St. George’s University to Host International Veterinary Simulation Conference

Aerial images of Sir Eric Gairy Hall and Andrew J. Belford Centre.

With increased emphasis on simulation at veterinary institutions around the world, the 7th International Veterinary Simulation in Teaching (InVeST) Conference, to be held May 1-3, 2020, at St. George’s University, will welcome researchers, developers, and educators to the island to explore and discuss techniques, technology, and its rapidly growing implementation.

Grenada will be the fifth country outside of the United States to host the conference, following South Africa, Germany, St. Kitts, and Canada.

“It is our pleasure to host the InVeST conference in 2020,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Our university, an international center of excellence, is uniquely positioned to provide a meeting of high scientific quality and training in veterinary simulation. SGU is outfitted with the facilities and personnel to educate conference participants, while the scenic university also offers an atmosphere of relaxation as they earn continuing education credits.”

Participants will include veterinarians, educational institutions, InVeST members, and researchers, along with students and alumni from SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. The two-and-a-half-day conference to be held in the newly established Andrew J. Belford Centre will feature keynote addresses, poster presentations, workshops, a reception, and various social events.

“By creating a space for these experiences and ideas to come together, SGU will continue to drive progress in all areas of veterinary medicine.”

Dr. Neil Olson, SVM Dean

 

Presentation topics previously covered include; effective delivery of simulation with realism and teamwork; best practices in educational technology: from games to virtual reality; getting started with simulation research; and voice user interfaces and their potential role in veterinary education. By partaking in the conference, attendees are eligible to receive 10 RACE credits.

“By creating a space for these experiences and ideas to come together, SGU will continue to drive progress in all areas of veterinary medicine,” said Dr. Olson.

InVeST was established in August 2011 following a successful Veterinary Simulation Exchange symposium hosted by the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO. The group has grown exponentially through the Network of Veterinarians in Continuing Education (NOVICE) project, reconvening every 18 months for the InVeST conference.

“Ultimately, InVeST 2020 will provide an avenue for veterinary medical personnel to thrive and build on their professional knowledge while networking with peers,” said Dr. Olson. “The conference will enhance professional collaboration and camaraderie among veterinary experts, and we are excited to continue the growth of this group of innovators.

SGU’s DVM Program Gains Full Accreditation From Royal College Of Veterinary Surgeons

Adding to its growing list of achievements, the St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) program has received full accreditation from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), the organization that sets the standards of veterinary care in the United Kingdom, through 2024.

As a result of the accreditation, SGU’s DVM graduates, who have also completed the Global Veterinary Health Track, will be eligible to register as members of the RCVS and practice in the UK without further examination. The School of Veterinary Medicine is now one of the few schools in the world to be accredited by both the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE) in the United States and Canada, as well as the RCVS in the UK.

“The RCVS accreditation reaffirms SGU’s commitment to offering the highest-quality education and services to aspiring veterinary students,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine. “Our dual accreditation is a major feather in our cap for the future recruitment of the best and brightest students and faculty to our program from around the world.”

The RCVS is the veterinary regulatory body responsible for monitoring the educational, ethical, and clinical standards of practicing veterinarians in the UK and the Commonwealth of Nations. It evaluated the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program on the following 12 accreditation standards:

  • Organization
  • Finances
  • Facilities and equipment
  • Animal resources
  • Information resources
  • Student caliber
  • Admission and progression criteria
  • Academic and support staff qualifications
  • Curriculum
  • Assessment policies, methods, standards, and quality assurance
  • Research programs, continuing and higher degree education, and
  • Outcomes assessment procedures

Dean Olson was notified of the RCVS accreditation in a September 13 letter and notified students of the achievement that afternoon. The RCVS had first visited SGU in 2017 and offered suggestions and recommendations. It was satisfied that improvements had been made during a recent follow-up visit to the school.

