Vet Cardiologist Inspired to Strengthen Animal and Human Bond

During a typical day at the office, Amanda LaRose, DVM ’15, a cardiology resident at The Animal Medical Center in New York City, sees an array of different animals. While she mainly treats dogs and cats, technology within the field of vet cardiology has allowed Dr. LaRose to diagnose and care for other small animals, including ferrets, guinea pigs, birds, and even a tegu, that may have heart conditions.

“Growing up as a horseback rider helped me realize how valuable the human animal bond is to a person’s health and mental stability,” Dr. LaRose said. “I wanted to become a vet to enhance that bond through general wellness and client education.”

Dr. LaRose shared what it means to be a vet cardiologist, why she chose the specialty, and her advice to School of Veterinary Medicine students.

SGU: Why did you choose to specialize in cardiology?

Dr. LaRose: It is the one specialty where you can be a jack of all trades. I not only get to diagnose a disease through echocardiograms but I can manage it with medications or potentially fix it with minimally invasive surgery (if it’s a congenital lesion). I also enjoy the long-term follow-up care that’s required with many patients and being able to provide adequate education for their owners. Finally, through our services we’re able to provide quality time for our terminally ill patients. I can’t begin to explain the feeling of being able to give an owner more time with their pet and provide those last days or weeks to come to terms with their pet’s condition.

I also became a specialist to continue to educate owners, referring veterinarians, post-grads, and students. I don’t think there’s anything more important than understanding and setting expectations when it comes to certain diseases and being able to provide support for the referral veterinary community and future veterinarians.


“As human medicine advances, so does vet med. I’m excited about the prospects of minimally invasive medical devices and investigative new drugs that could potentially help our patients, especially those where treatments are quite limited.”


SGU: As a vet cardiology resident, how long is the program and what are you learning?

Dr. LaRose: I started my third year in July and will complete the residency July 2022. As part of the residency program and becoming a specialist, we are required to be well versed in the basic anatomy, physiology, and sciences of the cardiovascular system and how they can be used to diagnose and manage cardiomyopathy in domestic animals.

Some of the procedures and activities we do include:

  • Diagnosis and management of various acquired cardiomyopathies, arrhythmias, and congenital diseases of the heart
  • Diagnosis often occurs through various imaging modalities, the most common of which is echocardiography, but we also become more proficient in reading chest x-rays, CT scans, and angiography studies.
  • A requirement of the program is also to learn minimally invasive management and treatment of congenital diseases such as transvenous closure of patent ductus arteriosus and balloon valvuloplasty for the treatment of pulmonic stenosis.

SGU: What gets you up in the morning when it comes to your job?

Dr. LaRose: The unknown of the day. What congenital case will we see? What animal we save today? What cool cardiomyopathy might we come across? What will today’s teaching point be?

SGU: What new technology or procedures are there that excites you when it comes to the specialty?

Dr. LaRose: As human medicine advances, so does vet med. I’m excited about the prospects of minimally invasive medical devices and investigative new drugs that could potentially help our patients, especially those where treatments are quite limited, as in our feline patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

SGU: Why did you choose SGU?

Dr. LaRose: SGU provided an opportunity for me to gain an education in veterinary medicine and offered a unique life experience. The thought of moving to another country was daunting; however, all of the students and graduates that I had spoken with were happy with their experience and education.

SGU: What was the best part of your SGU experience?

Dr. LaRose: The people and the island by far. As a student, I truly took advantage of what SGU and the island had to offer. This included participating in things like world vets, wet labs, school clubs, and class fundraisers (even if I was just attending). I also really tried to enjoy the island by taking advantage of the tourism and local events. I loved that after a rough test or midterms, we could go to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world to unwind. I was even fortunate enough to spend one Easter weekend sailing the Tobago Cays. It was an incredible experience that I would highly recommend to every student. There was always something new to experience.

SGU: If you had to give SVM students one piece of advice, what would it be?

Dr. LaRose: Take advantage of everything the island and the school have to offer. Get close with your classmates and enjoy your time as a student. The veterinary community is small—make friends, meet people, and keep a positive attitude. These attributes will help you go far!


