The tension was palpable in the operating room. For Dr. Mark Lanzieri, MD SGU ’85, it should have been a routine procedure – he had performed it more than a thousand times over his 22-year medical career. But this was different. It was the first time Dr. Lanzieri, or anyone, had performed an angiogram in Grenada.
That day, Dr. Lanzieri performed not one, but two, angiograms as part of the St. George’s University Visiting Cardiology Program,” calling them “the most invasive procedures we have ever done here.” In the past, Grenadians have had to fly to one other Caribbean islands or as far away as New York or Miami to have these procedures.
He and his team, which included his wife Annie Lanzieri, an X-ray technologist and cardiovascular specialist, and Leigh Silver from Medtronic Company, had to modify the imaging equipment available at the General Hospital to make the angiograms possible. The team brought supplies and equipment to perform the angiograms including monitoring equipment supplied on loan by Zoll Medical Corporation. In the end, both angiograms were completely successful and uncomplicated.
Dr. Lanzieri, who has been doing cardiology screening, consultation, and surgeries in Grenada for the past 14 years as part of the Visiting Cardiology Program, explained that angiography involved using a special dye to obtain images of the blood vessels of the heart with an X-ray. This diagnostic procedure, detects the level of blockage of a patient’s coronary artery, which is important, since patients with severe artery blockage are at risk for heart attacks.
For Dr. Lanzieri, this is a surprising part of his own professional development. “This is very professionally rewarding for us,” he said. “It is fun and refreshing to do the things you do routinely in an environment that requires you to rethink everything from the beginning.”
The Visiting Cardiology Program, which provides heart care for adult Grenadians free of cost to them, keeps growing. “We’re seeing more patients in a month in this clinic than we probably saw in an entire year in the first few clinics that we ran,” said Dr. Lanzieri, recalling the program’s comparatively humble beginnings about 14 years ago in a single room at the General Hospital. Now the program has a dedicated center at Grand Anse, more and more St. George’s University alumni and friends of SGU are signing on and dedicating their time and expertise for the monthly clinics, and new services, like angiography, are being introduced. To date, the 24 cardiologists who participate in the program have seen more than 3,300 patients and the value of their time and the equipment they donated has exceeded $500,000 US.
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Fifth-term medical student Anne Walker described the latest step in her journey to becoming an MD as “simply exhilarating.” Ms. Walker and nine of her colleagues journeyed to rural India in December 2012 for a two-week India Medical Experience Selective at Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences University Karad (KIMS).
“I was honestly a little nervous about my energy level and wondered how much I would get from the program,” she confided, “especially since I was traveling to Mumbai the morning after our last final. However, I was energized by what I found when I arrived—a group of wonderful doctors, residents and administrators who were welcoming and eager to teach us.”
At this state-of-the-art teaching hospital, the students benefited from first-hand patient experience in a region with a high incidence of oral and breast cancers.
“We were present during a patient interview where a woman presented with a breast lump that had been increasing in size,” Ms. Walker said of her first day at the hospital. “The doctor took the time to explain the essential parts of the patient interview, after which we were given the chance to palpate and analyze the lump ourselves. Four days later, we were given the opportunity to observe the mastectomy for this same patient.”
Buzzing with excitement, she remarked, “It is one thing to learn about ductal carcinomas and their proper treatment in a Robbins Pathology textbook. It is quite another thing entirely to participate in the care of a patient.”
Selective students gain experience with taking patient history, conducting physical examinations, outpatient and inpatient treatments, alternative health care delivery systems, and KIMS community outreach projects designed to educate patients on the prevention and management of disease.
The curriculum provides both a diversity and continuity of experience as the students rotated through the hospital following their cases to their completion.
“The hands-on nature of the selective allowed me to really absorb everything I was learning, and I believe my experience there will prove invaluable especially as I start clinicals this coming August,” Ms. Walker said. “I would highly recommend this selective program for future SGU students and would be happy to be an ambassador for it.”
