Dr. Sean Levchuck, SGUSOM Alum, performs life-saving heart surgeries at St. Francis Hospital through Gift of Life

By Katie Serignese.
Special to Newsday

“This is why I do what I do,” said Levchuck, who has done more than 500 surgeries through Gift of Life. “I get personal satisfaction and get to do something for someone I don’t know.”

St. George’s University Announces New Chair of Psychiatry

amy hoffman new chair psychiatryDr. Amy S. Hoffman has been named Chair of St. George’s University’s Department of Psychiatry.  She has been involved with St. George’s University since 2005 as a Professor of Psychiatry, Clerkship Director, DME and Associate Chair of Psychiatry.  Since January 2009, Dr. Hoffman has served the University as Interim Chair of the Department of Psychiatry, “filling the very big shoes,” she said, of St. George’s University’s previous Chair of Psychiatry, Dr. Marvin H. Lipkowitz. Dr. Hoffman is delighted and proud to take on this role from such an esteemed colleague; an individual she views as a mentor in many different capacities.

Dr.  Hoffman received her Doctor of Medicine degree from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1980.   Since then, her career has been marked by influential positions within Departments of Psychiatry of some of New York’s most high profile and reputable hospitals. Her last 18 years have been dedicated to the clinical administration of two hospitals within the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest municipal hospitals and health care systems in the United States.

From July 1991 through January 2009, Dr. Hoffman served Queens Health Network in several key positions, including Director, Residency Training; Director, Chemical Dependency Services; and Director, Ambulatory Behavioral Health.   In January 2008, she assumed the position of Chair, Department of Psychiatry at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, responsible for all department operations including the provision of clinical services, undergraduate and postgraduate education and training, and maintenance of accreditation.

In this capacity, Dr. Hoffman was successful in recruiting St. George’s University students into Lincoln’s clinical program in psychiatry. This, she describes as a “win-win for both the students and the hospital– the hospital has access to a pool of well educated and motivated students, and Lincoln, as a busy, urban teaching hospital, provides these students with a wealth of clinical opportunities.”  With approximately 30 St. George’s University medical students performing their clinical rotations at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center each year, Dr. Hoffman is continually impressed by their ambition and passion.

Dr. Hoffman points out that St. George’s University is well represented by faculty and staff at Lincoln and within HHC.  For example, the Associate Chair of the Psychiatry Department, Dr. Laurence Dopkin is a 1998 SGUSOM graduate, and is joined by several residents who are also SGUSOM alumni. Collectively, Dr. Hoffman believes they provide a meaningful opportunity to “pay forward” to St. George’s University medical students.

Since the vast majority of residents in New York are educated at international medical schools, having such a qualified staff and faculty with a similar education is a tremendous asset.  In fact, Dr. Hoffman frequently draws from her own educational experience abroad, one which she feels provides a unique perspective and cultural sensitivity that is critical to today’s medical practices.

Dr. Hoffman received a bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology from Yale University in 1976. The same year she applied to medical school, and found herself in a large pool of capable yet disheartened colleagues who were not accepted into US medical programs due to an extreme peak of medical school applicants in that year. Determined to not let this delay her academic pursuits, Dr. Hoffman applied to the Faculte Libre de Medecine, and spent her Basic Sciences years in Lille, France.  Dr. Hoffman frequently shares this experience with students as an example of how the process of transforming a “setback” into a “success” can be used as a positive influence for students, trainees and patients.

Dr. Hoffman is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, with added qualifications in Addiction Psychiatry and Forensic Psychiatry.  A native of New York, she resides in Manhattan with her partner and their 13-year-old son.

Staten Island Academy Inducts SGUSOM Student Sarita Konka to Athletic Hall of Fame

SILive.com – Staten Island, NY, USA

The distinguished list of inductees included two record-setting SIA tennis players – Jennifer Boylan (‘95) and Sarita Konka (‘01). Both were introduced by former SIA tennis coach Caroline Crane – and Konka was linked via satellite feed from Grenada, where she’s attending medical school at St. George’s University.