The accreditation builds on the School of Veterinary Medicine’s growing accolades. Last November, the AVMA renewed the SVM’s accreditation through 2025—the maximum seven-year term for accreditation. SGU’s SVM is one of 19 AVMA-accredited schools outside the US, and one of just two in the Caribbean. In addition, SGU’s Small Animal Clinic (SAC) was recently re-accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) through 2022, having earned the full three-year term for re-accreditation.

Now in its 20th year, the School of Veterinary Medicine has graduated nearly 1,700 students who have gone on to practice in 49 states in the United States and 16 other countries around the world. The School maintains partnerships with 31 universities and clinical facilities in the US, UK, Canada, Ireland, and Australia, where fourth-year students spend a year of clinical training at an affiliated veterinary school.

“To be fully accredited by the RCVS puts us right at the top in terms of the quality of training that we provide to our students looking to pursue a career in animal health care,” said Dr. Olson. “As we continue to expand and grow our successful veterinary program at SGU, we will look for further partnerships around the world.”

– Laurie Chartorynsky

Fall 2019 Veterinary Class Embarks on “Unique Odyssey”

Once a St. George’s University student herself, Deborah Coy, MD ’88, returned to Grenada 17 years later with the eldest of her three daughters, Danielle, now a first-term School of Veterinary Medicine student at SGU. The veterinarian-in-training joined her Class of 2023 brethren in August for the SVM White Coat Ceremony, marking their entry into the veterinary medical profession.

This fall marks the 20-year anniversary of the school opening its doors in True Blue. Dr. Coy marveled as the changes to campus, and cherished the opportunity to coat her daughter as she took the next step toward becoming a career in veterinary medicine.

“The changes to the campus since the last time I was here are so impressive. I love it,” enthused Dr. Coy, now a practicing pediatrician in Towaco, NJ. “I am so very proud that my daughter chose to attend SGU. I feel like she’s reliving what I did so many years ago.”

“In a way, I grew up here at SGU,” shared Danielle Macstudy. “My mom brought me back several times until I was about 4 or 5 years old. I’ve always known I wanted to work with animals, so from a young age I knew I wanted to become a veterinarian. Then I fell in love with SGU from hearing all of these wonderful stories from my mom.

“That’s why I wanted to come here just like she did.”

Also returning to SGU was alumnus and master of ceremonies Tatiana De Oliveira, DVM SGU ’12. She welcomed them to the veterinary medical profession, assuring them that opportunities were boundless but also reminding them, that regardless of which career path they took, they would now have the ability to make a huge impact on the lives of people and animals.

“Get to know your amazing faculty. They are your biggest supporters,” she encouraged. “Go explore this beautiful island, there’s so much to do, to see, and to learn. Remember to set goals for yourself, big and small. And finally stay focused and seek help when times get tough. Always remember why you started this journey in the first place and remember how inspired you are today.”

In his keynote address, Dr. Willie M. Reed, an internationally recognized expert in avian pathology, diagnostic medicine, and infectious diseases, also touted St. George’s University for providing an excellent foundation for more than 1,600 veterinarians since opening in 1999. He advised the students to set their goals one brick higher than they thought possible on the foundation that they would be given as veterinary students. He encouraged them to never stop pursuing their dreams, to always have more dreams than memories, and that dreams don’t end upon admission to veterinary school.

“You will be the leaders who must guide the veterinary profession as it expands its horizons in the 21st century,” stated Dr. Reed, dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Professor of Veterinary Anatomic Pathology at Purdue University. “The challenges will be significant, but rest assured the next four years will prepare you to assume this mantle of responsibility. I encourage you to take full advantage of the unique odyssey you are about to embark upon to fulfill the potential which each of you possesses.”

St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine recently earned full reaccreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Council on Education. This allows SGU graduates to seek licensure in the United States and Canada after passing the North American Veterinary Licensing Examination. It also allows US students to apply for federal loans and deferments through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program.

