Dr. Mahr’s School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony Keynote Address

Dr. Roger K. Mahr, Immediate Past President of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), inspired a new class of 82 veterinary medical students during his keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony held at St. George’s University on August 21st, 2007.

Congratulations as you enter the veterinary medical profession!

As a student at St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, and as you now receive your white coat, you are a part of the veterinary medical profession.

It is indeed a privilege for me to bring greetings and congratulations on your achievement from the 75,000 members of the American Veterinary Medical Association.

In a few short years you will be stating the following words: “I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society”.

Those words are part of the Veterinarian’s Oath, and you will repeat those words as you receive the value of a lifetime…the value of your veterinary medical diploma.No other profession, I believe, has a comparable value to society.

No other profession for sure has as much impact on the health of both animals and people.

Acquiring that value and entering the veterinary medical profession is a great privilege.

You are indeed privileged.

With each privilege…and with each value… comes responsibility.

This evening as I welcome you into the veterinary medical profession, I would like to share with you a quote which has formed the basis for my outlook on life, and in particular my career in veterinary medicine.  It is by a philosopher named Huston Smith, and he states:

“Infinite gratitude towards all things past;
Infinite service towards all things present;
Infinite responsibility towards all things future.”

“Infinite gratitude towards all things past”.

As colleagues, you and I can be justly proud of our rich heritage.

Think about your past, your achievements, and your experiences that have led to this day.

I am grateful for my roots growing up on a dairy farm and for those life experiences that I had prior to becoming a veterinary medical student at Iowa State University.

Like most of you I sought to become a veterinarian because of an early human-animal connection.

My first bonding was with a Guernsey calf.  I still recall the thrill of participating in my first pet parade.  With a bottle of milk replacer, I proudly led my calf around the hometown square with a sign on my back, “June is Dairy Month, We Drink Milk”.

I know each of you have stories that you can share as well…Experiences that have brought you to this achievement of becoming a student of veterinary medicine.

As fitting as it is to reflect on our past and express our gratitude, I believe that it is more important to look to the future, knowing that our past will always be a part of our future.As we look to the future of the veterinary medical profession, the necessity for unity of our profession is apparent.

Veterinary medicine is a small profession with great responsibilities and vast opportunities.Companion animal practice, food supply veterinary medicine, public health, and biomedical research are only a few of the career opportunities that will be open to you.

It is this diversity of expertise combined with a commitment to working together that defines our veterinary medical profession.

The AVMA is that unified voice and unifying voice of our profession.

We are all partners in striving to fulfill the AVMA Mission, “Improving Animal and Human Health, Advancing the Veterinary Medical Profession”.

“Infinite Service towards all things present”.

Your first and primary service now is to make the most of your educational opportunities here at St. George’s University.

Utilize your excellent resources, including your professional educators and facilities, to develop your knowledge and skills.

I encourage you to become involved with your student organizations, and specifically invite you to become actively involved with the Student AVMA, to help shape the future of our profession.  Serve your profession now by joining together with your colleagues, fellow students and veterinarians alike.

Your education provides you with the knowledge necessary to become a veterinarian.  But lifelong friendships and relationships built through Student AVMA and AVMA activities, and other organizations, will also provide an unlimited source of knowledge as well as professional strength and satisfaction.

“Infinite responsibility towards all things future”.

You are the future leaders of the veterinary medical profession.

The AVMA recognizes and values your role in the future of the veterinary medical profession as a leader.

The AVMA strives to nourish that leadership development by supporting Student AVMA activities and having students serve in the AVMA House of Delegates and as valuable members of several AVMA committees.Your voice is needed to address the important issues facing our profession now and in the future.

It was my privilege to have served last year with Dr. Kara Tassone who graduated this year from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine.  Kara served as president of the Student AVMA.

As SAVMA president Kara served in the AVMA House of Delegates, served on the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee, and attended all AVMA Executive Board Meetings.
Leadership from the veterinary medical profession is critical to the future well being of our global society.

Consider these facts:

  • 75% of all emerging diseases in people in the past 25 years are zoonotic


  • 21 billion animals were produced for food and fiber throughout the world last year alone
  • 38,000 animals cross the US borders every day

Animal health and public health are truly at a crossroads.