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Formation of Caribbean Public Health Agency Progresses

In response to concerns from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member governments regarding the efficiency of the existing decentralizedblicy, formerly the 61st President of the World Health Assembly and President of the Pan American Health Organization, announced the agreement reached by the Ministers of Health of the CARICOM nations to create a self-sufficient CARPHA by January 1, 2010. news leslie ramsammy health, and applicable IT systems. The CARPHA will provide leadership in creating effective public health interventions in the Caribbean, as well as adjusting models for various situations. The collective agency will produce an annual report regarding the condition of public health in the Caribbean region. An additional goal is the distribution of accurate, consistent, timely, and relevant public health information to various Caribbean and international audiences public health system, Guyana’s Minister of Health, the Hon. Dr. Leslie Ramsammy, PhD, DSc (Hon), presented a seminar at the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), an independent nonprofit organization located on St. George’s University’s  True Blue campus.   Founded in 1994 with funds granted by the University, WINDREF has been dedicated to advancing health and environmental development in both the Caribbean region and worldwide, and provided a fitting setting for the informative presentation.

As the current chair of the steering committee of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Ramsammy explained the history and proposed the future role of the institution, which will be constructed in Trinidad.

Dr. Ramsamm

Additionally, five health-related institutions (RHIs) are to be included within the umbrella of the CARPHA. These RHIs are: the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (Trinidad); the Caribbean Food and Nutrition Institute (Jamaica); the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute (St. Lucia); the Caribbean Health Research Council (Trinidad);and the Caribbean Regional Drug Testing Laboratory (Jamaica).

There are several objectives that the CARPHA, as outlined by Dr. Ramsammy, would carry out. One such task is to implement crucial research on public health priorities in the Caribbean; another is to manage efficient responses to public health crises in the Caribbean. The program also aims to sustain and organize the development of regional standards and networks related to laboratory practice, other pu

Also visiting the St. George’s University True Blue campus and WINDREF was Dr. Sonia Chehil, MD, FRCPC. Dr. Chehil is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Dalhousie University where she holds a joint faculty appointment with the International Section, as well as the Child and Adolescent Division of the Dalhousie Department of Psychiatry. Within the Department, Dr. Chehil is Director of International Psychiatry and Associate Director of the WHO Collaborating Center in Mental Health.

Through the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Chehil has been working to promote the strengthening of health system capacity in mental health in the region of the Caribbean for nearly a decade. Dr. Chehil has partnered with PAHO, Health Canada, the Nova Scotia Department of Health, and other Dalhousie University faculties to support Government Ministries of Health in the region in mental health policy development, legislative review, advocacy, training of health personnel, and integrated service development. In 2006, Dr. Chehil was appointed the Mental Health Technical Advisor in Guyana’s Ministry of Health.
Outside of the Caribbean, Dr. Chehil has also participated in a range of mental health technical projects in Qatar, the Gambia, Tanzania, Chile, and Brazil. Dr. Chehil completed an Honors Bachelor of Science degree in Immunology and Neuroscience, and a master’s degree in Educational Psychology prior to beginning medical school at Dalhousie University. Following medical school, she completed her postgraduate medical training in Psychiatry, as well as specialty training in both Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and International Psychiatry. During her visit to St. George’s University, she held discussions with members of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Chehil has just been appointed as a Senior Research Fellow in WINDREF.

SGUSOM Secures Canadian Clinical Affiliation

After many months of negotiations, St. George’s University has secured a formal affiliation agreement for a clinical program in Canada.

Beginning January 2010, St. George’s University School of Medicine will officially add Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) to its impressive list of clinical affiliates.  A pilot program will allow SGUSOM students in their senior year to continue their medical training at Vancouver General Hospital by rotating through psychiatry for a six week elective.

Dr. Matthew Myatt, an SGUSOM graduate and Director, Canadian Clinical Program Development, played an integral role in securing this significant partnership.  “A formal agreement with a Canadian hospital will now open doors for future affiliations in other provinces and greater opportunities for Canadian medical students at St. George’s”, he said.  Dr. Myatt explained that this process, albeit challenging, was essential.  Although several SGU graduates have obtained residencies in Canada, it is a very difficult process.  While not official, it is almost a requirement for residency to participate in Canadian rotations and obtain a reference letter from a practicing Canadian physician.  This, combined with a lengthy application process, extra examinations, and associated fees, makes obtaining residency challenging.