The India Medical Experience Selective was launched in July 2010, and qualifying fourth-term medical students travel to The Krishna Institute of Medical Sciences University Karad (KIMS) in June and December each year. KIMS is an 845-bed modern hospital with facilities for critical care, joint replacement, endoscopic surgeries, dialysis and more. Students have access to all state-of-the-art equipment at the Institute, including radio-diagnosis investigations: MRI, CT scans, mammograms, and color Doppler. St. George’s University students also join medical and dental students from diverse Indian backgrounds as well as students from other countries, working together in a hospital setting and living side by side on campus.
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For the second consecutive year, a group of St. George’s University graduates will go head to head with the most renowned business schools in the world.
Gary Chan, MD ’12; Felicia Chee, MD ’06; Sung Shim, MD ’12; Mark Harman, MD ’12; and Jennifer Lopez, DVM ’11, will represent SGU in the prestigious Hult Prize competition, a start-up accelerator that, in conjunction with the Clinton Global Initiative, will award $1 million in start-up funding for a team to launch its sustainable social venture.
“The Hult Competition is an excellent opportunity for our university to participate in a meaningful project for the global community,” remarked Dr. Chan, the team’s leader.
The St. George’s Hult Competition Team will take part in the Boston regional March 1-3. Of nearly 10,000 applicants worldwide, the St. George’s University team was among 350 colleges and universities that were selected for the regional round, joining the likes of Harvard University, Stanford University, and The Wharton School. Regionals will also be held at the fourth other Hult International Business School campuses in San Francisco, London, Dubai, and Shanghai, as well as from Hult’s online competition. The winners from each regional will advance to the Hult Prize (formerly Hult Global Case Challenge) final in New York City for the chance to win a $1 million cash grant to carry out their plan.
“Participating in the Boston regional is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Harman. “Not only do we have the opportunity to learn new skills and ideas, but we also get to make a concrete impact on the world.”
This year’s St. George’s Hult Competition Team is working to resolve the issue of food security in urban areas in which women and children suffer from malnutrition. It includes studying and researching social entrepreneurship, government, microfinance, community gardens, coops, consumer distribution, and industry infrastructure, among other topics, to devise a hybrid “social business” that can solve the issue.
As doctors and veterinarians, they’re accustomed to coming up with solutions that suit the short- and long-term needs of their patients. Dr. Harman also said that their international medical education allows them tackle global health issues from a unique perspective.
“We have woven each of our unique contributions, along with our medical/veterinarian experiences, into our plan,” he said. “In this way, we have not only come up with solutions that feed residents of slums, but that improve their overall health and ability to contribute to society, as a whole and reduce strain on health systems.”
The team has been advised by Dr. Kristine Kawamura, director of the MBA program, and Dr. Satesh Bidaisee, associate professor and deputy chair of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.
“Dr. Kawamura has been an excellent mentor by bringing the experience of last year’s team to our meetings, and helping us optimize our preparation time, and Dr. Bidaisee has been an enthusiastic faculty member in our project, and brings a wealth of experience to our group,” Dr. Chan said.
It is the second straight year that St. George’s University has reached the regional round of the competition. In 2012, Team Nathan – Arian Robert, BSc; Nathan Kwablah, MD ’11; Stephanie Nanayakkara, MD ’10; Theodor Gottlieb, MD ’00; and Yon Chong, MPH, MD ’08 – presented at the Boston regional on the topic of global poverty.
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Time and again, the patients of Dr. Louis Guida, president and CEO of Bay Shore Allergy and Asthma Specialty Practice on Long Island, thank him for the care he provides – which consistently goes above and beyond. There’s the time a deaf three-year-old received a customized injection of special medication which resulted in him gaining his hearing for the first time. And then there’s Dr. Guida’s cystic fibrosis patient who has managed to live to his 70s when the average lifespan for those stricken with the disease is 37. Dr. Guida doesn’t simply care about the disease; he cares deeply about the person who has the disease.
The 1984 graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine is thankful as well. He always wanted to be a doctor, and each day such success stories remind him of why he loves his job.
“One of the most important things to me is giving patients a better quality of life, whether they’re young, middle-aged, or elderly and in a nursing home,” Dr. Guida said.