St. George’s University students spend their first three years in Grenada and complete their final year of study at an accredited affiliated school. The SVM has clinical partnerships with 29 other universities in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and Grenada.

– Ray-Donna Peters

Summer Academy Provides Students With Insight Into Medical and Veterinary Medical Careers

In its 17th year, the St. George’s University Med/Vet Summer Leadership Academy continued to provide an insider’s view for college and high school students interested in exploring a career in medicine or veterinary medicine. This summer also marked the largest turnout since the program’s inception in 2002, with 133 aspiring physicians and veterinarians visiting the University’s True Blue campus in Grenada.

The high school student program ran for 10 days, while the Medical Leadership component of the college student program spanned 12 days. Qualified students are eligible for college credit through the School of Arts and Sciences.

“By coming here, students get the opportunity to decide for themselves whether or not this career choice is right for them,” said Avi Bahadoor-Yetman, director of the Med/Vet Summer Leadership Academy. “This experience will either reinforce their passion to practice medicine or veterinary medicine or help them decide this is not the professional path for them.”

Hailing from the United States, Canada, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines and more than 10 other countries, the students were taught through a series of lectures, small-group problem solving sessions, hands-on training, and practical lab work. This year’s lectures ranged from cardiology and neurology to musculoskeletal and gastroenterology, and each is followed by sessions in the anatomy lab during which students work with human and animal cadavers.

However, the program isn’t all work. The academics are balanced out by watersports such as sailing, waterskiing, and snorkeling, as well as hiking through Grenada’s rainforests and other activities that highlight the culture and beauty of the island.

Nonetheless, fatigue is built into program and no matter the schedule, the 15-hour days are by design.

“Attending medical school or veterinary school is both rigorous and exhausting in nature,” said Ms. Bahadoor-Yetman. “Hence the program is designed to create an authentic experience successfully balancing a challenging academic program with extracurricular activities. They get a taste of curriculum, SGU, and Grenada. In addition, the quality of the professors and the organization of the staff help make this an invaluable experience that enhances students’ knowledge in the field of medicine or veterinary medicine, while also offering a tremendous opportunity for personal growth and self-discovery.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

St. George’s University Grants Four Honorary Degrees, Service Awards During 2019 Commencement

St. George’s University honored a new class of medical school graduates from 38 countries and bestowed honorary doctorates and service awards on four individuals during its commencement ceremonies this past weekend.

“It is my pleasure to be here once again at one of these ceremonies to recognize your accomplishments,” said Dr. Charles Modica, Chancellor and Chair of the Board of Directors at St. George’s University, in his opening remarks.

Doctorates of Humane Letters were awarded to Dr. Mark Lanzieri, a Massachusetts cardiologist and 1985 St. George’s alumnus, and José Sánchez, President and CEO of Norwegian American Hospital in Chicago.

For 20 years, Dr. Lanzieri has returned to Grenada to provide cardiological care free of charge to Grenadians. He encouraged the Class of 2019 to stay connected to the St. George’s community. “We need your involvement more than ever,” he said. “I would encourage you that this is not your last interaction with SGU or Grenada, and that you become involved early with the alumni association.”

Dr. Sánchez has managed healthcare and hospital systems for more than three decades. He is a member of the Illinois State Board of Health and helps lead several other state boards, councils, and commissions.

Marty Lyons, a philanthropist and former defensive lineman for the New York Jets, and Congressman Max Rose received Distinguished Service Awards.

In 1982, Lyons founded the Marty Lyons Foundation, which has 11 chapters across the United States. The non-profit grants wishes for terminally ill children.

“Life is about making opportunities and choices,” Mr. Lyons said. “You’ve made one that started four years ago, when you started to chase a dream of helping other people, and making a difference in this world.”

Congressman Rose is a decorated war veteran who represents New York’s 11th congressional district, which includes Staten Island and South Brooklyn. Prior to his election to Congress, he was Chief of Staff for Brightpoint Health, a non-profit dedicated to meeting the healthcare needs of New York City’s underserved populations.