Through the collaborative efforts of many individuals including Dr. Stephen Weitzman, Dean of the School of Medicine, Robert Ryan, Associate Dean of Enrolment Planning, and SGU’s Dr. Robert Jordan, St. George’s University is well on its way to expanding its strong clinical program in Canada.  Dr. Myatt also credits Dr. Soma Ganesan, Medical Director, Department of Psychiatry at Vancouver General Hospital and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and Dr. Hiram Mok, Clinical Associate Professor, UBC Department of Psychiatry, for their vision and understanding that St. George’s University students can contribute to the healthcare system in Canada.  Both Dr. Ganesan and Dr. Mok will serve St. George’s University as VGH Director of Medical Education and VGH Clerkship Director respectively.

With the shortage of physicians in Canada on the rise, and approximately 15% of Canadians (4.1 million people) without a primary care physician, the need for qualified medical doctors is grave.  To combat the shortage, which is largely due to an increase in population and the rise of retiring Canadian physicians, the government of Canada has increased enrollment in its 16 medical schools, further limiting opportunities for foreign medical school graduates. With over 600 Canadian students in the medical program at St. George’s University, the University has taken a key step forward in providing them the opportunities they have both earned and deserve.

St. George’s University Medical Students Attend AMREF Tropical Medicine Selective in Kenya

Bahamas Press

Students from St George’s University School of Medicine, Grenada, have visited Kenya to take part in the first practical tropical medicine course to be held in collaboration with the African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF), one of Africa’s leading health development organisations.

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IFMSA Membership on Horizon for St. George’s University

St. George’s University is now a candidate member of the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA).  IFMSA represents more than one million medical students from over 100 countries, and as an international, independent federation of medical students has numerous benefits to its members and member countries.

IFMSA recognition is significant, particularly for an institution like St. George’s University, whose academic and social foundation is rooted in global health care awareness and education. Through partnerships with external organizations that include the World Health Organization (WHO) and  United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  , IFMSA has established a myriad of opportunities for its members to learn, share and contribute to the eradication of public health problems that we, as a global community, face each day.

The IFMSA candidate qualification process must not be underestimated, as witnessed first hand by St. George’s University medical student Alex Drossos.  As a Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP) student from Canada, Alex was all too familiar with the requirements from IFMSA, as he, along with fellow KBTGSP student Morgan Rice were integral in establishing the KBTGSP as one of the newest members of Medsin, the UK branch of IFMSA. As part of the KBTGSP, accepted students spend the first year of SGU’s basic sciences program as well as the Northumbria University’s DipHE in biomedical sciences in Newcastle, United Kingdom.

Alex presented Grenada as a candidate to the IFMSA Executive Board at its General Assembly in Tunisia last March.  He is grateful to St. George’s University’s Dr. Calum Macpherson, Vice Provost for International Program Development, for his support and encouragement throughout this rewarding endeavor.

One of the many benefits to IFMSA membership, explained Alex, occurs through Standing Committee on Professional Exchange (SCOPE), the largest and arguably most innovative project within IFMSA. SCOPE brings together medical students from across the globe through international clerkships and exchanges with opportunities in research, clinical and clinical sub-specialties.  This arm of IFMSA is expanding, and now initiates more than 8000 student exchanges per year in 85 participating countries.  This professional exchange opportunity builds on the necessary organization skills, leadership qualities and teamwork approach so essential to present day medical practice.

IFMSA member countries are also invited to participate in collaborative symposiums which focus on many issues related to Global Health including: the implementation of international standards for medical education; prevention of nuclear war; overpopulation; pollution; and primary health care.  In fact, in March 2008, 50 KBTGSP students attended the Medsin Global Health Conference at Oxford University.  This was a wonderful opportunity to join nearly 500 UK-based medical students at a high profile event which featured world renowned global health experts.

