Program gives Trent grads access to Grenada University
December 21, 2017
While at Trent University a few years ago to make a recruiting presentation, St. George’s University (SGU) administrators learnt of a new Medical Professional Stream (MPS) being con-ordinated by Dr. David Ellis who is an associate professor of chemistry and director of the Centre for Environmental Modelling at the Canadian science-oriented and public liberal arts university.
Starting this year, the new program is designed for students striving to pursue a medical professional program, including dentistry, medicine, veterinary and pharmacy upon graduation from Trent with an undergraduate degree.
Students have a unique advantage in that they are provided with non-academic supports that will best prepare them to complete professional program exams, applications and interviews.
The program appealed to SGU, based in Grenada, which is partnering with Trent to offer qualified Trent graduates direct admission to its Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Science.
“When we were describing to St. George’s officials the kind of program we were creating, they were very enthusiastic about how it might be synergistic to direct entry into St. George’s University medical school,” said Ellis. “Right away, they realised it was a chance for us to partner. The benefit for Trent students is the knowledge of exactly what it will take them to get to medical school if they are not successful in obtaining a place in Canada.”
There is a 10 per cent chance of students being accepted into medical school in Ontario.
“With this program and partnership, our students are told at the beginning of the first year exactly what they need to obtain to enter St. George’s,” added Ellis. “The program for a Trent student guarantees them admission to St. George’s Medical School. They know what those criteria are. They are locked in, so it’s a piece of mind.”
To qualify, Trent students must complete the MPS.
“Dr. Ellis wanted to make it easier for Canadian students, particularly those at Trent, to prepare for medical school while they were in training,” said Sandra Banner who is SGU’s consultant for university relations in Canada. “What he has done is devised a program which is a sort of four-year guidance to provide students with the right experiences and preparation for medical school. Getting into medical school in Canada is a bit of a challenge. A lot of students who have good marks, good MCAT scores and excellent experience still are not selected for medical school in Canada. The relationship we have with Trent gives the Trent students who have followed this program and attained the appropriate requisites a Plan B for medical school.”
St. George’s medical students may spend their first two years in Grenada or choose to complete their first year at Northumbria University in England as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars program before returning to Grenada for their second year. During the third and fourth years, students will complete clinical rotations in Canada, the United States or England. In recent years, SGU students have completed over 300 electives in Canadian hospitals.
After spending their first three years studying in Grenada, veterinary students complete their final year at schools in Canada, the United States, England, Australia and Ireland affiliated with SGU. They can start practicing in Canada and the United States after sitting the North American Veterinary Licensing Exam.
Banner, a former Canadian Resident Matching Services director, said SGU will keep a close eye on Trent students throughout the four-year duration of their enrolment.
“We will get to know them and we will follow their careers,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a very exciting relationship.”
Established as an independent School of Medicine in 1976, SGU opened its doors to students the following year. They enjoy the benefits of a thriving multicultural environment on the True Blue campus, offering all the amenities and technologically advanced facilities of a world-class institution.
“There are many choices for Canadians who are going to choose to go abroad,” said Banner. “I worked in medical education for more than 30 years and was able to tour medical schools around the world. I think that what makes St. George’s very special is that if a student is admitted there and they are able to do a really strong clerkship in the United States, we know that the funding for Canadian residency training is quite limited in Canada and we estimate that there are perhaps as many as 5,000 Canadians who are studying abroad at any given time. There isn’t any possible way that the funding for residency training in Canada would ever accommodate all of those students who want to come home. That means most of them need to be able to do their residency training outside of Canada.
“Another advantage of choosing St. George’s is the excellent networks that they build for their Canadians in the United States system. If a Canadian is able to train in the US at the residency level, there is a great deal of reciprocity in the training. There is a lot of historical links between Canada and the US when it comes to medical education. So if you are lucky enough to get a position in the US, then coming back into Canada is a pathway that’s quite possible. If you are training in a different country, you may not have had a different medical school and may not have had those opportunities to build the networks with the strong hospital training that St. George’s offers.”
Last October, SGU launched the ‘Pay it Forward’ program which will allow Canadian students who enroll in the Eastern Caribbean university’s January 2018 Doctor of Medicine (MD) classes to claim a refund of their tuition if they are accepted to and matriculate at a Canadian or US allopathic medical school for the subsequent fall term.
This is SGU’s fifth partnership with a Canadian institution.
Qualified students are able to pursue a career in medicine at SGU after completing the Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree at Brandon University in Manitoba. Upon successful completion of the BSc degree and meeting the requirements for entry, students enter the four-year MD program at SGU.
SGU has an agreement with the Canadian Educational Institute of Technology (CIT) that offers students the opportunity to obtain the Doctor of Medicine degree at SGU upon successful completion of graduation requirements at CIT and meeting the requirements for entry to the MD program.
Canadore College students can earn their BSc degree at SGU in marine, wildlife and conversation biology while Niagara Christian College and SGU offer students the opportunity to obtain a BSc/MD degree through a joint program.
In addition, Vancouver General Hospital offers SGU Canadian students clinical elective experiences prior to them choosing a career and University of Saskatchewan students, who are residents of the prairie province and training at SGU, can have a pathway back home through the Saskatchewan residency program.