– Laurie Chartorynsky



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New SVM Associate Dean Inspires Future Veterinary Researchers

Having grown up in and around New York City, Ray Kaplan was more familiar with city and suburban life than the world he one day found in farm country. In high school, he sought more wide open spaces by spending summers working on dairy farms, a setting in which he felt right at home.

“The farm atmosphere was new to me, but I loved the physical and outdoor nature of the work,” said Dr. Kaplan, a new associate dean of graduate studies at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine. “I also developed an appreciation of dairy cows and found them to be lovely animals to work with.”

He added to his experience by studying dairy science as an undergrad at Virginia Tech, diving deep into parasitology research at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, and following that up with a PhD in veterinary parasitology from the University of Florida.

Throughout his career as a clinician, Dr. Kaplan emphasized research, including the US Army Veterinary Corps, where he worked at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in a malaria drug discovery program. Several years later, he took an assistant professor position at the University of Georgia Veterinary School, where he would spend the next 23 years developing an internationally recognized parasitology research program.

Excited to now start a new chapter at SGU, Dr. Kaplan shares how he plans to use his knowledge and expertise in research to help improve the SGU School of Veterinary Medicine program, mentor students, and help faculty succeed in their research endeavors.

St. George’s University: What led you to join SGU, and what are you looking forward to the most as an official faculty member?

Dr. Ray Kaplan: I am thrilled to be a part of the SGU family. Although I just started as professor of parasitology and associate dean for graduate studies for SVM in August, I have been coming to SGU as a visiting professor for the past 20 years, so I knew that I loved Grenada, and the community spirit of SGU. I also joined because I had reached a point in my career where I wanted to do something a little different. Though I did a considerable amount of teaching in my earlier years at UGA, over time my position evolved into being predominantly research focused, and I found that I missed the interaction with veterinary students.

At SGU, I am looking forward to returning to doing more teaching and engaging with students, including establishing a vet student parasitology club, as well as conducting some new areas of research, such as parasites of aquatic animals. And in my role as associate dean of graduate studies, I look forward to building and improving the SVM graduate program.


“I firmly believe that learning the scientific process by participating in research builds critical thinking skills, which are essential to practicing evidence-based medicine, and can be applied in so many aspects of life.”


SGU: What do you consider to be some of the benefits to students participating in research?

RK: The field of veterinary medicine is dynamic and ever changing, and the amount of information is increasing too fast for anyone to keep up with everything. However, experience in research gives students a better foundation to critically evaluate what they read and hear, and thus provides a step up in maintaining the highest standards of practice. I firmly believe that learning the scientific process by participating in research builds critical thinking skills, which are essential to practicing evidence-based medicine, and can be applied in so many aspects of life.

SGU: Why is research so important, especially now with COVID-19?

RK: Understanding research and science in general is essential to controlling COVID-19, as well as many other of society’s current concerns. Veterinary researchers play a large and critical role in the animal-based research that provides benefits to both animal and human health. These researchers and healthcare professionals played an important role in responding to this pandemic, and they will continue to play an important role in helping to prevent the next one. Hence, the world needs more veterinary researchers.

SGU: What future research topics and projects would you like to see covered at SGU?

RK: As a large university in the Caribbean, SGU is uniquely positioned to address research on topics relevant to this region, such as aquatic animal medicine and conservation, and sustainable control of parasites in tropical environments. For instance, SGU is the perfect place for developing a major center for aquatic animal health, and the achievements of such an institute could provide valuable international recognition for the school.

SGU: How would you describe the student journey and what will help make students successful here at SGU?

RK: Students of veterinary medicine are a fairly unique group in their level of passion and dedication to their pursuit. This intense pursuit to become veterinarians involves a lot of emotional and economic investment. Veterinary students tend to be high-achieving idealists who have chosen the profession because they want to help animals.

