Amanda Halstrom, MD

Fifteen minutes from where she grew up, Amanda Halstrom will continue her career in medicine, having matched into the internal medicine residency program at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY. She celebrated with her SGU colleagues while working in the University’s student call center between hospital shifts.

On the list of those who are excited about her return home—just about everyone.

“My family is over the moon,” she said. “My grandparents, my cousins, my friends—they’re very excited to have me back.”

In addition to its proximity to home, Winthrop has everything Ms. Halstrom was looking for in a residency program, which is why she made it her top-choice site. She highly valued the hospital’s wide range of research opportunities as well as fellowships in her projected field of study—gastroenterology—which she found during her clinical years to strike a good balance of procedural and clinical medicine. Ms. Halstrom also enjoyed meeting the program residents, and received positive vibes from St. George’s University graduates who had trained at the hospital.

“I heard they loved it, and that helped in selling it for me,” she said.

Ms. Halstrom has long set her sights on training and practicing on Long Island. She grew up in Bellmore and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware. At SGU, she immersed herself in her studies, while also partaking the University’s Iota Epsilon Alpha chapter and tutoring in the Department of Educational Services. The skills and knowledge obtained in four years at SGU paved the way for her to return home to family, friends, and a burgeoning medical career.

“I studied really hard and took my time at SGU as seriously as possible, but I also enjoyed my time on the island,” Ms. Halstrom said. “SGU was an amazing experience that not many people have, and I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity. I definitely recommend it for anyone who’s interested in medicine.”

Anna Maro, MD

The improbable, incredible journey of Anna Maro will now wind through Philadelphia—just where she hoped it would. On Match Day, Ms. Maro learned that she was headed to the internal medicine residency program at Drexel University—her number one choice.

“I opened up the email and just jumped for joy,” she said. “I screamed so loud that my neighbor came from downstairs thinking something was wrong. I was so happy though.”

Born and raised in Tanzania, Ms. Maro immigrated to the United States before college. Her mother had passed away a few years prior, and while attending the University of Massachusetts, her father succumbed to cancer. They had called her “little doctor” as a child, and Ms. Maro would not be denied her or their dream, not even as she was forced to work a full-time job and to live in her car for eight months to make ends meet.

She graduated from UMass with a Bachelor of Science in biology, and enrolled at St. George’s University in the fall of 2013. Her desire to land at Drexel was solidified during a visit to Philadelphia during her first clinical training year. It had everything she wanted in a program.

“It’s a university program with several fellowship opportunities, and at the same time, I get to help the underserved, which is my passion,” Ms. Maro said.

Of following her dreams and becoming a physician, Ms. Maro said, “My parents would be very proud. It was hard, but I had this dream that I wanted to accomplish, so I went to work, I went to school, and I smiled like everything was fine. I kept pushing and never gave up.”

Kore Liow, MD

Born in Penang Island, Malaysia, and raised in Singapore, Dr. Kore Liow is now the director of Hawaii Pacific Neuroscience, Hawaii’s leading and first multidisciplinary neuroscience center. He is also the Director of Neuroscience and Chair of the Department of Medicine at Castle Medical Center and a Clinical Professor of Neurology at the University of Hawaii John Burns School of Medicine. He has been listed among the “Best Doctors in America” and “Best Doctors in Hawaii,” and was named Hawaii’s Physician of the Year by Adventist Health in 2012.

Dr. Liow graduated from St. George’s University and completed his residency at the University of Utah, before earning fellowships at the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and National Human Genome Research Institute in Washington, DC.

“International students should feel free to explore St. George’s University,” Dr. Liow said. “I am very satisfied with the scope of the education I received. Our courses were taught by prominent professors from the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom. The next two clinical years in the States offer students adequate exposure to clinical medicine as practiced in the United States.”

Dr. Liow is an active researcher of epilepsy and served as Principal Investigator for more than 35 studies funded by the industries, as well as federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to investigate the condition of epilepsy and its treatments. He has authored more than 40 articles and written book chapters on epilepsy in Neurology Journal, Archives of Neurology, Seizure: European Journal of Epilepsy, and others, and has served as a reviewer for peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Liow has served in national advisory roles, on committees, and as faculty for the CDC Epilepsy Program, American Academy of Neurology, American Epilepsy Society, and the Epilepsy Foundation. He is a frequently invited presenter at national and international medical meetings.