The convergence of animal, human, and ecosystem health dictates that the One World One Health One Medicine concept must be embraced.  Avian influenza, tuberculosis, HIV, West Nile Virus, monkey pox and many more certainly underscore the one health concept.

As veterinarians, and as veterinary medical students, collaborating and cooperating with our colleagues in human medicine, public health, and the environmental sciences is imperative.

Together we can accomplish more to improve health worldwide than we can alone…and we, as the veterinary medical profession have the responsibility to assume a major leadership role in that effort.

Yesterday I had the privilege to attend the White Coat Ceremony for the School of Medicine.  In a short time they too will acquire the value of their lifetime…the value of their medical diploma.I encourage you to collaborate, cooperate and communicate with the other health science professional students here at St. George’s University.

I would further encourage you to take the leadership initiative to enhance that relationship.  In closing, let me return to where I started… Value…Privilege…Responsibility

I challenge you to periodically ask yourself the question…What is my value and responsibility as a veterinary medial professional?

It is my fervent hope and vision, that we as veterinary medical professionals, together with our other health science professional colleagues, will assume our collaborative responsibility…to protect and promote our immeasurable value, to utilize that value to its fullest, and to make sure that our future is a promising future…a future of even greater value.

Congratulations again, as you embark on your professional career in veterinary medicine!

Published 10/2/2007

School of Veterinary Medicine Welcomes Incoming Students at White Coat Ceremony

roger k mahr portraitDr. Roger K. Mahr, Immediate Past President of the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association), inspired a new class of 82 veterinary medical students during his keynote address at the White Coat Ceremony held at St. George’s University on August 21st, 2007.  Dr. Michelle Cook, SGUSVM ’05 alumni and a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons was the Master of Ceremonies and introduced the speakers.  Chancellor Charles R. Modica graciously welcomed the students and encouraged them to pursue their profession with integrity and commitment.  Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean, SVM, expressed the importance of continuously upholding standards in a profession they are privileged to serve.

As he addressed his audience of students, family, friends and SGU faculty, Dr. Mahr drew upon an impressive 34-year career in small animal practice and his experience as 2005/06 President-Elect of the AVMA.  Dr. Mahr emphasized the critical role veterinary medicine plays in securing the health and welfare of both people and animals.   “No other profession, I believe, has a comparable value to society,” he expressed.

Dr. Mahr shared a quote from contemporary author, scholar and philosopher, Huston Smith:

“Infinite gratitude towards all things past;
Infinite service towards all things present;Infinite responsibility towards all things future.”

“This,” said Mahr, ”formed the basis for my outlook on life, and in particular my career in veterinary medicine.”  He continued to define the relevance of this to his audience.  “All things past” referred to the motivation that led to this day.  Dr. Mahr spoke of his youth, being raised on an Iowa dairy farm, which supremely influenced his pursuit of a career in veterinary medicine.

While the past will always remain a part of our lives, Dr. Mahr stressed the importance of looking toward the future, as “veterinary medicine is a small profession with great responsibilities and vast opportunities.”  He spoke of the need for unity in the profession, and the role the AVMA plays as that singular voice.  He encouraged each of the students to serve the profession by building relationships through both the Student AVMA and AVMA activities, mentioning recent SGUSVM grad and Past President of the Student AVMA , Dr. Kara Tassone, who actively served in various AVMA capacities.  “You are the future leaders of the veterinary medical profession,” said Dr. Mahr.  “Your voice is needed to address the important issues facing our profession now and in the future.”

In his closing remarks, Dr. Mahr discussed the “One World, One Health, One Medicine” concept whereby animal, human and ecosystem health converge.  He stressed the critical role that leadership plays in the future well being of our global society.  It is the responsibility of today’s veterinary medical students in collaboration with other health science professional students to assume this role in the years ahead.

A native of south-central Iowa, Dr. Mahr received his veterinary medical degree from Iowa State University in 1971.   Following graduation, he moved to suburban Chicago where he established, owned and directed the Meadow View Veterinary Clinic in Geneva, Illinois, an accredited hospital member of the American Animal Hospital Association from 1974 to 2004.  Dr. Mahr has been active in organized veterinary medicine his entire career, holding many influential positions at regional and national veterinary organizations.

SGU was privileged to have Dr. Mahr speak at the University.

Read Dr. Mahr’s complete keynote address.