Over the years of coming to SGU as a visiting professor, I have been impressed with the academic skills and enthusiasm of SGU students. I think building on those core strengths through increasing opportunities for pre-professional groups and professor-student interactions will aid in their success. I also believe that the geographic location of Grenada and being away from their homes creates a stronger student community, which creates an environment where students help other students be successful.

— Ray-Donna Peters


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India consulate recognizes SGU faculty members for excellence in medicine and medical education

In honor of the 75th anniversary of India’s independence, the Office of the Honorary Consul of India to Grenada honored two longtime St. George’s University faculty members—Drs. Vishnu Rao and Narasimhan Prabhakar—for their commitment to medicine and medical education.

Each was feted at a ceremony at the Botanical Gardens in Tanteen, St. George’s, on August 15. Awardees received the accolades from the Honorary Consul of India to Grenada Shadel Nyack Compton, as well as the Honorable Minister Oliver Joseph.

“An honor like this would have been unimaginable to me as a little boy growing up in India,” said Dr. Rao, who recently was appointed dean of university alumni affairs. “To end up in a beautiful country such as Grenada and have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many students and so many Grenadians is just wonderful. All the while, I have made lifelong friendships with Grenadian people and families, who are so kind and intelligent, and I thoroughly enjoy the everyday living and beauty here on the island.”

Dr. Rao has taught and mentored SGU students for more than 40 years, having joined as an assistant professor in the School of Medicine in January 1977. He is the embodiment of SGU’s commitment to student support, serving as assistant dean of students from 1977 to 1997 before assuming the role of dean of students from 1997 to April 2021. With his help, more than 300 Grenadians have earned their MDs from SGU, and thousands more have graduated from the Schools of Veterinary Medicine, Arts and Sciences, and Graduate Studies.

Dr. Rao and colleagues at the 2015 Orphans and Elderly Gala

“You cannot measure the positive impact that Dr. Rao has had on this university, our students, and people all around the world who have indirectly benefited from the wisdom, values, and commitment to educational excellence,” said Dr. Charles Modica, chancellor of St. George’s University. “SGU would not be where it is today without Dr. Rao, and I’m forever grateful for all he’s done for the island of Grenada and for our students.”

Additionally, Dr. Rao was instrumental in establishing the Orphans and Elderly Fund, which has raised more than $1.8 million to support caregiver programs throughout Grenada since 1991. He also helped build the Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP).

As dean of university alumni affairs, Dr. Rao is supporting the Alumni Association by staying connected with SGU’s more than 24,000 graduates. “I have greatly enjoyed speaking with our alumni, finding out how they’re doing, how they can stay involved, and how they can promote the spirit of SGU,” he said.


“To end up in a beautiful country such as Grenada and have the opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of so many students and so many Grenadians is just wonderful.”


The Consul also recognized Dr. Narasimhan Prabhakar, a psychiatrist who has been affiliated with SGU for more than 30 years, including presently as a professor in the clinical teaching unit at Grenada General Hospital and in a clinic within SGU’s Health Services department. He also teaches SGU’s Term 5 students as a psychiatrist at Mount Gay Psychiatric Hospital, and meets with patients the Richmond Home for the Elderly. Dr. Prabhakar was honored for his contributions to mental health, psychiatry, and medicine in Grenada and sister islands Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

“I am very humbled by this honor bestowed upon me by the Consul of India,” Dr. Prabhakar said. “I am also indebted to the administration of SGU, the Ministry of Health, and the Government of Grenada for making the person I am today. Teaching communication skills and psychiatric interviewing skills to young and enthusiastic students gives me great pleasure, as does keeping in touch with my patients in the community, which I have been involved in for 40 years. I am proud to be an Indian and an adopted Grenadian.”

Dr. Marios Loukas, dean of the School of Medicine, praised Dr. Prabhakar’s contributions to SGU. “We are thankful for the invaluable contributions that Dr. Prabhakar has made to the University and our student body,” he said. “He has played a crucial role in their growth and well-being, both on campus and in the field, and has long been a pillar of psychiatric care for the wider Grenadian community.”

