St. George’s University Doctors Agree with CDC on Importance of Flu Vaccinations

2015 flu poll

St. George’s University Doctors Agree with CDC on Importance of Flu Vaccinations.

More than 92 percent of doctors and public health specialists responding to the third “One World, One Health, One Medicine” poll from St. George’s University recommend that their patients get a flu vaccine, agreeing with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations and believe it will give them a better chance of fighting off the flu this year.

The international University recently polled its alumni from the School of Medicine in response to a spate of recent news reports on this year’s flu vaccine and its reported ineffectiveness. Only 7 percent of those polled felt that the flu vaccine would not be effective against the strains of influenza circulating this year.

Here are the results:

  • Almost 85 percent of doctors said that they urge their family to get a flu vaccine as “the best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated.”
  • More than 53 percent of doctors said that their employer required them to get vaccinated during the flu season.
  • Almost 39 percent of doctors said that as a medical professional they get vaccinated during the flu season although their employer does not require it.
  • More than 54 percent of doctors said that their patients expect them to “practice what they preach” and get a flu shot.

Peyman Otmishi, MD SGU ’02, Honored for Clinical Advancements and Medical Staff Development at University of Maryland

cecil award otmishi

For his contributions to clinical advancements and medical staff development at University of Maryland Shore Regional Health, critical care specialist Peyman Otmishi, MD SGU ’02, FCCP, was honored with the 2014 Arthur B. Cecil Jr., MD, Award for Excellence in Health Care Improvement.

Dr. Otmishi was selected from a field of six finalists to receive the award, which was presented to him by Arthur B. Cecil III, a former Cecil Award winner and the son of the man for whom it is named. Dr. Arthur B. Cecil Jr., who practiced as a surgeon at University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Easton from 1950 to 1988, helped shape the hospital and the department into what they are today.

“I was very surprised to receive it,” said Dr. Otmishi. “There are many people here who go above and beyond the call of duty to help the community.”

“Dr. Otmishi has been instrumental in interdisciplinary work around quality initiatives to prevent infection in our intensive care units,” said Ruth Ann Jones, Director of Acute Care and Emergency Services, UM Shore Regional Health, in a press release. “He works collaboratively with the nursing staff and multidisciplinary team to ensure that our patients are receiving safe, high-quality, evidence-based medical care.”

Dr. Otmishi, an intensivist with University of Maryland Shore Pulmonary Care, directs the intensive care unit (ICU) for the university’s medical centers at Chestertown, Dorchester and Easton. In 2014, he worked with several of the facility’s nurses to incorporate the ABCDE bundle, a protocol implemented to improve ventilator weaning, delirium, and mobility in critically ill patients.

In addition, he developed the E-Care telemedicine program that allows intensivists and critical care nurses at the University of Maryland Medical Center to oversee ICU patients at the university’s three eastern shore hospitals. Through state-of-the-art technology, the program provides real-time patient data around the clock to the E-Care intensivists who are monitoring the ICU patients in each facility. The program monitors each patient for acute changes in their physiological parameters and immediately prompts the ICU to assess the situation and act upon it if indicated. According to Dr. Otmishi, intensivists’ involvement has reduced the readmission rate for ICU patients significantly.

While he was honored with the Cecil Award for the first time, it marked the second time that he had been nominated. In 2009, Dr. Otmishi and a group of Shore Health doctors garnered second-place accolades after they implemented multidisciplinary rounds at the eastern shore facilities.

Dr. Otmishi’s educational background includes earning his Bachelor of Science in biology from Indiana University in 1996 and then a postgraduate study year at Indiana University-Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI). He then enrolled at SGU, an experience he credits for laying the path to his career in internal medicine. Upon being conferred his MD, Dr. Otmishi went on to residency at JFK Medical Center in Edison, New Jersey, and then internal medicine and pulmonary, critical care, and sleep fellowships at the University of Louisville.

“SGU had very high standards, and we all had to work very hard,” Dr. Otmishi said. “Everybody pushed everybody else to do their best. The whole experience built a lot of character, and that was the key to why so many of us have gone to successful careers.”