Kenneth Yeung, MD

Dr. Kenneth Yeung is far from his roots in Hong Kong, but at Palo Alto Medical Foundation in Fremont, California, where he practices family medicine, he’s felt right at home. In a diverse community like Fremont, Dr. Yeung is able to treat patients from all backgrounds, applying the skills and training he learned while working toward his MD.

“SGU was a life-changing experience for me,” Dr. Yeung said. “You have faculty members and students from all over who come together with one goal in mind – to study medicine and provide good doctors to the world. “

Prior to his stint at Palo Alto Medical Foundation, Dr. Yeung worked in family medicine at South Cove Community Health Center in Massachusetts from 2006 to 2013. There he provided care for Chinese immigrants in Greater Boston, treating underrepresented patients whose native languages include Cantonese, Mandarin, and English. He also served as a clinical instructor in medicine for Harvard Medical School. During his time in the northeast US, he earned a diploma in structural acupuncture from the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School’s Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Dr. Yeung was born and raised in Hong Kong and attended prestigious Wan Yan College Hong Kong until the age of 15. He completed his secondary education in the United States and in 1995 graduated cum laude from Concordia University in Irvine, CA, with a Bachelor of Arts in biology.

He was introduced to St. George’s University by one of its graduates, Dr. Paul Mansonhing, MD ’89, a family practitioner in Irvine. “I saw how he practiced medicine and he was a role model for me,” Dr. Yeung said. “He became a mentor to me and helped me realize that here was a state-of-the-art medical school that was producing awesome doctors.”

He enrolled in 1997, and after two years in Grenada, Dr. Yeung completed his third and fourth years at The Brooklyn Hospital Center, an affiliate of the Weill Medical College of Cornell University. He obtained a family practice residency at Brooklyn Hospital and became chief resident in 2005.

Dr. Yeung cherished his clinical experience, which set him up to be successful as a resident and practicing physician.

“SGU isn’t just any Caribbean school,” Dr. Yeung said. “We had a rigorous lecture program, excellent faculty, and used the same textbooks and board review books as US medical students. And then my two years of clinical prepared me well for residency and beyond.”

Julian Dalby, MD

After Dr. Julian Dalby graduated from high school in Dublin, Ireland he decided not to go to college right away. He wanted to take a break from his studies because he wasn’t certain on which path he wanted to embark. Instead, he joined the Irish National Cycling Team, touring throughout Europe and becoming a cycling champion. Julian’s interest in physiology developed during his 13 years competing with the Irish National Cycling Team and it is what urged him to pursue a career in medicine.

In the mid 1990’s, after seeing an ad in The Irish Times for St. George’s University, Julian applied for admission and went for his interview. In 1996, he was accepted into St. George’s University Premedical Program, a continuum within the School of Medicine. He enjoyed being in Grenada and he took advantage of what the island had to offer. “I love doing outdoor things and Grenada is a great place for this,” Julian said. He spent a lot of time outside—studying, swimming, cycling, training, and participating in a triathlon.

He completed his clinical rotations in the United States and the United Kingdom. Additionally, Julian also took an elective in tropical medicine in Guyana. His international experience taught him that “Medicine is still medicine; a body is still a body in any part of the world. The only difference is economic.” Upon graduating from St. George’s University in 2002, Julian completed his residency in internal medicine at East Carolina University in the United States. He returned to Grenada for a six month fellowship in histology. It’s been a long, circuitous road to medicine for Julian, but a worthwhile and fulfilling journey.

Julian is the first St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate to be fully registered with the Irish Medical Council (IMC). He is also fully registered with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom and is licensed to practice medicine in the United States. He did not have to sit for the British and Irish exams (the PLAB and the TRAS, respectively) because as a European Union citizen with a US medical license, Julian was granted full registration with both the GMC and IMC.

Dr. Julian Dalby continues his career in emergency medicine as a Senior House Officer (SHO) at St. James Hospital in Dublin—Ireland’s largest hospital and a class one trauma center. “I had a great experience at SGU,” Julian recalled. “The support system was very strong. After formal lectures, students would gather and talk about the class. There was a lot of peer teaching and support from the other students.” Julian encourages Irish students to seriously consider St. George’s. “If I had the option to attend any medical school in the world, St. George’s would be my first choice. It has all worked out very well for me.”