SGU Veterinarians Urged to “Shoot for the Moon” at Annual Commencement Ceremony

Animals of all shapes and sizes gained caretakers and advocates on Saturday morning as St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine granted Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees to 83 new veterinarians in New York City.

By reaching this milestone, the Class of 2019 joins an alumni network of 1,670 veterinarians who built a foundation for their careers at SGU.

“One of the greatest honors I have each year is to be here at this ceremony honoring you, respecting you, and with family and friends in the room who have helped you get to where you are today, to tell you how proud we are of you,” said Dr. Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George’s University.

This year’s graduates hailed from six countries—the United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Peru, and Trinidad and Tobago. Many new alums will go straight into practice while others have committed to residency programs across 22 United States in such fields ranging from small animal medicine and neurology to oncology and food animal ambulatory and production medicine.

Dr. Richard Liebowitz, vice chancellor of St. George’s University, noted that this year marked the 20-year anniversary of SGU’s School of Veterinary Medicine.

“Our graduates are recognized in the US, Caribbean, and around the world, and now you leave the university with the same clinical abilities as they did,” Dr. Liebowitz said. “The question is ‘where do you go from here?’ With the training you have received, my only advice is to follow your passion, put no barriers in front of you, and shoot for the moon. I congratulate you all. I know you all will be extremely satisfied and successful in your careers.”

St. George's University School of Veterinary Medicine Commencement

Join us live as we celebrate St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2019!

Posted by St. George's University on Saturday, June 1, 2019

One of those charter class members was Tara Paterson, DVM ’03, who has gone on to become an associate professor of small animal medicine and surgery at her alma mater, while also serving as president of the School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association.

“On behalf of SGU faculty, I want you to know that we are very proud of you all,” Dr. Paterson said. “I’m honored to welcome you to our fraternity of SGU alumni, and I’m proud to call you my colleagues.”

St. George’s University Provost Glen Jacobs emceed the ceremony, and implored the newest SGU alumni to pursue knowledge and training throughout their careers.

“This ceremony is a symbol of our confidence that you are now equipped for the world in which you are entering,” Dr. Jacobs said. “You are equipped with the basic skills necessary for your profession. You must continue learning to keep learning in order to keep pace with the changing world around us.”

Commonwealth Conference Focuses on Student Success

 

More than 350 educators from Grenada and around the world descended on St. George’s University for the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC) 2019 annual conference. Highlighting the presentations at the two-day event, titled “Students: Our Common Wealth – A Focus on Student Success,” was a keynote address by The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, the second secretary-general of the Commonwealth from the Caribbean and the first woman to hold the post.

“Students who are educated to think creatively will have a distinctive advantage,” Secretary-General Scotland said. “They will be equipped to master the new ideas and new areas of knowledge and will have truly portable, flexible, applicable skills for the future. They will be able to collaborate across cultural and disciplinary boundaries and thrive in enterprises that have not yet even been invented.”

To this end, she proposed four pillars for building a “common wealth” among Commonwealth students:

  • Learning for life – with readily available skills-based training and higher education programs that respond to market needs
  • Employment – as a focus for ensuring brighter prospects and widening opportunity within the global development agenda
  • Entrepreneurship – so that enterprise and innovation create employment and sustainable growth
  • Engagement – to encourage well-informed consultation and responsiveness to the needs and aspirations of all.

“This can only be achieved through education,” the Secretary-General said. “Through firm commitment always and everywhere to do our utmost to treasure and support students our common wealth.”

The 2019 conference marked the first time that the CEC’s annual event had been held in the Caribbean region.

“A conference of this nature does one thing—it inspires,” said Samantha Antoine-Purcell, Principal, Westmorland Secondary School. “It inspires you to think beyond the usual. It inspires you to try new things, new approaches, and new perspectives so that at the end of the day, the student wins. Judging from the high caliber of presenters, which included educators, principals, students and others in the industry, we were able to have a really rich discourse because the perspectives were so varied. I believe the biggest takeaway for me and my fellow educators is to make sure that what we learn here today, we adapt, and we follow through.”

