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Hala Bunni, M.D. (’08) OB/GYN Resident Franklin Square Hospital Baltimore, Md.


s part of the AUC Alumni Contact Network, you will play a vital role

in helping to recruit and mentor aspiring doctors by contacting prospective, accepted and current students to share your experience at AUC and your knowledge of the medical field. Hearing your perspective as an AUC graduate and accomplished medical doctor helps encourage potential students and motivate current students to succeed. Alumni volunteers assist prospective and current AUC students by addressing general questions or concerns and offering their unique experience at AUC through conversations via phone or e-mail.

Office of Alumni Relations 305-446-0600, ext. 1032,

To find out more, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 305-446-0600, ext. 1032 or

Table of Contents WINTER/SPRING 2009, NUMBER 7

12 Dr. Alan Weintraub and his hockey team.


Dr. Elise McCormack, AUC Canadian alumna, is completing her residency in the United States. Photo by Ara Howrani.

4 Campus 12 Honors 14 Profiles


18 Publications 20 Cover Story: Oh, Canada! Cover photo: Dr. Denise Man. Photo by Ara Howrani.

32 AUC 30 Years 36 Class Notes 42 Island News 44 Traces

The 2009 Heineken Regatta. Photo by Tim Wright.

First Words

Dear Alumni, We recently returned from this year’s graduation ceremony in St. Maarten and were quite impressed at the strides the school has been making over the past few years. Commencement, which is held in April, had the highest attendance in the history of the school. The Maho Beach Resort ballroom, where the celebration was held, was filled to capacity as 113 graduates walked onto the stage to receive their diplomas, and as over 480 guests watched with pride. A testament to the caliber of our students and faculty, most of the newly minted alumni also matched into quite impressive specialties and residency programs. We are running a list of this year’s matches in this magazine so that all can share in their success. Congratulations, classes of 2008 and 2009! In this issue of AUC Connections, our main feature highlights the accomplishments of some of our alumni from our northern neighbor, Canada. Though comprising a small percentage of the AUC community, our Canadian graduates were led, like many others, to the American University of the Caribbean to fulfill a dream which otherwise might not have been. Canadian medical schools are notoriously competitive, and sometimes even the best and brightest student may not gain admittance to one of the only 17 medical schools in that nation. Some of our Canadian alumni have returned to their country for residency, some for practice, and some for both. Some also made the United States their home and the place to hang their white coat. One element all of them have in common, however, is AUC, which provided them with the springboard to launch an exciting journey into the world of medicine. Our Canadian grads show that with lot of dedication, hard work and, yes, a pinch of adventure in the spirit, the dream can be fulfilled. We also want to take the opportunity to thank all who attended the second alumni reunion and 30th anniversary of the medical school this past September in Miami. The success of the event was the culmination of months of preparation and planning by the alumni relations department and the school. It was great seeing some familiar faces and some new ones. Since our alumni are scattered all over the country and abroad, it is nice to put a face with the people we know through e-mail and telephone! A memorable note this time was the CME program which had one very accomplished AUC graduate as a speaker. We hope to have more such events in the future, and wish all alumni can attend. Please give us your feedback on topics and locations for potential events. We want to hear from you. We hope you enjoy this edition! As always, feel free to let us know what you think, what kind of stories you would like to see in upcoming editions, and what we can do to make your magazine better. Sincerely,

D.F. Jones Director of Alumni Relations

Letters to the Editor Please send your comments and suggestions to

WINTER/SPRING 2009, NUMBER 7 Director of Alumni Relations

D.F. Jones Editor

Paula Distefano

Just a note to say thanks for your publication. I’ve shown it to co-workers who were intrigued by

Copy Editors

my Caribbean medical roots, and it has helped them to “get it.”

Patricia Litwin Sophia Pino

— Gary Vize, M.D. (’92)

Contributing Writers

The 30th anniversary edition brought back a lot of memories of being on the island. I’m a 1985 grad, so my time there will always be memorable. Thanks again for your time and effort. — Gregory J. Trudell, M.D. (’85)

Sam Araujo Molly Goalie Jaclyn Messina Michael North Rebecca Rodriguez Robin Julia Thieme Graphic Designer

Marta A. Oppenheimer Contributing Photographers

Thank you for forwarding a copy of the current edition of AUC Connections. I thoroughly enjoy reading our magazine. I hope to become more involved with AUC once I complete my residency, for now I am more than eager to participate in contacting prospective students and/or attending open houses in the New York City area! — Leonardo Holguin, M.D. (’06)

I called my classmate Judy Millspaugh Anderson after I saw her page in the last edition. It was a terrific message for us “old timers” and all. — M. Jonathan Tessler, M.D. (’81)

Since [Montserrat] I have done so many things in my life, but I will always remember my days “on the island,” and smile. While we were all there with the sole purpose of becoming physicians, some of my best friendships were born there and continue with me to this day. I read with pride the accomplishments of my colleagues and friends. And the articles that I read in AUC Connections just further reinforce the fact that it was worth it. — S. John Pappas, M.D. (’86)

Kathryn Behrisch Robert Holmes Ara Howrani Scott Levitt Tim Wright Editorial Office

AUC Connections Office of Alumni Relations Medical Education Administrative Services 901 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 700 Coral Gables, FL 33134 Phone 305.446.0600, ext. 1032 Fax 786.433.0974 E-mail Web AUC Board of Trustees

John Byrnes, M.D. Robert Chertok, Ph.D. The Rev’d Jeffrey L. Hamblin, M.D. (’92) Ronald Harden, O.B.E. Carol Holden, Ph.D. Richard Kitch, J.D. Frank Marsh, F.R.C.P. Robert Sokol, M.D. Alumni Association Executive Board

Faith Dillard, M.D. (’99) President Tarik Haddad, M.D. (’01) Vice President Rizwana Fareeduddin, M.D. (’01) Secretary Ronald Schneider, M.D. (’02) Treasurer Please send all questions, comments and suggestions to the address or e-mail listed above. AUC Connections editors reserve the right to edit all print submissions for length and clarity, and assume no responsibility for unsolicited submissions. Reproduction for publication without written permission is prohibited. Opinions expressed are those of the editorial staff or contributing writers and do not necessarily represent the official positions of Medical Education Administrative Services, American University of the Caribbean or the AUC Alumni Association. AUC Connections is printed by Color Express at 7990 West 25th Court, Hialeah, FL 33016. If your address or contact information has changed since you last updated it with AUC, please submit your new information to the address above or online at:


New Faces on Campus S

arah McCarty, M.D., joined the faculty of the American University

St. Maarten, hey, it is zero degrees in West Virginia right now. Where

of the Caribbean as professor and chair of the introduction to clinical

would you rather be? I did not believe the stories about the traffic but now

medicine department in January 2009. McCarty earned her medical

I do. I may never drive to Phillipsburg again, but I sure do like it right up

degree from the University of Vermont in 1979 and completed her internal

the street from the school. There are adjustments to be made, and I am

medicine residency at Marshall University School of Medicine in West

making them very slowly. But every day when I am on my way to work

Virginia. After completing residency, McCarty joined the internal medicine

and I look at that beautiful blue water and the sun overhead, I think that I

faculty at Marshall, where she practiced medicine and taught clinical skills.

have made the right choice to come to AUC to teach.

In 1988, she moved to Albuquerque, N.M., to work in women’s health for Lovelace Healthcare. In 1991, she returned to Marshall to teach and continue with her primary care practice. She was named associate dean of academic affairs at the same institution and served in that capacity until last year. She became the director of the clinical skills lab at Marshall in 2007.

Dwight J. Hertz, M.D., joins AUC’s department of pathology as an associate professor. Hertz received his undergraduate degree in pharmacy at North Dakota State University and completed his medical degree and pathology residency at the University of South Dakota. He was previously

Q & A with professor McCarty:

an associate professor at the same institution, where he taught in the clinical laboratory sciences medical

Q: What are your goals for this term?

technology program and was the pathology course

A: My goals are to provide AUC students

coordinator for basic sciences. Hertz was a private

with the clinical training needed to “hit the

practitioner in a multi-specialty group in Bismarck,

ground running” when they enter their clinical

N.D., for 20 years. He is board certified in

years of training. This should provide them

anatomic and clinical pathology with subspecialty boards in cytopathology.

not only with excellent communication and

Hertz has a strong interest in medical informatics and education.

physical examination skills, but also with the

Jeffrey M. Shear, M.D., comes to AUC as an associate professor of

confidence of knowing that they are more

pathology from Las Vegas. Originally from Oregon, Shear earned his

than ready for the challenges of their clinical

medical degree at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1979.

years. In order to accomplish this we must foster an active learning style with free exchange between teacher and learner. We

Dwight J. Hertz, M.D.

He completed his pathology residency at the University of Oregon Health Sarah McCarty, M.D.

need to emphasize problem-solving skills and encourage academic curiosity. After rotations I want faculty and residents to say of our students, “Wow, they were great! Please send me more AUC students.” Q: How are you going to accomplish that?

Science Center, in Portland, and at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, in Houston, Texas. Following residency, Shear completed fellowship work including surgical pathology and transfusion medicine. He taught pathology for two years at the University of Houston and helped set up a large multipractice uropathology reference laboratory in San Antonio, as well as a clinical reference laboratory in Las Vegas. He has worked for the Canadian Red

A: I want to be sure that our expectations of students are clear. I want to

Cross Blood Services in Ottawa and at the King Khaled Eye Hospital in

review our learning objectives and evaluate how well we are meeting them.