– Brett Mauser

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SVM student’s presentation takes 1st at international theriogenology conference

Fourth-year School of Veterinary Medicine student Camille Ogdon won first place in the student case presentation category at the Society for Theriogenology (SFT) / American College of Theriogenologists (ACT) annual conference held July 21-24 in Omaha, NE.

The clinical case, “Vulvar discharge associated with exogenous estrogen exposure in a spayed Weimaraner bitch,” presented by Ms. Ogdon, with assistance and mentorship from SVM associate professors Drs. Francesca Ivaldi and Firdous Khan, won against students from renowned schools across the United States.

“It is a huge honor just to be able to attend and participate on behalf of SGU,” Ms. Ogdon said. “Winning the competition has greatly increased my confidence as a professional and inspires me to continue to reach for the stars with my career.”

Having worked closely with Camille while she served as the president of SGU Student Chapter of the Society for Theriogenology, I have always seen her as a future leader in this field, and her winning the case competition has further solidified that belief,” added Dr. Khan, who is also the faculty advisor for SGU’s chapter. “As her SFT mentor, I couldn’t be prouder of this amazing accomplishment.”

Ms. Ogdon has been an active member of SGU’s student chapter of the SFT for several terms and has also served as its chair. The event provided her with an opportunity to learn from and interact with theriogenologists and veterinary students from other veterinary schools, according to Dr. Khan.

“The exercise of critically evaluating clinical case findings, scientific writing, and case presentation that Camille went through puts her a step ahead of her peers,” he said. “In addition to continued education and professional development, participation in such conferences creates great networking opportunities.”

Ms. Ogdon won $650 for taking first place in the competition as well as a travel grant of $450 from the SFT. Along with her love for theriogenology, Ms. Ogdon has a passion for radiology and hopes to obtain a residency in that field. She expects to graduate from SGU next June upon completing her clinical year at Oregon State University.

“Theriogenology and radiology can overlap, and this presentation was a stepping stone that has helped me to hone the skills needed to chase my dreams of a residency,” she said.

The Society for Theriogenology is a worldwide association of veterinary professionals with a special interest in animal reproduction. This interest encompasses clinical practice in a variety of domestic and exotic species, teaching of veterinary students and research in multiple areas and disciplines. 

– Laurie Chartorynsky

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SVM Students Tackle Junior Surgery “Boot Camp”

Approximately 40 new Term 6 students in the School of Veterinary Medicine received crucial clinical skills training during a Junior Surgery Boot Camp, taking place at the Junior Surgery and Anesthesia Laboratory (JSAL) this August. Orchestrated by the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, the Boot Camp allowed students who, due to the pandemic, were unable to practice the basics of spay and neuter surgeries and administering anesthesia during a typical Term 5 curriculum.

Over the course of the camp, students were able to experience all facets of spay/neuter surgeries as well as perform the roles of surgeon, assistant surgeon, and anesthetist, all while supervised by SVM faculty, according to Dr. Rodolfo Bruhl-Day, chair of the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery.

Students practiced receiving patients, completing a physical examination, reviewing lab data, and administering anesthesia. They also participated in the discharge process and completion of medical records, Dr. Bruhl-Day said.

Surgeries were done on 36 dogs. Owners from all around Grenada brought their canine patients to the boot camp. The dogs were also dewormed and vaccinated.

Students will receive further surgery instruction and practice during the regular term.


New Term 6 SVM students received crucial clinical skills training during a Junior Surgery Boot Camp this month.


– Laurie Chartorynsky


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SVM welcomes prestigious university in The Netherlands to expansive clinical network

What could be better than finishing your veterinary studies in a country known for its Instagram-worthy windmills and canals, cheese markets, museums rich with history, and miles and miles of cycling routes?

Starting in June 2022, School of Veterinary Medicine students seeking an international flair to their clinical year will get a chance to do so at a new affiliated clinical university—Utrecht University in The Netherlands. St. George’s University has signed an agreement with the university to allow fourth-year SVM students complete their clinical training at the prestigious university. Applications for placement at Utrecht will begin being accepted this August.