In addition to his role at Bay Shore Allergy, Dr. Guida has served as medical director of the Allergy/Asthma and Cystic Fibrosis Centers at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, NY, since 1990, and medical director of pediatric pulmonology and allergy and asthma at St. Charles Hospital in Port Jefferson, NY, since 2008. He also cares for patients at a nursing home in nearby St. James.
Dr. Guida, who was named a “Top Doctor” by US News & World Report in 2012 and “Top Doctor” by Castle Connolly from 2008 to 2012, estimates that he visits with 30 to 50 new patients each week, or between 2,000 and 3,000 new patients per year. No case is the same. He can capably address the concerns from a wide range of patients in part because of the wide range of experiences presented to him at SGU. He was taught by professors in the top of their fields and from all over the world. The faculty wasn’t just decorated but they were accessible, oftentimes offering their expertise one-on-one before or after class.
“You don’t get that kind of opportunity in a lot of other places,” he said. “We were fortunate to get that. It was just phenomenal.”
In addition to appreciating all that the University and the island of Grenada had to offer, he gained clinical experience in St. Vincent’s in the United Kingdom as well. He initially signed on for six weeks in the UK but ended up staying 18 months.
“At St. George’s, you’re taught to think on our own,” Dr. Guida said. “You’re taught to think outside the box. Unfortunately a lot of physicians now are all textbook knowledge. What Grenada, St. Vincent’s, and England did was teach me think on my own. That’s one of the most important things when you’re caring for a patient, whether it’s an infant, child, adult or the elderly.”
His journey began after receiving his Bachelor of Science in biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 1980. When considering options for medical school, the New Jersey native was pointed to St. George’s University, then an up-and-coming institution in the Caribbean, by Dr. Abdol Islami, the chair of graduate medical education at Saint Barnabas Medical Center in New Jersey, where Dr. Guida was volunteering. He continues to be grateful for all that Chancellor Charles Modica and the University did for him.
“I would have done anything and gone anywhere to become a doctor,” Dr. Guida said. “Every time I see Chancellor Modica to this day, I thank him for giving me the opportunity to become a physician. I have told many students to go down to Grenada to become physicians. If you want to become a doctor, Chancellor Modica will give you the opportunity, and SGU continues to put out wonderful physicians.
“Anybody can be a doctor but it takes a very special person to be a physician,” he continued. “Grenada taught us to be well-rounded physicians.”
Dr. Guida and his wife have four children, ranging from 16 to 22 years old. The family has resided on Long Island since 1990.
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When Tanner Brownrigg set off from his home state of Kansas to enroll at St. George’s University School of Medicine in 2003, he had a vision of where the path would lead him. He wanted to study anesthesiology and return to the Midwest to continue his career.
Nine years later, he’s an anesthesiologist at Ad Vivum Anesthesiology, a group of 10 physicians, practicing anesthesia at a community hospital and an ambulatory surgery center in Kansas City. The plan worked. He’s where he always wanted to be, doing what he always wanted to do.
“I have nothing but great things to say about St. George’s,” he said. “I loved my experience there. I went there with a clear idea in my head of what my future held, and it came to fruition.”
Dr. Brownrigg believes one of the main draws to anesthesiology is the ability to work with a variety of different patient populations. On a daily basis he is able provide care to everyone from infants to expectant mothers to geriatric patients. A typical day’s cases might range from outpatient knee arthroscopies and pediatric ear tube placement to epidurals and cesarean section for child birth, or even heart and brain surgeries. He is an integral part of the process before, during, and after the operation.
“Before the surgery, we take the patients’ history, review their labs and X-rays, and making sure they’re medically stable to proceed with the surgery. Once we get into the operating room, I monitor the patient throughout the operation and am able to respond to acute changes that may take place during the surgery. Then in the post-anesthesia care unit (PACU), I help control the pain and make sure the patient is stable for discharge home or to the hospital floor.”
Upon earning his Doctor of Medicine from SGU, Dr. Brownrigg began his anesthesiology residency at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City in 2007. Paving the way to matching with his chosen specialty and location was an outstanding performance on both Step 1 and 2 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). Dr. Brownrigg finished in the 98th percentile for each exam.