Published 10/2/2007

Vetsim Quiz Winner Praises St. George’s University Vet Summer Academy

kimberly noonKimberley Noon is a nineteen year old student studying Animal Science at the University of Nottingham.  Kimberley was one of over 5,000 A-level students who attended the popular UK Vetsim and Medsim (short for simulation) conferences.  The Vetsim 3 Day Course, which Kimberley attended, offers students who intend to study veterinary medicine the opportunity to experience the clinical practice of veterinary medicine, practical sessions and animal contact first hand, significantly strengthening their knowledge and skills.  Students have the opportunity to be on-call and work under pressure, supervised by veterinarians and senior veterinary students.  Medsim offers potential medical students a similarly challenging and rewarding experience.

For seven years, SGU has participated at both Vetsim and Medsim.  As part of the conferences, SGU prepares a quiz for students based on lectures attended and SGU’s own presentation.  Each year SGU awards three students with the highest scores complementary attendance to the Med/Vet Summer Academy in Grenada.   Kimberley was the only winner in the veterinary medicine category.

Now in its fifth successful year, the Med/Vet Summer Academy customizes its academic program to both preclinical and preveterinary medical students of high school and college age groups.

While attending Vetsim,  Kimberley learned of the Vet Summer Academy at SGU. Although she was familiar with the University’s medical school, she was not aware that SGU had a veterinary medical program.  Her first visit to Grenada and the True Blue Campus left quite an impression as she settled in for the 10-day course she was so eager to start.

Each day was filled with informative lectures, labs and activities that exceeded her expectations.   Kimberley was most influenced by the labs held at the University.  “I feel you learn a lot by watching other people work, and then trying it on your own,” she said.  “The labs provided helpful notes, and question and answer sheets at the end of each session.  The small group problem-solving sessions were also extremely beneficial.”  She was impressed by the facilities both on and off-campus, saying that the state-of-the-art laboratories and lecture rooms were second to none, and the visits to the Small Animal Hospital and the farm were “inspirational.”  In addition, the quality of the professors and the organization of the staff helped make her experience invaluable.

While the amount of free time was limited, many of the off-campus activities provided a rare opportunity to experience the island.   “Although our schedule was full academically, we also had the opportunity to see the beauty of Grenada first hand.  In fact,” said Kimberley, “my first time snorkeling was off Grenada’s exquisite coast line.”  Other off-campus activities included hiking in the rain forest, dolphin watching and an evening ocean cruise.

Kimberley said that one unforeseen benefit to the program was the friendships she developed with several of the other students in the program.  “Even though we were in Grenada for a short time, I  will continue to keep in touch with many of the new friends I met on the Island.”  Overall, Kimberley’s experience at the Vet  Summer Academy was one she will not forget, as it enhanced her knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and offered her a tremendous opportunity for personal growth.

Kimberley is preparing for a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Nottingham, a leading research and teaching university regularly ranked among the top ten higher education institutions in the UK.  She plans to focus her studies on wildlife and zoo animals.  She considers herself fortunate to have experienced the Vet  Summer Academy, as it reinforced her passion to practice veterinary medicine, a dream she has had since childhood.   Now that Kimberley has seen what SGU has to offer, she said, “I will certainly consider SGUSVM for my continued education.”

Published on 8/20/07

School of Veterinary Medicine Grads Achieve Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Membership

svm graduates that passed the rcvsSix graduates from St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine have passed the Statutory Membership Examination of the UK’s Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS). 44 veterinary graduates in all took the RCVS this time; SGU’s successful examinees represent fully one half of the total number that passed.

SGU graduates Fiona Dobbie, Emily Jubert, Claire Lambourn, Jonathan McCotter, Jenni Mason and Peter James Burnett were among 12 candidates worldwide.  In the presence of their friends and families, RCVS President Dr. Bob Moore presented the accomplished graduates with certificates at a Ceremony of Admissions at the RCVS in London.

In order to practice veterinary surgery in the UK, all graduates with foreign or Commonwealth qualifications must pass this exam which consists of two days’ written papers in London, followed by clinical, oral and practical exams at a UK veterinary medical school. As a statutory regulator, the RCVS undertakes the responsibilities to maintain a register of veterinary surgeons eligible to practice in the UK; to regulate veterinary medical education and to regulate professional conduct.