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In addition to his clinical practice and academic

I also want to come to know the faculty. I hope to be able to look at ICM’s

pursuits, Shear has served for more than 10 years as a lab inspector for

role within the entire curriculum and see how we might interact with other

the College of American Pathologists, of which he is a fellow.

courses within the school. And most importantly I am looking forward to meeting more of the students at AUC. To date the students I have met have been friendly, bright and enthusiastic. I am looking forward to the time that I walk into the rotunda and know all of the students instead of just a few.

Jerry Adams, Ph.D., joined the AUC faculty last November as the new wellness counselor. Adams received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Michigan State University. His clinical

Q: How has it been?

internships were completed at university counseling

A: So far my teaching experience here has been great. I really enjoy small

centers and he has continued to work with university

group interaction, and teaching the history and physical exam is one of my

students throughout his career. After graduation,

favorite things to do. Students have been very welcoming, and the days just

Adams was in private practice as a licensed

fly by which is a good sign that you are enjoying your work. In regard to

psychologist for over 10 years in Lansing, Mich.


Photos in this page by Kathryn Behrisch.

Jerry Adams, Ph.D.

For the past 11 years, he was a lecturer and clinical consultant for the faculty

All heroes were presented with certificates of appreciation engraved with

of medical sciences at the University of the West Indies, in Trinidad and

the personal statement from the individual who nominated them.

Tobago. Adams says he enjoys assisting medical students with their various psychosocial and academic concerns. His primary objective is to provide

Community Service

AUC students with a high quality, responsive, professional and confidential wellness service emphasizing prompt response to students’ needs as well

St. Maarten’s fight against HIV/AIDS received a boost of $33,000 thanks

as providing a variety of student-oriented workshops and presentations.

to the third annual Stronger Together Red Ribbon campaign, which ended with a radiothon at Scotiabank on Sunday, November 30, 2008.

Hurricane Heroes

The radiothon alone raised around $13,000 in pledges and donations. The money raised surpassed the $25,000 goal set by its sponsors, according to the St. Maarten Daily Herald. In keeping with AUC’s tradition of community service, a number of volunteers joined forces with members of the University of St. Martin (USM), and the community at large in helping to man telephone lines, to distribute awareness and prevention literature, and to offer free and confidential HIV testing. The money will be used to stimulate the St. Maarten AIDS Foundation’s work, including its youth, counseling and educational programs on the island.

Basic Science News In a scenario very familiar to some AUC alumni, a category three storm — Hurricane Omar — hit the island of St. Maarten on October 16, 2008. Despite the strength of the storm, there were no fatalities and the island’s infrastructure and hotel sector sustained minor damages. Many people, especially local residents, went through a difficult aftermath, with displacements and lack of basic necessities.

AUC Student Wins AACA Poster Award AUC student Jonathan Staidle received the 2008 Sandy C. Marks Jr. Student Poster Presentation Award sponsored by the American Association of Clinical Anatomists (AACA). The AACA presented three awards at last year’s meeting for outstanding posters in the following categories: basic sciences, clinical sciences and education. Staidle received the highly competitive basic sciences award named after

As many times before, AUC students, staff and faculty rolled up their sleeves

renowned and internationally respected research scientist Sandy C. Marks Jr.

to help those in need. Donation drives were set up to raise funds and AUC

The poster was entitled “The surgical relevance of significant variations

Chief Operating Officer Yife Tien matched all donations dollar-for-dollar.

within a sample population of cadaveric biceps brachii muscles.” One of

Over $9,000 was raised. Interim Dean Hiroko Yoshida, Ph.D., spent

Staidle’s mentors on the project was Quentin Fogg, Ph.D., AACA member

several nights on campus making sure everyone was safe. She went as

and AUC visiting professor.

far as staying in the lecture hall with students who didn’t feel safe to stay in their own homes. Solutions, one of the off-campus housing providers, offered free lodging to students displaced by the hurricane. AUC students volunteered time and resources to aid their fellow classmates and countless others. Some used a dinghy as a makeshift taxi to take tourists to the airport because all the roads were flooded in Beacon Hill. Others were out early the morning after the storm to help the community clean up debris scattered by Omar. The Division of Student Affairs in conjunction with the Student Government Association honored its “Hurricane Omar Heroes” at a coffee and dessert reception held last November. Honorees were nominated for providing extraordinary service to the AUC community during the trying days of Omar’s visit to the island. Faculty, staff and students provided personal testimony as to how “their hero” demonstrated grace, courage and leadership.

Jonathan Staidle (right), pictured with Julia Marks (center), wife of the late Sandy Marks— for whom the award was named, and Anne Gilroy (Chair, Career Development Committee)


Campus continued

Dean’s List I

n recognition of high academic achievement through the Basic

Sciences portion of the curriculum, the American University of

Now in its 12th year, the competition was held in Toronto, Canada, with

the Caribbean acknowledges students who have excelled at the

68 participants worldwide. Each award recipient received a $600 check,

end of each semester. To qualify for the Dean’s List, students must

a certificate and a one-year membership to AACA.

carry a credit load of at least 15 credits and have earned a semester

At the same meeting, Fogg along with AUC alumni Alvin Freeman, M.D. (’08) and Nathan Jacobson, M.D. (’08), were met with great acclaim after the presentation of a paper the three co-authored for volume 21 of Clinical Anatomy, “Anatomical variations of the plantaris muscle and a potential role in patellofemoral pain syndrome.” “They are definitely to be congratulated, and I’m extremely glad that I was

cumulative average grade of at least 87.

Congratulations to these outstanding students who have made the Spring 2009 Dean’s List (listed in alphabetical order): 1 Jason Abdallah

31 Nathaniel LaFleur

2 Myo-Pale Aye

32 Patrick Laing

3 Aaron Barton

33 Jennie Le

4 Eva Bashover

34 Matthew Lilien

5 Mackenzie Bear

35 Quynh Mai

6 Kelli Boelens

36 Andrea Martin

Clinical News

7 Jenna Brown

37 Ricky Mehta

Clinical Campus 10-Year Agreement with New York Hospital

8 Richard Chastain

38 Anjali Modi

On July 1, 2008, Arthur A. Gianelli, president/CEO of the Nassau

9 Sandy Chiang

39 Donald Odens

Health Care Corporation (NHCC) and Bruce Kaplan, D.O., chief academic

10 Brian Clear

40 Edith Okoye

11 Meghan Cook

41 Marlon Pastrana

students at Nassau University Medical Center in Long Island, N.Y. (NUMC).

12 Michael DeCicca

42 Kashyap Patel

The agreement will result in a 100 percent increase of the number of

13 Jennifer Freeman

43 Silvia Pereira

14 Christina Geddam

44 Laura Pickett

15 Matthew Goodwin

45 Joshua Priebe

pediatrics, OB/GYN and psychiatry. Fourth-year students will have the

16 Kimberly Howe

46 Brian Reed

opportunity for multiple elective rotations throughout the hospital and its

17 Ann Hughes

47 Rahul Sarna

various community health centers. NUMC will designate a site director that

18 Chiamaka Iheme

48 Bryan Shepherd

19 Chinenye Iheme

49 Sunpreet Singh

while they are taking core and elective clerkships.

20 Nima Jadidi

50 Lucas Smith

According to Steven Walerstein, M.D., NHCC’s senior vice president for

21 Anil Jagtiani

51 Amy Swanson

medical affairs and medical director, the agreement reflects NUMC’s role

22 Kunal Jardosh

52 Magali Van den Bergh

as a major academic medical center for the training of medical students.

23 Meho Jasarevic

53 Jenna Watson

and N.Y. College of Osteopathic Medicine. The agreement will also provide

24 Angelo Kaplan

54 Andrew Watson

funding to upgrade the health sciences library, the departmental classroom

25 Beatrice Kenol

55 Jeremy Whyman

facilities, and improving NUMC’s role as a center of education for the

26 Michael Kern

56 Eric Wicks

27 Timothy Ketterhagen

57 Roger Wyatt

28 Karthik Kode

58 Michael Yakubov

choose to practice in our community, especially serving our patient population

29 Jared Kohlhepp

59 Firas Yousif

experiencing health care disparities.”

30 Gabriel Krause

able to guide them through this process,” said Fogg. The young doctors currently have two other papers in review and are being mentored once again by Fogg as they work on three others. To read the published paper, please go to:

officer of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, announced an agreement to provide clinical clerkships for AUC’s medical

undergraduate medical students being trained at the hospital, a major post-graduate teaching facility with 280 residents. Third-year AUC students will do core rotations in internal medicine, surgery,

will oversee the clerkships, provide clinical supervision and train AUC students. The training will include performance of relevant clinical procedures

The organization also has long term affiliations with SUNY Stony Brook

community. In addition, said Walerstein, they will be able to identify the best students and recruit them into residency programs at NUMC. “In the long run,” said Walerstein, “it is our hope that these students will



Research News St. Maarten government and AUC sign accord to cooperate in health care Sixteen months of toiling behind the scenes culminated in the inking of an agreement between the island government of St. Maarten and American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine to cooperate in research and other areas to enhance health care in St. Maarten. A similar agreement with similar objectives is expected to be signed between health care officials of St. Martin in the not-too-distant future. The agreement was signed by Health Commissioner Maria Buncamper-Molanus and AUC Interim Dean of Basic Medical Sciences Hiroko Yoshida, Ph.D., in the presence of health care and other officials of both sides of the island.

Photo by Scott Levitt.