IFMSA encourages its medical students to take an active part in preventing and making policies concerning public health.  This is a philosophy that mirrors that of St. George’s University, as its students are driven by a strong will and responsibility to improve health care both on a local level throughout Grenada and on a global scale.

It is Alex’s hope that IFMSA membership will serve to empower the St. George’s University student body as a whole, encouraging further collaborations within its individual schools and Graduate Studies Program.

Alex is planning to pursue a career in Adolescent Psychiatry and hopes to spend some time abroad assisting children in developing countries.  He began the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program in 2007, joined by his wife and fellow Canadian Kara Schnarr, who is also a student in the Program..

Founded in 1951, IFMSA was established as an independent, non-governmental and non-political federation of medical students’ associations throughout the world.

St. George’s University’s Knowledge Bowl Finals

The girls of St. Joseph’s Convent (SJC) secondary school emerged victorious at St. George’s University Knowledge Bowl Championship finals held at St. George’s University’s Charter Hall on March 28th. This is the second win for the SJC since the inception of this high profile academic quiz competition four years ago.  The Convent girls battled worthy opponent, Beacon High School, in the final match of the 2008-2009 season, accumulating a total of forty-three points to Beacon’s thirty-six.  Minister of Education Senator Franka Bernadine presented the challenge trophy to the winning team in the presence of over 600 supporters and students.

The eight-week competition began with eighteen secondary schools from Grenada. The final six fought their way to the quarter finals, including the 2007-2008 champion Anglican High School (AHS); the 2006-2007 champion, the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS); MacDonald College and the St. Andrew’s Anglican Secondary School (SASS). The SJC champions and Beacon High School won the right to compete for the title when they defeated the Grenada Boys Secondary School (GBSS) and MacDonald College, respectively, in the SGU/Flow–CC6 inter-secondary school quiz competition.

At the end of round one, SJC led by seven points after successfully attempting the five-point bonus question that completed the Science and Technology round.  However, during the second round Beacon closed in by one point.  The third and final General Knowledge round was decisive and the Convent girls refused defeat.  The SJC team was coached by Melissa Garraway and Rosana John, a member of the Convent’s inaugural champion team. Team members were Janelle Gravesande, Arlene Hayes, Reisa Belfon, Deidre Greenidge, and Kevliann Andrews. The Beacon team was coached by Kaiem Joseph and Naudia Worme.  Team members were Avery Brown, Brittney Baptiste, Michael Edwards, Chad Pascal, and Kishonna Phillip.

The SGU Knowledge Bowl is a collaborative event between St. George’s University and several corporate sponsors including The Grenada Cooperative Bank Ltd., and Flow Grenada http://flowgrenada.com/default-7.html, the Island’s cable service provider, each having generously contributed the prizes for winners and participants.  The Grenada Postal Corporation once again supplied meals and snacks throughout the competition, while Glenelg Spring Water also came on board, for the fourth year, as the official drink of the competition.  The Grenada Electricity Services Ltd (GRENLEC) and Kool Systems Ltd. also joined the corporate sponsors of the competition. The generosity of all sponsors demonstrates their commitment to community development and helped ensure another successful season of the SGU Knowledge Bowl.

The SJC team members each took home Certificates of Excellence, a choice of individual $500 Honey Bee or Super Starter accounts from the Grenada Cooperative Bank; individual laptop computers from the University and Flow; three months free internet service from Flow; a grand prize of $10,000 for the school from St. George’s University; and the Challenge Trophy. The team’s two coaches were each presented with a voucher for a trip to New York by Flow.

The Beacon team members were each awarded Certificates of Merit; a choice of individual $500 Honey Bee or Super Starter accounts from the Grenada Cooperative Bank Ltd.; and $5000 for the school from SGU.  Their coaches won a two-night stay for two at La Sagesse Nature Centre and Petite Anse Resort from SGU, CC6, Petite Anse, and La Sagesse Nature Centre.

The semi-finalists, GBSS, and MacDonald College were presented with Certificates of Achievement; a choice of $250 dollar individual Honey Bee or Super Starter accounts from the Grenada Cooperative Bank Ltd.; and a computer system for each school, compliments Kool Systems Ltd. Members of all other teams received Certificates of Participation.

