Back to School: What’s new on the True Blue Campus

 

Welcome back! For many students, this is either their first time on St. George’s University’s iconic True Blue campus or their first time being back in Grenada since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a rundown of the new and exciting places they get to explore upon their return.

“There is nothing like experiencing a vibrant St. George’s University campus with all our students, faculty, and staff back together,” said Dr. Glen Jacobs, provost at SGU. “We’re excited to share these improvements with our campus community. This term, our students on the True Blue campus will have full access to the facilities that make SGU such an outstanding place to receive a world-class education.”

Over the past 22 months, several expansion and redevelopment projects have been completed at SGU in preparation for the return of its growing campus community. This includes the opening of the Eric Gairy Pavilion, where up to 282 students can convene for outdoor study, and the Beachfront Pavilion, which has a capacity for 324 students to conduct group study. Students on campus now have 52 percent more individual study spaces to choose from, following renovations with new carrels in Founders Library, Lower Modica Hall, Lower Taylor Hall, St. David’s Hall, St. Andrew’s Hall, and St. John’s Hall. SGU also recently updated its existing 56 clinical skills rooms with the newest technology—adding another 28 rooms and a new control center.

The goal of all these expansion and redevelopment efforts is to enhance campus life and the student experience. Additional enhancements students, faculty, and staff will be able to enjoy on campus starting this term include:

  • New SVM Faculty Building: The latest SVM building features 34 brand new offices, a conference room, a reception area, and a small kitchenette. It was completed earlier this month and faculty have already started moving into their new digs.
  • Marion Hall Renovation: The project included a massive expansion and upgrade of all research spaces. A highlight of the project is the student lab, which has now more than doubled in size and was completely renovated to include new furniture, fixtures, and a state-of-the-art AV system. Scheduled to be completed by August 2022.
  • SimLab Renovation: Not just a renovation but also a relocation—the SOM SimLab has moved from Westerhall to the 2nd floor of St. George’s Hall. For this renovation, 22 hospital simulation rooms were constructed, each featuring an administrator room, state-of-the-art training equipment, and fully outfitted with new furniture and fixtures as well as training mannequins. The entire floor will have a new AV system, touch-screen InFocus monitor, and a dedicated control room on the same floor for the lead administrator to monitor all rooms simultaneously. Scheduled to be completed by September 2022.
  • Happy’s Café: Located on lower campus, opposite of the Maintenance Department, the new café is poised to become the campus’ newest ‘instagrammable’ hot spot. Scheduled to be completed in early September 2022.

 

Image 1: New SVM faculty building (front entrance); Image 2: New SVM faculty building (back entrance); Image 3: Marion Hall renovation; Image 4: Clinical Skills training room; Image 5: Happy’s Cafe

 

Since its inception 45 years ago, the University has erected more than 65 beautifully designed, functional buildings along the True Blue peninsula under the guidance of visionary architect Andrew Belford, SGU’s first director of admissions. Drawing inspiration from this past work, SGU continues to enhance its picturesque campus filled with striking neo-Cape Colonial buildings—with many contemporary advancements, making it an ideal place to learn and live.

“We can’t wait for the SGU community to experience the enhancements we’ve made to an already stunning campus,” said Christina Verderosa, SGU’s director of operations. “These various expansions and renovations will no doubt contribute to students’ academic success as well as an amazing campus experience for all.”

– Ray-Donna Peters

Related Reading    

Celebrating Pride Month: How to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community

SGU students celebrate Pride Month.

Each year, the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer and/or Questioning, and Asexual and/or Ally, plus) community celebrates its liberation movement throughout the month of June.

Named “Pride Month,” it is a chance for people who identify as LGBTQIA+ and others, such as allies—heterosexual and cisgender people who support equal civil rights, gender equality, and LGBTQIA+ inclusion movements/efforts—to gather and commemorate both the struggle and challenges faced as well as the positive changes made to acknowledge and support this group.

But what does it mean to be an ally to underrepresented groups like the LGBTQIA+ community, and how can we all support these members of the St. George’s University community in our day-to-day lives?

To offer perspective, meet Gabrielle Rivera (she/her), the incoming fall term president of Pride & Equality SGU student club and a Term 5 School of Veterinary Medicine student, shared tips on how we can all become allies to underrepresented groups such as LGBTQIA+ people, and why observances like Pride Month can elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion and create a community of mutual respect and support.

St. George’s University: What does Pride Month mean to you? 