Under the accord, parties agree to engage in research activities in a number of areas, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, diabetes, hypertension, reproductive health, elder health, immunization survey, illicit drug use, youth obesity, women’s health, disease management and health care policy. Two non-governmental organizations are being formed, one for each side of the island, under which the research will be executed. The foundations will share a common board structure and bylaws. “Through these governing bodies we hope to conduct new research and health improvement,” Joseph Ichter, AUC director of public health, told the gathering witnessing what was termed an historical event. Ichter said AUC, which has so far

“As partners our shared mission is to improve the health and health care of St. Maarten’s residents and our goals of community engagement, health improvement, research and education can be most effectively realized. If we are to be successful, the secret of this success will be our close cooperation,” the commissioner said. She said there had been a build-up to the signing of the MOU through numerous discussions. “In addition to the working relationship between

“Through these governing bodies we hope to conduct new research and health improvement.”

funded all activities leading up to the signing of yesterday’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), was

government and AUC, the benefits of the research possibilities that come with this MOU should not be underestimated. The team from the island government, through AUC’s research facilities, can focus on developing solutions throughout the whole cycle of care, from diagnosis to treatment, recovery and follow-up,” she noted. “We will sign this MOU with AUC to focus on innovation, patient care and knowledge sharing. This is a clear indication of the fact that St. Maarten is

developing — maturing, if you will — in areas only dreamt about in the

looking for “outstanding Dutch and French persons” to be nominated to

past. Beyond the research exposure and training, I look forward to

the boards of the foundations. Nominees needed to be familiar with the

strengthening ties between AUC and the island government through this

culture of the island and its people, should have initiative and want to

program, and to a continued exchange of knowledge and talent.”

work with government and industry, he said. He said the groundwork leading up to the signing had begun 16 months ago. “From the start this collaborative exercise was seen as a way for AUC to work with the community in a multi-faceted effort to provide health improvements to the population, valuable learning experiences to aspiring physicians, augmentation of the government’s health initiatives, and an avenue for the private sector to have a voice in the health of one of its utmost valuable economic inputs,” he said. Health Commissioner Maria Buncamper-Molanus said the accord reinforced the view that high quality health care starts with health care professionals working together as partners.


AUC official Sue Atchley, Ph.D., also lauded the accord. She told this newspaper after the event that AUC had a world-class research lab that would benefit the initiative. Fourth Vice President and Collectivité spokesperson Dr. Louis Jeffry said the MOU would give AUC students the chance to experience not only the excitement of the interaction of the local population with whom they will be working, but also the structure that would be set up. He said it would also give them the opportunity to participate in health care services not only at an academic level, but also in the area where “it really counts.” q Copyright ©2008 The Daily Herald St. Maarten. All rights reserved. Printed with permission.

Students Make Strides in Vaccination Research By Sam Araujo


n today’s world of diversity, cultural melding and vast range of socioeconomic conditions, it is crucial for physicians to be culturally competent,

understanding and appreciative of human differences. With that in mind, a group of 22 AUC students took part in a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) vaccination coverage survey in September 2008. AUC students, as well as several St. Martin University students, partnered

with PAHO (a regional branch of the World Health Organization) and St. Maarten’s Sector Health Care Affairs (SHCA), to act as the field survey arm of the research. Under the guidance of James Dobbins, Ph.D., of PAHO, and Joseph Ichter, AUC’s director of public health research, the student volunteers were not only responsible for collecting data on children’s immunization, but also educated on the research and survey processes. The first survey consisted of randomly sampled data from 37 geographic divisions across Dutch St. Maarten. Children between the ages of 12 and 59 months were identified by choosing a single home, and each survey

goal of 90 percent. When looking at the 52nd week of age, however, the rate increases to 85.2 percent and, by the end of two years, that rate reaches 89.6 percent. “[This] is well below the WHO’s recommended target rate of 95 percent,” Ichter said. “Obviously, the target wasn’t reached, but on the other hand, a vast improvement was made from the 2002 rates.” The experience taught the students about the importance of public health research in informing health care policies. This is especially true in regard to children’s immunization, an issue of special interest to tourist destination communities such as St. Maarten. The project also showcased the diversity of AUC’s student body. The group of student researchers collectively spoke five languages, namely English, Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish, and were able to complete the island-wide survey in only three days.

team would then continue visiting contiguous homes until eight children

“When I realized that a language barrier could be in the way of collecting

meeting the sample criteria were found. The second survey used a blanketing

the data, I had to reassure the parents that was not a problem and switch

methodology to identify and record immunization records of all children in

to one of the other languages I speak,” said third-year student Briza

the same age group, but in very limited geographic areas. The latter was

Junqueira, who is fluent in Spanish.

meant to obtain more detailed coverage of those areas known to have a significant number of undocumented immigrants in their demographic. AUC students were able to gather invaluable data that will help improve the island’s immunization policy.

“I would encourage every medical student to participate in this type of project. In the future, we will have to be as flexible and willing to accommodate the needs of our patients,” she added. The opportunity to be part of a project that can bring improvement to the

According to Ichter, St. Maarten modified its vaccination policies after a

island undoubtedly enriched the lives of those who volunteered — both on

2002 report showed coverage of only around 60 percent of children. The

a personal and professional level.

revised policy, enacted after the initial report, included free vaccinations for all children in hopes of encouraging parents to continue the process in spite of economic or citizenship barriers.

“I felt it was an eye-opening experience to venture away from the tourist attractions and into the residential areas where the local people live and witness them in their daily lives,” third-year student Lindsey Whiteman noted.

“The 2008 survey was meant to show how that policy may have affected

“[I realized] that even though it’s another country, values and familial bonds

childhood immunization rates,” explained Ichter.

are exactly like our own.”

According to Ichter, an initial look

AUC students have also volunteered in two dengue research platforms, one

at PAHO’s analysis showed that the

focused on how patients contracting dengue accessed the health care

cumulative number of children

system, while the other was a case-control study centered on risk factors of

immunized at the correct time in the

the disease during epidemics. Another research project being conducted

first year was exceedingly low —

is helping the local health care system develop a case-based evaluation

about 10 percent — far short of the

tool for their new community nursing LPN program in St. Maarten.

“I would encourage every medical student to participate in this type of project.” “More projects are in the works,” said Ichter. “Once the more encompassing research agreement is completed with the governments of St. Martin/St. Maarten, we expect to be able to expand the research through grant applications,” he said. q Sam Araujo is a third-year AUC medical student.


2009 Residency Placements

American University of the Caribbean graduates have obtained residencies in traditionally highly competitive fields and many report having been offered a choice of residency positions by the time they graduate. Below you will find a list of the positions that have been reported to us by the NRMP (and placements outside of the match reported to us directly from our graduates). Please note that this is not a complete list and will be updated as more positions (pre-match and post-match “scramble”) are reported to us. For a comprehensive list, please go to and click on “alumni”

Family Medicine Alabama

University of Alabama School of Medicine, Tuscaloosa Arizona

Phoenix Baptist Hospital, Phoenix Arkansas

AHEC Fayetteville – 2 matches AHEC Pine Bluff AHEC Southwest, Texarkana California

California Hospital Medical Center, Los Angeles Kaiser Permanente, Riverside – 2 matches Mercy Medical Center, Merced University of California, San Francisco Canada

Queen’s University Medical School, Kingston, Ontario University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba University of Toronto, Ontario Florida

Florida Hospital, Orlando Tallahassee Memorial Hospital, Tallahassee Illinois

Anesthesiology Massachusetts

McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University, Chicago – 2 matches St. Joseph Hospital, Chicago University of Illinois Methodist Medical Center, Peoria Kansas

Boston University Medical Center, Boston (PGY-2)

University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City – 2 matches

New York


Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow – 3 matches (PGY-2) University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester (PGY-2) SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse (PGY-2)

St. Elizabeth Medical Center, Edgewood University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville Louisiana

Emergency Medicine

Baton Rouge General, Baton Rouge LSU Health Sciences Center, Alexandria LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport



LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport

University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore



St. John Hospital, Detroit Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, Detroit – 3 matches New York

Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe – 3 matches McLaren Regional Medical Center, Flint Providence Hospital, Southfield – 2 matches St. John Hospital, Detroit – 2 matches

Einstein/Jacobi Medical Center, Bronx Lincoln Medical Center, Queens (PGY-2) SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse



Overlook Hospital, Summit Somerset Medical Center, Somerville UMDNJ CentraState, Freehold

University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland University of Toledo, Toledo


Cox Health Center, Springfield New Jersey

UMDNJ, Newark New York

Mid-Hudson Family Practice Residency Program, Kingston North Carolina

Duke University Medical Center, Durham North Dakota

University of North Dakota School of Medicine, Bismarck Ohio

Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton NEOUCOM, Barberton – 2 matches Oklahoma

St. Anthony Hospital, Oklahoma City University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City Pennsylvania

Altoona Family Physicians, Altoona Drexel University/Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia Medical Center, Beaver Montgomery Hospital, Norristown York Hospital, York South Carolina

Anderson Area Medical Center, Anderson – 2 matches Greenville Hospital System/University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville – 2 matches Tennessee

University of Tennessee School of Medicine, Knoxville – 2 matches Texas

Christus Spohn Memorial Hospital, Corpus Christi – 2 matches Wyoming

University of Wyoming, Casper – 2 matches

General Surgery Michigan

Providence Hospital, Southfield – 2 matches New Jersey

Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch Seton Hall University School of Health & Medical Sciences, South Orange Tennessee

University of Tennessee School of Medicine, Knoxville

Internal Medicine California

Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Santa Barbara St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach University of Southern California, Los Angeles




Stamford Hospital/Columbia University, Stamford

Hershey Medical Center, Hershey

University of Tennessee, Erlanger Hospital, Chattanooga


Mt. Sinai Medical Center, Miami Orlando Regional, Orlando – 2 matches University of Miami/JFK Medical Center, Atlantis Illinois

Cook County-Stroger Hospital, Chicago Indiana

Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis

Neurology Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester (PGY-2) New York

St. Vincent’s Hospital, New York City Westchester Medical Center, Valhalla (PGY-2)