St. George’s University, Flow Grenada, and all the sponsors congratulate the SGU Knowledge Bowl participants on embodying the true spirit of this competition, and representing their schools with pride, determination, and grace.  Event organizers, the Ministry of Education, school principals, coaches, sponsors, competition coordinator Mrs. Carol Antoine, and the competition staff all worked together to produce an important event that encourages and facilitates a healthy academic exchange between Grenada’s secondary schools.

The match and prize-giving ceremony were broadcast LIVE on Flow’s Community Channel 6 (CC6). The entire season of the SGU Knowledge Bowl will be rebroadcast every Tuesday and Thursday on Community Channel 6 at 8:00 pm.

The 2008-2009 SGU Knowledge Bowl finals were the culmination of a Career Day jointly hosted by St. George’s University and the Rotary Club of Grenada

Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine: A Thriving and Crucial University Entity Celebrates 10th Anniversary

news 10publichealth1Since its inception in 1999, St. George’s University’s Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine (PHPM) has proven itself an integral entity within the University community and beyond.  As the University embarks upon the significant 10 year anniversary we reflect upon its successful evolution and the individuals whose contributions brought this Department to its current place of global influence in the public health sector.

The program began under the leadership of Marjorie Hamrell, who upon her return to the United States, passed the reins to Dr. Amuleru-Marshall in 2001.  Today, Marjorie Hamrell plays an active role in Volunteers in Medicine Institute (www.vimi.org), a not-for-profit organization based in Vermont which helps people create free clinics in their communities.

As Chair of the Department, Dr. Amuleru-Marshall’s dedication and determination strengthened the program and helped raise its profile for formal accreditation through the  Council for Education in Public Health (CEPH). The PHPM is now in the final stages of this very comprehensive yet crucial formal recognition process, one which will ultimately serve to enhance the University’s global recognition as a Public Health Institution, attracting students and top-tier faculty worldwide and forging research links with other leading academic institutions.  Upon approval, St. George’s University will be the third Public Health Program outside of the United States recognized by the CEPH.

Dr. Amuleru-Marshall’s efforts are most evident to the 348 students who have completed the MPH program since its inception.   He was also instrumental in the development of the MPH/MD program which to date has afforded 72 SGU graduates the opportunity to achieve their goal of becoming a physician while imbuing them with the awareness of public health issues which will stand them in good stead in the health sector of the 21st century.  Under his guidance, the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine provided public health education to medical and veterinary medical students and professionals, as well as students and professionals with other backgrounds, aimed at improving the health and well-being of populations, communities and individuals. The PHPM developed into a center of excellent public health teaching, which was further enhanced by collaborative research projects with the Windward Islands Research and Education Foundation (WINDREF), an independent research institute located at St. George’s University, local Caribbean governments and institutions in the United States, the United Kingdom and more.

As the University itself continues to expand, so too does this Department’s mission to embrace and promote the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” concept. This philosophy focuses on the convergence of animal, human and ecosystem health and is critical to the well being of our global society.  Dr. Amuleru-Marshall worked tirelessly to promote this mission through participation in events like the American Public Health Association Conference (APHA) and National Public Health Week which SGU so proudly sponsored at True Blue.

The University is indebted to Dr. Amuleru-Marshall’s service, and as we embark on a new direction which includes greater emphasis on research and local and regional community service, we wish him well as he graciously hands over the responsibilities of the Department to Dr. Omur Cinar Elci.  Dr. Amuleru-Marshall’s immediate plans include returning to his greatest love of teaching.  He will continue to advocate for the PHPM, drawing upon his expertise and serving SGU as an ambassador in the Caribbean region.

Dr. Omur Cinar Elci brings more than 20 years of Public Health, Epidemiology and Occupational Health field experience to his role as SGU Professor and Epidemiology Track Director. His areas of expertise include Study Design and Research Methodology, Occupational Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Problem-based Medical Education. Dr. Elci, recently selected Chair of Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, will strive to establish collaborative efforts within all schools and department of St. George’s as well as develop relationships with governmental and community based agencies in Grenada and the region.