Utrecht University becomes the fourth school in Europe to be affiliated with SGU’s Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. The SVM’s list of clinical affiliates includes 32 universities across  the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia.

​“We are thrilled to be able to offer our vet students the opportunity to spend their clinical year at Utrecht University,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “Students who attend their clinical year there will get the opportunity to see and practice veterinary medicine from a unique perspective, which they will then be able to apply throughout their careers—all while immersing themselves in a fascinating culture while abroad.”

SVM’s affiliated clinical programs provide students with an intensive 48-week curriculum where they get hands-on training in all facets of veterinary medicine before becoming eligible to receive their DVM degree. These valuable clinical skills are experienced alongside other veterinary students currently enrolled at the universities.

“A student’s clinical year is crucial to rounding out their educational experience,” according to Dr. Nicki Wise, SVM’s associate dean of clinical training. “What they learn during their clinical year allows them to receive their DVM degree, pass their licensing exams, help determine what field of vet medicine they wish to work in, and then be ready to jump right in—fully prepared—to their first job.”

Utrecht University’s clinical program is unique in several ways. Designed with an emphasis on individual attention/career counseling for each student, students can choose one of seven tracks that allow them to focus their clinical year on specific interests, such as small animal, equine, animal welfare, or research. In addition, Utrecht, like many European schools, emphasizes student wellness initiatives and support services, Dr. Wise noted.

“We are delighted to welcome students from St. George’s University to our facilities, and are confident that both these students and our own students and staff will benefit greatly from their time at Utrecht,” said Merel Langelaar, vice-dean of education of Utrecht University’s Department of Veterinary Medicine.

Students from any country are encouraged to attend since all rotations will use spoken and written English.

If you are considering your clinical year at Utrecht University and have questions, please contact Dr. Wise at



– Laurie Chartorynsky


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2021 Class of New Veterinarians Recognized for Their Resilience and Perseverance

Although the St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2021’s commencement ceremony was virtual, as were some of their classes, their incredible achievements were very much real.

On June 5, SGU faculty as well as students’ friends and family members applauded the School’s newest graduates for persevering through challenging coursework and rigorous clinical training, all during a global health crisis. With the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees in hand, they’re now equipped to successfully embark upon their professional careers as the world’s newest veterinarians.

“What I want you to remember is this: No matter where you are in the world today, no matter what the format of your graduation ceremony, the importance, the magnitude and the relevance of your achievement are in no way minimized,” said Tara Paterson, DVM ’03, president of the School of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Association.

Dr. Paterson, a charter class alumna and associate professor of small animal medicine and surgery at SGU, welcomed the 184 graduates from six different countries who tuned in with faculty, staff, family, and friends from around the world for the celebration, as they each received their Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

“What makes the Class of 2021 so exceptional is its resilience to persevere in the face of a global pandemic,” said Dr. Paterson. “They did what all SGU students do—they persevered, they did not give up, and made the best of what was offered to them. They are resilient and truly incredible.”


In her address, keynote speaker Carley Jones, DVM ’21, challenged the students to remember the joy, passion, and perseverance that got them to their graduation day. She also shared two lessons that she and her classmates had learned during their time at SGU—the value of community and adaptability.

“The sense of community that you have bestowed upon each other is the perfect reflection of the type of doctors that you have become,” commended Dr. Jones. “Our ability to adapt to the obstacles we face will make us better doctors, better leaders, and better members of every community we become a part of.”

St. George’s University graduates shined in the recent Veterinary Internship & Residency Matching Program cycle, achieving a match rate of 72.1 percent, highest among Caribbean veterinary schools.  It also compared favorably to the 53.5 percent match rate for all schools—including US schools—according to the VIRMP, a program sponsored by the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians (AAVC).

With the addition of these graduates, the SVM has now produced more than 1,900 veterinarians since the charter class graduated in 2003. Dr. Charles R. Modica, chancellor of SGU, congratulated and praised the new vets for pressing forward despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are proud that the country of Grenada has been part of your lives for a few years,” said Dr. Modica. “With the pandemic having impacted all of us, you have shown that you have the resolve, fortitude, and dedication to complete your studies no matter what.”