LSU Health System/Earl K. Long Medical Center, Baton Rouge



Maine Medical Center, Portland

Cook County-Stroger Hospital, Chicago Louisiana


LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans

Union Memorial Hospital, Baltimore



St John Hospital, Detroit

Henry Ford Health Sciences Center, Detroit Providence Hospital, Southfield St. John Hospital, Detroit

New Jersey


University Hospitals, Columbia

Queens Hospital/Mt. Sinai, Jamaica SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo

New Jersey

West Virginia

Capital Health Systems Helene Fuld Hospital, Trenton UMDNJ, Newark

Marshall University School of Medicine, Huntington West Virginia University School of Medicine, Morgantown

New York

Lutheran Medical Center, Brooklyn SUNY Health Sciences Center, Brooklyn – 2 matches Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola – 2 matches North Carolina

Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem Ohio

Case Western University/MetroHealth Medical Center, Cleveland Mount Carmel Health, Columbus Oklahoma

University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, Tulsa Pennsylvania

Drexel University /Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia Western Pennsylvania Hospital, Pittsburgh Tennessee

East Tennessee State University, Johnson City Utah

University of Utah Affiliated Hospitals, Salt Lake City Virginia

Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch New York

Otolaryngology Maryland

University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore


Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation New York

SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo (PGY-2) University of Rochester/Strong Memorial Hospital, Rochester

Preliminary Surgery Arizona

Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix Connecticut

Waterbury Hospital, Waterbury Yale/New Haven Hospital, New Haven Maryland

University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore Massachusetts

Berkshire Medical Center, Pittsfield Michigan

Michigan State University, Kalamazoo St. Joseph Mercy, Oakland Missouri

University of Missouri, Columbia New York

Albert Einstein, Montefiore – 2 matches Mt. Sinai Hospital, New York City – 2 matches Sound Shore Medical Center, New Rochelle Upstate Medical University, Syracuse Tennessee

University of Tennessee, Knoxville

New Jersey

St. Barbabas, Livingston UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson, Piscataway


North Carolina

Maricopa Medical Center, Phoenix

Pitt County Memorial Hospital/Brody School of Medicine, Greenville



Western Reserve Care/NEOUCOM, Youngstown



LSU Health Sciences Center, New Orleans Massachusetts

Baystate Medical Center, Springfield Michigan


Wayne State University/Detroit Medical Center, Detroit

St. Joseph’s Hospital, Phoenix



University of Nevada Affiliated Hospitals, Las Vegas

University of California, San Francisco

New York


West Virginia

University of Illinois-St. Francis Medical Center, Peoria – 2 matches

West Virginia University School of Medicine, Charleston


Creedmoor Psychiatric Center (affiliate of N.Y. Presbyterian), Queen’s Village North General Hospital, New York City Stony Brook Hospital, Stony Brook

Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans



University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston

University of Nevada Affiliated Hospitals, Las Vegas – 2 matches


New York

West Virginia

Flushing Hospital, Queens Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow SUNY Brooklyn SUNY Stony Brook SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo – 2 matches Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola

West Virginia University School of Medicine


Wilson Memorial Regional Hospital, Greater Binghamton

Naval Medical Center, Portsmouth

Internal Medicine – Preliminary Massachusetts

University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester New Jersey

AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, Atlantic City New York

Long Island College Hospital, Brooklyn Nassau University Medical Center, East Meadow Richmond University Medical Center, Staten Island Staten Island University Hospital, Staten Island SUNY at Buffalo School of Medicine, Buffalo Wilson Medical Center, Greater Binghamton

Children’s Hospital-NEOUCOM

Virginia Commonwealth University Health System

Transitional Year Michigan

Detroit Medical Center, Detroit Providence Hospital, Southfield New York



In a League of his Own By Michael North


rain specialists know the dangers of playing ice hockey, but Alan

for pre-med. After being accepted to AUC, he was off to Montserrat to

Weintraub M.D. (’82), not only accepts those risks, but also plays in

earn a medical degree.

When not in a lab coat and stethoscope, Weintraub is likely in hiking gear,

medical school in the United States,” he said.

a men’s league two to three times per week.

or paddling in a kayak pursuing his lifelong passion for sports. So much so, that as a medical student at the American University of the Caribbean back in Montserrat, Weintraub started the school’s first softball team. “One of our professors would say, ‘I am the rooster and you are my little chickens,’” Weintraub, 52, said. That led him to name the team the “Little Chickens.” While starting and playing on the softball team, Weintraub earned his medical degree from AUC in 1982. His current position as medical director of the Brain Injury Treatment Team at the Craig Hospital in Denver allows him to treat both professional athletes and civilians and conduct valuable research in the field. He also is a consultant to the Denver Broncos and the Colorado Avalanche. “I have always wanted to do something medically that combines sport and science,” he said. Weintraub, a Washington, D.C., native, thought at first that his calling was in physical therapy. He earned his PT degree from Florida International University in Miami and attended the University of South Florida, in Tampa,

“I went on a leap of faith that it [would] all work out. I never applied to a

It was at AUC that Weintraub found that he was called to primary care, specifically, traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. The training he received while attending the university prepared him for professional success, he says. “AUC offered individuality to grow while most medical schools are predictable or overly structured. The school operates on a ‘you get out what you put in’ basis and the flexibility and individuality better prepared me for my internship and residency. “The science education was excellent,” Weintraub added. “The school gave me the opportunity to live in a strange culture, grow up, and mature to handle post-graduate demands.” Along with the strong medical foundation he received from AUC, Weintraub also had many unique experiences on Montserrat. He remembers seeing Paul McCartney, Jimmy Buffet, Cheap Trick and Stevie Wonder perform while bartending at the Agouti Inn. His love for the outdoors had him riding motorcycles in the hills and scuba diving. “I remember a barge loaded with Heineken sank in the harbor. We were able to use our scuba gear to recover the beer at the bottom of the ocean. You could call it [a] buried treasure.” After his time at AUC, Weintraub began his residency at the University of Colorado. He then joined the world-renowned Craig Hospital in 1986. Even though he was trained in a foreign country, Weintraub says he did not face any major challenges obtaining his license to practice medicine in the United States. “I had to deal with some prejudices, but in the end you take the same exams, do the same interviews and deal with the same boards. I had good training so I had no problems.” Weintraub said he strives to establish a lasting relationship with each of his patients. Not only does he treat the injury, he aims to reintegrate the patient back to normalcy through rehabilitation. “You don’t have to lose yourself to an injury, you can still have fun,” he tells his patients. Weintraub estimates that he treats about 300 patients and dozens of professional athletes per year. Roughly 50 percent of the traumatic injuries Weintraub handles are from car accidents, 20 percent from falls, 10 to

Dr. Alan Weintraub skis down a mountain at Steamboat, in Colorado.


15 percent are sports related, and the rest are due to violent assaults.

VITAL SIGNS: Sports-related injuries may

Name: Alan Weintraub, M.D.

make up a small percentage of Weintraub’s patients, but they

Specialty: Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

often receive the majority of

Title: Medical director of the Brain Injury Program at Craig Hospital-Rocky Mountain Regional Brain and Spinal Cord Injury System, Englewood, Colorado

the national attention. Football has the highest concussion rate in professional sports. He likens

Internship and residency: University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, 1982-1985

each collision in football to a car crash.

Fellowship: Craig Hospital and affiliates, neurotrauma rehabilitation, brain and spinal cord injury medicine

“Hockey is definitely a contact sport, but football is a head contact sport,” he said.

Board Certification: Fellow of the American board of physical medicine and rehabilitation

While movies often portray

Licensed: Colorado, Florida and Hawaii

coaches pressuring team

Family: Two children, Brianna, 19, at Colorado State University; and Kyle, 18, high school senior

physicians to “clear” their players regardless of their medical condition, Weintraub said he has never experienced that pressure. “The goal is to return players as quickly and safely as possible.”

Dr. Weintraub explains a traumatic brain injury to patient Colin Butler, who sustained it during a skiing accident. Butler, who started with a catastrophic injury and prolongued coma, is now, a year later, working on returning to college.

“I always act with the athlete’s best interest in mind.” Weintraub said. Weintraub also treated some survivors of the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

Favorite sports: Always prefer to play than watch hockey, skiing in winter and hiking, surfing and boating in summer Hobbies: playing hockey, exercise of all kinds, reading, traveling and spending time with my kids Favorite AUC memory: So many! From The Café Le Capitan and volcano hikes to the “Little Chickens” softball team

Weintraub, however, maintains that his practice is not built around individual achievements. He considers his role at Craig Hospital to be the most important aspect of his professional career, striving each day to help the hospital to be the premier traumatic brain center in the United States. The hospital, located in Englewood, has consistently been ranked in the top ten rehabilitation hospitals in the United States by U.S. News and World Report since it began ranking hospitals in 1990. “I enjoy teaching and training other people, serving other people, helping families horribly struck by injury,” Weintraub said. “I want to continue the tradition of Craig Hospital and leave that as my legacy.” q Michael North is a writer with the University of Miami News Service.

Dr. Weintraub treated famous athletes during his career at Craig Hospital.