Prior to Match Day, he was confident that he would be paired with one of his top three residency choices. In fact, he had to turn down a number of residency interviews.
“The fact that I scored so well on the USMLE Step 1 and 2 exams was directly related to the quality of the professors at St. George’s and how the classes are structured,” Dr. Brownrigg said. “I never came across a professor that wasn’t willing to help you any way they could. They are at St. George’s purely to teach and it shows.”
He has paid it forward by performing student interviews for the University and attending information sessions in the Kansas City area.
“I’m very grateful that St. George’s gave me the chance to pursue my dream, and as a result I feel it’s important to give back to the school,” Dr. Brownrigg said.
A native of Ottawa, KS, Dr. Brownrigg earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Kansas in 2003, graduating with highest distinction. While in college, he worked as a nurse assistant at a local hospital and performed a variety of volunteer work in the community.
Dr. Brownrigg is certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology and is a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, Missouri Society of Anesthesiologists, and Kansas City Society of Anesthesiologists. He and his wife, Kara, a nurse at St. Luke’s Hospital, reside in Kansas City, Missouri.
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Born and raised in Bermuda, Dr. Kathryn Providence went on to earn her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. She has gone on to a successful career in obstetrics and gynecology, and recently joined the staff at Cherokee Women’s Health Specialists in Woodstock, GA. Dr. Providence is a former Legacy of Excellence scholarship recipient and dean’s list member at SGU.
Fast, accurate, reliable. When it comes to patient testing, health care professionals rely on devices with these qualities. That’s why in December the Iota Epsilon Alpha (IEA) medical student honor society at St. George’s University donated an i-STAT® blood analyzer system valued at $12,000 US to the Grenada General Hospital.
The i-STAT blood analyzer is a portable diagnostic tool that provides testing at the patient bedside offering insight into patient electrolytes, blood gases, cardiac enzymes, and more. Cardiac enzymes are a key determinant of heart function and an important indicator of a heart attack in process. Tests using the blood analyzer provide results within minutes, often minimizing the need for more invasive, expensive procedures.
The Iota Epsilon Alpha (IEA) medical student honor society of St. George’s University dedicates itself not only to promoting academic excellence but to provide for the public health and welfare of the public, particularly the underprivileged.
“The fundamental goal of this donation is to save lives, but more importantly to increase the capabilities of the hospital with the adequate resources,” said IEA president Brian Beckord.
Katherine Yearwood, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Skills, and Dr. Joseph Feldman MD ’89, SGU alumnae and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Hackensack Medical Center in New Jersey, also played an integral role by suggesting equipment that would significantly improve the diagnostic capabilities of the General Hospital. Grenada now joins Trinidad and Barbados as the only islands in the Caribbean to have this revolutionary device.
“The iSTAT machine is going to be extremely beneficial to patient care and patient outcome,” said Dr. George Mitchell, the hospital’s chief medical officer.
Iota Epsilon Alpha has also pledged to fund the cartridges and updates needed throughout the life of the i-STAT blood analyzer, and it donated two pediatric scales for weighing infants, and two pulse oximeters for checking the oxygen saturation of a patient’s blood were also donated to the General Hospital. In 2012, IEA raised over $13,000 US, and incoming president and fifth-term student Raza Mushtaq vowed to carry the mantle into 2013 as they continue to make an impact, one life at a time.
IEA was founded at St. George’s University in 1992, and includes medical students who have excelled academically, and are willing to participate in various extracurricular activities and international health projects. To make this a reality, IEA holds a number of fundraising events such as the WII Olympics and dodge ball tournaments, with a focus on giving back to the island of Grenada.
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Students in St. George’s University School of Medicine and the University’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program waited with excitement, exuberance, and a bit of apprehension. In two ceremonies, in two countries, the Spring 2013 class of 560 medical students took their first step in the journey that is medical school.
It is a milestone that SGU graduate Leslie Griffin, MD, MPH ’08, vividly recalled when as a new medical student she began her medical career at St. George’s University. Dr. Griffin, now a clinical faculty member at University of Tennessee Family Practice, put the feeling into words as the master of ceremonies at the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony in Grenada on Monday, January 21.
