Op-Ed: How International Medical Graduates Ease the Doctor Shortage

St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds was recently featured in the Naples Daily News.

In the op-ed, “International medical graduates ease the U.S. doctor shortage,” Dr. Olds shed light on the pressing doctor shortage facing America. He also highlighed how international medical graduates, like the thousands who graduate from SGU, can help close that gap.

“The United States desperately needs doctors,” Dr. Olds wrote. “According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, we could face a deficit of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034. The shortfall could cost as many as 7,000 lives a year.”

In addition, “zip codes with disproportionate shares of racial and ethnic minorities also tend to lack adequate access to doctors,” he added. “Black and Latino Americans are roughly twice as likely as their white peers to live in areas with few or no primary care providers.”

The statistics are daunting. But a solution lies in SGU’s own hallways: International medical graduates (IMGs) “tend to be the ones who head to high-need communities like these,”  accounting for more than two-thirds of doctors in areas of the US with high populations of ethnic and racial minorities, according to Dr. Olds.

“International medical graduates also gravitate to specialties in high demand. They account for more than half of doctors in geriatrics, where the shortage is yawning as the population ages. IMGs likewise account for outsized shares of the endocrinology, oncology, and cardiology workforces,” he wrote.

 

Chance encounter leads alum to plastic surgery fellowship

Before Jeremy Bosworth, MD ’13, enrolled at St. George’s University, he was considering a career in law or the FBI. But it was a chance encounter with an old friend who had recently graduated from SGU’s School of Medicine that changed his course forever.

With the encouragement of his friend, Dr. Bosworth applied and was accepted to SGU—and he never looked back. It was while he was on campus in Grenada that he discovered his true passion in life—medicine, particularly surgery, and eventually a love for the very specialized field of plastic surgery.

Dr. Bosworth is currently the chief resident of plastic and reconstructive surgery at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Recently, he was awarded an aesthetic fellowship at North Texas Plastic Surgery (NTPS) in Southlake, TX, which he will begin this summer.

SGU News spoke with Dr. Bosworth to learn what appeals to him about the field of plastic surgery, his path to fellowship, and his advice for students on how to land a competitive residency position.

St. George’s University: What is aesthetic surgery?

Dr. Jeremy Bosworth: There are two parts to plastic surgery training: reconstructive plastic surgery and aesthetic plastic surgery. Reconstructive surgery is a big part of plastic surgery training and involves things like craniofacial surgery, breast reconstruction, and reconstruction after trauma. Aesthetic surgery involves many types of elective procedures to enhance the appearance such as face lifts, tummy tucks, liposuction, and even body contouring after weight loss.  It also includes non-surgical treatments such as Botox and laser treatments.

SGU: What is a typical day like for a chief resident?

Dr. Bosworth: My typical day at UAB—where I am now—will vary from a full day in the operating room to a full day of in-clinic seeing patients or some combination. We work at a major university hospital, a children’s hospital, a VA, some smaller hospitals, as well as with private practice surgeons in the community so the experience is quite broad and varied. At my fellowship next year, most of the training will be at the main office of a private practice with operating rooms right in the office as well as a medical spa.

 

“When applying for plastic surgery, I knew it would be tough to get a spot as it is a very competitive specialty. I also knew that it was truly what I wanted to do so I was not going to let a challenge deter me.”

 

 

SGU: Congratulations on your new fellowship at NTPS. What will you be learning during this time?

Dr. Bosworth: Thank you! The fellowship, which is endorsed by The Aesthetics Society, includes advanced training in facial surgery, body enhancement and contouring, and non-surgical treatments, as well as learning some of the business side of private practice plastic surgery. I’ll be working with a number of highly trained plastic surgeons which will enable me to broaden and master my skills. I feel that I owe it to my patients to be as well trained as possible, so the fellowship just made sense to me. I’m very excited.

SGU: Why did you choose a career in medicine?

Dr. Bosworth: I went to undergraduate college at the University of Arizona where I was a political science major. My plan was to apply to the FBI or CIA or even law school. But I slowly realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do. A friend at SGU told me about his wonderful experience studying medicine there and said, “Why don’t you apply?” I quickly discovered that medicine was my passion. And the rest is history.