Ms. Rivera: Pride Month means representation for the marginalized LGBTQIA+ community by promoting equal rights and self-affirmation. It allows our community to celebrate, be visible, and stand up for the fundamental right to love. Our ability to celebrate Pride Month would not have been possible without our lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans minority groups of color in the 1960s. Their courage to stand up for equal rights paved the way for LGBTQIA+ folks to be included. I am thankful for their determination, and I hope our community can keep taking steps forward so one day we won’t have to “come out” anymore.

 

 

SGU: How can students, faculty, and staff in the SGU community be an ally to all? 

Ms. Rivera: Allyship is such a pivotal part of our community, and we encourage our allies to join us as we continue to create a safe space for our community at SGU. Allowing yourself to be an ally helps the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and seen within your presence.

  • One way to be an ally can include integrating inclusive language in your everyday life. Asking someone their pronouns when you first meet them shows you are open-minded and inclusive.
  • Another great way to be an ally is becoming involved in the events/opportunities for the LGBTQIA+ community by the Pride and Equality club or the other clubs/events on campus.
  • Denouncing anti-LGBTQIA+ comments or jokes during your everyday life helps the fight against the discrimination that is still present. All of your allyship efforts help build up our community as we continue to push for acceptance and understanding.

 

“Allowing yourself to be an ally helps the LGBTQIA+ community feel safe and seen within your presence.”

 

SGU: What does it mean to be supportive of all different walks of life? 

Ms. Rivera: When you are supportive of all different walks of life you are open to all people despite their gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, etc. You create a safe space for someone to be their authentic self without judgement.

SGU: How can we create a community of mutual respect and support? 

Ms. Rivera: We create a community of mutual respect and support by the acknowledgment that not everyone is the same. Even though you may not understand someone’s identity or sexual orientation, you still hold mutual respect and support for that person. This will bring togetherness within a community.

SGU: How do observances like Pride Month elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion in healthcare? 

Ms. Rivera: Observances like Pride Month elevate the importance of diversity and inclusion in healthcare by bringing awareness to the essential need for embracement towards all different people no matter their identity or sexual orientation. Having acknowledgements that promote diversity allow healthcare professionals to live their lives freely and with integrity as we give back to our human or animal patients. Creating a more accepting environment for medical workers will only help people feel safe and comfortable in their work environment amongst colleagues.

SGU: How can the SGU community get involved with P&E SGU?

Ms. Rivera: All members of the University are eligible for membership within P&E SGU including faculty, students, and staff. You can join by filling out our form. Also follow us on Instagram @PrideandEqualitySGU and Facebook Pride & Equality SGU.

 

 

 

–Jessica Epps and Laurie Chartorynsky

 

Related Reading

 

SGU Featured in Forbes.com Article on High-Demand Medical Specialties

The United States is facing demand for more doctors across dozens of specialties. As a new article in Forbes.com outlines — “Five Medical Specialties That Need More Doctors” — internationally trained physicians will play an outsized role in meeting that growing need.

As author and admissions counselor Kristen Moon of Moon Prep writes, “Interestingly, graduates of international medical schools, including St. George’s, make up a disproportionate share of the doctors practicing in some of the specialties where demand will be greatest in the years to come. About one-fourth of doctors practicing in the United States today graduated from an international medical school..

As Dr. G. Richard Olds, the president of St. George’s University on the Caribbean island of Grenada, told Moon Prep, “Future doctors want to know where they can do the most good … We love helping students find their passion — and meet critical medical needs.”

Some specialties that face particularly concerning shortages are critical care, geriatrics, endocrinology, infectious disease, and psychiatry. This spring, SGU graduates matched into residencies in these specialties across the country.

For a full list of SGU’s 2022 residency matches, visit our website here.

Op-Ed: How International Medical Graduates Ease the Doctor Shortage

St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds was recently featured in the Naples Daily News.

In the op-ed, “International medical graduates ease the U.S. doctor shortage,” Dr. Olds shed light on the pressing doctor shortage facing America. He also highlighed how international medical graduates, like the thousands who graduate from SGU, can help close that gap.

“The United States desperately needs doctors,” Dr. Olds wrote. “According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, we could face a deficit of up to 124,000 physicians by 2034. The shortfall could cost as many as 7,000 lives a year.”

In addition, “zip codes with disproportionate shares of racial and ethnic minorities also tend to lack adequate access to doctors,” he added. “Black and Latino Americans are roughly twice as likely as their white peers to live in areas with few or no primary care providers.”

The statistics are daunting. But a solution lies in SGU’s own hallways: International medical graduates (IMGs) “tend to be the ones who head to high-need communities like these,”  accounting for more than two-thirds of doctors in areas of the US with high populations of ethnic and racial minorities, according to Dr. Olds.