– Ray-Donna Peters

High-Achieving SVM Students and Faculty Honored at Spring Virtual Awards Ceremony

Screen shot courtesy of SVM student Briana Kinsey.
















The School of Veterinary Medicine recognized students and faculty who exhibited academic excellence, outstanding work ethic, and a strong commitment to the field during last month’s SVM Spring 2021 awards ceremony.

“Students who were named during the awards ceremony are the best of the best when it comes to exemplifying the qualities needed to become exceptional veterinarians,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the SVM. “With the added challenge of learning during a global pandemic, the honorees have especially excelled, and we are so proud of their accomplishments at SGU.”

Dr. Olson, Mr. Brendon LaGrenade, SGU’s vice provost for institutional advancement, and Dr. Anne Marie Corrigan, associate dean of academics, addressed the online crowd. In addition to a wide range of traditional awards acknowledging the best students in all classes, student organizations could nominate students and faculty/staff for an award.

Two new awards were presented this semester:

  • Dean Olson’s Award for Academic Excellence, given to Term 3 students with the highest GPA (as of the end of Term 2) and who embodies professionalism. The award has a combined value of $2,000 EC, split among the nominees.
  • SGA SGU Awards of Excellence is a new award given by the Student Government Association recognizing SGU faculty and staff members who play an integral part in vet students’ success.

During the virtual event, the SVM also held its Phi Zeta Honor Society inductions as well as the traditional Term 6 student slideshow sendoff, a compilation of photos taken to highlight students’ time at SGU before they head into their clinical year. It was the first time that all three events were held together.

Dr. Rhonda Pinckney will retire on June 30 after 17 years at SGU.

The awards event also acknowledged retiring faculty member Dr. Rhonda Pinckney, a professor of veterinary parasitology within the Department of Pathobiology, and one of the longest serving SVM faculty members. Dr. Pinckney has been with SGU since 2004 and will retire on June 30.

The SVM hopes to be able to resume the award ceremony in person for the fall term.

Zoetis Awards

Zoetis Veterinary Student Scholars Award: April Perez, Sonali Desai, Pricilla Leinberger

Zoetis Revolution Awards
Small Animal Surgery Award: Kristie Armas

Small Animal Internal Medicine: Montana Loveday

Equine Medicine Award: Amanda Broeder

Production Animal Medicine Award: Haley Embleton

Scholarship of Service Award: Elizabeth McGarvey

Student Research Award: Glenna Raycroft Maur

Zoetis Distinguished Veterinary Teacher Award: Dr. Nicki Wise

Outstanding Colleague Awards

Term 1: Stephanie Nickerson

Term 2: Maureen Kruhlak

Term 3: Leandra Margolies

Term 4: Sheridan Nichols

Term 5: Adriana Kalaska

Term 6: Krystal Mendoza

Dean Olson’s Award for Academic Excellence Recipients for Spring 2021

Letty Bonilla, Daria Ehrenberg, Melissa Ferguson, Lauren Fleming, Acacia Johnson, Jennifer Memleb, Teylor Nealy, Cristians Rivas Morales, Aleeka Roberts, Samuel Ruch, Valerie Savino

Adrienne Lotton Memorial Award

Nakia Sweetman

SVM Alumni Scholarship Award

Cody Cragnolin

Giant Paws Giant Hearts Foundation “Hercules” Award

Cody Cragnolin

PAWS Recognition for Term 6 Facilitators

Krystal Mendoza, Collin Leisz, Camille Ogden, Anna Ritz, Elizabeth McGarvey, Amanda Broeder

Veterinary Public Health CommitteeOne Health One Medicine” Community Leader Award

Caitlin Nay

Student Organization Awards                   

SGUSVM Large Animal Society Most Valuable Sixth Term LAS Member Award

Maggie Pratt Isgren

Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists Most Valuable Pathologist Award

