St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate Sean Ho Yoon, MD ’19, explains each step of his educational journey at SGU, and how the experience set him up for success in his internal medicine residency at NYP Queens Hospital in New York.
The journey for Ryan Toews, MD ’19, has taken him from an international medical school experience, to his top-choice residency back in Canada, and now, to a much sought-after emergency medicine fellowship beginning this summer.
Dr. Toews was ecstatic to learn that he had secured one of only a few such fellowship positions through Canada’s Family Medicine Enhanced Skills Match, and that he’ll remain in the U of S system, just a short drive east from where he trained in Swift Current for residency. He received his nursing degree from the University of Calgary before joining the St. George’s University of Grenada School of Medicine/Northumbria University Four-Year Program, for which he spent the first year of basic sciences in Newcastle, United Kingdom.
SGU News connected with Dr. Toews to learn what captured his interest in the fellowship position, and his hopes for the future.
St. George’s University: What prompted you to apply for this fellowship position in particular?
Ryan Toews: I was drawn to the opportunity to further develop my acute care skills in order to provide a high quality of care to patients in a wide variety of settings.
SGU: What does this fellowship position mean for your future?
Dr. Toews: It will mean that emergency medicine will be a large focus of my career, as well as the provision of acute care medicine. I hope this leads to an improved and versatile skillset that will allow me to practice in rural, regional, and urban settings.
SGU: How would you describe your residency experience at the University of Saskatchewan?
Dr. Toews: Building on skills learned from clerkship, residency has been a very positive experience with a faculty dedicated to teaching and cultivating clinical knowledge. I have been able to apply my clinical skills to a variety of different patient populations in a variety of different settings.
SGU: How did SGU prepare you for residency and the next step in your career?
Dr. Toews: SGU created a solid foundation as well as ingrained a strong work ethic that has allowed me to be successful in both residency and fellowship.
Published February 2021
John J. Cush was a member of the second graduating class of St. George’s University School of Medicine in 1981, at which time he received the Robert Hingson Humanitarian Award.
Dr. Cush received his undergraduate degree (BS, Biology) from St. John’s University in Jamaica, New York. His clerkship and residency in internal medicine were performed at Coney Island Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, where he was named Intern of the Year and Chief Resident in internal medicine. In 1984, Dr. Cush began his rheumatology fellowship and was later appointed to the Rheumatology faculty of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Since 1996 he has been Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, Medical Director of the Arthritis Center at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas and is a Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. Dr. Cush serves on the Board of Trustees and is Chair of the Academic Board of Trustees for St. George’s University.
During his fellowship and faculty tenure, Dr. Cush focused his research on the immunopathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis, transendothelial lymphocyte migration and novel drug development through clinical trial research, with an emphasis on rheumatoid arthritis, the spondyloarthropathies, and biologic agents. Currently his research is focused on novel biologic therapeutics, clinical trials, early rheumatoid arthritis, measuring outcomes in rheumatoid arthritis and biologic safety.
As a result of his efforts, Dr. Cush was voted one of the Best Doctors In America and Best Doctors in Dallas by his peers. In 1998-99, the Internal Medicine Residency Program at the Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas named him Teacher of the Year. He is actively involved in patient care, teaching, medical education and clinical trials research in the rheumatic diseases.
Dr. Cush has over 100 publications on a variety of topics including rheumatoid arthritis, drug-induced lupus, spondyloarthropathies, immunotherapy, Still’s disease, drug safety, biologic therapies and nutraceuticals. He has served or chaired several leadership committees for the National Arthritis Foundation and the American College of Rheumatology. He has been an editor for the American College of Rheumatology “Hotlines” series. He has co-authored two rheumatology textbooks: 1) “Rheumatology: Diagnosis and Therapeutics” (2nd edition, Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins 2005); and 2) “Rheumatoid Arthritis: Early Diagnosis and Treatment” (Professional Communications). Dr. Cush currently serves on the Arthritis Advisory Committee for the Food and Drug Administration and is Chairman of the Corporate Relations Committee for the American College of Rheumatology.
Published January 2007
Michael Carr, MD ’14, an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Emory University in Atlanta, was on the front lines of the fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He said that the experience while extremely challenging, brought out the best in his team.
“I’m incredibly proud about the response we’ve had as a specialty and as a profession,” Dr. Carr said. “We were called to perform above and beyond what we ever expected to do in our career. You show up to work and instantly you’re thrown into a team. You’re a family. It’s a relationship that is really hard to describe.”
Dr. Carr earned his Doctor of Medicine from SGU and proceeded to complete an emergency medicine residency at Newark Beth Israel Hospital in New Jersey. He stayed on for an EMS and disaster medicine fellowship before being appointed to the faculty at Emory.
“If somebody asks me where I went to medical school, I say ‘St. George’s University, and I would do it again,'” Dr. Carr said. “I loved it. I had a tremendous experience.”
Published November 2020
For years, Joseph Mathew, MD XX, has not only enjoyed working in New York City—just a stone’s throw from where he grew up—but getting to know and treating his fellow New Yorkers.
The complexion of his position when the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic arrived on the Big Apple’s doorstep in March 2020. The director of the medical intensive care unit at Mount Sinai West Hospital, Dr. Mathew called it “an honor” to provide care for these patients when they needed it most.
SGU News caught up with Dr. Mathew as he and his colleagues combatted the COVID-19 pandemic, explaining how the hospital’s preparation assisted in addressing the virus and the numerous roles that each had to play.
Published November 2020
Originally from Kenya, Njambi Mathenge, MD ’14, is now a cardiovascular disease fellow at the Heart Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, a program run by Harvard Medical School.