“International medical graduates also gravitate to specialties in high demand. They account for more than half of doctors in geriatrics, where the shortage is yawning as the population ages. IMGs likewise account for outsized shares of the endocrinology, oncology, and cardiology workforces,” he wrote.

 

SGU President Offers Advice to Medical School Applicants in U.S. News & World Report

A recent article in U.S. News & World Report demystifies the challenge of getting into medical school, featuring insights from St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds.

The article, “Why Is It So Hard to Get Into Medical School?” breaks down why applying to medical school has become increasingly competitive in recent years. Overall, there has been an increase in medical school applicants without an equal increase in programs themselves. The situation is often daunting for prospective students.

According to Dr. Olds, few medical schools opened between the late 1970s and early 2000s, with very little expansion of med schools during that period thanks to an inaccurate but widely publicized labor market forecast projecting a doctor surplus. Meanwhile, the need for doctors in the U.S. was rapidly rising due to a growing and aging population.

“The aging is still going on despite losing a lot of older Americans to COVID,” he said, “Aging, by the way, is the biggest driver of our need for more physicians.”

The COVID pandemic has also exacerbated longstanding shortages of primary care physicians, Dr. Olds explained.

Despite current trends, the takeaway message for prospective students: Apply.

“Premeds who cast a wide net and apply to schools at a range of selectivity levels are the most likely to get accepted,” Dr. Olds said.

 

St. George’s University Awards 7 Students Equity in Medicine Scholarship

St. George’s University announced that it will award seven students full- and partial-tuition Equity in Medicine Scholarships.

“We’re proud to support these seven Equity in Medicine scholars as they prepare to meet the needs of patients in historically underserved communities,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “St. George’s students have a long history of working to address healthcare disparities, and these talented scholars will continue that tradition.”

Founded in 2021, the Equity in Medicine Scholarship program strives to make medical school accessible for students of all backgrounds. All Equity in Medicine scholars are from medically underserved areas or have expressed an interest in practicing medicine in underserved communities. This year’s scholars hail from several states, including Michigan, California, Florida, and more.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects that the United States will be short as many as 48,000 primary care physicians by 2034. St. George’s University is the number-one provider of new primary care physicians to the United States. One-third of currently practicing SGU graduates are practicing medicine or completing their residencies in medically underserved areas.

In total, 75 percent of all entering four-year medical students received SGU scholarships in the 2020-2021 academic year, according to the latest available data.

“We look forward to equipping this year’s class of Equity in Medicine scholars with the knowledge and training they’ll need to make a difference in underserved communities,” said Lynn Kuhl, vice president and senior associate dean of scholarships at St. George’s University.

 

SGU President Featured in Miami Herald Article on Doctor Shortage

St. George’s University President Dr. G. Richard Olds recently sat down with the Miami Herald for an interview about the state’s physician shortage, the importance of international medical graduates, and the strong presence of SGU alumni working throughout the state.

The article, titled “Can’t find a doctor? Florida facing physician shortage amid growth, aging population,” details how the state’s growing and aging population has put undue pressure on the physician workforce–and without immediate action, more and more patients could begin to encounter difficulties accessing care. Dr. Olds offered his expert perspective on the disproportionate impact of these shortages on vulnerable populations:

“’People want to talk about a doctor shortage, but far more important … is when you look at statewide statistics, there are areas of Florida that have an absolute surplus of doctors, including primary care doctors, and they tend to mask the fact that rural underserved America and urban underserved America have a much greater doctor shortage,”‘ Dr. Olds said.

St. George’s University in Grenada supplies the U.S. with more first-year residents than any other medical school. About 70 percent of its students are U.S. citizens and in 2021, 120 of its graduates started residencies in Florida.

Dr. Olds also explained how the highly competitive nature of admissions at U.S. medical schools is preventing some of the best and brightest students from pursuing careers in medicine.

“Competition for medical school slots also is fierce. There are 50,000 qualified candidates for medical school every year in the United States, meaning they have a high enough grade-point average and standardized test score to do well, but only 26,000 are accepted into U.S. medical schools,” Olds said. “Many of those not accepted seek schools outside the U.S.”

 

Soon-to-be Physicians Share Their Excitement on Match Day 2022 

For hundreds of St. George’s University students, the wait was most certainly worth it, as they found out on Friday where they will be headed for residency training this summer.  

This year, SGU students matched into first-year residency positions across a variety of specialties and throughout the US. They will begin residency programs in a range of highly competitive specialties, including neurology, emergency medicine, surgery, and more.