“You chose a medical school that will not only provide you with an excellent education, but with access to experiences with diverse medical systems and cultures,” Dr. Griffin said, “Over the next four years you will create lasting relationships that will help you as you advance though the trials of being a medical student on towards residency and beyond.”
Delivering a spirited and passionate address, keynote speaker Charles Twort MA, MD, FRCP, FRCPE, a consultant physician in general and respiratory medicine at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospitals, described the White Coat Ceremony as a symbol of humanism and the coat as a cloak of responsibility, trust, and purity.
“You’re amongst the greatest and the brightest of the crop; however you have a responsibility as a future doctor to link your academic intellect with your care for individual patients,” Dr. Twort said. “The donning of the white coat is a symbol of respect and trust from your patients, but this respect must be earned and kept.”
Emphasizing communication as the key to success, Dr. Twort continued, imploring students to “listen to your patients without interrupting and give them information in words they can understand. Avoid medical jargon so your patients can confidently and collaboratively make decisions with you about their healthcare.”
The entering class of students in Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars program took their professional oath in a ceremony at Domain Hall within the Northumbria Students’ Union building in Newcastle, UK.
Dr. David Pencheon, the director of the National Health Service (NHS) Sustainable Development Unit, was the keynote speaker for the evening. He explained that patients demand two important qualities from their doctors. First, they must be a strong communicator, particularly by listening thoroughly to their patients’ experiences, abiding by the phrase “Trust me, I’m your patient.”
Second, he insisted that doctors must build and foster lifelong relationships with their clientele, serving as a resource for their patients. Doctors will first do something to a patient, then for a patient, and through forming a strong bond, then ultimately with a patient.
In addition, Dr. Pencheon insisted that the future doctors must distinguish and relay the causes of health, a quality as crucial as seekin g the causes of disease.. Looking ahead to the future, Dr. Pencheon explained the world needs leaders who rank global health foremost among their priorities. He said that doctors shine in critical times, but such situations would not arise if budding issues were addressed before they became a widespread problem.
Addressing the incoming students at the white coat ceremony in Grenada thirty-six years and four days after the School of Medicine accepted its first class; St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica referenced the humble beginnings of the University. Despite its many changes throughout the years, he stated, “One thing that hasn’t changed is the true desire in classes such as this, to become physicians and to serve fellow men, and that’s what we’re all about – pursuing dreams and making them happen.”
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Twenty New York City residents were awarded more than $2.4 million in scholarships through St. George’s University and the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s CityDoctors scholarship program. Among the recipients were sisters Malvi and Miloni Thakker of Queens, who have pledged to earn their MD and then enter a primary care residency program at an HHC hospital. The scholarship program was designed to address the shortage of primary care doctors in New York City.
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HHC Receives Commitment for Primary Care Work from St. George’s University School of Medicine Scholarship Recipients
St. George’s University Dean of the School of Medicine Stephen Weitzman, Health and Human Services, New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation President Alan D. Aviles, St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica and Linda Gibbs, Deputy Mayor awarded $2.4 million to 20 NYC students as part of the CityDoctors medical school scholarship program at Gracie Mansion on Monday, January 7, 2013.
Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs and Health and Hospitals Corporation President Al Aviles today announced that 20 New York City students will receive scholarships totaling $2.4 million to attend St. George’s University School of Medicine under the first year of the CityDoctors scholarship program. In return, the students have committed to give back to their communities by practicing primary care medicine at a New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) hospital after receiving their medical degrees.
The scholarship recipients have been selected based on their academic excellence and financial need and will receive either partial or full scholarships to pay for medical school tuition for periods of up to four years, with some scholarships valued at over $200,000 each. The CityDoctors scholarship program, which was launched by Deputy Mayor Gibbs, HHC President Alan D. Aviles, and SGU Chancellor Dr. Charles Modica in April 2012, will provide more than $11 million in scholarships to New York City residents over five years. The program will help address the national shortage of primary care physicians and also increase opportunity for city youth by making a medical degree and primary care career more accessible for talented young men and women with limited financial resources.