Upon earning her Doctor of Medicine from SGU, Dr. Mathenge went on to complete an internal medicine residency at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, where she also obtained a Master of Public Health.
She recently explained how her clinical training within SGU’s network of hospital and clinical centers prepared her for residency and beyond.
Published January 2020
What’s it like to be an emergency medicine resident?
Dr. Reilly also answered viewers’ questions in a follow-up live Q&A for which he addressed topics like:
- Why he chose emergency medicine as a specialty;
- Tips to help students secure an EM residency;
- How to study and be successful in med school; and
- Opportunities for personal and professional growth in emergency medicine.
His biggest piece of advice for students? Keeping an open mind about what specialty to enter.
“You’re going to have so many different experiences from first year through fourth year,” Dr. Reilly said. “Really try to enjoy every rotation you are on and try to really envision yourself being in that specialty because that will give you perspective. If you can have an appreciation for and perspective for that specialty, then it was a successful rotation.”
The Instagram Q&A has been viewed by more than 2,300 people as of early December.
Published December 2020
Dr. Anthony McDonald, a 2013 graduate of St. George’s University School of Medicine, turned in his mixed martial arts championship belt to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. He is now the director of cardiopulmonary medicine at San Angelo Community Medical Center in San Angelo, TX.
“What I used to do with fighting and training, it really ingrained in me the discipline that I needed and the structure that I needed to know what I needed to do to be successful,” Dr. McDonald said. “The contrast is very different, but I feel that the idea is still the same. It’s about not giving up. Medical school is challenging. There’s no two ways about it. And I was very fortunate to be able to do it at St. George’s University, where I felt that the entire island was set up to make you succeed.”
Published October 2020
Born and raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Souzan El-Chazli, MD ‘19, was always intrigued by the “sheer complexity” of the human body and its healing processes. When her family moved to Canada in 2011, Dr. El-Chazli, then an undergraduate student at the American University of Beirut, transferred to Brock University in Ontario, Canada, to be closer to her parents and five siblings. There she earned her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. After graduating from St. George’s University in 2019, Dr. El-Chazli is currently a family medicine resident at Health Quest Medical Practice in Rhinebeck, NY.
St. George’s University: Why did you choose family medicine as your specialty?
Souzan El-Chazli: During my first two undergraduate years at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, I had the opportunity to volunteer at a medical center in an underprivileged area where healthcare access was challenging. During this time, I shadowed a primary care doctor who was serving there. I was impressed with how the doctor focused not only on acute care and treatment, but that he also forged strong relationships with his patients, offering suggestions on how to live healthy lifestyles for the better. We worked in clinics, hospitals, and also did home visits. I loved the versatility and diversity of family practice.
SGU: What is it about the specialty that appeals to you?
Dr. El-Chazli: There are a lot of aspects to family medicine that other specialties don’t really offer. I love that it allows me to see patients from the beginning to the end. You can see children, you can see adults, and you can see women who are pregnant and follow them throughout their pregnancy. It is impressive to have a role that can extend far beyond the practice of physical healing for patients.
SGU: What is your favorite part about being a doctor? What is the most challenging part?
Dr. El-Chazli: My most favorite part of being a physician is making a deep impactful difference in someone else’s life. I love it when I have the ability to significantly improve the quality of life of my patients, as this can be a tremendously satisfying experience. Also having a deep personal connection with patients is hard to match in any other profession. It’s truly an honor to be trusted with another human being’s health and well-being, and it requires a deep level of trust.
As a physician, I am there for my patients during their challenging times. I recall conversations with a patient when their family member was terminally ill, or when a patient needed an invasive procedure. While it was not easy for these patients, I felt honored to be able to help them in such a moment of vulnerability and to help them navigate these frightening situations. Their demonstrations of gratitude are tremendously powerful and leave an impact on me every day.
SGU: How did SGU prepare you for a career as a primary care doctor?
Dr. El-Chazli: SGU opened the road for me to become the primary care physician I really wanted to be. I like to say it was the best years of my life and making the transition to Grenada was never a problem for me. When I went to Grenada, I felt like it was where I was meant to be. Despite the different backgrounds/cultures/countries of other students and faculty, you are around people who are just as motivated as you are. I met a great group of friends who became practically my second family. We tend to easily miss how important such factors are in your medical career.
In addition, SGU guided us really well and made sure we had all the academic support along with studying strategies, time management sessions, even DES classes for lecture reviews. I had the opportunity to participate in Grenadian healthcare so that gave me the international medical experience. It is also worth mentioning the valuable experience in US clinical rotations. I rotated with many physicians and residents who were willing to share their knowledge, which helped in shaping my passion for family medicine.
I am currently in my last term of the Master of Public Health/preventative medicine track, which is helping me tremendously to learn how to address health issues that are community specific. For example, I learned about how a patient’s zip code can define the environment the patient is living in and what risks he or she gets exposed to. In Rhinebeck, NY right now, if a patient comes in with flu-like symptoms, they could have a tick-borne illness. Learning about human diseases, animal diseases, and occupational and environmental health are all areas that contribute to my treating of patients.
SGU: On a personal level, any hobbies or organizations that you are passionate about?
Dr. El-Chazli: My personal interests include tutoring, event planning, and traveling for volunteer work. During my free time, I like to be active and stay fit, so I jog and walk outside. I also enjoy hiking with my friends, watching movies in the cinema, or even simply going to a restaurant together. During the COVID pandemic, I have been learning how to play guitar during my free time, but I am still a beginner!
Published October 2020