Joshua K. Ramjist, MD

Dr. Joshua K. Ramjist has never been one to shy away from trying something new. That’s why back in 2007 he jumped at the opportunity to join the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program, a new program at St. George’s University for which students spend their first year of Basic Sciences at Northumbria University in the United Kingdom.

Now a fourth-year resident completing a research year in Toronto as part of his surgery residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, he is grateful for the choice he made.

“The Global Scholars Program was hands down the best experience of my life,” Dr. Ramjist said. “I would do it again in a heartbeat.”

Dr. Ramjist joined the second Global Scholars class in 2007. In addition to enjoying smaller class sizes and the chance to explore a new country and continent, he also found that the experience in the UK helped him transition to Grenada, where he spent Terms 3 and 4 before moving on to clinical rotations.

“I moved to Grenada with 100 of my best friends,” Dr. Ramjist said. “What I’d done in Newcastle I just did in Grenada. I already had a routine established. I was able to focus on my study skills and develop as a student, which allowed me to build on the foundation that I had.”

He completed his rotations in New York City before securing his residency in Brooklyn, for which he felt more than adequately prepared.

“Moving into residency, I was able to adapt to whatever the needs were,” said Dr. Ramjist. “Each step built on the other: I think I was a very good resident because I was a very good clinical student, and I was a very good clinical student because I had a very strong basic sciences foundation.”

Now he is finishing the first of two research years at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto while also working toward a Master of Science in clinical outcomes from the University of Toronto. He hopes to secure a fellowship in colorectal surgery.  “Surgery is one of the few specialties that focuses on curative intent,” Dr. Ramjist said. “It’s a good mix of both big and small procedures. With colorectal surgery in particular, it’s an opportunity to add many productive years to a patient’s life.”

Dr. Ramjist started the path toward a career in medicine in grade school when his parents told him that they thought he would make a good doctor. Dr. Ramjist earned an Honors Bachelor of Science from the University of Toronto in 2007, and also spent more than a year researching biotech enterprises in developing countries at the McLaughlin-Rotman Center for Global Health in Ontario. The research was published in Nature Biotechnology in 2008.

“As I learned about how competitive it is, that made me want it more,” he said. “I’ve never been afraid of a challenge.”

Dr. Ramjist implores other prospective physicians from Canada to heavily consider SGU when weighing their options for medical school. He is the Founder and Past President of the International Medical School Symposium, which is held each year in Toronto. Dr. Ramjist also attends area student fairs and SGU information sessions, while also interviewing and corresponding with premedical applicants.

“SGU helped me reach whatever goals I established for myself,” Dr. Ramjist said. “I know the angst that Canadian premedical students are experiencing, so I want to bring awareness to other opportunities that exist that are completely viable.”

Jose Sanchez-Crespo, MD

In 2005, Jose Sanchez-Crespo, a highly successful lawyer and businessman, finally took the plunge into a world he long before wished he had – medicine. Now a third-year internal medicine trainee at Pilgrim’s Way Surgery in Dartford, UK, the 2009 St. George’s University School of Medicine graduate is thrilled that he summoned the courage to follow his heart.

“Medical school was hard work, but it was a phenomenal time, and it’s something look back on with great memories,” Dr. Sanchez-Crespo said. “I currently interview St. George’s students, but truly, anything I can do is not enough.”

Dr. Sanchez-Crespo finished his two Foundation Years at Chase Farm & Barnet General Hospital and North Middlesex University Hospital, both in London, before completing his first two years of specialty training at Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford. He has opened up his own practice, co-directing the Medical and Surgical Centre, a short walk from London’s Marble Arch.

As the owner of a practice, he values having a strong business background to go with his medical skills and knowledge. Having earned his jurisprudence degree in commercial law from La Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in 1990, he added a Master of Business Administration in international finance from Schiller International University in the UK four years later. He is also a qualified risk manager per the London Institute of Risk Managers.

“If you’re going to maximize your profits, sound business knowledge is extremely important,” Dr. Sanchez-Crespo said. “Otherwise, frustration will demolish your enthusiasm. In today’s world, I think it’s essential for doctors to have a strong business acumen.”