Many of the graduates have set the wheels in motion for a career in the UK.  Jonathan McCotter, Claire Lambourn and Fiona Dobbie are eager to begin their careers in mixed animal practice.  Each of these graduates has been inspired in their youth by family members who similarly chose veterinary medicine as a profession.

According to Fiona Dobbie, “Veterinary medicine is not a career, but a way of life.”  Fiona was influenced by her veterinarian grandfather, and as a very young girl, dreamed of working with animals.  Fiona has accepted a position in a small country practice in Northern England, where she and her colleagues will cover approximately 100 square miles of farm land.  Dr. Dobbie reflects upon her experience in Grenada with admiration for the University’s faculty and administration.  She believes the intimate class size at SGUSVM combined with the hands-on surgical experience and wet-labs significantly contributed to her confidence with patients.  She believes SGU students have a tremendous advantage in the practical stages of veterinary medicine, over programs in the UK.  Dr. Dobbie hopes to return to Grenada at some point in her career and practice the skills she acquired at SGU.

Dr. Jonathan McCotter, whose father is a veterinarian, will be joining his family’s five-person mixed animal practice in Cornwall.   When asked about his experience at SGU, Dr. McCotter stressed that the standard of teaching at the University, with faculty from Grenada, UK and the US, is exceptional.  “While the semester’s academic pace was intense,” said McCotter, “the program was well laid out, offering invaluable hands-on experience.”
Dr. McCotter also praises his fellow students, explaining that while the academic environment is extremely challenging, the genuine camaraderie and mutual respect amongst the students was invaluable.  Fiona Dobbie is in agreement, emphasizing that her class of 40 students “bent over backwards” to help each other succeed.

For Claire Lambourn, her choice to practice veterinarian medicine skipped a generation.  Claire recalls wanting to be a veterinarian, like her maternal grandparents, from a very young age.  She was inspired by her grandmothers pioneering career path as the first female veterinary surgeon in Malaysia, where she traveled with her husband the late Major Witherington OBE.
While Claire is impressed by the caliber of the SGU professors, it was the life experience and lessons she gained from Grenada that left the most significant mark.  She arrived at the SGU campus a young 18 year old student and left more mature, confident and focused than ever thought possible.  Claire credits the University and its staff for their continuous guidance and encouragement.

Jenni Mason, who was in New York and unable to attend the ceremony, holds the distinction of being the first graduate from the joint program between SGU and the University of Nottingham.  Peter James Burnett is presently teaching at SGU in Grenada.

SGU has 25 British students enrolled in veterinary medicine, and looks forward to an increasing number of them practicing in the UK upon graduation.

Published on 8/20/07

School of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Featured on Animal Planet

dr steven berkowitzDr. Steven Berkowitz, recent SGUSVM alumni, will be featured on seasons 5 and 6 of Animal Precinct on Animal Planet.   Steve, a native of New Jersey, is currently an intern in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery at Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital of the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) in New York City, where the episodes are filmed.  He will appear on several episodes of Animal Precinct during the next year. The first episode aired on Thursday, June 14th.

Animal Precinct is a powerful reality show that follows the animal cruelty agents from the Humane Law Enforcement department (HLE) of the ASPCA as they advocate for animals, sometimes removing them from dangerous situations and pursuing arrests of those cruel to animals. There are currently only 20 agents with full police powers for the entire city and state.

The episodes track the progress of the animals, specifically dogs and cats, from initial care at the hospital to their ultimate adoption.  According to Dr. Berkowitz, “Appearing in the episodes was a rewarding and unbelievably unique experience.”  He continued, “Since the ASPCA is not-for-profit, there are no monetary limitations to getting these animals back to health.”  He is continually amazed by the recovery many of these animals make, often after severely damaging injuries and abuse.  He believes Animal Precinct helps increase awareness of the scope of animal abuse.

Animal Precinct was the first show created by Animal Planet as part of an “umbrella rotation” of shows known collectively as “Animal Planet Heroes”, and its success led to the development of similar shows set in Detroit, Michigan (Animal Cops Detroit), Houston, Texas (Animal Cops Houston), Miami, Florida (Miami Animal Police), San Francisco, California (Animal Cops San Francisco), and Phoenix, Arizona (Animal Planet Heroes: Phoenix).  The show appears on Discovery Channel networks worldwide.