Taryn Paquet

Wellness Committee MVP Award

Chandler Case

TherioHERO Award (faculty award)
Dr. Firdous Khan

Student Chapter of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Awards

Student Winner: Vittoria Lipari
Faculty Winner: Dr. Anne Corrigan

Student Chapter of the Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Society

Student Winner:  Tasha Faletti
Faculty Award: Dr.  Anne Corrigan

Student Government Association Awards

SGUSVM Outstanding Faculty Award Recipients

Term 1-3: Dr. Rhonda Pinckney
Term 4-6: Dr. Firdous Khan

**NEW** SGA SGU Awards of Excellence (faculty award)

Terms 1-3: Ms. Tandy James
Terms 4-6: Ms. Naudia Dundas

George B. Daniel Award

Maria Coppola

The Pinckney Parasitology Award

Brianna Shepke, Lance Shen Kenny

Alpha Delta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta

Spring 2021 Inductees

Term 5 Inductees

Alexa Albam, Richard Brown, Devin Curtsinger. Briana Howard, Adriana Kalaska, Nadine Pearsall, Elizabeth Russell. Dawson Ruschkowski Tess Talmage, Kiersten Yndestad

Term 6 Inductees

Taylor Adams, Marisa Curro, Erica Foster, Annelise Godau, Krystal Mendoza, Hannah Narburgh, Camille Ogdon, Alexa Pensabene, Sarah Quinlan, Anna Ritz, Jaren Rodier, Sofija Todorovic, Katherine Williams

Term 6 Students Inducted Last Term

Jacqueline Compta, Cody Cragnolin, Molinaro Goode, Kyra Gore, William Holl, Cullen Kurgan, Abigail Kenly, Vittoria Lipari, Taryn Mooney, Romina Morgan, Kelly Ramos, Jaimie Remillard, Yu Wang

Phi Zeta Specialty Faculty Recognition for Their Work in Promoting Research and Scholarship

Dr. Firdous Khan, Dr. Heidi Janicke


Screen shot courtesy of SVM student Briana Kinsey.


– Laurie Chartorynsky

SVM Term 6 students travel to Las Vegas for clinical skills training

Term 6 students Amanda Broeder, Shannon Millikin, and Nakia Sweetman at the Oquendo campus in Las Vegas, NV. Photo courtesy of Nakia Sweetman.

When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented School of Veterinary Medicine students from participating in hands-on training in Grenada, St. George’s University coordinated a unique alternative under the bright lights and glitz in Las Vegas, NV.

This semester, a total of 98 Term 6 students attended clinical skills workshops at the Viticus Center – Oquendo Campus in Las Vegas. The center is a venue for many medical and veterinary medicine continuing education sessions; however, it welcomed SGU students as part of its mission to “enhance animal and human health worldwide by providing the highest quality year-round continuing education to veterinary and human healthcare professionals.”

“Typically, during Terms 5 and 6, students learn critical clinical skills at both our Large Animal Resource Facility and Small Animal Clinic in Grenada. It is during this time that students experience their first surgeries, learn to administer anesthesia, and perform much-needed spay and neutering services,” said Dr. Neil Olson, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. “Because of COVID, this group of students was not able to have the normal Term 5 or Term 6 experience. However, we felt very strongly that in order for the students to be prepared to head off to their clinical year we wanted to make sure they had exceptional hands-on training.”

SVM students Brianna Viglietta and Jasmyn Fearon during a workshop at Oquendo Campus in Las Vegas, NV.

During the spring term, students touched down in Las Vegas to attend a two-week workshop where they acquired a variety of large and small animal clinical skills through workshops taught by licensed veterinarians, vet specialists, and technicians.


“I am so grateful for this experience. I truly feel more prepared and ready to take on clinical year.”


In addition, two SVM faculty were on site to support students—Dr. Rodolfo Bruhl-Day, chair of the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, and Dr. Flavia Restitutti, associate professor of small animal medicine and surgery. The last of the groups completed the workshop at the end of April.

