A World of Infinite Possibilities Opens to SVM Entering Class

Entering students at the St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine were encouraged to think beyond standard veterinary practice and to embrace a world view at the White Coat Ceremony on Monday, February 2, 2015.

SGU School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony

“Get to know things outside veterinary medicine. Think more broadly and go beyond your comfort zone,” were the words of wisdom from keynote speaker Dr. Donald Smith. Professor of Surgery, and Austin O. Hooey Dean Emeritus at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University, Dr. Smith urged students to widen the scope of their learning and experience. “You will all become proficient in how to diagnose and treat animals, but the world is bigger than a single practice,” he said. “What will distinguish you from other students is the degree to which you understand the broader world.”

Dr. George Daniel, MD SGU ’05, the evening’s Master of Ceremonies, demonstrated the value of broad experiences by sharing highlights from his career as a veterinarian—from scuba diving Caribbean coral reefs and cataloging marine flora and fauna, to working at a rural mixed animal practice in Trinidad treating sheep, cattle and pigs, and working with pharmaceutical companies and delivering lectures on their products and best practices.

“This is the level of excitement that you can look forward to in your career,” said Dr. Daniel. “As a student, you will make lifelong friendships and unforgettable memories, and after you graduate, you will accomplish incredible things in this awesome profession.”

Just days prior to the White Coat, the students completed the Professional Attributes Workshop (PAWS), a two-day fun and interactive, team building, leadership exercise. Dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Timothy Ogilvie, emphasised these values in his welcoming remarks at the ceremony. “SGU provides an environment for you to be successful , not only in the classroom but in the development of leadership skills. We want you to be leaders not only in your profession, but in your lives.”

Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University also echoed the themes of leadership and teamwork in his address. “As students here, you will have a chance to interact and study with people from all cultures, all religions and all creeds,” he said. “You will leave here with not just your veterinary degrees but with an understanding of the people of the earth and a respect for diversity. You will learn the beauty of people working together for a cause. You will be the leaders that will make the world a better place.”

Since 1999, the School of Veterinary Medicine has provided its culturally diverse student body with an internationally based veterinary medical education designed to prepare them for the world of global health care. The School’s DVM program was granted full accreditation by the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education (AVMA COE) for seven years in September of 2011. Graduates, who come from 27 countries, have been licensed to practice in 47 US states, and in 10 countries around the world including Canada, the UK, and South Africa.


Spring 2015 School of Veterinary Medicine White Coat Ceremony Keynote Speech

Vet school isn’t easy, but Cornell’s Dr. Donald Smith offered a few words of encouragement at the Spring 2015 SGUSVM White Coat Ceremony.

St. George’s University’s SVM Dean Receives Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree

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To honor his outstanding and ongoing contribution to veterinary medicine throughout his nearly four decades in this field, Dr. Timothy Ogilvie, Dean of St. George’s University’s School of Veterinary Medicine, has been awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from his alma mater, the University of Guelph.

“Dr. Ogilvie is a visionary with the leadership skills needed to turn ideas into constructive outcomes,” said a citation from University of Guelph’s Senate. “Throughout his veterinary career, he has utilized his talents to engage youth, mentor students, advance the profession, and enhance education and research. The impact of his achievements has improved the health of the communities and environment in which we live.”

Prior to joining the SGU family, Dr. Ogilvie served at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) where he helped found its Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC). He served as Dean at AVC from 1998 to 2008, becoming its longest-serving dean. Under his leadership, AVC was able to secure funding to establish a national Virtual Veterinary Medicine Learning Community, which allowed students and faculty to develop and seamlessly share expertise and resources. It was the first in Canada to link all colleges of one profession.

In 1999, Dr. Ogilvie also developed the AVC Veterinary Camp for junior high and high school students to get hands-on experience in veterinary medicine. The camp, one of the first of its kind in North America, has been attended by over 2000 students from all around the world and has won Canadian Awards for Community Outreach.

Dr. Ogilvie also demonstrated innovation in his leadership roles in organizations such as Genome Atlantic, AVC Inc., one of the first corporate arms of UPEI, and AquaNet, a centre with the Network of Centres of Excellence for the aquaculture industry. Dr. Ogilvie has also held membership in the Wind Energy Institute of Canada, served as Chair of the PEI Lobster Industry Roundtable, and sat on the World Animal Health Organisation’s Committee on Global Veterinary Education (CGVE).

Dr. Ogilvie joined SGU in January of 2014, and has already begun using his extensive experience in the field of veterinary medicine to continue to move the school forward. Under his directorship, the SVM is making several important changes, including fostering the open flow of information, implementing direct outcome measurement earlier in students’ tenure, and developing a strategic plan and vision for the School for 2020. He has also started the SVM Dean’s Newsletter in which he communicates plans and developments to staff and faculty.

Veterinary Surgical Lab Dedicated to Former Dean and his Wife

As Dean of St. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Raymond F. Sis led the program from its infancy to its current position as a regional and international leader in veterinary medical education. With his wife, Jan, at his side, Dr. Sis steered SGU through a rigorous accreditation process that included full accreditation by Grenada’s Ministry of Education and the American Veterinary Medical Association Council on Education.