SGU: What was your path after graduating from SGU?

Dr. Bosworth: I first did a general surgery residency at Nassau University Medical Center in New York. I then went on to start a plastic and reconstructive surgery residency here at UAB. I am graduating this July. This was a three-year residency that required completion of a prior surgical residency to be eligible. UAB was my first choice for plastic surgery because of the amazing medical center and the unrivaled clinical experience and volume in all aspects of plastic surgery that we see here. There are only about 30 one-year fellowships in aesthetic surgery like the one at NTPS. I knew it would be competitive. It required going through an application process, interviews, and then finally a match process.

SGU: How has SGU helped shape your career aspirations? 

Dr. Bosworth: Going to medical school at SGU was an amazing and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The students there had such a family-like mentality. Everyone works to lift each other up. Medical school is hard! I could not have got through it without that encouragement from my peers. And living in Grenada was fantastic. It wasn’t even until I got off the island that I realized how SGU shaped my professional outlook. I did most of my clinical rotations in New Jersey. That’s when it became apparent the SGU students were far-and-above better prepared than the other medical students. We worked harder, were reliable, and motivated, and also grateful for the opportunities. This is all something that SGU engrains in you. I carry that with me today.

SGU: Have you ever encountered any bias or skepticism of your abilities because you had gone to a medical school outside the US?  

Dr. Bosworth: I think that old school bias is slowly disappearing in the field of medicine as a whole, especially for SGU grads. I have always been of the mindset that I am not owed or guaranteed anything, and I always try to just prove myself, regardless of whether I find bias or not. The right mindset, hard work, and of course a little luck always helps.

SGU: What advice would you give to SGU students who want to pursue a specialized area of medicine?

Dr. Bosworth: I think it’s important to really be passionate about the field that you choose. When I was applying for residency, I knew I wanted to do a general surgery residency which is not easy! It requires long hours and lots of information and skills to master. And then there is plastic surgery, which is even more challenging. I always remind medical students who rotate with us that surgery is an amazing field if you love it!

In addition, no matter how hard the day before was, I always come to work the next day with a smile on my face. I believe that attitude is part of what helped me excel. When applying for plastic surgery, I knew it would be a tough road to get a spot as it is a very competitive specialty. I also knew that it was truly what I wanted to do so I was not going to let a challenge deter me.

My final piece of advice is don’t rush into making a decision on your specialty. If you don’t already know, keep an open mind. But when you do find that passion, go after it with everything you’ve got.

 

 

— Paul Burch

 

 

 

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SGU President Offers Advice to Medical School Applicants in U.S. News & World Report

A recent article in U.S. News & World Report demystifies the challenge of getting into medical school, featuring insights from St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds.

The article, “Why Is It So Hard to Get Into Medical School?” breaks down why applying to medical school has become increasingly competitive in recent years. Overall, there has been an increase in medical school applicants without an equal increase in programs themselves. The situation is often daunting for prospective students.

According to Dr. Olds, few medical schools opened between the late 1970s and early 2000s, with very little expansion of med schools during that period thanks to an inaccurate but widely publicized labor market forecast projecting a doctor surplus. Meanwhile, the need for doctors in the U.S. was rapidly rising due to a growing and aging population.

“The aging is still going on despite losing a lot of older Americans to COVID,” he said, “Aging, by the way, is the biggest driver of our need for more physicians.”

The COVID pandemic has also exacerbated longstanding shortages of primary care physicians, Dr. Olds explained.

Despite current trends, the takeaway message for prospective students: Apply.

“Premeds who cast a wide net and apply to schools at a range of selectivity levels are the most likely to get accepted,” Dr. Olds said.

 

Aspiring physicians commit to the medical profession at Spring White Coat Ceremony

In celebration of the milestone moment that marks the entry into the noble profession of medicine, last week St. George’s University held virtual White Coat Ceremonies for students who recently entered medical school.