“We were honored to host the first-ever CEC annual conference in the Caribbean,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, Provost, St. George’s University. “SGU’s faculty and students represent over 140 countries across the globe, including more than 20 percent of our students who hail from Commonwealth countries. This conference provided the kind of association and diversity we value on our campus. We were delighted to welcome international and local representatives from throughout the commonwealth to share their ideas on addressing how educational institutions can make a difference and ensure students get the most out of their studies and be successful.”

Currently celebrating its 60th anniversary, this year’s Council for Education in the Commonwealth conference was designed to explore the main challenges facing education provision across the 53 member states. In addition to the CEC annual conference being held for the first time ever in the Caribbean, it was also the second-ever held outside of the United Kingdom. The Council’s 2021 conference will be held in Kenya.

– Ray-Donna Peters

New Agreement Provides International Students with a Unique Pathway to Medicine

Aerial images of Sir Eric Gairy Hall and Andrew J. Belford Centre.

St. George’s University has announced a new agreement with NCUK – The University Consortium (NCUK), based in Manchester, United Kingdom, to establish a pathway to study medicine or veterinary medicine at St. George’s University. Qualified NCUK students will be eligible to apply for the SGU International Peace Scholarship and students enrolled in the NCUK-SGU Medical Pathway Foundation program will be granted a dedicated scholarship to defray the cost of tuition.

“This important agreement will provide international students with a passion for medicine a direct pathway to a top medical education from St. George’s University,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University. “We look forward to welcoming aspiring physicians and veterinarians from NCUK’s global network of study centers to St. George’s.”

NCUK is a consortium of leading UK universities dedicated to giving international students access to universities worldwide. NCUK offers a range of pathway qualifications designed by its universities exclusively for international students wanting to study abroad at top universities. Students who enroll in the medical pathway at one of many NCUK Study Centers around the world and meet SGU’s admissions criteria are guaranteed a place in order to complete either the Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees at St. George’s University.

Students who meet the requirements for entry to the medical program can choose to study for their first year on the True Blue campus in Grenada, or in the UK at Northumbria University’s campus as part of the St. George’s University of Grenada School of Medicine/Northumbria University five-year MD program. Those opting to take their first year at Northumbria will study an identical curriculum to their counterparts at SGU’s True Blue campus in Grenada—providing a strong foundation in the basic sciences and non-science subjects.

Students then complete one year of integrated basic sciences in Grenada before undertaking two years of clinical rotations, a portion of which can be taken in the UK, with the remaining rotations in the US or Canada.

“I am delighted to announce the unique pathway for NCUK International medical students into our medicine programs at St. George’s University and the new cooperation between our organizations,” added Pete Fiaschi, Director of Recruitment Asia and UK.

Graduates of SGU’s MD program are eligible to apply to the Widening Access to Specialty Training (WAST) program—a Health Education England initiative within the National Health Service (NHS) that provides a pathway for U.K. registration through postgraduate training following the completion of an internship. This postgraduate training is recognized for licensure in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Commonwealth countries.

“NCUK is delighted to include St George’s University as a study option for our aspiring young medics. We are confident that the partnership will provide opportunities for many young people wishing to study medicine,” said Maria McKenna, Regional Director (EMEA) for NCUK. “NCUK’s global network of Study Centres are excited to introduce this new dedicated medicine pathway and looks forward to helping many young people realize their dreams of pursuing a medical degree at a leading medical school.”

Student Success at the Center of Council for Education in the Commonwealth Annual Conference in Grenada

A total of 61 abstracts have been submitted for consideration to the annual conference of the Council for Education in the Commonwealth (CEC), which is to be hosted by St. George’s University on May 21-23, 2019. The conference, titled “Students: Our Common Wealth – A Focus on Student Success,” will hear from international representatives from throughout the commonwealth on how educational institutions can ensure students get the most out of their studies.