To honor the family’s impact on the University, the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Surgical Laboratory was renamed Ray and Jan Sis Hall in a ceremony held on September 1. Constructed in 2007, the two-floor building on the lower level of campus is comprised of two lecture halls and a veterinary medicine surgical lab that features state-of-the-art surgical equipment.

veterinary surgical lab dedicated-to former dean and his wife

“I am very humbled to be here to receive this honor,” said Dr. Sis, now Dean Emeritus. “When I first began to develop plans for seeking accreditation from the AVMA, we were advised to construct a classroom with surgical facilities, and that would not have been possible without the assistance of the University’s administration. Jan and I enjoyed working together here at St. George’s University and did so as a team. We are proud of the School of Veterinary Medicine, and it will always hold a special place in our heart.”

His visionary efforts over his 13-year tenure at SGU did not go unnoticed as University Chancellor Charles R. Modica and Provost Allen Pensick paid tribute to his chivalrous attributes at an intimate ceremony outside the hall.

“The University has many prides, but none of it is more prideful than you and Jan and the way you have elevated this University with the veterinary school,” Chancellor Modica said. “As Dean Emeritus, we will always remember the contributions you’ve made – you brought us through accreditation, and you did it with dignity, giving us all a sense of pride and joy.”

Recalling Dr. Sis’s actions in coordinating the relocation of veterinary students with limited resources and communications following Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Chancellor Modica stated, “ I learned a lot about how a single act like that can demonstrate the confidence and love that people have for you. You had the respect of a lot of US Deans and, together with Jan, who has been a vibrant part of this University, you will always have ours.”

“The Ray and Jan Sis Hall stands as testimony to the profound impact of Dr. Sis and his wife, and the School of Veterinary Medicine as a center of academic excellence,” added Dr. Pensick. “The progress made within such a short period of time speaks to good leadership, and because of this, the veterinary school will always remain a major player in the future of St. George’s University.”

About Dr. Raymond F. Sis
Prior to joining SGU, Dr. Sis taught for 35 years at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Texas A&M University, where he led the Department of Veterinary Anatomy for 15 years. He is a Past President for several organizations, including the International Association of Aquatic Animal Medicine and American Association of Veterinary Anatomists. He also served on the National Advisory Panel of the North American Veterinary Medical Educational Consortium (NAVMEC) in 2010.

Internationally recognized for his work in veterinary medicine, Dr. Raymond F. Sis has delivered more than 55 scientific presentations to veterinarians and veterinary students, and has authored and coauthored over 75 publications. Most recently he was selected by Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine for its 2013 Alumni Recognition Award.

Dr. Sis also served in the United States Air Force for four years as base veterinarian and then became an environmental health officer in the Air Force Reserve for 25 years. He received the Air Defense Command Commendation and the Air Force Commendation Medal for his work in the Newcastle Disease Eradication Project in California in 1972. Upon retirement from the Air Force Reserve, he received the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal.

Veterinary Scholars Present 10-Week Research at the Merial-NIH Symposium

news zachary pearl emily cotranSt. George’s University School of Veterinary Medicine student Zachary Pearl and Colorado State University veterinary medical student Emily Cotran presented 10 weeks of research at the 15th Annual Merial National Institutes of Health (NIH) Symposium, held at Cornell University this past summer. The Merial-NIH Veterinary Scholars Symposiumbrings together scientists and veterinary scholars from the US, Canada, and now the Caribbean who engaged in mentored research during the summer at veterinary schools, allowing them to present their findings and giving them the chance to learn from and interact with scientists from diverse fields and other veterinary student researchers.

Mr. Pearl and Ms. Cotran conducted field research at St. George’s alongside their mentors, Drs. Ravindra Sharma and Satesh Bidaisee, as part of the Island Veterinary Scholars Program (IVSP), which is funded by Merial, a Sanofi company; and NIH. Mr. Pearl investigated the effects of feed and rations on milk quality in goats, while Ms. Cotran investigated whether legislation serves as an effective mitigation toward the control of stray dog populations, a project done in collaboration with the Stray Dog Control Program and the Ministry of Health in Grenada.

“The objective of the program is to give veterinary students who have had little to no research experience the opportunity to learn about and actively participate in veterinary research,” stated Dr. Kathryn Gibson, IVSP Director. “There are a lot of rewarding and challenging aspects to research, and this summer experience allows the students to explore the opportunities available in veterinary research in their future careers, as well as to share this knowledge with other students.”

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In addition to Mr. Pearl, two additional SGU students participated in the Merial Veterinary Scholars Program. Muzzammil Sayyid visited Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine looked at pluripotent stem cells and Brittany Edwards visited the University of Missouri where she investigated Chikungunya virus in mosquitoes.