One Man’s Crusade By Molly Goaley


hen he was 14 years old, Alhasan Ceesay, M.D.

her child,” he said. From that moment, Ceesay decided to become a doctor

(’92), crossed paths in his village of Njawara,

and, one day, open a medical center where members of his village could

the Gambia, with a family in urgent need of medical care. A man had been leading his pregnant wife and young son for miles on the back of a donkey, desperately searching for help for his sick family. Within a mile of reaching a distant hospital, the woman and her son, who was no more than three, died from illnesses that could have been prevented with proper health care. That encounter changed Ceesay’s life. “Having learned the sad news of the demise of the family, I made a tearful covenant with God that whatever path He chose for me, let that include minimizing the tragic suffering that unfolded before me by the death of this villager and

receive free health care. Ceesay believed a Western education was the key to achieving his goals. Although his father, a farmer, objected to the idea, Ceesay persisted and in 1967 arrived at Alpena Community College (ACC), in Alpena, Mich., to begin his long quest for an education. After receiving his associate degree from ACC, one of his professors encouraged him to apply to Olivet College, in South Central Michigan. He received a full-tuition scholarship from the Besser Foundation of Alpena and enrolled at the college in 1969. Although Ceesay earned his bachelor’s degree from Olivet in 1971, his ultimate goal of becoming a doctor would remain out of reach for many years. Without proper sponsorship or residency status in the United States, he was denied admission to medical school. Ceesay’s friends encouraged him take graduate classes, in hopes that a master’s degree would make it easier for him to gain entry into medical school. In 1973, he earned his master’s degree in biological sciences from Michigan Technological University. “Believe it or not, on graduation day sadness set in,” Ceesay said of completing his graduate studies. “All these accidental degrees were not in my plan and the prospect of getting into medical school was getting distant.” Ceesay again tried to apply to medical school, but the same sponsorship and residency problems returned and he was denied admission. Frustrated but determined, he bided his time by taking postgraduate courses at Howard University in Washington, D.C. At last, in 1979, his prayers seemed to have been answered when he was accepted into the University of Liberia Medical School in Monrovia. Ceesay went back to Africa to begin his classes, but because of political unrest in the Gambia, he had to flee back to the United States. Though his situation often seemed hopeless, Ceesay never gave up on his quest to become a doctor. He continued studying at Michigan State University and Wayne State University before finally being accepted at the American University of the Caribbean. In 1992, after 25 years of struggle, he was awarded his Doctor of Medicine degree. The next year, he returned to the Gambia, completed his internship at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Banjul and embarked on a “one-man crusade of providing medical aid to the villagers free of charge.”


Ceesay began his crusade by establishing the Manding Medical Centre in Njawara. “There is a sheer shortage of medical facilities in the region, which accounts for 25 percent of Gambian children’s deaths before the age of five due to malnutrition, pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria and worm infestation,” he said. “The objective is to serve the rural sector of the Gambia by making proper medical service available to the villager.” Ceesay said the center serves no fewer than 500 patients and up to 1,500 in a weekend. In addition to treating patients, Ceesay and his team of volunteer doctors offer educational presentations throughout the region. “We hold bimonthly field trips to teach villagers about hygiene, preventative medicine and sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS,” he said. “By this exercise, the center believes it will help reduce the number infected and the vector responsible for these diseases.” Because Manding offers free treatment to the elderly, children and pregnant women, and charges only a portion of the average private practice fee to other patients, proper funding has not yet been secured to build a complete hospital. Though land for the building has been donated, the center currently operates out of a small shed. But with 30,000 supportive villagers behind him, Ceesay is relentless in drawing attention to their cause. “We set up charities in the United Kingdom and Alpena,” he said. In addition, he has written two books, “The Legend Against All Odds” and “Medicine for the Villager,” which chronicle his educational journey and the establishment of Manding. Proceeds from the books, available at, will go toward constructing the facility. Ceesay and his supporters hope to break ground on the facility in the near future. “Every cent donated from every country will be used for the Manding Medical Centre,” he said, adding that the exchange rate from U.S. to Gambian currency is very favorable. “Anything helps. A few pennies may sound like a small amount, but that collects into a multitude of pennies.” For more information on the Manding Medical Center, visit q Originally published in the Fall 2008 edition of “Shipherd’s Record.” Reprinted with permission. Top left: Supporters visit Manding. Bottom left: Dr. Ceesay holds a map of Africa. Inset: Dr. Ceesay’s book. Top right: Dr. Ceesay as a student at Olivet College in the 1970s.


The Good Doctor For one AUC alumnus and his wife, the indefatigable quest to heal the less fortunate became a life-changing experience By Rebecca Rodriguez


eorge Faile III, M.D. (‘83) shares three enduring qualities with his father — his name, his medical profession and his commitment to

bring health care to Africa. The days are long, and the patient list even longer, but Faile says his 21-year stint in Ghana, West Africa, has given him a chance to give — and to receive. “The lack of doctors and long hours is the biggest challenge,” said Faile, 58. “It’s difficult having to work so hard for so long,” he said. “You have half-dead children brought to you; being able to help them and seeing them walk away from it, that’s very rewarding.” It is a reward he first experienced early in life. Born in Atlanta, Faile was only three years of age when the family moved to Africa, where his father, George Faile II, was a medical missionary in Nigeria and Ghana in the 1950s. The elder Faile helped establish the Baptist Medical Center, a branch of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.

attended Emory University in Atlanta, where he received a master of medical science degree in anesthesia and life support systems technology in 1976.

“Growing up in Africa was certainly very different from the States,” said Faile, who was one of the first seven children to be baptized at the medical

Faile became a physician’s assistant and took his first step in his pursuit to

center’s church. “It was remote, primitive. I spent a lot of time with my

work in medicine internationally. Stationed at a mission hospital in North

dad, seeing him work. I knew at a young age I wanted to take part in

Yemen, he met his wife, Elisabeth, a nurse midwife. While in North Yemen,

international medical missions,” he said.

Faile applied to and was accepted into the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, then located on the island of Montserrat.

Before becoming a doctor, Faile attended Furman University in Greenville, S.C., where he majored in mathematics. For two years, he taught high

“I enjoyed most of my time at AUC,” said Faile, who graduated in 1983.

school math in Korea to children of American missionaries. He then

“At that time, it was a new school. There were rumors that students wouldn’t be able to practice in the States. There was a lot of uncertainty.” Faile said he did not encounter any of the rumored problems. After, successfully completing his family medicine residency in Rome, Georgia, he then went to work abroad. “My wife and I knew we wanted to do international medical missions,” he said, adding that they looked into several places before settling on Ghana, where they had previously volunteered. The couple has lived in the African nation since 1987. A typical day for Faile at the Baptist Medical Centre in Nalerigu is a lengthy one, usually around 12 hours long. He begins by walking to the hospital from his home, which is on the compound grounds. Nalerigu is located in Ghana’s northern region, an area Faile describes as still primitive, noting its development includes the recent addition of electricity.


Left (bottom): Dr. Faile tends to a young patient. Photo by Stan Leary. Left (top): Dr. Faile and wife Elisabeth. Photo by Earl Hewitt. Right: Over sixty thousand patients are seen in the clinic every year.

Starting at 7 a.m., Faile makes his rounds, checking the facility’s 123 beds, all usually full. Then it is off to the outpatient clinic where he and the other medical doctor on staff, Earl Hewitt, M.D., from Mississippi, typically see between 80 and 100 patients each day. Malaria and malnutrition are the most prevalent ailments treated by the physicians. “The hospital has a reputation,” Faile said. “People come from all around seeking treatment. It’s a needy area. There are government-run health posts in nearby villages and another hospital 35 miles away, but they’re not very well equipped,” he added. In the United States, there is one doctor for every 400 people, according to the World Health Organization’s most recent indicators. Ghana has

except for Faile, Hewitt, and the pharmacist, who are all Americans. The Ghanaian government pays for 50 to 60 percent of the hospital’s budget, including the nurses’ salaries.

one for every 6,600 and they are usually located in more urban areas of

“The hospital probably won’t expand much. Its future is uncertain. The

the country.

International Mission Board in the United States, which has supplied the land,

Although English is the official language of Ghana, Faile’s patients may speak any one of the 20 different language groups native to the surrounding areas. Faile speaks the local language, Mampruli. Nevertheless, seeing

buildings, doctors’ salaries and monetary support, is trying to get out of their participation with the BMC. There are talks of turning the hospital over to the Ghanaian Baptist Convention,” said Faile, who is a Southern Baptist.

anywhere from 60,000 to 70,000 outpatients and admitting 7,000 to

Though family business brought him to Georgia last November, vacations

8,000 a year, having an interpreter on hand is necessary.

for Faile are few.

“I don’t know how they do it, Dr. Faile and Dr. Hewitt. I could only see about

Faile and Elisabeth, who have been married for 28 years, plan on retiring

25 to 30 [patients], between the interpreter and exams and diagnosing,”

at the end of this year and returning to their home in Georgia, where they

said Heidi Haun, M.D., a general surgery resident who worked with Faile

will be closer to their sons, David, 28, Erik, 27, and Peter, 26, who all moved

when she was a medical student in the fall of 2007.

back to the United States when it was their time for college.

“To see how diligently they work, especially Dr. Faile. He is a role model

Faile has maintained his Georgia medical license and plans on practicing

to me,” said Haun, 29, who was accompanied by her husband, William,

part time upon his return.

a photojournalist, and their then 2-month-old son, Trey. Three days a week she worked in the clinic with an interpreter, the other days she assisted

“Being away from them has been the hardest part, but I don’t consider it a

with surgeries.

sacrifice. We’ve really enjoyed what we’ve been doing,” Elisabeth Faile said.

The only person on staff able to perform general surgery, Faile typically

“You know, George is a very good doctor, a great husband and has been

works seven days a week, reserving two of those days for surgery. He

a good father to our sons,” she added. “He is a man of few words, but

performs approximately 1,200 major surgeries a year. Faile and Hewitt

he is not as serious as people may think he is. He has a good sense of

alternate being on call at night.

humor. He doesn’t say much, but when he does, you know it’s good.”

But with so many patients, it is impossible to save them all.

Like his father, Faile has inspired someone to take up where he left off.

