Dreams Fulfilled on 2019 Match Day

 

On Match Day 2019, St. George’s University students and graduates once again demonstrated their aptitude and excellence, with more than 890 securing first-year residency positions in the United States. The numbers are expected to climb in the coming weeks.

Students matched into highly competitive positions in such fields as anesthesiology, child neurology, diagnostic radiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, internal medicine/emergency medicine, internal medicine/pediatrics, neurology, obstetrics and gynecology, pathology, pediatrics, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, surgery, urology, vascular surgery. They will join residency programs in 42 US states and the District of Columbia this summer.

“We couldn’t be prouder of those who are on to the next chapter in their careers,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “Each and every student showed great dedication and perseverance in order to clear each hurdle in their journey, and we’re delighted to see that they’ve been rewarded for their efforts.”

 

Scores of students gathered at SGU’s Match Day Luncheons in New York City and Miami, collectively celebrating as the match results were revealed by the National Resident Matching Service. Gaelle Antoine, MD ’19 (expected), described matching into her number one choice – the anesthesiology program at Brown University—as “surreal.”

“I’m still processing that my dream actually came true,” she said. “It’s unbelievable. All the sleepless nights and the ups and downs, that I matched at Brown made it totally worth it.”

Ms. Antoine was raised in Haiti before earning her bachelor’s degree at Brooklyn College. When considering options for medical school, she seized the opportunity to enroll at SGU.

“I made such long-lasting friends in Grenada, and met some amazing professors, mentors, and faculty members,” she said. “As much as I want to say that I did a lot of it, SGU really played a big part of my success. The education was tailored for me to make it to the top, which is where I am right now.”

She now joins a diverse residency program that “represents America as well as the best of the population in medicine.”

Al Lore, MD ’19 (expected), will join the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Beaumont Health in Dearborn, MI. As an SGU student, he appreciated the camaraderie among his medical school brethren in Grenada, and felt a similar tight-knit community at Beaumont.

“When I went to interview, as soon as I walked into the department, everyone was so welcoming,” he said. “It felt like such a great working environment to work in for the next four years of my life.”

Like other Class of 2019 members, Mr. Lore waited anxiously for the news to arrive on Match Day. It proved to be well worth the wait.

“This whole week, I was like a kid on Christmas Eve waiting for Christmas Day to come,” he said. “You can’t wait for it to arrive, and then when that moment hits, it’s just an incredible feeling.”

Adam Lane, MD ’19 (expected), will begin residency with the internal medicine program at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell/Mather before going on to a diagnostic radiology residency at Morristown Medical Center in Morristown, NJ. Even for someone who describes himself as “laid-back,” Match Week made for an anxious time. He was thrilled to discover that he’d go into Atlantic Health’s program at Morristown.

Mr. Lane feels that his inquisitive nature is a natural fit with the field, and he’s also looking forward to serving the departments throughout the hospital.

“Some people think you just sit in the dark looking at imaging, but it’s so much more than that,” he said. “You have to have great communication skills. Every single specialty relies on radiology to provide critical insight so that they can better direct their clinical decisions, so you have to be able to communicate effectively. I’m just so excited to get started.”

While some had never visited Grenada prior to medical school, it had long been a second home for Anna Stransky, MD ’19 (expected). Her father, Martin Stransky, graduated from SGU in 1983 before going on a long and successful career in neurology. Anna had first visited there while her father was still a student, and many times over while growing up in Connecticut.

Her own SGU experience has catapulted her to an internal medicine residency position at Stamford Hospital in the aptly named Nutmeg State. It was her top choice.

“The road was long and sometimes bumpy, but I’m very happy to finally have the chance to be a practicing physician,” she said.

Ms. Stransky pointed to her support system as part of the reason for her success. That includes the friends she made on the island.

“SGU started as a ‘mom and pop’ organization, and there remains a very family-oriented vibe around it,” she said. “From day one, everyone is looking out for you. If you ask for help from students or faculty, there’s certainly support there for you.”

 

“The education was tailored for me to make it to the top, which is where I am right now.”

 

Like Ms. Stransky, Muaaz Masood, MD ’19 (expected), is headed home. He grew up outside Atlanta, and will begin his internal medicine residency at the Medical College of Georgia this summer.

“Home is a special place for me,” he said. “I felt that especially so at MCG, which solidified that this was going to be the right place for me the next three years.”

Mr. Masood was able to spend time in Georgia, having rotated at DeKalb Medical Center, one of SGU’s 70-plus clinical affiliates. He also took advantage of the expansive network of hospitals at which SGU students rotate, having trained in New York, Florida, and California as well. His travels took him well away from where he’d end up, but also gave him great perspective.

“It was a long journey, but it was 100 percent worth it,” Mr. Masood said. “My dream came to life.”