Submissions include oral presentations, poster presentations, and workshops, and cover a range of topics based on delegates’ extensive experience working in education. Topics on accessibility include “Inclusive Education in Ghana: Barriers Faced by Deaf and Blind Students in accessing Higher Education”; “An exploration of the inclusion of students with special needs in traditional schools in the Eastern Caribbean region”; and “Supporting Individuals with dis(Abilities) Through Universal Design in Learning”. Those interested in early years learning will have the chance to listen to presentations including “Designing a STEM Program for Delivery in Primary Education Settings; and “Can Reflection Help Junior Educators Teach Better?”. Extracurricular measures will also be up for discussion, as attendees consider an “Assessment of Pet Ownership on Student Academic Performance.”

The conference will also showcase a Technology Test Kitchen, an interactive space offering a hands-on experience for attendees to learn and explore how to integrate and apply technologies for educational purposes.

Conference attendees will include The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, who will deliver a keynote address. It is hoped that a delegation from the University of Nairobi will also be in attendance to prepare the ground for the CEC’s conference in 2021, which it will host. A delegation from the University of Namibia, which hosted the 2019 conference, will be led by Professor Kenneth Matengu.

“We are delighted to welcome international delegates from across the Commonwealth to our conference on the theme of student success,” said Sonny Leong CBE, Chairman of the CEC. The fact that these include representatives from the University of Namibia, our former hosts, and the University of Nairobi who will host us in two years’ time, demonstrates the value of these international events in creating lasting pan-Commonwealth networks.”

Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said, “I am pleased that the response to our call for abstracts has resulted in so many responses on a wide range of topics. SGU’s faculty and students represent some 140 countries around the world, and this conference is an excellent opportunity for them to share their experience with Commonwealth education leaders, as well as hearing new perspectives from our esteemed attendees.”

The Gold Standard of Care: AAHA Re-Accredits SGU’s Small Animal Clinic Through 2022

Satisfying approximately 900 standards of excellence set by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), the Small Animal Clinic (SAC) at St. George’s University has been accredited by the AAHA through 2022, having earned the full three-year term for re-accreditation.

SAC Director Dr. Wayne Sylvester, DVM ’04, and his team were notified of the re-accreditation following the AAHA’s site visit in January, during which the clinic was evaluated on standards such as patient care, surgery, exam facilities, medical records, laboratory facilities, emergency services, dental care, diagnostic imaging, anesthesiology, pharmacy, and continuing education.

“This successful re-accrediitation site visit brought immense joy to our team,” Dr. Sylvester said. “We achieved this important accomplishment through the commitment and collaborative efforts of the team at the Small Animal Clinic, our consultants, the members of the Small Animal Clinic Board and Dr. Neil Olson, the SVM Dean, and his Office.”

AAHA accreditation confirms that the SAC compares favorably with some of the best facilities in North America. According to the AAHA, between 12 and 15 percent of all veterinary practices in the United States and Canada are accredited.

“AAHA re-accreditation is a significant milestone as it reflects the excellence in quality of care being provided at the Small Animal Clinic,” added Mellisa Walters, practice manager of the Small Animal Clinic. “Our team is elated.”

Led by Dr. Sylvester and Ms. Walters, the SAC operates seven days a week with 10 clinicians, 13 technicians, and five full-time staff members. The SAC initially received AAHA accreditation in October 2016, and immediately afterward, the SAC staff began to build on the services it already provided in preparation for the January 2019 site visit.

“All of the sections of our practice made significant improvements, we were able to use our previous experience as a foundation on which to build,” Dr. Sylvester said. “Accreditation ascertains the SAC as a leading veterinary facility. It’s a seal of approval that our standard of care is at high level. We will, however, continually seek to continually improve our standards.”

– Brett Mauser