York State clinical sites for training following passage of the USMLE Step 1 exam. New York, together with California, Florida, Georgia and New Jersey, are the states which require recognition for clinical training. SGU has been recognized by all five states.

“We are delighted that our students will continue to benefit from clinical rotations at our partner hospitals throughout the state of New York,” said Dr. Marios Loukas, dean of St. George’s University School of Medicine. “The experience, skills, and professional relationships students build during these clinical experiences in New York teaching hospitals are invaluable to their futures as practicing physicians. We are honored by this recognition of our commitment to training future generations of doctors licensed to practice in the United States.”

SGU is accredited by the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC), which is recognized by the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) and the National Commission on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA). Clinical approval from NYSED enables the pathway from the classroom experience at SGU’s campus in Grenada to students being qualified to do clinical rotations at New York teaching hospitals.  SGU is the largest provider of new doctors into the U.S. healthcare system.

Northumbria University is named United Kingdom’s University of the Year 2022

As St. George’s University and Northumbria University, in Newcastle, UK, celebrate the 15-year anniversary of their partnership, the latter has received a significant distinction—they were named the UK’s University of the Year 2022 in the prestigious Times Higher Education Awards.

“We are thrilled to congratulate Northumbria University on this accomplishment,” said Dr. James Coey, SGU’s dean of basic sciences in the UK. “We at SGU have seen the University’s excellence firsthand, as have our students. The value of our partnership cannot be understated, and this recognition is proof of that.”

The Times Higher Education awards recognize exceptional performance and “bold, imaginative, and innovative initiatives” that advanced a higher education institution’s reputation during the 2020/21 academic year. According to their announcement, Northumbria credits its recent research advancements with its success. In the 2021 report results published by Research Excellence Framework (REF), which measures the quality and strength of research across UK universities, the University moved up 27 places to 23 from 50.


The partnership between SGU and Northumbria began in January 2007 and has since welcomed more than 2,000 medical students to spend up to three years of their preclinical or medical degree program in the UK.  The partnership provides students with the opportunity to begin either a four-, five-, or six-year MD pathway at SGU. The pathways are aligned and equivalent to those delivered in Grenada but allow students to study in and experience a different healthcare and education environment.

The inception of the partnership came about from SGU’s second Vice Chancellor, Dr. Keith B. Taylor (1989-1998). Dr. Taylor’s vision for international expansion was spurred by the reality of a shrinking world of medical education, which led not only to the growth of St. George’s University but also the creation of the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF) in 1994.

“So much good has come out of our partnership with Northumbria University,” added Dr. Coey. “We look forward to continuing to strengthen that partnership together and provide a world-leading medical education for our students.”

To learn more about SGU’s partnership with NU, visit our website.

—Sarah Stoss

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5 tips when applying to international medical schools: SGU featured in Forbes article

What do aspiring doctors need to know when considering which international medical schools to apply to? A recent Forbes article shared crucial insight and advice for prospective international medical students.

While it’s no secret that medical school admission rates, particularly at US schools, are lower than ever—just 38% of applicants received an acceptance letter last year—aspiring doctors shouldn’t let these numbers discourage them from pursuing their dreams, the article stated.

US medical schools are not the only pathway to a career in medicine: international medical schools have proven a viable option, while still allowing the physician to practice medicine in the US.

“International medical schools tend to look not just at a student’s MCAT score, GPA or shadowing hours,” St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds shared in the article. “We seek out qualified, well-rounded individuals who may not fit the traditional mold of a pre-med student because we know that their diverse experiences can make them exceptional doctors.”

Still it’s important to do your research before applying to any international medical school. Here are five key key criteria to keep in mind.

    • A university’s average GPA and MCAT scores of incoming students;
    • Financial aid availability;
    • A school’s accreditation status;
    • Curriculum that is styled after US medical schools;
    • Research and clinical opportunities.

Adding to the criteria listed, Dr. Olds recommends students investigate an institution’s USMLE pass rate and residency placement rate.

“A student’s future career as a doctor really starts with their medical school decision,” Olds said. “There are so many quality medical school options out there. Students just need to do their research to find them.”





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St. George’s University Announces Admissions Partnership with Christian Brothers University

St. George’s University announced a new partnership today that will provide eligible students from Christian Brothers University with streamlined admissions to St. George’s School of Medicine or School of Veterinary Medicine.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Christian Brothers University to educate the next generation of doctors and veterinarians,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president emeritus of St. George’s University. “Both of these professions are facing shortages that pose a concerning threat to public health. Initiatives like this one will help us close those gaps, and we’re honored to work toward that goal alongside CBU.”

The partnership creates a “4+4” program, in which students spend four years at each institution. Those who wish to qualify must express interest while applying to CBU or while matriculating. Interested students must pursue a Bachelor of Science degree at CBU, complete all prerequisite coursework, maintain a strong GPA, and score competitively on relevant entrance exams. Interested veterinary students must also report at least 500 hours of animal experience alongside a veterinarian or animal-care professional.

St. George’s University will waive application fees for interested students and fast-track CBU applications during the admissions process. Students accepted into the medical program will receive a $10,000 scholarship. They will also be eligible for additional SGU scholarships and grants.

Those who enter the School of Medicine will be eligible to complete their first two years of study in Grenada, or they can complete their first year at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom and second year in Grenada. The following two years of clinical rotations will take place at St. George’s-affiliated hospitals in the United States or United Kingdom. Veterinary students will be eligible to complete three years of study in Grenada and their final clinical year within SGU’s network of 30-plus affiliates located in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

“This partnership with St. George’s University provides a unique opportunity for high-achieving undergraduate students at Christian Brothers University who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine or veterinary medicine,” said Dr. James McGuffee, Dean of the CBU School of Sciences. “We are pleased to partner with St. George’s University as we nurture future graduates who will in turn use their advanced degrees to serve as medical doctors or doctors of veterinary medicine.”