In preparation for medical school, Dr. Sanchez-Crespo spent more than a year volunteering at Trinity Hospice in London, helping medical and nursing staff in the everyday care of terminally ill patients. Wanting to remove himself from his UK circles in order to focus on his studies, he applied to SGU and enrolled in August 2005.

“I figured I could always go to med school and find out it wasn’t for me, but I loved it,” Dr. Sanchez-Crespo said.

Dr. Sanchez-Crespo fit in well with SGU’s highly diverse campus, as he speaks fluent English, Spanish, French, and Italian, and can also speak Portuguese and German. In 2006, he was recognized with an award from the University’s Department of Pathology.

“The University was very well-organized, very supportive, and it’s a wonderful island,” Dr. Sanchez-Crespo said. “It was really a fascinating experience. I’m really glad I chose St. George’s.”

John Gillespie, MD

John Gillespie, MD SGU ’10, has witnessed the wonder of plastic surgery firsthand. His grandmother, diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a double mastectomy in 2003, and upon having her breasts removed, he recalls, “she wasn’t the same woman I knew before the surgery.”

Not long after, though, she opted for a second operation – breast reconstruction. With it, she bounced back and “became the vibrant woman I once knew.”

“She was back her smiling old self,” Dr. Gillespie said. “I saw how the reconstructive surgery rejuvenated her and how it can change people’s lives for the better. In some cases, patients feel as though their lives are taken from them, and plastic and reconstructive surgery can return their lives to normal and give them a sense of well-being despite their hardships.”

Now a fifth-year surgery resident at Christiana Care Hospital Center in Newark, DE, Dr. Gillespie looks forward to lifting the spirits of his patients beginning this summer when he starts a plastic surgery fellowship at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia. The field includes a wide range of operations, from body contouring, cleft lip and palate repair, repair of craniosynostosis (skull reconstruction) for newborns and reconstruction of cancer and trauma patients.

“It’s almost indescribable,” Dr. Gillespie said. “I went through life reaching all my goals, but I knew that this was a far-reaching goal. I was nervous about it. However, now that I’ve accomplished it, it’s just the most amazing feeling.”

Dr. Gillespie came to SGU from the University of Delaware, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences in 2006. He admits to feeling apprehensive about leaving the US to obtain his education in Grenada, a country about which he knew very little.

“Looking back on it, it was an unbelievable learning experience,” he said. “It was a great place to train, and I became friends with people from every walk of life. SGU brings everybody together under one solid premise: to learn and to become a well-rounded doctor.”

Dr. Gillespie gained a strong foundation in basic sciences during his two years in Grenada, and went on to New York City for his clinical rotations, predominantly spent at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. He shined on his USMLEs, scoring in the 90th percentile or better on each exam. When it came time for residency, Dr. Gillespie went on 12 interviews, turning down others. He was delighted to learn that he was heading home, matching in surgery at Christiana Care, his top choice.

In addition to his time there, Dr. Gillespie has done two plastic surgery rotations, one at Temple, which solidified his interest in both the field of plastic surgery as well as the institution, and another at Johns Hopkins University. The fellowship is only the latest item on his to-do list that he can check off, which he is happy to do so emphatically. He is ready for the challenge.
“Plastics gives you the ability to own the entire body,” Dr. Gillespie said. “You’re operating on people from head to toe, and therefore you have to know everything.”

John Philpott, MD

Growing up in New Brunswick, Canada, Dr. John Philpott wanted to pursue a career in the health care profession.  While studying for his BS in Chemistry at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, he focused more on his goals and future plans.

With no medical school in New Brunswick, Dr. Philpott began the process of investigating foreign medical schools.  His mother, a nurse, put him in touch with a family friend, a visiting psychiatrist at a local hospital, for some guidance.  This friend had delivered several clinical lectures at St. George’s University School of Medicine and spoke very highly of the institution and the education it provided.  After researching the University further, Dr. Philpott applied to the program, was accepted and headed to Grenada.

While at St. George’s, Dr. Philpott excelled at his studies.   His enthusiasm and dedication were evident from the beginning, as he quickly learned the importance of efficient study habits and time management.  “The key is not just the amount of hours spent studying but how wisely you use that time and how much information you retain,” said Dr. Philpott.   During his well deserved study breaks, he took full advantage of Grenada’s outstanding climate, frequently running and playing volleyball to clear his head.  Dr. Philpott’s natural affinity for sports would later play an influential role in his career.