With the new procedural implementations at Shore Health facilities, critical care patients can look forward to improved treatment and the increased likelihood of making a full recovery.

“One nurse, doctor, or therapist alone cannot take care of a patient in the ICU, or anywhere else in the hospital,” Dr. Otmishi said. “The key to better outcomes is communication, collaboration, and collegiality between all the disciplines providing patient care. Multidisciplinary rounding works in the ICU and can reduce the cost, admission period and unnecessary work-up for each patient. We as leaders in patient care should be very conscious about communication and collaboration with our physician colleagues as well as every other discipline involved with the patients during their hospital admission.”

Entering Medical Class Joins Humanistic and Ethical “Infinite Game”

A new class of prospective doctors from 41 countries embarked on its educational journey at St. George’s University at the symbolic White Coat Ceremonies on January 30, 2015. Miles away from the rest of their class in Grenada, part of the entering medical class participated in their White Coat Ceremony at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK on January 16. These medical students have taken a bold and unique path towards their medical careers, choosing to study for one year as part of SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP), before joining their colleagues in Grenada.

jan 2015 som wcc

As the highlight of the ceremonies, the students were robed in their white coats by esteemed members of the medical field, an iconic moment representative of their inclusion into the profession and their commitment to professionalism and humanitarianism, a sentiment echoed by their recitation of the Oath of Professional Commitment.

“The White Coat symbolizes professionalism, caring, and trust,” said Dr. John Madden, MD SGU ’81, Master of Ceremonies of the White Coat Ceremonies in Grenada. “While receiving your White Coats represents your initiation into the profession, it also serves to remind us all to continue to embrace the humanistic and ethical practice of medicine.”At Northumbria’s ceremony, Master of Ceremonies, Matthew Boles, MD, ’03, encouraged the students to be “present, joyful and grateful” in their practice of medicine.

At Grenada’s White Coat Ceremony, Dr. Matthew Wynia, Director of the Institute for Ethics at the American Medical Association, delivered an inspirational keynote address. “The secret of doctors who are joyful in their practice is that we are constantly creating, reinforcing, refining, and remaking our professional culture,” he said. He urged the students to be part of the conversation that shapes the culture of the medical profession and to see the profession as an ”infinite game,” a lifelong, ever-changing pursuit with no winner or loser, pursued for the sheer purpose of improvement through challenges and the deeper value and meaning they bring to life.

Dr. Wynia also encouraged the incoming class to keep asking themselves critical questions about what makes life worthwhile, what gives life meaning, and what they should dedicate their time to. “These questions must be asked and answered,” he said. “It is dangerous, actually, for all of us if we, as individuals and as members of this shared profession, don’t continuously explore and find answers to these questions.”

Over in Northumbria, keynote speaker Dr. Beryl Souza, a Plastic Surgeon at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, and an Honorary Clinical Lecturer in plastic surgery at Imperial College, also encouraged the students to see the deeper meaning and value in their chosen profession. She encouraged the students to see the practice of medicine as an art, which requires not only their medical knowledge but also their judgment and wisdom. She also urged the KBTGSP students to be agents of change, to seek to improve quality of life, to be advocates for their patients and to appreciate the value of human life. “They trust you with their lives; you must earn their trust.”

The Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP) provides students accepted to St. George’s University School of Medicine the unique opportunity to spend their first year of Basic Medical Sciences at Northumbria University in Newcastle, England, followed by study in Grenada and clinical rotations in the United States, United Kingdom, and Grenada. Students follow the same curriculum as Grenada and are taught by SGU faculty while in the United Kingdom.

At the ceremonies, four St. George’s University alumni – Thomas Truitt, MD, ‘89 Rajiv Narula, MD, ‘89 Martin Stransky, MD, ‘83 and Dr. Timothy McKinney – had the distinct honor of robing their own children. These students and the entering medical class join the legacy of over 14,000 physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and public health and business professionals who have graduated from St. George’s University and now practice around the world.