Throughout his career, Dr. Elci has led by example, serving the community, albeit Grenada or his native Turkey, through a myriad of effective and innovative programs. In a recent initiative with the Ministry of Health in Grenada, he and junior faculty Mr. Gerard St. Cyr, Coordinator of Undergraduate Public Health Education, organized and conducted a training course in epidemiology for its workers.  Twenty five participants holding positions which include Community, Public Health, Surveillance Nurses and Medical Officers, took part in four sessions of basic epidemiology training courses designed to introduce fundamental tools of epidemiology which can be used in the daily activities at the Ministry of Health.   The program was a success and set the stage for further collaborations including continued training.

Dr. Elci was previously Associate Professor at East Carolina University and Medical Director at the North Carolina Agromedicine Institute in Greenville, North Carolina. Dr Elci, who enjoys reading, piloting, wildlife, camping, hiking and sailing, received his PhD in Public Health at the Dokuz Eylul University, Certificate in Occupational Health Practice at the Turkish Medical Association and his MD at Ege University in Turkey.

The addition of several other key faculty members with public health experience in both medical and veterinary fields – notably Dr. Muge Akpnar-Elci and Dr. Satesh Bidaissee – demonstrates the University’s commitment to continuing the public health tradition set by the first strong 10 years.

St. George’s University looks forward to continued growth and development of the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine as it approaches a new decade as an international center of academic excellence in public health.

417 Take Oath at School Of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

Dr. Joshua Hauser’s Inspiring Keynote on Medicine’s Delicate Balance of Compassion and Science.

news somwwc09 group

A central part of the White Coat Ceremony showcases students swearing a professional oath

St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) officially welcomed a new class of 417 medical students to its Grenada campus on January 25, 2009.  This was a highly qualified class of students from 27 countries. Keynote speaker Dr. Joshua Hauser drew upon an extensive career in Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, providing invaluable insight into medicine’s delicate balance of compassion and science. Dr. Reginald Abraham, a board certified cardiothoracic and vascular surgeon in Southern California and a graduate from St. George’s University’s School of Medicine Class of 1990, served as Master of Ceremonies.

Dr. Joshua Hauser, a graduate of Harvard Medical School in 1995, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Palliative Care at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University; Director of Education at the Buehler Center on Aging, Health and Society; and Director of the Education on Palliative and End of Life (EPEC) Project.

Since a central part of the White Coat Ceremony showcases students swearing a professional oath, promising to act with integrity and in an ethical manner during their training and career in medicine, the selection of Dr. Hauser to deliver the keynote address was most appropriate.  Though he himself had admittedly never participated as a student in a White Coat Ceremony, his interpretation of its symbolism and how that has applied throughout his career offered these future physicians an interesting and important perspective; one that relies on caring, compassion, and science as the foundation of medicine.

The Keynote Address

As a palliative care physician and an internist, Dr. Hauser’s clinical work focuses on quality of life, symptom control and support for seriously ill patients and their families.  Dr. Hauser explained that since many of his patients are dying, they and their families are faced with many difficult and emotional decisions.  “One of the things that I love about palliative care is that there are often very specific medical things to do and think about…and there are also opportunities to help patients and families deal with something that I sometimes call ‘the big picture’.”  Here-in lays the delicate and crucial balance of caring and compassion and medical science.  In palliative care, Dr. Hauser explained, symptom management is the science, and helping patients and families cope with illness and dying is the caring and compassion part.

To this, Dr. Hauser added five more recently recognized values and behaviors he has embraced: curiosity; a tolerance for uncertainty; humor; passion; and service.  Beginning with curiosity, he explained that practicing medicine is “fundamentally about entering into other people’s lives,” whether figuratively as does a psychiatrist or literally as by an internist.  Dr. Hauser continued, “All physicians…require motivation in the form of curiosity: a curiosity that motivates you to want to know about someone’s life, to dig deeper into their situation or to perfect an operation.” Drawing upon personal experiences, Dr. Hauser explained that being curious will not only help diagnose a patient’s illness but has a direct benefit for the physician.  Very often, he explained, asking a patient a few simple questions about themselves, their life and family, will inspire us to reflect on our own lives, seeing the humor and the sadness, and most importantly keep us engaged in the work.