Dr. Berkowitz plans to stay close to home after completing his internship.  He is currently investigating opportunities in emergency medicine in hospitals in the tri-state area.

We will keep you updated on air dates of future episodes which feature SGU’s televised veterinarian.

Published 6/20/2007

Public Health Study Boost to ’07 School of Veterinary Medicine Graduate

rivkah bradsky with reindeerRivkah Bradsky graduated last week from the SVM, having recently been recognized by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Avian Pathologists (AAAP).

Rivkah was one of 10 students awarded the AVMA Externship Stipend Program for her commitment to public health veterinary medicine.  Rivkah’s experience has clearly proven her dedication to the field.  She has interned at several research facilities including some work in Grenada with Dr. Ravindra Sharma on toxoplasmosis, an infection caused by the single-celled parasite toxoplasma gondii.  Also, at the time of application, Rivkah had already received a highly sought after appointment as an extern with the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS).  The strong support of SGU’s Dr. Buxton Nyack and Dr. Nicoletti, along with Dr. Linda Detweiler of the USDA program, were crucial to her successful application.  Rivkah completed her experience in NY at the Animal Import Center for animals entering or transiting through the US.  In this capacity, she worked directly in quarantine and control of infectious diseases from abroad.

The AVMA Stipend Program, which began in 2004 with five stipends at $1,000 each, has recently approved a significant increase in funding due to the success of the program.

This year there were 39 applicants, 10 of whom were selected to receive stipends for completing externships in Public Practice and Corporate Veterinary Medicine (examples of these externships locations would be, but are not limited to, Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Johns Hopkins University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US Department of Agriculture, research labs, wildlife and pharmaceutical companies).

In response to the shortage of food supply veterinarians, the AVMA recently expanded the program to include five additional $1,000 stipends specifically for students participating in externships in food supply veterinary practice. The AVMA now funds the externship stipend program for 15 students, at a total of $15,000.

In addition, Rivkah is one of only two recipients selected each year for the AAAP Foundation Kenneth Eskelund Preceptorship Grant.   Rivkah was selected for her interest in poultry medicine, most specifically in areas of infectious disease and biosecurity.  At the time of application, she had completed an externship with Tyson Foods, Inc. where she was directly involved in biosecurity analysis, control and prevention of infectious disease in turkey and chicken operations within the tri-state area of Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma, and the development of proactive strategies with area poultry veterinarians in infectious disease prevention, above and beyond government regulations.  Rivkah’s experience in poultry medicine as it relates to infectious disease was inspired and supported by SGU’s Dr. Sharma.  The externship was arranged through the help of Dr. Daniel Shaw and Dr. Alex Bermudez of the University of Missouri, where she spent her clinical year.

The AAAP Foundation, Inc. is a nonprofit corporation engaged in charitable, scientific and educational activities. The Foundation annually awards preceptorships up to $1,200 to veterinary students for the purpose of helping them defray housing, living and travel expenses incurred while attending poultry medicine training programs under the auspices of their veterinary medical schools.

Dr. Eskelund, who has had a successful career in the poultry industry and has been an ardent supporter of the AAAP, provided the capital funds to establish this program in 1988. His intention was to encourage veterinary students to consider careers in poultry medicine.
The American Association of Avian Pathologists has solicited the cooperation of its members in establishing a variety of training sites including universities, diagnostic laboratories, poultry production companies and poultry breeding companies.
Rivkah is proud of the education and experience she gained at SGU, both in the classroom and in the workplace.  She plans to pursue a career in public health veterinary medicine, with an emphasis on infectious diseases.  Her ultimate goal is to work with the US government in handling disease outbreak.  She is currently considering advanced degree programs in infectious disease and comparative medicine.

Published 6/20/2007

Princeton Review: St. George’s University vet grad is well prepared for future, obtains competitive surgical residency in Pennsylvania.

Nicole Salas has a promising future as a veterinary surgeon. A 2005 St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine grad, Nicole has earned a competitive surgical residency at Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Langhorne, Pa.

“I am very happy thus far and feel I have learned a tremendous amount in my two years post graduation, between my rotating internship at Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists in
New York City and my surgical internship at Affiliated Veterinary Specialists in Florida,” Nicole says.

A native of Oxford, N.J., Nicole received an Animal Science degree at Cornell University. She always knew she’d like to become a veterinarian, and looked to St. George’s University in Grenada to help her prepare for her career.