“New York City’s public hospitals and clinics serve over one million New Yorkers each year and are critical providers of culturally competent, patient-centered primary care,” said Deputy Mayor Gibbs. “CityDoctors is drawing some of the best and brightest medical providers to our system, addressing a pending shortfall of talent and ensuring that the patients who rely on us will have dedicated providers for decades to come.”
“Medical schools today are simply not producing enough primary care physicians to meet society’s needs in the future,” said HHC President Alan D. Aviles. “The CityDoctors scholarships help HHC bring quality primary care to New York City residents while also providing an opportunity for medical students with roots in the community to give back.”
“St. George’s has long been dedicated to meeting the need for primary care physicians and we’re proud that our partnership with HHC is helping to meet a growing demand,” said St. George’s University Chancellor Charles Modica. “Our students are uniquely qualified to meet the needs of a diverse population and the skills they acquire throughout their training allows them to return home and give back to their community.”
The first class of CityDoctors Scholarship Program recipients are a diverse group of 12 women and eight men, representing all five boroughs. Many graduated from New York City public high schools, including from Stuyvesant High, Brooklyn Tech, Staten Island Tech, Townsend Harris, Francis Lewis, Midwood and Bronx High School of Science. The winners hold undergraduate degrees from prestigious institutions including the State University of New York, the City University of New York, Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston University, Oberlin College, the New York Institute of Technology and Brooklyn College.
To be eligible, the students had to fulfill all the requirements to be accepted to medical school and meet at least one of the following criteria: graduated from a NYC high school, have five years of residency in NYC, have a parent employed by HHC or the City of New York, or be employed by HHC or the City of New York for at least five years. In return for their scholarships, for each equivalent year of tuition they receive each student has committed to provide one year of service as a primary care attending physician at one of HHC’s 11 public hospitals. Several of the students have already completed part of the medical school educations, while others are beginning their studies this semester.
The CityDoctors scholarship recipients are:
Commitment to HHC
Bios and photos of the scholarship winners can be found at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/hhc/html/pressroom/press-release-20121022-citydoctors-bios.shtml
The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) advises that the U.S. could face a shortage of 90,000 physicians by 2020 and the overall shortage could worsen as the physician workforce ages and retires just as more Americans will need care. The AAMC says a reason for this shortage is that primary care clinicians earn less than half of what the top two earning specialties make, and medical students often choose to enter the higher-paying specialties, rather than primary care, when faced with their medical school loans. Seventy-eight percent of U.S. medical students have a student loan debt of $100,000 or greater. In 2010, medical students graduated from public institutions with an average debt of $148,222 and $172,422 from private institutions.
To apply for the CityDoctors scholarships, applicants submitted essays explaining why they should be awarded this scholarship and how they will contribute to the health care of New York City using their attending position in primary care at an HHC hospital. For more information and to apply for a scholarship, visit the CityDoctors website at www.citydoctors.com.
About HHC The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) is a $6.7 billion integrated healthcare delivery system with its own 420,000 member health plan, MetroPlus, and is the largest municipal healthcare organization in the country. HHC serves 1.4 million New Yorkers every year and more than 475,000 are uninsured. HHC provides medical, mental health and substance abuse services through its 11 acute care hospitals, four skilled nursing facilities, six large diagnostic and treatment centers and more than 70 community based clinics. HHC Health and Home Care also provides in-home services for New Yorkers. HHC was the 2008 recipient of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission’s John M. Eisenberg Award for Innovation in Patient Safety and Quality.
About St. George’s University St. George’s University School of Medicine pioneered the concept of international medical education and remains at the forefront of educating students to meet the demands of the modern practice of medicine. St. George’s University was the first private medical school in the Caribbean, and the first to be accredited by the Caribbean Accreditation Authority for Education in Medicine and Health Professions (CAAM-HP). Its students have come from over 140 countries and its more than 10,000 graduate physicians in the global health care system who have been licensed in all 50 states and Canada and have practiced in over 50 countries around the world. For more information, visit www.sgu.edu.
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