He lives and works thousands of miles away from Grenada, yet interventional cardiologist Mark Lanzieri, MD ’85, has carved out time in his schedule, time and time again, to give back to the island. For 20 years, the St. George’s University graduate has provided cardiology services at no cost to the people of Grenada.
For his selfless contributions, St. George’s University awarded Dr. Lanzieri with a Doctorate of Humane Letters over commencement weekend in New York City.
“For many people, this is life changing, whether it is a single-chamber pacemaker, a stent, or simply something that allows them to go back to work or keeps them out of the hospital,” said Dr. Lanzieri, staff cardiologist, Steward Health Care in Massachusetts. “This work is important because there are immediate benefits conferred to patients who do not need to leave their family and social support networks. It is pure humanitarian medicine at its best and I love what I do.”
Dr. Lanzieri visits three times a year to treat Grenadians who in the past would have had to fly to other Caribbean islands or as far away as New York or Miami to have these procedures done. To date, he has implanted more than 100 pacemakers and performed 20 coronary angioplasty procedures, arguably adding a collective thousand or more years of life to Grenadians.
Since its inception in 2000, the Visiting Cardiology Program, under the sponsorship of St. George’s University School of Medicine, continues to provide much needed heart care for adult Grenadians free of cost to them. Dr. Lanzieri and his team, which includes his wife, Annie, an X-ray technologist and cardiovascular specialist, have seen a wide variety of patients since the program’s inception. The value of their time and the equipment donated has exceeded $1 million.
The visits are arranged through the SGU-Physician Humanitarian Network (SGU-PHuN), a program that Dr. Lanzieri was instrumental in creating.
“We at SGU are extremely grateful to Dr. Lanzieri and the vast network of friends and associates volunteering their time and expertise as we continue to work hand-in-hand towards the goal of top-notch healthcare delivery here in Grenada,” said Mr. Brendon La Grenade, Vice Provost for Institutional Advancement. “Dr. Lanzieri represents the spirit of the SGU Physician Humanitarian Network. Today, we’re seeing more patients in a month in this clinic than we probably saw in an entire year in the first few clinics that we ran.”
“The Ministry of Health is constantly looking for ways to bridge the shortfalls at the General Hospital and the medical community at large, because our aim is to improve the delivery of health care in Grenada,” said the Hon. Nickolas Steele, Minister for Health and Social Security, Grenada. “We congratulate Dr. Lanzieri on his 20 years of service to the Grenadian people. Even though you weren’t born here, you were educated here, you returned here, and you’ve cared for our people. As the Ministry of Health and the Government of Grenada seek to nurture the relationship forged with St. George’s University, future plans to build on his legacy will include increased collaboration in the areas of pediatric ophthalmology and intensive care training for staff at the General Hospital.”
Thirty-four years after he graduated, Dr. Lanzieri marvels at the exponential growth of a program that once hailed from the humble beginnings of a single room at the General Hospital. The clinic now has a dedicated center at Grand Anse with more and more St. George’s University alumni and friends of SGU signing on and dedicating their time and expertise for the monthly clinics, and new services, like angiography, are being introduced. According to Dr. Lanzieri, this work is critically dependent on humanitarian support from corporations including Medtronic, ZOLL, St. Jude Medical, Merit Medical, and Terumo that will hopefully always be available.
– Ray-Donna Peters