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Giving Back in 2022: SGU PHuN Resumes Efforts to Help Grenadian Community

After a two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic, the St. George’s University Physician Humanitarian Network (SGU PHuN) once again restarted its efforts to continue providing crucial medical care to the Grenadian community. SGU doctors specializing in cardiology, vascular surgery, breast cancer detection, and more either returned to Grenada to offer their services pro-bono or assisted with medical donations through the PHuN program to give back to the community that helped them get their start in medicine.

“The SGU PHuN program is extremely beneficial to the Grenadian community because it provides valuable support in the form of medical services to the people of the island as well as donations of medical instruments to Grenada General Hospital,” according to Brendon LaGrenade, vice provost of St. George’s University. “It also provides an outlet for a variety of SGU doctors of various disciplines to give back to the island where they got both their education and medical career starts.

During the pandemic, many doctors reach out asking when they could return to the island to help the community-at-large, Vice Provost LaGrenade said. “We are thrilled we were able to restart the program this year,” he said. “We thank all the doctors who selflessly gave their time and services to the Grenadian people this year.”

“As we plan for 2023, I cannot be more pleased with our SGU humanitarian alumni interest, we already have a full schedule of volunteers for spring, and commitments for the fall are being confirmed,” he added. “Additionally, we will be enhancing our alumni outreach to broaden the scope of SGU PHuN giving more opportunities for our physicians to impact communities in Grenada and beyond.”

Here’s look back at some of the doctors who returned to the island community this year to make a difference.

Dr. Anthony Tramontano


Cardiologist Anthony Tramontano, MD ’99, helped to restart the SGU PHuN Adult Cardiology Program—which offers essential cardiovascular services to the people of Grenada free of charge.

“Knowing the great need for cardiology services on the island, I was anxious to return to my regular visits to the clinic,” said Dr. Tramontano, chair of medicine and medical director of cardiology at Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake, NY. “My start in medicine was here at SGU and Grenada will always hold a special place in my heart. It is an honor to serve the patients here and offer what care I can, whether it be a one-time appointment in the Cardiology Clinic or continued care each time I return.”

Dr. Jason Finkelstein

Before the pandemic, interventional cardiologist Jason Finkelstein, MD ’99, frequently returned to Grenada to offer lifesaving cardiology services at no cost. But when the COVID-19 pandemic put his visits on hold, his patients went unseen for more than two years. Dr. Finkelstein was especially concerned about patients who had implanted pacemakers and cardiac defibrillators, because their devices went unchecked for a lengthy period. Dr. Finkelstein was finally able to return to Grenada this past June where he treated 103 patients at the Medical Specialties Clinic in Grand Anse.

“These situations make me want to come back each year to help these patients in need. I was glad to be able to accomplish so much on this trip,” he said.



“We are thrilled we were able to restart the program this year. We thank all the doctors who selflessly gave their time and services to the Grenadian people this year.”

Dr. Randy Becker

Dr. Randy Becker, MD ’00, who is the current medical director at Crossroads Imaging Center of Advanced Radiology, in Ellicott City, MD, and a clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, noticed a higher-than-normal percentage of Grenadian patients with more advanced breast cancer. This is oftentimes an indirect result of limited breast screening programs and access. Last spring, Dr. Becker worked with his imaging partner Hologic, to secure two portable breast ultrasound units. The donated imaging units are being used at Grenada General Hospital and Princess Alice Hospital.

“Improving access to women’s healthcare and screening services in Grenada is an important health initiative for the country. As a radiologist, I know that early detection often means better long-term outcomes for the country’s mothers, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts. That is why making this donation means so much to me,” said Dr. Becker.

In addition, Dr. Becker was instrumental in securing another SGU PHuN medical contribution that aided both doctors and patients. Over the fall, the cardiologist ensured that a cardiac echo machine, with three probes for vascular, echo, and doppler screenings was donated. Not only does this machine reduce the need to budget for a new one, but Dr. Becker’s acquisition also replaces the 15-year-old machine currently in use SGU’s cardiology clinic program.

Dr. Christian Rodriguez

Dr. Christian Rodriguez, a chief vascular surgeon, learned of Grenada General Hospital’s need for a vascular surgeon and for someone to help implement a new dialysis and nephrology program.

So, Dr. Rodriguez, who practices at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Maine, arranged for a substantial donation of two sets of surgical instruments and supplies from medical provider Scanlan International, valued at nearly $37,000 USD. The donation of the surgical instruments will allow the hospital to offer ongoing in-house sustainability of vascular access procedures and treatments to patients. He also helped to create a week-long clinic (which took place October 10 to 14, 2022) where Dr. Rodriguez trained hospital doctors on vascular access procedures, while also seeing patients in need of care.

“When I learned that Grenada General needed more support in the area of vascular surgery, I did not hesitate to offer my time, expertise as well as organizing a donation to the hospital,” Dr. Rodriguez said.

But his work at SGU last spring was only the start of Dr. Rodriguez’s ongoing efforts with PHuN to provide care where it’s most needed. Looking forward to 2023, his sights are once again set, and island bound.

“I am looking forward to going back and continuing the mission in Grenada,” said Dr. Rodriguez.  I just confirmed dates with the humanitarian network for a repeat trip in March!”

–Ronke Idowu Reeves

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