“I remember my first day on call while I was there,” Haun said. “Five patients died. I mean, there’s nothing I could have done differently, but even then,

Haun plans on working at the center once she is done with her residency at the Medical Center of Central Georgia.

it’s easy to get discouraged under those circumstances,” she said. “During

In complimenting Faile, Haun said she recognizes how the hard work can

my time there, Dr. Faile showed me his optimism. He really sees the value

be accomplished: “His faith plays a big part,” she said.

in helping those that he can.”

The George Faile Foundation is a charitable organization and donations

The hospital currently employs approximately 240 people, including medical

are tax deductible. Contributions can be sent to P.O. Box 542, Cave

personnel, administration and maintenance. The staff is mostly Ghanaian,

Spring, GA, 30124. The Web site is q Rebecca Rodriguez is a writer with the University of Miami News Service.

Publications Abdo Sattout, M.D. (’97) was published twice in 2008. “Femoral artery angiosarcoma presenting with distal embolization: report of a case,” appeared in Surgery Today and a best evidence topic report, “The role of topical analgesia in acute otitis media,” was published in Emergency Medicine. Sattout currently lives in Liverpool, England, where he is training in emergency medicine. Sattout and his wife, Anna, have two daughters, Eva and Yasmine. Dr. Vito Rocco (’01)

Vito Rocco, M.D. (’01), an emergency physician, will publish “A case of mistaken identity: BZP and TFMPP masquerading as ecstasy,” in an upcoming edition of Clinical Forensic and Toxicology News. In October 2008, he published the article “Nerve block, mental,” on Rocco is currently working on a study comparing the use of ED limited bedside ultrasound to CT scan on the grading of hydronephrosis in the setting of flank pain. He is primarily studying if management decisions are altered based on CT results versus US and urinalysis alone. Rocco is also an investigator in a clinical trial using IM Peramivir to shorten the duration of influenza type-A symptomology. Rocco was awarded the 2007-2008 Most Distinguished Faculty in Emergency Medicine Award at William Beaumont Hospital, in Michigan.

Penny L. Heinrich, M.D. (’03), currently a hematology/oncology fellow at Louisiana State University, published in the

Dr. John Millichap (’04)

paper “Is there a way to do less harm?” in volume 56 of the Journal of Investigative Medicine 2008. Heinrich was published twice in 2007: “A 48-year old man with a non-healing wound,” and “A paraplegic man with altered mental status and fever,” both in the Journal of the Louisiana Medical Society.

John Millichap, M.D. (’04) was published twice in 2008: in Pediatric Neurology with “Methods of investigation and management of infections causing febrile seizures,” and in the Journal of Infectious Diseases with “Empiric use of antibiotics for treatment of respiratory infection and febrile seizures.” In 2008, Millichap was selected to serve on the resident and fellow section editorial committee of Neurology, the official journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Duties include peer-review of manuscripts submitted for publication.

Dr. Andy Shen (’05)

Andy Shen, M.D. (’05) published “What’s your diagnosis? Eruptive xanthoma,” in the September 2008 edition of Consultant for Pediatricians. Shen is completing his third year of residency in family medicine at Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas. He will start a fellowship in sports medicine at the same institution.

Robert “Bo” Manausa, M.D. (’07) published “Review of Telavancin in the treatment of complicated skin and skin structure infections,” in volume four of Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management. In March 2008, he completed a study on the treatment of acute hypertension at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center for Outcomes Research, where he was a research associate. In April 2008, Manausa submitted a poster abstract “Impact of hurricane Katrina on the medical residency

Dr. Robert “Bo” Manausa (’07)

training in New Orleans,” to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) that was accepted and presented at the ACEP Scientific Assembly Poster Presentation in Chicago. Manausa completed four additional studies last year. He is currently in his PGY-1 year of training in emergency medicine at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge.

Cesar “Bud” Labitan Jr., M.D. (’87), recently published “The Four Filters Invention of Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.” The book examines each of the basic steps Buffet and Munger perform in “framing and making” an investment decision. It provides the reader — both the beginner and the seasoned investor — with methods on how to optimize their investment decision-making. Labitan, who also has an MBA, lives in Indiana. The book can be purchased at q Dr. Cesar “Bud” Labitan Jr. (’87)


Grants & Awards Paul H. Hartel, M.D. (’00) was named “Physician of the Quarter” at Davis Health System, in West Virginia, in October 2008. Hartel, a pathologist in Elkins, W.V., was nominated — from a pool of 70 physicians — by employees of the hospital system for his commitment to the standards of behavior and chosen by the standards, rewards and recognition team to receive the award. Satesh Raju, M.D. (’01) recently won the award for best research abstract in the renal category at the 2009 Society of Critical Care Medicine Conference in Nashville, Tenn., with “Renal saturations (RS02) predict renal function in acute pediatric

Dr. Paul H. Hartel (’00)

septic disease.” The study looked at renal perfusion in pediatric septic shock states using Near Infrared Spectroscopy, and correlated it with renal failure outcomes from gold standard methods. The study aims to push the technology to be used in pediatrics ICUs across the country to help manage regional perfusion in shock states. Nisha Bunke, M.D. (’04) was a co-recipient, along with John Bergan, M.D., (professor at University of California at San Diego’s surgery department) of the 2008 JOBST Research Award for the Advancement of Phlebology for their work titled, “Inflammatory biomarkers of chronic venous insufficiency.” Presently, there are no methods for objective monitoring of venous disease progression or the efficacy of potential therapeutic interventions. The purpose of the study was to identify biomarkers in patients with chronic venous disease that will correlate to their clinical classification. Bunke is the first official phlebology fellow in the United States. Steven Jackson, M.D. (’06) was awarded an independent research grant by the Orthopedic Research Review Committee,

Dr. Nisha Bunke (’04)

ORRC, at the Mayo Clinic Department of Orthopedic Surgery. The grant will enable Jackson to study the use of micro-CT in understanding bone architecture and bone regeneration in a rabbit posterior transverse process spine fusion model. Jackson lives in Rochester, Minn. Only about 14 to 18 out of 800 abstracts nationally are chosen to win the award. The pool includes medicine, surgery, pediatrics and anesthesiology abstracts. Raju is currently working on a manuscript, which should be sent for publication in a national peer-reviewed journal later this year. Raju is completing his pediatric critical care medicine fellowship at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, affiliated with Ohio State University College of Medicine, and will take a clinical attending position at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., after his fellowship completion. q

Dr. Satesh Raju (’01)



ormer fifth-semester students who

had the privilege of being taught

by Douglas G. Model, MBBS,

FRCP, surely remember the “stories” peppered throughout the course of his lectures. Model, former AUC dean of clinical sciences for Europe, recently published the book “Doctor, Doctor,” a collection of anecdotes of his time in hospitals and with patients — some sad, some humorous, and some so funny that readers will grip their sides in laughter. AUC is mentioned in the introduction. Model, an ex-mariner and an internist specializing in respiratory disease, has been associated with AUC since the 80s. He was appointed associate dean of clinical studies in 1999 and dean of clinical sciences for Europe in 2002. He is currently associate clinical dean for England. Model’s book can be ordered through Once on the Web site, click “more” at the bottom of the page and then click on “The Gloucesters” to locate the book. q


Oh, Canada! Introduction by Sophia Pino


or many years, it has seemed that the odds have been stacked against Canadian IMGs seeking to become physicians in their native land.

“I think Canada put itself in a position where they underestimated the number of physicians that they were going to need in the future with their

However, with patience, persistence, ingenuity, and an incredible amount

growing and aging population,” said Elise McCormack, M.D. (‘05), “I

of hard work, Canadian AUC grads have succeeded in not just becoming

think that the trend will be to try to attract physicians that have left Canada

doctors, but also practicing physicians in their home country.

back to practice. It is definitely a good time to be a Canadian at AUC.”

Even though the number of applicants to Canadian schools has increased concurrently with the number of vacancies in medical schools, there are still not enough spaces to accommodate the demand. There are only 17 medical schools in Canada and provincial governments have reduced medical school enrollments and post-graduate training programs since 1993.

The National Physician Survey in 2008 said that more than 4,000 doctors are expected to retire or otherwise stop practicing by 2010. According to the Fraser Institute, an independent international research and educational organization with offices in Canada and the United States, the number of doctors per capita in Canada will decline by 2015 without more foreign-trained doctors. The easing of restrictions coupled with the medical

Although there are few residency slots to go around, there is some light at

shortages are encouraging for Canadian IMGs who wish to return to their

the end of the proverbial tunnel. Prior to 2002, restrictions on licensing for

homeland — and changes are beginning to be felt. According to the

IMGs made it hard for them to get a Canadian residency much less a full time position, whether or not they were Canadian nationals. The job market however, is starting to widen. In recent years, an aging medical population

Canadian Resident Matching Service, in last year’s match, of the 2,478 residents in Canada, 353 graduated from medical schools outside Canada. The figure is record breaking.

and a shrinking pool of available physicians have caused several provincial

For some Canadian AUC graduates, the goal has always been to return

governments to reconsider the stringent policies surrounding medical

home and practice, and they have followed through. Others have come

licensure and in easing in the restrictions placed on foreign-trained medical

to call the United States their new home. And yet, others see a temporary

professionals. The shortage of doctors is especially felt in some regions of

residency in the United States as a stepping stone to an eventual career

Canada, so provinces such as Ontario and New Brunswick have started

back in Canada. The Canadian graduates profiled in the following pages

taking steps to make it easier for IMGs to practice there, and are considered

show that no matter where the path took them, beginning the journey at AUC

the most IMG-friendly in the nation.

prepared them for the challenges and successes of where they are today. q

Thinking Outside the Box By Robin Julia Thieme


fter graduating from AUC in 1994, Ardavan Mahim’s longing was not for the beaches of Montserrat but for a return to his adopted

home of Canada. Mahim and his family immigrated to Canada from Iran in 1984. Medicine was a natural extension of the family business: his mother is a pharmacist, his aunt, a dentist and his cousin is a physiotherapist. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Toronto in zoology with a specialization in biology, he decided to apply to medical


Dr. Ardavan Mahim and his fiancée, Leslie Moxam, on a boat in New Brunswick. Mahim is a cardiologist in Peterborough, Ontario.

school. Like many of his contemporaries, he was waitlisted for a number

According to Mahim, under provincial law, all doctors of Ontario must be

of Canadian schools.

members of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario in order to

Instead of waiting, Mahim began to think outside the box. “I was too impatient, so I looked outside the country for alternatives,” said Mahim.

practice medicine. The College, he said, recently passed guidelines that open up the process that allows doctors to become registered. “We have been eliminating barriers since 2002, said Kathryn Clarke, senior communications coordinator for the College of Physicians and

Upon researching foreign schools, he was primarily attracted to AUC because of its accelerated program and World Health Organization recognition.