“I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian since I was four years old. I’ve always loved animals and science,” says Nicole. “I am thankful St. George’s gave me this opportunity.”

After basic veterinary sciences, taught on SGU’s True Blue Campus in Grenada, West Indies, Nicole was placed at North Carolina State University for the clinical part of her education. In many ways, she felt better prepared than students from other schools, likely due to the hands-on training SGU students receive during their years in Grenada.

“St. George’s prepared us to be well-rounded veterinarians, despite our concentration in small or large animal medicine,“ Nicole says.

Nicole was also impressed with the professors at SGU: “They are always available, always willing to help you in any way they can,” she says. “Coming from a large university with teaching assistants, I was amazed to know that my professors had an open door policy, and would be willing to help and encourage me any way they could.”

Nicole’s potential was evident early on. “Even though spots are very limited, having known Nicole for the past several years, it’s no surprise that she obtained a surgical residency,” says Jeffrey Bates, Veterinary Enrollment Counselor at SGU.

“Her passion and knowledge for veterinary medicine has always been strong, and with all of the hands-on experience our students receive, I knew St. George’s University would teach her the skills necessary for her to follow her life-long dream,” he says.

In addition to the exceptional faculty, Nicole considered the Caribbean atmosphere a benefit.

“It was a relaxing atmosphere, despite the stress of class,” she says. “It really made me want to study, though most would think the opposite. You’re in a place where there aren’t the everyday distractions of the mall, the movies, and the hustle and bustle.”

Nicole couldn’t be happier with her education. “I am going to be a veterinary surgeon and I love what I am doing,” says Nicole. “St. George’s gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream. They prepared me to be a great veterinarian and it’s a great and safe study environment.”

About St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine

The School of Veterinary Medicine, established in 1999, has become a sanctuary for aspiring veterinarians worldwide. It advances the University’s evolution as an international institution that offers a broad range of educational and professional training opportunities.

The School continues to keep pace with the latest in veterinary knowledge and technology, expanding its curriculum and adding new, state-of-the-art laboratories. The University’s True Blue Campus is an architectural masterpiece on the southwestern corner of Grenada, on a peninsula overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

Published on 5/30/07

Phi Zeta, the Honor Society of Veterinary Medicine, Inducts New Members

At a ceremony held at the Caribbean House Great Hall, 15 impressive individuals were honored by the SGU Alpha Delta Chapter of Phi Zeta. Phi Zeta, the Honor Society of Veterinary Medicine, was founded in 1825 by students at the New York State Veterinary College at Cornell University.   It recognizes and promotes scholarship and research in matters pertaining to the welfare and diseases of animals.
phi zeta new members
The Alpha Delta Chapter of the Society of Phi Zeta was installed at SGU in 2005.  It was the first international chapter of the Honor Society of Veterinary Medicine and the 28th chapter to be formed.  Dr. John McKibben, President of the Chapter, opened the ceremony at the SGU Campus, welcoming the inductees and other honored guest.  Twelve SGU students were recognized for academic achievement and good character.  They are:

Kelly Carignan
Jennifer Hale
Jenna Heusi
Ryan Jacob
Nichole Organ
Corrine Stewart
Joy Will
Lian Doble
Jessica Ellis
Jessie Peck
Katherine Thorne
Jennifer Webb

Two faculty members of the School of Veterinary Medicine were also inducted as new members of Phi Zeta.  Dr. Saul Mofya and Dr. Ulrike Zieger were recognized for their commitment and achievement in the veterinary profession, specifically in the areas of research and service.  In addition, Dr. Bowen Louison, Grenada’s Chief Veterinary Officer, was inducted as an honorary member, in recognition of his notable service to Grenada’s veterinary profession.Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Dr. Vishnu Rao, Dean of Students praised the achievements of all new members, as they exemplify SGU’s dedication to high scholastic achievement.

Dr. Thomas Schubert, an adjunct professor of Neurology in the School of Veterinary Medicine, delivered the keynote address, reinforcing the increasing demand for skilled veterinarians and the myriad of career choices available to them.  Dr. Schubert closed by asking each student to consider how they can give back to the veterinary profession while pursuing their career.