The Match Day news came just two weeks after 16 SGU students secured first-year residency positions in Canada through the Canadian Resident Match Service. For the complete list of 2019 residency appointments and a broad view of SGU’s track record of placing doctors in the US workforce, visit the SGU Graduate Success page.

– Brett Mauser

US Ambassador to Eastern Caribbean Visits Grenada to Discuss Community Outreach, Women’s Empowerment

Senior officials from the US State Department visit St. George’s University to speak with student leaders about community outreach and women’s empowerment. Discussions were led by US Ambassador Linda Taglialatela, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Julie Chung, Caribbean Affairs Director Katherine Dueholm, Deputy Political Economic Counselor Rachel Meyers, and Principal Officer Stephen Frahm.

Community outreach and women’s empowerment were at the forefront as St. George’s University’s student organization leaders welcomed senior officials from the United States to campus on March 8. Among the distinguished guests were Linda Taglialatela, US Ambassador to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean and the OECS, and Julie Chung, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) of the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and other senior US State Department officials.

Representatives from groups such as the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations, the Student American Veterinary Medical Association, and Women in Medicine shared their many contributions to the island, from the well-attended One Health One Medicine health fairs to a 5K road race that supports breast cancer awareness.

Since the visit coincided with International Women’s Day, students took the opportunity to seek advice on balancing gender inequality in the workplace, and in the State Department in particular. Both Ambassador Taglialatela and PDAS Chung shared some of their own experiences as women in the workplace dealing with gender inequality. Each encouraged students to be prepared for any situation or discussion, and when in a position of power, to assist other women in making the climb upward.

The visit ended with a tour of the True Blue campus and PDAS Chung expressing the hope that this visit would reaffirm the United States’ commitment to forging stronger bonds with Grenada and other Eastern Caribbean countries.

Sixteen SGU Graduates Secure Residency Positions in Canada Through CaRMS Match

Aspiring physicians from Canada have long used St. George’s University School of Medicine as a springboard to a career in medicine, and that much was evident this month as 16 SGU students and graduates obtained first-year residency positions through the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS).

This summer, SGU alums will begin postgraduate training in fields such as anatomy and pathology, anesthesiology, emergency medicine, family medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and psychiatry, matching into positions at hospitals in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan. Since 2010, more than 140 SGU graduates have earned residency positions in Canada.

“We are delighted that our physician graduates continue to bolster the Canadian healthcare system,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “Canada is in need of great doctors across all provinces and specialties, and we wholeheartedly believe that SGU graduates fit that mold.”

 

“I’m so grateful and happy to be going to Ottawa.”

 

It was an exhilarating day for SGU students who are amid their fourth-year clinical training in the United States and Canada. After completing rounds in New York City, Vanessa Lauzon, MD ’19 (expected), waited anxiously with two colleagues as noon approached. She felt confident in her chance to match in Canada, having scored well on Canadian board exams and received numerous residency interviews countrywide.

Ms. Lauzon rejoiced upon learning she had matched at her top-choice institution—the family medicine residency program at the University of Ottawa, just 50 minutes from Montebello, QC, where she grew up.

“It was very nerve-wracking all morning, but then when I saw that I was going home, I cried and immediately called my family,” she said. “It’s life-changing. I can go back to Canada and start to build my life there.”

In addition to proximity to her family, Ms. Lauzon appreciated that the program is bilingual, allowing her to speak her native French, its opportunities for global health, its 1:1 physician/resident ratio, and 25 multidisciplinary sites at which residents’ opportunities to medicine run the full gamut.

The variety mirrors her St. George’s University experience. A graduate of McGill University’s nursing program, Ms. Lauzon opted to join SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program , for which students spend the first year of basic sciences at Northumbria University in the UK. Her studies then took her to Grenada, the United States, and Canada, having completed electives in Vancouver, BC; Sudbury, ON; and Montreal, QC.

She is enthused about the career that awaits her in Ottawa, including the opportunity for fellowship after residency. “I’m so grateful and happy to be going to Ottawa,” she said.

 

“SGU got me exactly where I wanted to be—my number one choice.”

 

On the day of the match, Ryan Toews, MD ’19 (expected) worked a 6am – 2pm emergency medicine shift at Ascension St. John’s Hospital in Detroit, MI, on the day of the match, meaning he waited more than two hours to find out where he was headed.

“It was perfect because it kept me busy,” Mr. Toews said. “I didn’t want to check at work because, no matter the result, I didn’t want it to affect patient care.”

The wait proved to be worth it. Mr. Toews was thrilled to discover he had matched into the family medicine residency program at the University of Saskatchewan’s site in Swift Current. He’ll practice just two hours from his hometown of Medicine Hat, AB.

After earning his nursing degree from the University of Calgary, Mr. Toews had applied twice to Canadian medical schools. Instead of delaying his dream further, he applied to and enrolled in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, where he appreciated the small class sizes and introduction to the UK healthcare system. In addition to a strong basic sciences knowledge gained in the UK and Grenada, he prospered during two years of clinical training at St. John’s, an experience he called “superb.”