Uncertainty, said Dr. Hauser is an inevitability of medicine and accepting the uncertainty will help bring you closer to your patient and your colleagues.  In emphasizing the need for humor in the profession, Dr. Hauser made reference to his specialty of palliative care, which is by definition not supposed to be funny. This is precisely why humor is so necessary, as it is frequently through humor that a physician can connect with a patient and perhaps improve not only their day, but his own.

In closing, Dr. Hauser acknowledged that the role these characteristics play in their lives will change and evolve over time, but he encouraged them to keep them at the forefront as they begin their education and reflect upon them continuously throughout their careers.

Master of Ceremonies Dr. Reginald Abraham

Master of Ceremonies Dr. Reginald Abraham

SGU’s 1990 graduate, Dr. Abraham, was an entertaining and humorous master of ceremonies.   He connected with the entering class with heartfelt words of his own and he exhorted them to work hard and develop confidence in what they do and compassion for their patients.   Dr. Abraham’s particular interest in minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery and off pump bypass surgery (OPCAB) is the subject of his many lectures.  He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American College of Cardiology, and the American College of Chest Physicians, as well as a board member of the American Heart and Stroke Association.  Dr. Abraham has conducted extensive research and published in the fields of ulcer, cardiovascular medicine, cardiac physiology and robotics in cardiac surgery.  His current interests are in global investment and development in innovative technologies, building and growing state-of-the-art heart institutes.

Dr. Hauser has held numerous leadership roles in national efforts in Palliative Care and Medical Ethics, and has been recognized with the International Society for the Advancement of Humanistic Studies in Medicine’s Young Physicians Award for Humanism and the Department of Medicine’s Teaching Award by Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University.

He has served as past chairman of a National Institutes of Health study section on research ethics; past co-chairman of the program committee for the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities; and a current member of the ethics committee for the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.  His research, which focuses on the development of strategies to support family caregivers in palliative care, has been published in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals including JAMA; the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management; Journal of Palliative Care; andAcademic Medicine.  Dr. Hauser has also dedicated his services to many different volunteer positions, including as a physician at the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans and the Maria Shelter, a physician advisor for the Southside Sarcoidosis Support Group, and a volunteer physician for Connections for the Homeless in Evanston, Illinois.

Welcoming Family and Friends

The University was equally excited to have over 100 of these students’ family members participate in the “Beyond Spice” Parents’ Weekend, an opportunity to showcase the True Blue campus facilities and the Island.  Family members from as far off as Ireland, the United States, and Canada were invited to informative and culturally entertaining events, such as: campus and Island tours, an orientation cruise, student and faculty presentations, question and answer sessions.  All were designed to enhance their comfort level and familiarity with the University.  The success of the previous two Parents’ Weekends reinforces the innate value of such an event.  The faculty and staff at St. George’s University plan to incorporate this endeavor into future White Coat Ceremony events.

Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) Induction

The White Coat Ceremony also welcomed the 2008 inductees into SGUSOM’s Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS).  Each year, a group of peer-nominated students who demonstrate humanistic characteristics during their time in medical school, including mentoring skills, community service, and observance of professional ethics, receive this award. Congratulations to the 2008 Inductees:

Kanchi Chadha
Christina Goette
Richard Gordon
Catherine Gribbin
Leslie Griffin
Colette Haywood
Robert Herring
Panagiota Korenis
Peter J. Lee
Louis Mazzella
Matthew Myatt
Purvi Parikh
Ruchi Parikh
Sara Safarzadeh Amiri
Carsten Stracke
Eric Thomas
Shunling Tsang
Michael Westerman

The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) was established in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to foster and acknowledge humanism among medical students. The GHHS has been established at 47 US medical schools and three international medical schools since its inception. St. George’s University became one of the three in 2005.

Read Dr. Hauser’s complete Keynote Address