Dr. Jeffrey Ponsky Visits With Residents-to-Be

Guest lecturer Dr. Jeffrey Ponsky—named one of America’s Top Doctors® for over a decade—offers his advice for residency seekers.

2005 Graduate Joins Health Republic Board of Directors 1/5/15

A practicing physician with Hudson Headwaters Health Network and its Vice President of Strategy, David Tucker Slingerland has been named to the Health Republic Insurance of New York Board of Directors.

BSEC Forum Brings Caribbean Issues to the Fore

At the annual conference of the Bioethics Society of the English-Speaking Caribbean (BSEC) held on November 16 at St. George’s University (SGU) and hosted by SGU’s Bioethics Department, speakers delved into a wide range of topics relevant to the Caribbean, including child abuse and corporal punishment. Dr. Barbara Landon, neuropsychologist and Associate Professor at St. George’s University, along with colleague Ms. Lauren Orlando, presented on the topic.

“Even though there are all kinds of laws to protect adults against assault, the rights of children in the Caribbean are not fully protected despite the fact that every country is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Dr. Landon. Dr. Landon has taken a special interest in the effects of corporal punishment on children and cited the research supporting the negative effects child abuse has on the developing brain, her area of expertise. “The agreement is profound throughout the literature: corporal punishment has a huge effect on both mental and physical health.”

2014 news bsec forum brings-caribbean issues to-the fore

Dr. Landon and Ms. Orlando encouraged using alternative methods of discipline. “There are so many more skillful ways to raise children, discipline them, and teach them right from wrong that do not include hitting,” said Ms. Orlando. “If parents and children are not given better examples of how to discipline, the cycle of violence will continue.”

In addition to demonstrating the effects of severe corporal punishment on the brain— which include reduced executive function, decreased IQ, and increased likelihood of mental disorders, the team discussed some of the archaic laws, relics of the Caribbean’s history of colonialism, which permit corporal punishment.

Corporal punishment was only one of several topics discussed at the BSEC forum by experts in various fields. Topics included bio-similar pharmaceuticals, high-technology in medicine, climate change, conservation, clinical ethics, and student consumerism. A diverse mix of nationalities and professions were represented by presenters and audience members. Among those delivering presentations were Dr. Cheryl CoxMacpherson, BSEC President and Chair of SGU’s Bioethics Department; Dr. Derrick Aarons, consultant bioethicist and Past President of BSEC; Dr. Dale Jamieson, Professor of Environmental Studies and Director of the Animal Studies Initiative at NYU; and Dr. Sean Philpott, Director of  the Bioethics Program at Union Graduate College.

Dr. Macpherson, BSEC President, was very pleased at the outcome of this year’s event. “I am always genuinely fascinated by the content and quality of the talks at our annual fora and this one as much as ever,” she commented. “The beauty of it is that although we come from so many different disciplines, we try to find a common language where we can learn from each other and provide fresh insight. This forum has brought these issues to a broad range of people so with respect to the health impacts of climate change, for example, we can all begin to think about both mitigation and adaptation.”

BSEC, established in 2006 by founding members from several Caribbean states, aims to increase knowledge and understanding of bioethics through promoting and fostering deliberations across the English-speaking Caribbean and through international collaboration. Its goal is to make a significant contribution to the overall development and implementation of bioethics in human and animal healthcare, research and policy-making. The next BSEC annual forum will be hosted in Jamaica in 2014.

Skrasek, MD SGU ’06, Opens New OB/GYN Office 10/30/14

Lafayette General Health System in Louisiana opened the doors to a new obstetrics and gynecology office to be operated by Dr. Jimmy Skrasek. In addition to his private practice, Dr. Skrasek will be on staff at Acadia General Hospital.

Danielian Joins HealthCare Partners Medical Group 10/29/14

Alfred Danielian, MD SGU ’07, has joined HealthCare Partners Medical Group in southern Nevada. Utilizing the “Total Care Model,” the physician-run group provides primary, specialty, and urgent care to the Summerlin community.