The Alpha Delta Chapter was honored to host the International President of the Society of Phi Zeta, Dr. Charles Hendrix, also the Vice President of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Dr. Hendrix offered brief remarks and congratulations to all new inductees, closing with a quote from Garrison Keillor, “Be well. Do good works. Stay in touch,” and adding “Stay in touch with Phi Zeta and stay in touch with St. George’s University. They want to hear from you, and they want to hear your successes.”

After the induction ceremony, Dr. McKibben announced the chapter’s newly elected officers, who will take effect next fall.  Dr. Hugh Larkin will serve as President, Dr. Marta Lanza Louw as Vice President, and Dr. Diana Stone will serve another term as Secretary/Treasurer.

Published 4/17/2007

Professor Ian McConnell Delivers the Thirteenth Annual Geoffrey H. Bourne Memorial Lecture

Professor Ian McConnell Balck and White PortraitThe Thirteenth Annual Bourne Lecture was delivered by Professor Ian McConnell on the evening of February 12, 2007 at the True Blue campus in Grenada.  Professor McConnell presented on the topic: One Medicine: A Continuum of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science, focusing on the interplay between the three fields.

The lecture drew upon Professor McConnell’s distinguished career in research, specifically in the immunology of infectious diseases of animals and man.  One Medicine has been a consistent theme of his extensive research and teaching.  Throughout his research career he has exploited uniqueness offered by animal physiology and animal disease problems to gain insights into basic aspects of immunology and pathology of diseases importance to both veterinary and comparative medicine.

Professor McConnell is Professor of Veterinary Science and Director of Research at the University of Cambridge, England.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE), Founder Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine, Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists, and Professorial Fellow at Darwin College Cambridge.  He graduated in veterinary medicine from the University of Glasgow and in Natural Sciences (Pathology) from the University of Cambridge.  He carried out his doctoral studies (PhD) in immunology in the laboratory of Prof. RRA Coombs in the Department of Pathology, Cambridge.

Professor McConnell has 150 scientific publications which focus on studies on the immune system in health and disease, with particular focus on infectious diseases of man and animals including zoonotic diseases transmissible to man.  He was principal author of two editions of a highly successful book on the Immune System – a major undergraduate textbook in immunology.

He has made many fundamental discoveries on the immune system, particularly in the area of membrane receptors on lymphocytes, the role of the complement system in viral immunity lymphocyte physiology, and unique studies on immunity and pathogenesis of a naturally occurring ruminant lentivirus (maedi visna virus – MVV) – which is a prototype AIDS virus.  His research has provided unique insights into immune physiology and the pathogenesis of lentiviral infections of man and animals.  His current research is on the transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) and is focused on the mechanisms whereby prions which cause scrapie in sheep are able to invade the central nervous system.

Professor McConnell is recognized as an authority on infectious diseases of livestock, and through chairmanship and membership of several key Government and Royal Society Committees in animal and human health, has played a leading role in top-level Government Committees dealing with BSE, the Royal Society’s Inquiry into Foot and Mouth Disease, and more recently the Nuffield Council Inquiry on the ethics of research involving animals.  He was chairman of the Vaccination Subgroup for the Royal Society’s Inquiry  into Foot and Mouth Disease which led to the UK Government’s decision that emergency vaccination would be used in any future outbreak of FMD in the UK.  This is a major policy shift for the UK Animal Health Authorities.  As a member of the UK’s main advisory committee on spongiform encephalopathies (SEAC), he has been involved in scientific and advisory issues relating to transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) of animals and man.  He has also had a widespread involvement with the food industry through his expertise in diseases transmitted to man through the food chain.

For a synopsis of Prof. McConnell’s lecture “One Medicine: A Continuum of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Science” please see: Bourne Lecture.

Published 2/20/2007

Grenada Hosts the 24th Biennial Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association Conference (CbVMA)

The Caribbean Veterinary Medical Association Conference (CbVMA) was held for the first time in Grenada from November 8-10, 2006. SGU School of Veterinary Medicine and the Grenada Veterinary Medical Association were excited to host this prestigious event.
Group Photo at the 24th cbVMAThis year’s conference, “Veterinary Medicine: What is the Future?” brought together veterinarians and scientist from all parts of the Caribbean, Canada, The United States and The United Kingdom to address issues that affect the Caribbean region. A select group of over 150 professionals, including 50-70 students, had the opportunity to network, share ideas and participate in three consecutive days of outstanding education programs on the shores of the Caribbean Sea. This was also a wonderful opportunity for Grenada to exhibit and promote the exceptional facilities of the SGU campus. According to Dr. Raymond Sis, Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, the 24th Biennial CbVMA exceeded all of his expectations.