“This moment is big deal,” said Dr. Gabrielle Walcott-Bedeau, MBA ’17, an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology, Neuroscience and Behavioral Science and the day’s master of ceremonies. “The white coat comes with great responsibility and to whom much is given, much is expected.”

In her prepared remarks during the ceremonies, Dr. Walcott-Bedeau congratulated the physicians-in-training on joining the SGU family and reminisced on the sense of pride she felt when donning her own white coat, which she touts as the most recognizable symbol of her profession.

White Coat Ceremonies are a storied tradition within medical school. The ceremony signifies students’ official beginning on their journeys to becoming physicians. During the event, a white coat is placed on each student’s shoulders—sometimes by family members or mentors who have become doctors before them. Students then recite the Oath of Professionalism, in which they pledge to uphold the highest of ethical standards while treating patients.

SGU held two virtual White Coat Ceremonies—on March 12 and 13 for January 2022-entering students and will hold an additional two ceremonies on March 26 and 27 for August 2021-entering students.

 

“Your faculty will teach you all about health and disease and how to diagnose it and treat it, but it’s your patients that will teach you how to be a better doctor—listen to them.”

 

This year’s White Coat Ceremony keynote speaker was Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of SGU and a tropical disease specialist. He shared some words of wisdom with the newest class of future doctors as they go through their careers.

“I’m sure all of your family and friends are very proud of you today, and it’s with great excitement that you put on that white coat,” said Dr. Olds. “However, when you put it on, remember that it signifies what’s most important among physicians. Your faculty will teach you all about health and disease and how to diagnose it and treat it, but it’s your patients that will teach you how to be a better doctor—listen to them.”

Starting Medical School During a Global Pandemic 

During the ceremonies, SGU Provost Dr. Glen Jacobs praised the medical students for continuing to adapt to the global changes around them. He acknowledged that although challenging at times, these experiences would contribute to their resilience and help them navigate life as they grew personally and professionally throughout their time at SGU and thereafter.

“We remain dedicated to supporting you as you start your journey in the School of Medicine,” Dr. Jacobs said in his welcome remarks,. “I’m looking forward to the day when all of you will be back on campus, but for now focus on how this pledge of commitment to your chosen lifelong profession brings you together as future physicians.”

Dr. Marios Loukas, the dean of the School of Medicine, also welcomed the Class of 2026, reminding them that as they now wear their white coat, they pledge an oath of professionalism and service.

“In entering the field of medicine you will join a community where (being part of a) team is of utmost importance to success, as compared to individual effort,” stated Dr. Loukas. “To this end, you must strive for excellence in your pursuit of knowledge.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

 

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St. George’s University Awards 7 Students Equity in Medicine Scholarship

St. George’s University announced that it will award seven students full- and partial-tuition Equity in Medicine Scholarships.

“We’re proud to support these seven Equity in Medicine scholars as they prepare to meet the needs of patients in historically underserved communities,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “St. George’s students have a long history of working to address healthcare disparities, and these talented scholars will continue that tradition.”

Founded in 2021, the Equity in Medicine Scholarship program strives to make medical school accessible for students of all backgrounds. All Equity in Medicine scholars are from medically underserved areas or have expressed an interest in practicing medicine in underserved communities. This year’s scholars hail from several states, including Michigan, California, Florida, and more.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the United States will be short as many as 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034. St. George’s University is the number-one provider of new primary care physicians to the United States. One-third of currently practicing SGU graduates are practicing medicine or completing their residencies in medically underserved areas.

In total, 75 percent of all entering four-year medical students received SGU scholarships in the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the latest available data.

“We look forward to equipping this year’s class of Equity in Medicine scholars with the knowledge and training they’ll need to make a difference in underserved communities,” said Lynn Kuhl, vice president and senior associate dean of scholarships at St. George’s University.

 

SGU President Featured in Miami Herald Article on Doctor Shortage

St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds recently sat down with the Miami Herald for an interview about the state’s physician shortage, the importance of international medical graduates, and the strong presence of SGU alumni working throughout the state.