Now he’ll use the knowledge and skills he gained to treat citizens in and around Swift Current.

“SGU got me exactly where I wanted to be—my number one choice,” he said. “Even if I’d gone to medical school in Canada, I’d have picked Swift Current as my number one.”

 

“To end up exactly where I’d hoped to be is almost surreal. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

 

Mr. Toews worked side by side with Etai Shachar, MD ’19 (expected), for much of his time in Detroit, although on the day of the CaRMS match, Mr. Shachar was in Toronto for an emergency medicine elective. As it turned out, that’s where he’ll continue his medical career as he matched into the University of Toronto’s EM program.

When he began his medical school journey, he hoped it would unfold just as it did.

“U of T has been my number one choice for quite some time,” Mr. Shachar said. “To end up exactly where I’d hoped to be is almost surreal. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

Born and raised in Toronto, he double-majored in biology and medical sciences at the University of Western Ontario before obtaining his master’s degree in biotechnology at the University of Guelph. He chose to attend SGU because of its track record for student success in the US and Canada, and after hearing positive reviews from family friends who had graduated from SGU and are now practicing in New Jersey.

After two years in Grenada, Mr. Schachar strengthened his critical care resume with rotations in New York City and Detroit, which he said set him up well for Canadian residency interviews.

“As a student, I made sure to take advantage of the spectrum of hospitals that SGU has access to,” he said. “I really appreciated the diversity of cases that I saw, and learned to love and thrive on the energy and pace of the ER.”

The CaRMS match came two weeks ahead of the United States match, which takes place on Friday, March 15. In 2018, SGU students and graduates obtained a record number of residency positions, with 941 secured in the US alone. Visit our 2019 residency listing page for a complete list of SGU physicians who will begin their residencies this summer.

– Brett Mauser

Hyperbaric Medicine Selective Students Come to the Rescue of Ill Grenadian Fisherman

Each May and December, immediately following final examinations, first- and second-year students at St. George’s University School of Medicine can participate in a pair of Grenada-based selectives in hyperbaric medicine. In addition to intense study of the theoretical underpinnings of hyperbaric therapeutics, students gain practical experience, with a focus on chronic wounds associated with diabetes.

Late in 2018, however, the participants faced an even more dramatic challenge.

During a routine training session for the hyperbaric students at St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS), a Grenadian fisherman showed hemiparalysis and urinary retention. Confronted with decompression sickness-related dysfunction of the brain and spinal cord, the students confidently and professionally rose to the occasion. Over approximately seven hours of supervised effort, they successfully deployed their fresh knowledge and skills, sparing their patient from a lifetime of profound disability.

When completed in succession, the selectives constitute a course that is approved by the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine (ACHM) for progression toward the professional credential of Certified Hyperbaric Technician (CHT).

“The students did a fantastic job. Enabling achievement is part of what the course was designed to do. So, to see this objective met is extremely gratifying,” said Dr. Duncan Kirkby, the course’s director and professor of neuroscience at SGU. “The students expressed genuine concern for the well-being of the patient. They were respectful, professional and highly motivated to achieve the best possible outcome.”

Dr. Kirkby worked with Lutz “Joe” Amechi, MD ’93, the medical director at SAMS, to bring hyperbaric medicine to Grenada in 2017. Previously, the nearest chamber to treat diving-related injuries resided in Barbados. The installation of the chamber at SAMS facilitated the development of the selectives, which supplement the preclinical education that medical students receive at SGU.

“There are two major expectations of participants in the selectives,” Dr. Kirkby said. “First, they rapidly develop a fledgling body of team-based practical experience that is steeped in the care of Grenadians. Second, because hyperbaric technologies are applicable to a broad and growing array of clinical conditions and disciplines, participants are expected to gain an experiential advantage in the pursuit of residencies.”

Dr. Tyler Sexton, who studied under Dr. Kirkby, supplied Grenada’s hyperbaric chamber and is the primary instructor for the selectives. He is also a visiting professor at SGU and the CEO and medical director of Caribbean Hyperbaric Medicine.

“There are over a dozen varied indications for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Applicable disciplines include but are not limited to emergency medicine, reconstructive surgery, internal medicine, aerospace medicine, and trauma surgery,” Dr. Sexton said. “It has been my honor to join Drs. Amechi and Kirkby in bringing hyperbaric care to Grenada and promoting the professional, scholarly and personal development of the students of SGU.”

Dr. Lutz “Joe” Amechi, MD ’93, resident physician and managing director of St. Augustine’s Medical Services (SAMS), introduced the nation’s first hyperbaric chamber and a 64 slice CT machine in 2017. St. George’s University is partnering with SAMS to provide medical students with a clinical selective in hyperbaric medicine.