Founded as an independent School of Medicine in 1976, St. George’s University (SGU) in Grenada, has become a leading center for academic excellence worldwide. Today, the university attracts students and faculty from over 150 countries to the Caribbean Island of Grenada, in the West Indies. As of July 2021, St. George’s University School of Medicine has been the #1 provider of doctors into first-year US residencies for the last 12 years combined, with over 1,090 US residencies in 2021.
A unique opportunity for students at SGU is that their medical education doesn’t have to begin in Grenada, with pathways also available to start studying in the United Kingdom or India, all providing a strong foundation for future physicians. Thanks to an international partnership with Northumbria University, students can earn a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree and complete up to 50% of the MD in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK along with preclinical studies for eligible students. “Our partnership commenced in January 2007 and has since welcomed more than 1,700 medical students to Newcastle,” says Dr. James Coey, Course Director, Associate Chair and Associate Professor in Anatomy at St. George’s University in partnership with Northumbria University.
An MD program at SGU provides ambitious students the chance to study and work in multiple countries as part of their training, in order to experience a multitude of healthcare systems, and practice medicine across all specialties with a global perspective. Dr. Coey shares, “Faculty from both SGU and Northumbria University teach on the basic sciences program. As the programs mirror each other, entry requirements, curriculum, and testing cadence all follow the same principles, learning outcomes and schedules, which allows students to receive the exact same educational foundation, regardless of location”. Lectures, labs, textbooks, small groups, and exams all follow the same evidence based, systems based, clinically integrated curriculum. The program is led by SGU resident faculty and administrators, with the added benefit of teaching support from visiting professors and Northumbria University faculty. Dr. Dhhruv Gupta, MD ’18, took SGU’s UK Pathway and says, “England was a wonderful experience, and between basic sciences and clinicals, I really enjoyed living and learning in three different countries”.
St. George’s University students starting their journey at Northumbria University can join a four-year MD program, or a five-year, or six-year pathway. “Dependent upon their enrollment, they can complete one, two or three years of study in the United Kingdom. They will also complete one year of integrated basic sciences at St George’s University in Grenada, West Indies, before 2 years of clinical rotations,” explains Dr. Coey. When on the UK pathway, eligible students studying in Newcastle upon Tyne will not only gain academic credit from SGU towards their Doctor of Medicine Degree (MD) but could also receive a Bachelors degree in Medical Sciences with Honours (BMedSci).
In addition, St. George’s University, in association with Ramaiah Group of Institutions, Bangalore, offers medical aspirants an innovative educational pathway to start their journey to becoming a doctor in India. The pathway provides 10+2 graduates with the opportunity to obtain a Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree through a 5-year pathway. Aspirants will spend the first at Ramaiah International Medical School in Bengaluru, whilst the second year could be at Northumbria University in the UK or at SGU’s True Blue Campus in Grenada. The third year would be spent in Grenada, and eligible students would complete clinical rotations either in the US or in the UK for the final two years. Upon successful completion of the first year, students will also be awarded a Certificate of Higher education in Medical Sciences by Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences.
SGU’s association with Ramaiah Group of Institutions is a perfect solution for Indian students who dream of becoming a doctor in the US, providing a gateway to enroll in an international medical education, with the opportunity to complete clinical rotations in over 70 affiliated hospitals and health centers in the US and UK. “Spending their first year at Ramaiah International Medical School will allow the aspirants to build strong relationships with other students in their cohort before moving abroad together as a close-knit group in the second year” shares Dr. Coey. It also allows students to get used to studying medicine in a more familiar environment, and parents can also feel more comfortable with their children staying in India. This transition helps students be more globally oriented and improves their skills, with a choice of returning to their own country.
A medical degree program with a global perspective on the practice of medicine
Students attending SGU in Grenada enjoy the benefits of a thriving multicultural environment on the True-Blue campus. It offers all the amenities and technologically advanced facilities of a world-class institution. The campus owns 65 buildings on 42 acres of land, spread out in a peninsula in the southwest corner of Grenada, located in the West Indies. SGU is a melting pot of diverse cultures as it attracts students from far-flung geographies. Hence, naturally, students get to meet and interact with individuals from different parts of the world. This helps really understand and respect other cultures.
At the Northumbria University City Campus in Newcastle upon Tyne, the university has invested more than £250 million in its estate over the last decade. The campus is continuously evolving to create an environment where medical aspirants worldwide can shape their future. All SGU students live together at the Trinity Square accommodation in Gateshead, a modern development, only a twenty-minute walk or quick Metro ride from the City Campus. “When living and studying in an international environment, students experience a well-rounded, culturally diverse medical education, which is the foundation of any successful doctor’s career,” states Dr. Coey.
St. George’s University School of Medicine is accredited by the Grenada Medical and Dental Council (GMDC). GMDC has been reviewed by the U.S. National Committee on Foreign Medical Education and Accreditation (NCFMEA), a panel of experts organized by the U.S. Department of Education, which determined that GMDC uses standards that are comparable to the standards used to accredit medical schools in the United States.
The exceptional MD pathways on offer have multiple entry points available for students from various education system around the world. The five-, six- and seven-year preclinical pathways include coursework designed to prepare students for medical school during preclinical sciences. Students then progress to basic medical sciences, concentrating on the traditional basic science disciplines. Laboratory experience is an integral part of these two years, along with small group discussions designed for problem-based learning with excellent preparation for standardized exams such as the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE), Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) and UK Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). The final two years focus on clinical training, emphasizing responsibility, maturity, and compassion, in the development of professional excellence. Students learn how to conduct themselves as physicians, take responsibility, work harmoniously with professional colleagues, and exhibit maturity. Clinical studies include core rotations, sub-internships, primary care, and elective rotations in specialties such as surgery, pediatrics, psychiatry, and family medicine.
SGU helped establish the concept of international medical education and remains at the forefront of educating students to meet the demands of the modern practice of medicine. Students at SGU receive an unparalleled level of support throughout their medical education, from the Department of Educational Services (DES), who provide access to small study groups and help ensure success in a student’s chosen field of study. Time management, study and test-taking skills, and support with reducing anxiety are just a few of the services offered by DES that help turn students into highly efficient learners.
The Office of Career Guidance and Student Development (OCGSD) assists students in the Doctor of Medicine program to find their way through medical training and licensure procedures successfully and effectively. As a medical school with a worldwide mission , St. George’s University is the largest source of physicians licensed in the US, more than any other medical school in the world*.
Excelling in Medical Education During the Pandemic
“The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the international nature of healthcare provision. Future generations of health care providers will need to be equipped to tackle further pandemics, in addition to the impact of climate change, conflict and outbreaks of infectious diseases, alongside projected increases in noncommunicable diseases” says Dr. Coey. “The pandemic has taught us a great deal about approaches to health care and reinforced the principle that a cooperative, international and multi-disciplinary approach is paramount in guiding future medical research, practice and education. The crisis we found ourselves in brought together the world’s top scientific minds to develop vaccines at unprecedented speeds using techniques from multiple countries and research centers. Coordinated research and innovation will make an enormous difference to the future health outcomes of the global population and this must start with the education of our future medical professionals” he concludes.
About Dr. James Coey
Dr. James Coey BM, BMedSci, BSc (Hons), SFHEA, is the Assistant Dean of Basic Sciences and Associate Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Anatomy, St. George’s University, Grenada, in partnership with Northumbria University. As an Associate Dean and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (SFHEA), he continues to be actively involved in curriculum design and assessment along with the formulation and implementation of academic policies, procedure development, external accreditation processes and course management. He has international clinical experience spanning the US, UK, South Africa, Haiti, India, and Thailand.