On August 17, 2007 St. George’s University School of Medicine (SGUSOM) and Northumbria University’s School of Applied Sciences (NU) welcomed a new class of medical students into the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP). This class has 119 students from 13 different countries, a significant increase from the 54 students in the January ‘07 charter class. The White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of medical studies as the official entry into the profession of medicine. Students don the white coat, a symbol of their chosen profession, and swear a professional oath, promising to act with integrity and in an ethical manner during their training and careers in medicine.
The Keynote Speaker was Professor Sir Kenneth Stuart, an accomplished academic who serves as a member of the Academic Board of SGU and the Board of Directors of the UK Trust for WINDREF. A past Medical Adviser to the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, Sir Kenneth Stuart also served as Professor and Dean of the Department of Medicine at the University of the West Indies, Jamaica; a consultant at University Hospital, Jamaica; and consultant advisor to the Wellcome Trust. He served as Chairman of the Court of Governors of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and as a member of the Council of Governors of Guys’, Kings and St. Thomas’ Hospitals Medical School, London. Sir Kenneth Stuart has published many articles in medical journals on hepatic and cardiovascular disorders. He is also a patron of Doctors for Human Rights and trustee of London Lighthouse.
The Master of Ceremonies was SGU alumni Zahida S. Chaudry, MD, SGU’05. She gave a realistic and yet impassioned view of the practice of medicine. They were joined by SGU’s Chancellor Charles R. Modica and NU’s Vice Chancellor Kel Fidler who both welcomed the students to St. George’s, Northumbria University and Newcastle, and the profession of medicine.Sir Kenneth Stuart inspired this new class during his keynote address, as he praised the SGUSOM and NU partnership for its “wisdom and foresight.” During the opening of his speech, he stated that in addition to being a special occasion for each individual student, this was a public occasion as well. “This (occasion) is a public mark of a partnership between SGUSOM and NU, which, I predict, will make it the largest and most important international centre for medical education for years to come.
”Sir Kenneth Stuart captured the essence of SGU’s foundation and future endeavors as he spoke of the powerful unifying effects of universities working together toward a “sense of shared humanity.” He compared SGU’s thirty-year journey of academic growth and international expansion to the exciting journey each student was about to begin. He urged the class to set goals that are both fulfilling and substantial.
Sir Kenneth Stuart expressed that one of medicine’s challenges is the collective responsibility to strengthen the health care system globally. This, he stressed, is a privileged position for doctors, “an international guild or brotherhood, where members can take up their calling in any part of the world and find colleagues whose traditions, methods and objectives are identical with theirs.”