The article, titled “Can’t find a doctor? Florida facing physician shortage amid growth, aging population,” details how the state’s growing and aging population has put undue pressure on the physician workforce–and without immediate action, more and more patients could begin to encounter difficulties accessing care. Dr. Olds offered his expert perspective on the disproportionate impact of these shortages on vulnerable populations:

“’People want to talk about a doctor shortage, but far more important … is when you look at statewide statistics, there are areas of Florida that have an absolute surplus of doctors, including primary care doctors, and they tend to mask the fact that rural underserved America and urban underserved America have a much greater doctor shortage,”‘ Dr. Olds said.

St. George’s University in Grenada supplies the U.S. with more first-year residents than any other medical school. About 70 percent of its students are U.S. citizens and in 2021, 120 of its graduates started residencies in Florida.

Dr. Olds also explained how the highly competitive nature of admissions at U.S. medical schools is preventing some of the best and brightest students from pursuing careers in medicine.

“Competition for medical school slots also is fierce. There are 50,000 qualified candidates for medical school every year in the United States, meaning they have a high enough grade-point average and standardized test score to do well, but only 26,000 are accepted into U.S. medical schools,” Olds said. “Many of those not accepted seek schools outside the U.S.”

 

Soon-to-be Physicians Share Their Excitement on Match Day 2022 

For hundreds of St. George’s University students, the wait was most certainly worth it, as they found out on Friday where they will be headed for residency training this summer.  

This year, SGU students matched into first-year residency positions across a variety of specialties and throughout the US. They will begin residency programs in a range of highly competitive specialties, including neurology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more.

After a nerve-wracking week, students are taking in where they will complete their residency training this summer. Match Day is a milestone moment in students’ medical education as they learn where their hard work and training will take them next in their career.   

SGU News spoke with several soon-to-be graduates about what it felt like to receive the positive news that they matched and how they feel about starting residency. 

 


Akosua Ayesu-Offei 
Matched in: Anesthesiology 
Hometown: Columbus, OH

“The best news ever to wrap up Match week! Not only did I match the only specialty I desired, today I found out I matched my first choice program! I am SO SO HAPPY! God is too good! 

“My time at SGU was an amazing experience. I felt fully supported throughout my whole entire journey and I couldn’t be more grateful to SGU for giving me this opportunity. My time on the island was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything and I’m thankful for the lifelong friendships I made and the memories I’ll hold with me for the rest of my life.”

 

 

Adam Lerman 
Matched in: Internal medicine 
Hometown: Livingston, NJ

“I am beyond floored that I matched. It was 8:58 am, and I nervously waiting, saw the email come through on Monday. I matched. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness. I never expected to match, honestly, the med school was a long process for me. But at the end of the day, all that hard work paid off. Now I’m going to be continuing my training in internal medicine and I hope to eventually go into pulmonary/critical care or gastroenterology after residency.”

 

Ashea West  
Matched in: Family medicine 
Hometown/country: Mandeville, Jamaica  

“I couldn’t sleep on Sunday night. I had nightmares twice, about decision day and what the email might say. 8:58am on Monday, I opened the email on my phone, and kept re-reading the one line that said “Congratulations, you have matched.” I was just so grateful to God for answering this prayer because I had been praying and praying really hard! All my memories of the first day on the island flooded back: walking past St. George’s dorm and taking in the views by Modica Hall. I remember meeting my roommate for the first time and talking about how we’re going to ace med school—this decision slowly turned into “We just need to keep our head above water,” which we did! Now I get to live out this dream at my top choice for residency!”

 

Molly Kivumbi
Matched In: Internal medicine
Hometown: Seattle, WA  

“First of all, I would like to thank the almighty God for getting me this far. I matched into family medicine in Riverside, CA.  

I was so amazed to find out that I matched. I couldn’t wait to share the great news with my friends and family that have supported me all the way. It was the icing on the cake after four years of hard work. The sleepless nights, disappointments, frustrations, and intense studying.  