In addition to obtaining an excellent education, Dr. Philpott met many lifelong friends at St. George’s.  The opportunity to study in London for eight months during his elective was invaluable, as it not only exposed him to the National Health Service in the UK and the practicing and teaching in a different country, but offered him the opportunity to nurture friendships with colleagues throughout the world.

Upon graduating from St. George’s University in 1987, Dr. Philpott spent three years of his residency in pediatrics at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan, and his fourth year at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada.  After his residencies, he worked in the Department of Nutrition Center at McMaster University, the Sports Medicine Clinic at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Child Health Unit at Toronto Western Hospital.

Dr. Philpott is currently on academic appointment at Women’s College Hospital, a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto, where he lectures and teaches residents, fellows and medical students involved with the Canadian Pediatric Society.  In addition, Dr. Philpott is actively sought out as a critical resource by several professional Canadian sports teams including the National Figure Skating, Soccer and Basketball Teams.  He frequently works and travels with young athletes who require a physician certified to attend to their special needs.

Dr. Philpott feels very fortunate to have had the opportunities afforded him by St. George’s, and credits the University for helping prepare him for a career which combines his two passions: pediatric and sports medicine.  “Being involved with kids in this capacity, and seeing how their personalities are evolving is very rewarding.  Working with their families is also a fulfilling aspect to this profession,” said Dr. Philpott.

When asked about advice for potential medical students, Dr. Philpott said to prepare for a lot of work.  “You have to be mature and independent,” he said. “Having a high GPA isn’t always enough.”  He also believes students should think ahead about where they would like to practice after graduation and find out what is necessary to apply for a license in that jurisdiction.  “St. George’s provides a foundation which is a critical component to completing your goal of becoming a successful physician.”

Jessica Best, MSc, MD

Jessica Best is back to where it all began—literally. After the 2012 St. George’s University graduate completed her emergency medicine residency at at University Medical Center Brackenridge (UMCB) in Austin, Texas, the very hospital in which she was born, she has moved on to become an attending who works as an EM physician in the community.

Dr. Best is thrilled that her medical career has led her back to Austin. She and her ER cohorts treat patients who suffer from a wide range of difficulties, from trauma resuscitation and motor vehicle injuries to less acute medical problems such as abdominal pain or throat discomfort.

“I really like seeing patients of all ages and all walks of life,” Dr. Best said. “In the ER, it can be something very benign to something that requires the entire department to resuscitate. You have to come to work to be ready for just about anything, and I think that’s what’s really exciting.”

Born in Texas but raised in Colorado, Dr. Best earned her Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from the University of Colorado before going on to obtain her master’s degree in chemistry. She then enrolled in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP), which she said she “absolutely loved.” It allowed her to spend her first year of basic sciences at Northumbria University in the UK before advancing to Grenada’s True Blue campus and then New York for clinical rotations.

In addition, she participated in SGU’s two-week elective in Thailand, one of many international learning opportunities. Dr. Best has carried her interest in global health into her career. In December 2013, Dr. Best spent a month treating patients at Daeyang Luke Hospital, a village clinic, and a prison clinic in Malawi, a developing African country with a high rate of infectious disease and a lack of resources. She hopes to make additional visits to Malawi to continue making strides toward improved health care.

“The experience was extremely rewarding,” Dr. Best said. “The people were so excited to see us, and it was great because of the care we provided and because we were able to share knowledge with base medical personnel. At the same time, it was difficult because we knew the effects we had were only short term because a lot of the problems that people faced were chronic.”

Dr. Best is an active member of SGU’s Alumni Admission Mentor Program (AAMP), for which graduates take part in information sessions, webinars, career fairs, and other events around the globe to recruit the best and brightest students to SGU. One day, she hopes to give back to her alma mater by teaching emergency medicine at SGU.

“I was able to live and learn in all these wonderful places, and form an opinion on what works and what doesn’t,” she said. “I’m happy to share my experience with prospective students.”

She frequently visits her SGU friends, who have gone on to practice all over the country. “One of the greatest best things that came out of SGU was the friends I have made. They are from all over the world. We like to discuss the difficult medical encounters we may have had, and as they are all in different specialities, I have a lifeline I can trust when needed.”