The event began on Wednesday, November 8th with an impressive opening ceremony that included welcome addresses from Dr. Eugene Rennie, President of Grenada Veterinary Medical Association and Dr. Allen Pensick, Provost of SGU. Introductory remarks were then presented by Dr. Sis. This conference offered local government officials an opportunity to participate as well. The conference was opened by Senator the Honorable Adrian Mitchell, Minister in the Ministry of Agriculture, Lands, Forestry, Public Utilities, Energy and MNIB.

Each day of the conference featured a series of lectures on topics including aquatic and avian veterinary medicine, re-emerging infectious diseases, anesthesiology, dentistry and public health. The invited plenary speakers are renowned experts in veterinary medicine. This year’s speakers and their topics included:

Dr. Richard Halliwell, Professor Emeritus, Veterinary Clinical Studies, Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, Edinburgh, UK: “Whither Veterinary Medicine: Challenges and Opportunities”.

Dr. Tom Nemetz, Dentistry Practice, South Athens, Animal Clinic, Athens, Georgia: Overview of Small Animal Dentistry.

Dr. Scott Echols, Director of Avian Medical and Surgical Services at the Westgate Pet and Bird Hospital in Austin, Texas: Collecting Diagnostic Samples in Avian Patients.

Dr. Gerald Johnson, Faculty of Atlantic Veterinary College of the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada: Aquatic Veterinary Medicine: Awash with Opportunities.

Dr. William Novak, Chief Medical Officer of Banfield, The Pet Hospital: Anesthesiology Workshop.

Dr. Howard Evans, Professor Emeritus, Cornell University: Marine Life of Grenada.

Dr. J.P. Dubey, United States Department of Agriculture: The Economic and Public Health Impact of Toxoplasmosis.

Following opening ceremonies, day one continued with the increasingly important subject of animal dentistry followed by a dental wet lab held at the SGU Campus. Hands-on wet labs were planned for conference participants to develop their skills and knowledge in emergent fields of veterinary medicine. Refreshment and lunch breaks were provided each day by several high profile industry sponsors including Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Novartis Animal Health, Pfizer Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health, Merial and Philbert Thomas. A welcome reception was held that evening at the SGU Campus which featured cultural performances by local group Tivoli Drummers and the Grenada National Folk Group.

The second day opened with an analysis of the recent epidemics of West Nile Encephalitis, Foot and Mouth Disease, Avian Influenza, Canine Influenza, Classical Swine Fever and Bluetongue. The afternoon session focused specifically on avian medicine and the challenges facing CARICOM countries and the preparation for an outbreak of HPAI (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza). An avian medicine wet lab focusing on collecting diagnostic samples in avian patients was offered to participants. Later that afternoon, a feature lecture and workshop introduced the best anesthesia practices for small animals.

The final day’s itinerary included several concurrent programs on aquatic veterinary medicine, small animal practice guidelines and management and public health issues. Final remarks from Dr. Rennie, President of Grenada VMA, and a farewell banquet at the Aquarium Restaurant closed the conference.

Dr. Sis acknowledges the dedication of all who helped make the conference a success. “The many benefits that were derived by all who participated were made possible due to the diligence and cooperative team effort of each member of the local arrangements committee,” said Dr. Sis.
The committee included the following colleagues from The School of Veterinary Medicine, Grenada Veterinary Medical Association and WINDREF Research Institute:

Dr. Raymond Sis
Dr. Eugene Rennie
Dr. Bowen Louison
Dr. Calum Macpherson
Dr. Ravindra Sharma
Dr. Tara Paterson
Dr. John McKibben
Dr. Claude DeAllie
Dr. Buxton Nyack
Mrs. Meg Conlon
Mrs. Lisa McCartney

Dr. Sis gives special thanks and commendations to Mrs. Lisa McCartney, conference coordinator, who played a major role in the success of the conference. SGU and the Grenada Veterinary Medical Association look forward to hosting another CbVMA Conference in the near future.

Published on 11/21/2006