Attending SGU has so far been one of the best decisions I have made. Not only have I received an excellent medical education, but also enjoyed learning in a diverse environment with students from different parts of the world. I have been supported all throughout my four years at SGU and I believe that I will be a great physician.  I believe that when you put your mind to achieving your dreams, you are unstoppable.”

 

 

Alex Ciaramella
Matched in: Anesthesiology
Hometown: Revere, MA

“I’ve always had an interest in anesthesia but kept an open mind throughout clinicals. I tried to envision myself in many other physician roles but eventually came full circle back to anesthesia. Match week is certainly a roller coaster of emotions. I felt very confident going into the Match but still couldn’t help panicking while opening the Match email. It was like going through airport security knowing you have nothing to hide but still getting nervous. Luckily, I fully matched into my No. 1 choice!”

 

Giavanna Verdi
Matched in: Pediatric-medical genetics
Hometown:
Wading River, NY

“When I learned that I matched, I simply cried with joy and my heart dropped. I could not believe that I had matched into my No. 1 program and my preferred specialty track. It truly felt like a dream that I want to relive forever!  

Although I am moving away from my hometown, I know that my family and friends are cheering for me from afar! I am always ready for a new adventure and a new journey, and I am so excited to meet my fellow co-residents and program leadership team! This is my new home away from home, and I’m counting down the days until June!”

Peds-Medical Genetics is a less popular specialty but it is on the rise! It is very uncommon, there are only 19 programs in the country that have combined pediatrics and medical genetics programs, and I am so grateful to have matched with such a high reputable institution for this kind of specialty! I fell in love with genetics during my time in Grenada and worked alongside one of the genetics professors from SGU on a patient-case report, fundraisers for Grenada Down Syndrome Association, and ran the Student Interest Group in Genomics/Genetics on campus!”

 

Arham Zia
Matched in: Pediatrics
Hometown: Queens, NY

“My reaction to getting matched was an incredible feeling of relief. I still can’t believe I did it! I went through so many ups and downs during medical school at SGU. But I know that the hard work I persevered towards was so worth it in the end. I opened my match results with my family; throughout this whole process, they were my No. 1 supporters. Seeing the happiness in them made it all the more worth it. I am so grateful to SGU for giving me a chance to prove to myself that I could do this and I DID! I can’t wait to start this residency. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience I will never forget. I am so excited and I can’t wait to make a difference in the lives of tiny little humans.”

 

Monique Prince
Matched in: Internal medicine
Hometown/country: Grenada

“I was filled with joy and relief when I received the email that I matched. It’s exciting to now know where I will be training for residency. I am honored and grateful for this opportunity to train in internal medicine.”

 

 

– Laurie Chartorynsky and Paul Burch 

 

 

 

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The Perfect Match: SGU Students Secure US Residencies on Match Day 2022

For St. George’s University students and graduates, the emotions from Match Day 2022 won’t soon be forgotten. This year, hundreds of soon-to-be practicing physicians secured first-year residencies, and will bring with them the knowledge and skills they’ve learned to reinforce the US healthcare system beginning this summer.

This year, SGU students matched into first-year residency positions across a variety of specialties and throughout the US. They will begin residency programs in a range of highly competitive specialties, including neurology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more. More students are expected to obtain residencies in the days and weeks to come.

“Match Day is one of the most important days of a medical student’s career,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “On behalf of the entire SGU community, I extend my sincere congratulations to this outstanding group of students. I wish them the best as they begin their careers.”

 

 

SGU graduates will play a critical role in addressing America’s most pressing healthcare needs. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the United States could face a shortage of as many as 124,000 physicians by 2034—including up to 48,000 in primary care.[1]

Seventy-five percent of St. George’s University graduates enter primary care specialties, such as internal medicine, pediatrics, and family medicine. One in five works in medically unserved areas, and many have served on the frontlines throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overall, SGU is the largest source of practicing doctors to the US healthcare system according to the Federation of State Medical Boards.

“SGU alumni have a long history of rising to meet the medical challenges facing their communities,” Dr. Olds said. “We’re confident that our newest class of doctors will make equally meaningful contributions and improve access to care for vulnerable patients and communities.”