Surgeons of Ontario. “The college considered the issue of a number of immigration-related

“As long as you keep constant on your purpose, your goal will be reached,”

issues. We made a commitment at that time to reduce barriers for

he said.

qualified candidates without lowering our high standards of registration,”

Mahim looks back on his time at AUC fondly. “The best part was that it was

said Clarke.

a small school where you made good long-term friends,” he said. “Not to

Reducing barriers involves granting exemptions based on a period of

mention, who would not want to spend their days on a Montserrat beach?”

supervision for eligible physicians as they move toward independent

Still, after completing his residency in internal medicine at Providence Hospital, in Michigan, Mahim wanted to go home to Canada. Yet, he got

practice, as well as the elimination of certain qualifying exams for physicians trained outside the United States.

licensed in Michigan and Maine and became a member of the American

Clarke said the College of Physicians has had a better chance to evaluate

Board of Internal Medicine. At the time, however, he was unaware of the

the exams that are given outside of Canada and found four U.S. exams

lack of reciprocity in licensing between the United States and Canada.

to be similar in substance and content with Ontario’s.

Upon returning to Canada, Mahim soon realized barriers had been

According to Clarke progress has been made. Between 2002 and 2007,

set up. “Initially, I did not know it would be difficult to get licensed in

1,061 physicians were granted a license to practice in Ontario.

Canada,” he said.

“Most would not have been granted without the new provisions,” Clarke said.

Mahim moved to New Brunswick, as it was the only province that would grant a Canadian license if you had one from the United States. After a few years, Mahim decided to move to Ontario, but because medical practice is regulated by each province/territory, Mahim found it necessary

It represents quite a significant gain in access to licensure for those candidates. While the provisions may be broader in Ontario, other Canadian provinces have been working in this area too,” Clarke said.

to enroll at the London Health Sciences Center, in London, Ontario, where

With or without the newly implemented changes in the regulation, Mahim

he completed a fellowship in cardiology in 2004. He then enrolled in the

stands by his commitment to working in Canada.

Canadian Medical Registrar as a Licentiate of the Medical Council of Canada and received a Certificate of Registration. His hard work paid off. Currently working as a cardiologist in Peterborough, Ontario, Mahim is a prolific researcher and a frequent guest lecturer for CME programs. Mahim says he is happy to have been able to return and practice medicine in his homeland. “Canada’s medical system is equality based,” he said. “Everyone receives the necessary treatment, regardless of their means [or] income. As a physician, I am never ethically challenged by having to choose which test or treatment to withhold because of financial concerns of patients. It’s just a nicer place to practice.” As for the licensing process, Mahim has good news for current and future AUC graduates. “It is now relatively easy for our classmates to get licensure in most Canadian provinces,” he said.

“I would always do it again, absolutely,” Mahim said of completing the grueling process. “I have been blessed. I can work on both sides of the border.” “It is satisfying for him to work in a country that offers accessible, barrier-free health care to patients,” said his fiancée, Leslie Moxam, a registered nurse who has worked with Mahim on several occasions. “He is highly respected among the medical community. He strives to keep abreast of current research, and he enjoys conducting presentations for his colleagues. He also enjoys educating and training medical students and residents.” But most important, he is admired by his patients and is content with his work, Moxam said. ”He does not believe in a rushed consult and always takes time to answer questions or to describe things in lay terms so that his patients can understand. He has never returned home from a day at work with a slouch or a sigh.” q Robin Julia Thieme is a writer with the University of Miami News Service.


Paving the Way By Jaclyn Messina


rom Club Med to med school, Antonella Morra, M.D.’s (’96) journey

to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming a physician was anything but

a tropical paradise. “I wasn’t getting into medical school in Canada. I tried for a few years,”

“That was my lowest point, I think. I had a degree, but I couldn’t do anything with it,” she said. A J-1 visa is a temporary permit that allows a medical resident to practice in another country, but requires an individual to return to his or her home country upon completion, unless they acquire a waiver.

said Morra, who earned her undergraduate degree in human biology

In spite of her troubles with the visa, by the summer of 1997 Morra had

and sociology from the University of Toronto. Her options were slim, she

managed to secure a residency position at The Children’s Hospital at

said. “Actually almost impossible.”

Sinai, in Baltimore.

Three years after finishing college, Morra, a Canadian citizen, moved to

After completing her U.S. medical residency, Morra returned to Canada

the Caribbean island of St. Lucia in 1991 and began bartending at Club

and successfully wrote all of the Canadian certification exams.

Med. After three months of working at the resort, Morra decided to apply to AUC. In September of 1992, she began her first semester.

“I wanted to be a doctor more than anything,” said Morra, now a practicing pediatrician in Mississauga, Ontario. “I went through all the motions to get

Morra was aware that it would be difficult to practice in Canada because,

there and I was proactive.”

at the time, the country had strict procedures when it came to foreign graduates. Although due to the shortage of physicians in Canada, rules

Under the Canadian rules at that time, in order to go back to Canada for

are loosening up in certain Canadian provinces, international medical

medical practice, Morra had to complete another residency — this time in

graduates must still complete a rigorous process set forth by each specific

Canada. “The issue is socialized health care,” Morra suggested. “The more

province to earn their license, including examinations and more post-graduate

doctors they have, the more doctors the government has to pay for. They

clinical experience in Canada.

tend to keep the cost down by keeping the number of doctors down.”

The qualifying process often deters aspiring Canadian physicians from

However, according to the College of Family Physicians of Canada, 41.2

earning their medical education at international schools. At AUC, for

million people have trouble finding a family physician each year. The

example, Canadians comprised 13 percent of the incoming May 2009

country is lacking at least 3,000 doctors, and if changes are not made

class. During Morra’s time at AUC she recalls that less than 10 other

then that shortfall could grow to 6,000 by 2011.

Canadians were enrolled in her program.

In an attempt to address the shortage, the Ontario Ministry of Health and

Even though it seemed as if the odds were against her, Morra said she

Long-term Care designed and funded a program to help recruit physicians

worked hard and enjoyed her stay at AUC. “It was a great time. Being

who have completed post-graduate residency training and still require two

on the island was also very conducive to my studying,” she said. And while completing her core and elective rotations, Morra also found her medical calling — pediatrics. Upon graduation, Morra had not only a medical degree, but a fresh perspective, motivation and the determination to return to Canada to practice. She was met with the challenge of the lack of residencies available to foreign graduates in Canada. Most of the time, foreign medical graduates must compete with Canadian medical school graduates for residency positions and are considered only after the Canadian-trained graduates

additional years of training to meet the certification requirements of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons. The repatriation program places physicians in their specialty in underserviced areas. Morra practiced in The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto from December 2000 to August 2002. “Ontario and Alberta are making extra efforts to recruit foreign medical graduates,” said David Paton, M.D., a professor and chair of pharmacology at AUC. Morra, too, acknowledges the efforts of her province to meet the needs of the people.

have been placed. In certain provinces, namely Alberta and Ontario, the

In 2008, the number of independent practice certificates issued to international

restrictions are slightly looser. In 2003, only 10 percent of the international

medical graduates in Canada was 275, the highest in more than 20 years.

graduates who applied were placed into a Canadian residency.

It was also the seventh straight year of increased issuance of these certificates.

Undeterred, Morra decided to complete her residency training in the United States and then attempt to return to her homeland. Luck, however, was not always on Morra’s side. After graduating from AUC, she had to sit out for one year because of difficulties obtaining a J-1 visa to complete her residency in the United States.

Despite the highs and lows, Morra said she would do it all over again. Her advice to fellow Canadian medical graduates thinking about AUC is to be proactive in pursuing Canadian certification, to be as flexible as possible, and to ask a lot of questions. “Do your homework. Know what you need to have and get it,” she said. q


Jaclyn Messina is a writer with the University of Miami News Service.

Dr. Antonella Morra strikes a pose, with Toronto in the background. Morra completed residencies in both the United States and Canada. She is now a practicing pediatrician in Mississauga, Canada. Photo by Ara Howrani.


Breaking Barriers By Paula Distefano


ajbir Klair, M.D. (’09) — who this year matched into family medicine

required him to go back and pick up a full time course load to see if he

at the University of Toronto — got his first introduction to the medical

could handle the rigors of medical school.

profession as a child growing up in the small town of Houston, in Northern

British Columbia. His father, who immigrated to Canada from India in 1982, worked for the ambulance service next to the only medical clinic in town and often demonstrated his skills to Klair and his younger sister.

“I didn’t feel it was necessary,” Klair said. “So I applied to AUC and got right in.” Medical school at AUC was not without its share of challenges — “tons,” according to Klair — but he still managed to build great memories, including hanging out on the beach,

“It was always exciting to see him in his ambulance uniform and imagine

playing volleyball in

what types of emergencies he would be facing every day,” Klair said. “I

Mullet Bay and going

was proud of him, knowing that he was helping others, and it was at this

out to Cliffhanger Bar.

time that I grew to realize that I would one day work in a similar profession.”