This is the second group participating in the research program since SGU received its first grant from Merial in 2012. St. George’s University is one of two Caribbean universities to receive this grant, which was typically given to American and Canadian universities. The first two individuals who participated in the program were SGU student Lori Miller and a non-host student, Robert Schnurr, from Auburn University, who presented their research at the Merial-NIH Symposium in 2013 at the University of Michigan.

Underwood Veterinary Hospitals Thriving

Sarah Underwood, DVM SGU ’10, and her father, James, have enjoyed working collaboratively at Underwood Animal Hospital and 21st Street Vet Clinic in New Jersey.


DVM Student Published in Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science

Research on Canine Heartworm Awareness

Deep within the lungs of cats, dogs, and a wide range of mammals lies the root of a worldwide clinical problem – heartworm. While diagnosis, preventatives, and awareness have increased worldwide, the potentially fatal infection continues to plague many pets around the world.

news dvm student publishedIn Grenada, DVM student, Sylke Lohmann, set out to research the treatment, prevention, and awareness of canine heartworms as a zoonotic disease on the tropical island. The resulting paper, which revealed that many people are unaware of canine heartworm prevalence and its ability to be transmitted to humans, was published in a recent edition of the Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science (JAAWS).

Launching the research project and with funding from St. George’s University, Ms. Lohmann collaborated with the Grenadian Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (GSPCA) to develop an educational brochure that outlined the lifecycle of heartworms, symptoms, prevention, treatment, and its pervasiveness in Grenada. The brochure served as the basis for her JAAWS report.

“The objective of my research and the brochure were to provide tangible information for GSPCA clients on how to better care for their animals, and stay safe while doing so,” Ms. Lohmann said. “It is one thing to have your veterinarian say the information to you, and another to have the information readily available.”

Originally from Canada, Ms. Lohmann remarked that having her paper published exceeds this initial objective, and may attract some additional help to assist the GSPCA in its strides to reduce the prevalence of heartworm cases, as well as other parasitic diseases.

“Sylke’s project has really opened our eyes to what is needed to emphasize awareness and prevention of canine heartworm in Grenada, and I hope for continued research collaboration between St. George’s University and GSPCA,” stated Dr. Kathryn Gibson, research mentor and Associate Professor within the School of Veterinary Medicine. “This project and resulting manuscript will also be of tremendous benefit to Sylke in her future veterinary career, whether or not she chooses research as her primary line of work.”

Ms. Lohmann earned her Bachelor of Science degree in natural sciences from the University of Calgary, and is interested in small animals, horses, and exotics. She hopes to work in a general practice, and upon completing the DVM program at SGU plans to complete her clinical year in Georgia or Tennessee. While this was her first time doing research, she is open to making it a part of her veterinary career.

St. George’s University Increases U.S. College Affiliations to Provide Pre-Medical and Veterinary Students New Options

Two new agreements between American universities and an international medical school will provide more doctors and veterinarians in the United States according to school officials.

“St. George’s University joined forces with Springfield College in Massachusetts and Long Island University (LIU) in New York to address the country’s physician and veterinarian shortage,” said Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s. “Students starting in these two new programs will join the more than 13,000 physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and public health and business professionals who matriculated at St. George’s since we were founded more than 35 years ago.”

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Combined BS/MD and BS/DVM degrees will be offered at both Springfield College and LIU. Through the partnership with St. George’s, Springfield students who complete three in biology, sports biology or a science-based major, as well as meet the requirements for promotion to St. George’s University, will gain entrance to the University’s Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. Upon completing their first year at St. George’s, students will obtain their Bachelor of Science from Springfield, and will then be eligible to complete the remaining three years of study at St. George’s University. Upon finishing the combined degree program, students will have obtained both their undergraduate and tertiary degrees over a seven-year span, one fewer than if they pursued the degrees separately.

LIU students who complete four years in biology, sports biology or a science-based major, as well as meet the requirements for promotion to St. George’s University, will gain entrance to the University’s Doctor of or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

The programs are the latest affiliations in a growing worldwide network of academic partnerships St. George’s maintains in the United States with Monmouth University, the New Jersey Institute of Technology/Albert Dorman Honors College, St. Michael’s Medical Center, Caldwell College, Franklin Pierce University and University of the Sciences. The University has created similar partnerships with international schools in the United Kingdom, Bermuda, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and Uganda.

About St. George’s University 
St. George’s University is a center of international education, drawing students and faculty from 140 countries to the island of Grenada, in the West Indies, to its programs in medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, science, and business. St. George’s is affiliated with educational institutions worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. The University’s over 13,000 graduates include physicians, veterinarians, scientists, and public health and business professionals across the world. The University programs are accredited and approved by many governing authorities and repeatedly recognized as the best in the region. For more information, visit www.sgu.edu.

DVM Grad Named Top 15 Marine Veterinary Professor

Dr. Samantha Shields, DVM SGU ’04, a faculty member at St. Matthew’s University has been ranked among the top 15 marine veterinary professors, according to VetTechColleges.com, a website aimed at prospective and current veterinary medicine professionals.