 

Two Canadian clinics join SGU’s elective network

Clinical training opportunities in Canada continue to emerge for St. George’s University medical students. Two clinics—Terrace Hill Paediatrics and Carrot Health in Ontario, Canada—recently joined the more than 75 sites that welcome SGU trainees, offering fourth-year students a range of disciplines to choose from.

Students will be able to apply for an elective at both clinics starting this fall, selecting from specialties such as pediatrics, ophthalmology, and ophthalmic surgery.

“This is a unique opportunity for Canadian SGU students to complete electives close to home,” said Charles Furey, SGU’s director of admissions for Canada, noting that more than 80 percent of Canadian SGU students hail from Ontario. “Electives are important for two important reasons—they give students clinical experience and the opportunity to network at a hospital, as well as the opportunity to obtain a letter of reference, which is worth its weight in gold when seeking a residency.”

Located in Brantford, Ontario, Terrace Hill Paediatrics provides consulting pediatric services for a variety of medical and neurobehavioral pediatric issues. The range of medical conditions include all domains of pediatrics such as asthma, eczema, congenital defects, and surveillance care for premature babies to name but a few. In addition, Terrace Hill provides chronic complex care of children with genetic syndromes, autism, ADHD, and developmental delays.

Sarangan Uthayalingam, MD ’09, a full-time consultant pediatrician at Terrace Hill and pediatric hospitalist at the Brant County Health Care System, looks forward to welcoming SGU students this fall.

“I am very fortunate to be in an environment where over the last seven years I have been able to grow as a physician as well as a medical educator,” said Dr. Uthayalingham. “As an SGU alumnus, I hope to give back to SGU and its trainees in hopes of providing them with a unique opportunity to train in a community that represents all aspects of Canadian heritage. I am thankful to SGU for where I am today and hope to support the current SGU trainees in their journey back home,” he said.

Carrot Health is one of Canada’s leading ophthalmology centers with locations in Brampton and Oakville. Dr. Yasser Khan, the medical director of Carrot Health, and his team of professionals provide a variety of eye care, including cataracts, reflective lens exchange, glaucoma treatment, and vision therapy.

The two sites join Booth Neurology, North Bay Dermatology Centre, Ottawa Cardiovascular Centre, and Pembroke Regional Hospital in SGU’s network of Canadian elective locations. All told, more than 75 hospitals and clinics in the US, UK, and Canada are available for students to obtain clinical training.

 

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St. George’s University Awards CityDoctors Scholarships to 12 Incoming Students

St. George’s University announced today that it has awarded 12 students full- or partial-tuition CityDoctors Scholarships to students who entered the four-year MD program this January.

“We’re pleased to offer this scholarship to these 12 outstanding individuals, who demonstrate great promise and are committed to making an impact on healthcare in the communities in which they will practice,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “We launched the CityDoctors Scholarship program 10 years ago to support high-achieving students from metropolitan New York whose dream it is to become a highly skilled and compassionate physician. I look forward to seeing what our newest class of CityDoctors accomplishes.”

The CityDoctors Scholarship program is a partnership between St. George’s University and four hospital systems in the New York metropolitan area: NYC Health + Hospitals in New York and Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in New Jersey.

 

 

To be eligible, applicants must be residents of the communities served by these hospitals or otherwise have an affiliation with them. Winners of the scholarships sponsored by NYC Health + Hospitals must commit to working in the hospital system after graduation. Those honored by the three New Jersey hospital systems are not required to make a postgraduate commitment.

More than 150 graduates of St. George’s University have received CityDoctors Scholarships since the program’s creation in 2012. It is part of a robust financial aid program at SGU that resulted in 75 percent of all entering four-year MD students receiving a scholarship in the 2020-21 academic year. *

“The CityDoctors Scholarship program is a fantastic way for aspiring physicians from New York and New Jersey to accelerate their careers in medicine,” said Lynn Kuhl, vice president and senior associate dean of scholarships at SGU. “This year’s winners will be tremendous assets to the hospitals and communities they serve.”

*Data as of April 2021.

 

 

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