After a nerve-wracking week, students are taking in where they will complete their residency training this summer. Match Day is a milestone moment in students’ medical education as they learn where their hard work and training will take them next in their career.   

SGU News spoke with several soon-to-be graduates about what it felt like to receive the positive news that they matched and how they feel about starting residency. 

 


Akosua Ayesu-Offei 
Matched in: Anesthesiology 
Hometown: Columbus, OH

“The best news ever to wrap up Match week! Not only did I match the only specialty I desired, today I found out I matched my first choice program! I am SO SO HAPPY! God is too good! 

“My time at SGU was an amazing experience. I felt fully supported throughout my whole entire journey and I couldn’t be more grateful to SGU for giving me this opportunity. My time on the island was an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything and I’m thankful for the lifelong friendships I made and the memories I’ll hold with me for the rest of my life.”

 

 

Adam Lerman 
Matched in: Internal medicine 
Hometown: Livingston, NJ

“I am beyond floored that I matched. It was 8:58 am, and I nervously waiting, saw the email come through on Monday. I matched. I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness. I never expected to match, honestly, the med school was a long process for me. But at the end of the day, all that hard work paid off. Now I’m going to be continuing my training in internal medicine and I hope to eventually go into pulmonary/critical care or gastroenterology after residency.”

 

Ashea West  
Matched in: Family medicine 
Hometown/country: Mandeville, Jamaica  

“I couldn’t sleep on Sunday night. I had nightmares twice, about decision day and what the email might say. 8:58am on Monday, I opened the email on my phone, and kept re-reading the one line that said “Congratulations, you have matched.” I was just so grateful to God for answering this prayer because I had been praying and praying really hard! All my memories of the first day on the island flooded back: walking past St. George’s dorm and taking in the views by Modica Hall. I remember meeting my roommate for the first time and talking about how we’re going to ace med school—this decision slowly turned into “We just need to keep our head above water,” which we did! Now I get to live out this dream at my top choice for residency!”

 

Molly Kivumbi
Matched In: Internal medicine
Hometown: Seattle, WA  

“First of all, I would like to thank the almighty God for getting me this far. I matched into family medicine in Riverside, CA.  

I was so amazed to find out that I matched. I couldn’t wait to share the great news with my friends and family that have supported me all the way. It was the icing on the cake after four years of hard work. The sleepless nights, disappointments, frustrations, and intense studying.  

Attending SGU has so far been one of the best decisions I have made. Not only have I received an excellent medical education, but also enjoyed learning in a diverse environment with students from different parts of the world. I have been supported all throughout my four years at SGU and I believe that I will be a great physician.  I believe that when you put your mind to achieving your dreams, you are unstoppable.”

 

 

Alex Ciaramella
Matched in: Anesthesiology
Hometown: Revere, MA

“I’ve always had an interest in anesthesia but kept an open mind throughout clinicals. I tried to envision myself in many other physician roles but eventually came full circle back to anesthesia. Match week is certainly a roller coaster of emotions. I felt very confident going into the Match but still couldn’t help panicking while opening the Match email. It was like going through airport security knowing you have nothing to hide but still getting nervous. Luckily, I fully matched into my No. 1 choice!”

 

Giavanna Verdi
Matched in: Pediatric-medical genetics
Hometown:
Wading River, NY

“When I learned that I matched, I simply cried with joy and my heart dropped. I could not believe that I had matched into my No. 1 program and my preferred specialty track. It truly felt like a dream that I want to relive forever!  

Although I am moving away from my hometown, I know that my family and friends are cheering for me from afar! I am always ready for a new adventure and a new journey, and I am so excited to meet my fellow co-residents and program leadership team! This is my new home away from home, and I’m counting down the days until June!”

Peds-Medical Genetics is a less popular specialty but it is on the rise! It is very uncommon, there are only 19 programs in the country that have combined pediatrics and medical genetics programs, and I am so grateful to have matched with such a high reputable institution for this kind of specialty! I fell in love with genetics during my time in Grenada and worked alongside one of the genetics professors from SGU on a patient-case report, fundraisers for Grenada Down Syndrome Association, and ran the Student Interest Group in Genomics/Genetics on campus!”