“The Oquendo Center is the premier, state-of-the-art facility for veterinary continuing education in the US and an ideal learning environment,” said Dr. Lauren Nicki Wise, assistant dean of fourth-year clinical training for the SVM and professor in the department. “It was a wonderful opportunity to have that facility and staff available to our students.”

Specifically, students practiced handling and performing physical exams on large animals, including cows and horses. One group even got to treat a neonatal goat that was born, Dr. Wise said. On the small animal side, each student performed surgical anesthesia, and then performed spay/neuter surgery as part of a community service program with local shelters and animal rescues. The students spayed and neutered close to 200 dogs while there.

Photo courtesy of the Viticus Center.

Nakia Sweetman, a Class of 2022 DVM candidate, attended the workshops in late February.

“I am so grateful for this experience,” said Ms. Sweetman, who begins her clinical year at Texas A&M University this month. “I truly feel more prepared and ready to take on clinical year. The experience showed us how clinical year will be set up, with doctors there to help guide us and teach us, while also giving us the opportunity to be doctors as well.”

SVM student Nakia Sweetman at the Oquendo Campus in Las Vegas, NV. Photo courtesy of Nakia Sweetman.

Another added plus to the experience: being able to see her classmates again after a year of being home.

“At the end of our workshop, I was able to explore Las Vegas. A couple of my friends and I actually decided to stay through the weekend, so we rented a car and went to the Hoover Dam, hiked the Red Rock Canyon and the Valley of Fire. We also went to the Linq High Roller, which is a large ferris wheel, and we were able to see all of Vegas from up there,” Ms. Sweetman said.

This was the Viticus Center’s first foray into a training event specifically geared to help veterinary students prepare for their clinical year.

“When SGU came to us with the opportunity to help train veterinary students to give them hands-on training, it was our privilege and honor to help,” said Dr. Tony Pease, the chief veterinary medical officer of Viticus Group.

SVM student Erica Foster exams a horse at the Oquendo Campus.

Dr. Pease added that the not only were the students eager to learn, but “exceptionally prepared.”

“Our instructors and technician team were truly impressed with their skill and enthusiasm to learn and be taught,” he said. “I think our instructors and technicians were just as excited as the students to get to work every day and help these young veterinarians-in-training hone their skills. We are thankful to have had the opportunity to provide this experience, and we look forward to seeing the students again as doctors, coming to further hone their hands-on skills during their careers.”

Added Dean Olson: “This experience, while out-of-the-box, is representative of the commitment we have to making sure students are prepared for their clinical year. It’s an excellent example of how, with a little creativity, we were able to collaborate with the industry to ensure our students stay on track with their vet educations.”

Students witnessed the birth of a neonatal goat while at the Oquendo Campus.


– Laurie Chartorynsky


Related Reading

SVM Commencement 2021

Congratulations to the
School of Veterinary Medicine
Class of 2021!

We’re So Proud. You Should Be, Too.

You did it. You’ve worked hard to reach this milestone moment and SGU couldn’t be prouder of your achievements. 

We have the utmost confidence that you have been equipped with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors to make a positive impact on the world, at a time when it’s most needed.

We met you as a student looking to make a difference and we’re proud to see you join a network of, now, more than 2,000 School of Veterinary Medicine graduates making that difference every day.

SGU Class of 2021

Watch The Ceremony

Commencement Speeches

Messages from Faculty and Staff

Family and Friends

We thank and congratulate all of the friends and family who supported our students on the journey toward fulfilling their dreamsYour guidance and support throughout their studies complemented their drive to succeed, and now with their degree in hand, we join you in celebrating their incredible accomplishment. 

We invite you to join our SGU Parents Group to assist parents of future SGU students, current students, and graduates.


Use Our GIFs Too!

Search terms like
#SGUGrad #SGU2021 #SGU #StGeorgesUniversity #Doctor
to use these on Instagram Stories.


The best way to take part in the celebration is through using our hashtag—#SGUGrad. 

Simply add it to your post. It will automatically appear on this page, and by clicking on it on any social media channel, you and your classmates will be able to see the excitement that’s going on around you.