 

Arham Zia
Matched in: Pediatrics
Hometown: Queens, NY

“My reaction to getting matched was an incredible feeling of relief. I still can’t believe I did it! I went through so many ups and downs during medical school at SGU. But I know that the hard work I persevered towards was so worth it in the end. I opened my match results with my family; throughout this whole process, they were my No. 1 supporters. Seeing the happiness in them made it all the more worth it. I am so grateful to SGU for giving me a chance to prove to myself that I could do this and I DID! I can’t wait to start this residency. It’s definitely going to be a learning experience I will never forget. I am so excited and I can’t wait to make a difference in the lives of tiny little humans.”

 

Monique Prince
Matched in: Internal medicine
Hometown/country: Grenada

“I was filled with joy and relief when I received the email that I matched. It’s exciting to now know where I will be training for residency. I am honored and grateful for this opportunity to train in internal medicine.”

 

 

– Laurie Chartorynsky and Paul Burch 

 

 

 

Related Reading

The perfect match: SGU students secure US residencies on Match Day 2022

Residency success 101: How to ace your application, interview, and first day on the job

Want to ace your residency application? Get help from SGU’s Office of Career Guidance

1,000 residency slots approved by Congress: What it means for medical students

St. George’s University Awards CityDoctors Scholarships to 12 Incoming Students

St. George’s University announced today that it has awarded 12 students full- or partial-tuition CityDoctors Scholarships to students who entered the four-year MD program this January.

“We’re pleased to offer this scholarship to these 12 outstanding individuals, who demonstrate great promise and are committed to making an impact on healthcare in the communities in which they will practice,” said Dr. G. Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “We launched the CityDoctors Scholarship program 10 years ago to support high-achieving students from metropolitan New York whose dream it is to become a highly skilled and compassionate physician. I look forward to seeing what our newest class of CityDoctors accomplishes.”

The CityDoctors Scholarship program is a partnership between St. George’s University and four hospital systems in the New York metropolitan area: NYC Health + Hospitals in New York and Hackensack University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and St. Joseph’s University Medical Center in New Jersey.

 

 

To be eligible, applicants must be residents of the communities served by these hospitals or otherwise have an affiliation with them. Winners of the scholarships sponsored by NYC Health + Hospitals must commit to working in the hospital system after graduation. Those honored by the three New Jersey hospital systems are not required to make a postgraduate commitment.

More than 150 graduates of St. George’s University have received CityDoctors Scholarships since the program’s creation in 2012. It is part of a robust financial aid program at SGU that resulted in 75 percent of all entering four-year MD students receiving a scholarship in the 2020-21 academic year. *

“The CityDoctors Scholarship program is a fantastic way for aspiring physicians from New York and New Jersey to accelerate their careers in medicine,” said Lynn Kuhl, vice president and senior associate dean of scholarships at SGU. “This year’s winners will be tremendous assets to the hospitals and communities they serve.”

*Data as of April 2021.

 

 

Related Reading

SGU Announces Direct Admissions Partnership with George Brown College 

St. George’s University is pleased to announce a new direct admissions partnership with George Brown College. The program offers two pathways for qualified George Brown graduates to gain immediate entry into the St. George’s University Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

“Both Canada and the United States are facing acute shortages of doctors and veterinarians,” said Dr. G Richard Olds, president of St. George’s University. “This partnership will provide aspiring doctors and vets the education and skills they need to serve their communities.”

“SGU is very proud of this new Canadian partnership, and we are looking forward to a strong and productive relationship for many years to come,” said Chuck Furey, director of admissions for Canada at SGU. “Our students will benefit greatly from the wonderful expertise across both institutions.”

George Brown students who finish the Pre-Health Sciences Pathway, submit two letters of recommendation, complete an interview, and meet all necessary admissions and grade requirements will progress into one of two pathways at St. George’s.

Students with at least a 3.2 grade point average may enroll in the five-year Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program. Those with a grade point average of at least 3.4 and a competitive MCAT or GRE score will be eligible to enter the four-year Doctor of Medicine or Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program.

Qualified medical students will have the opportunity to spend their first year at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom or on the St. George’s University campus in Grenada. All medical students spend their second year in Grenada and their third- and fourth-year clinical rotations at affiliated hospitals in the United States or the United Kingdom, with elective opportunities available in locations across Canada.

Qualified veterinary students will spend their first three years on the St. George’s campus in Grenada before undertaking their final clinical year at affiliated hospitals in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland, or the Netherlands.

“At St. George’s, we offer our students the opportunity to pursue a truly international education,” Dr. Olds said.

“We are excited to partner with St. George’s to help our students to pursue their career goals,” said Alex Irwin, director of transitional education at George Brown. “The direct admissions program provides a valuable pathway to medical school for our students, and offers one more compelling reason for promising students to consider George Brown College.”

Related Reading