Concerned that

It was, however, another experience with a close family member that really

getting back to

ignited in him a desire to become a primary care physician.

Canada for residency would

Klair’s grandfather, who lived with the family, suffered a stroke that affected

be difficult, Klair

his mobility. Klair was taught to check his grandfather’s blood pressure, a

concentrated on

task he undertook frequently. A second stroke rendered his grandfather

making high

unable to walk independently and speak clearly. The family decided to

grades and

care for him at home, and was profoundly impacted by the experience. “We received assistance from home-care nurses only occasionally,” Klair recalled. “I learned about many aspects of patient care at this time: how to

getting ready to match in the United States while at AUC.

transfer my grandfather from one place to another; bedsores; loss of

“I really didn’t know

independence; and, the importance of having a regular family doctor.”

too much about the

“The support and knowledge of the family doctor who came to the house to see my grandfather was invaluable. The doctor was a compassionate man, and although he spoke a different language than my grandfather he always made sure to connect with him. My grandfather died peacefully at home surrounded by his family.”

Canadian match,” said Klair. “And I was so busy studying and trying to pass classes, and was initially planning to apply only to the U.S. [match],

At 18, Klair became a first aid attendant at Fraser Downs Raceway, where

because I didn’t really

he treated minor wounds and stabilized patients before the arrival of the

think there would be much

ambulance. One day, he performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation upon

more opportunity to apply

an unconscious patient who later made a full recovery at the hospital.

to the Canadian match.”

“At the beginning of the next racing season he returned to thank me for

In the end, Klair applied

helping to save his life,” said Klair. “That was a significant moment in my

to both matches, took

life because it gave me the confidence to pursue a career in medicine.”

both sets of exams, the American USMLEs and

It wasn’t until after attending college, however, that Klair decided to fully

the Canadian equivalents,

commit to medicine. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology

and went on interviews

with a minor in economics, he went to work full time for two years.

in the United States

“I was always leaning towards medicine but had not made that commitment at the time I was getting my degree,” Klair explained.

and Canada. Matched at the University of Toronto, and ready to

When he was finally ready to apply to Canadian medical schools, he

embark on his two-year

realized the endeavor was not so easy. He applied to schools, but they

residency program,


Klair looks back at the process, which, though extensive and not without

the total opposite. You have half an hour basically to convince them why

its share of challenges, paid off big time.

you should be matched at their program and also they want someone who

One of the concerns many Canadians have, however, of being singled out for coming from an offshore medical school, did not materialize. “I felt I was treated well during my [residency] interviews,” Klair recalls. ”They really don’t know much about the Caribbean schools except that they think that was a smart move to live on a beach for two years while going to school.” “When you interview in Canada, everyone comes on the same day,” he said. “Teams of two to three people will conduct the interview usually. They know nothing about you and the interview only lasts about half an hour,” he explained.

they think will work well with them. If you can have a few laughs and be relaxed that helps a lot like any other interview.” As far as after residency, Klair is waiting out to see how things go and feel before he decides, but he is considering a fellowship in sports medicine. He has some words of advice for Canadians considering the AUC route. “I would say, definitely try to score well on your examinations and plan ahead, as there may be extra tests that you have to take to match in Canada. One of the things that did help was doing rotations in England because they recognize the English more than the American medical system. I also did a lot of volunteer work and in medicine they really look into that,

“In the United States I had interviews last the whole day more or less with

working in the community, volunteer work, research, those kinds of things

a variety of people and they knew every detail on my resume. This was

really set you apart.” q

Dr. Rajbir Klair sits on a log, as a Canadian beaver approaches. Klair successfully matched into a two-year residency program at the University of Toronto. Klair attributes his clinical rotations in England as better preparing him for the Canadian medical system. Photo by Ara Howrani.


The Road Less Traveled By Paula Distefano

Dr. Denise Man at a crossroad in Manitoba. Man is chief resident for the family medicine program at the University of Manitoba. Photo by Ara Howrani.


s a medical school applicant, Denise Man, M.D. (’07), considered

Man grew up in a family filled with doctors, but said she really only began

several North American schools in which to start her education.

to consider medical school as a career option during college. However,

While she was not sure where she was going to go, she was sure about

when she graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor

what she wanted to do — become a physician.

of Science degree in integrated sciences, life sciences and computer sciences

“At first I was not certain I was going to be able to practice in Canada,”

endeavor as she had bargained for.

in 2000, she found that enrolling in medical school was not as simple an said Man, a Vancouver native. “But I was okay with that. Because I would be practicing medicine, it wouldn’t matter so much where.”

The competition for admission into Canadian medical schools is just as

So matching into her first choice program — family medicine at the

there are far fewer medical schools in Canada and the number of applicants

intense as it is for U.S. medical schools. Perhaps even more so because University of Manitoba, where she is currently chief resident — was just

is significantly greater relative to the number of openings. Man applied

icing on the cake.

to schools both in the United States and Canada in order to increase her


chances. Undeterred when unable to secure a seat in either country and

was the first time that regulations started to loosen up and she was able to

still very determined to become a physician, she did some research and

match with the same pool of Canadian-trained doctors.

was led to AUC.

“There are schools, such as the one where I matched, where it’s an equivalent

“A friend of mine had gone to another Caribbean medical school and he

match, so you’re matching with the Canadian students,” said Man. “You also

really enjoyed the experience,” she remembers. “He was a couple of

need to take the USMLE equivalent, but a couple of colleges, I believe, are

semesters ahead of me and it seemed like a

trying to loosen those restrictions as well, so that the exams would be reciprocal.”

good option.” Man suggests that the easing up of restrictions on foreign-trained doctors It turned out to be a great option for Man.

has to do with the shortage of primary care physicians throughout North

After graduation from AUC in 2007, Man

America, a situation impacting both Canada and the United States.

made sure to cover all her bases by applying to both the American and the Canadian matches. If she was not able to get a match in Canada, she explained, her “plan B” was to practice in the United States for a few years and then try to get back to her country. “I pretty much applied across the board,” Man said. The process was no walk in the park. To boost her chances of landing a Canadian

“I’m in northern Manitoba, and there’s certainly a shortage here, and they’re trying to fill that in with locums [tenens] since it’s a remote location,” she explained. “One of the reasons the boards are loosening up their rules is to address that shortage.” Man has taken and passed all the licensure examinations, is scheduled for her family medicine boards and will be eligible to practice in the second half of 2009. In Canada, family practice residencies are completed in two years, unlike in the United States where it takes three. Man said this is perhaps the main difference between the training she is receiving and the training she would have received if she had gone to the United States.

residency, Man arranged for an elective

“A lot of my friends are still in the States and as far as I can tell [residency

orthopedic surgery rotation at the University

programs] are very similar,” said Man.

of Manitoba during her clinical training. She diligently secured two sets of letters of

Man said she believes AUC equipped her well for the rigors of residency

recommendation and went on several

training in a different country.

interviews. She wrote both the USMLE and its Canadian equivalents, the MCCEE and MCCQE. She also made sure to keep track of different deadlines for two different countries and kept an eye on the ever-changing rules and regulations in the Canadian medical system. “You have to be extremely organized and on top of things,” Man explained.

“There was a bit of a learning curve, because it’s a different system,” she said. “But that’s probably something every [resident] has to struggle with. I feel that I’m pretty prepared for what I’m going to be doing.” “I did spend some time in England [for clinical rotations] and in the States, so Canada is sort of like a mixture of both,” she said. When she completes her residency, Man is planning to take a locum tenens job through the Canadian College of Physicians or the Canadian Medical Association. In the future, she said she would like to become a primary

Because of the way the Canadian medical

care physician. She is also interested in working as a hospitalist and in

system works, Man said, graduates entering

emergency medicine. Sports medicine is another area of interest to Man.

the match must go through the individual medical schools — unlike the United States. “If, for example, you go to the University of

Man remembers her time in St. Maarten fondly, especially for the friendships she forged there which she said helped carry her through a very intense and focused medical education. She currently mentors fellow Canadians

Washington [for medical school] you can match at a different facility,”

studying at AUC through the AUC Alumni Contact Network. For Canadian

she said. “In Canada, all the residency positions are associated with the

AUC applicants and students, Man has the following advice:

universities’ positions. So there’s only a limited number of medical schools and universities, and that’s how many positions there are in the country.” And since Canadian universities give preference to their own graduates, foreign-trained doctors are picked last — and from a separate pool of candidates. Her hard work and diligence paid off when Man was accepted to her

“Do your research and be really organized. Be on top of the rules, because [they] change from year to year. Be flexible and open. Doing elective rotations and having medical experience in Canada is definitely a plus and makes a big difference. Community service is also a plus. It is important to show [program directors] that you’re not just a student, but a well-rounded person too. Establish yourself on the island a little bit. You’re not just there

residency program in Canada. That is not to say that luck did not play a

to go to school, you basically live there for those two years, and it’s very

small part in her success. The year she participated in the Canadian match

important to show that.” q



fter graduating from the University of Guelph in 2000, Elise McCormack, M.D. (’05), found herself at a

crossroads. In spite of the honors and distinctions she received with her degree in biomedical sciences from the Ontario university, McCormack was unable to secure a seat in a Canadian medical school. Staying in her native Canada meant one of two things: Get a master’s or Ph.D. degree and reapply to medical school, or give up her dream of becoming a doctor altogether. Unwilling to give up or even delay the dream, McCormack found a third option. “Right after I did not get accepted [in Canada], I decided to apply to Caribbean medical schools,” McCormack said of her choice to attend AUC. “For Canadians it is frustrating at times, because you often meet the qualifications to get into Canadian medical schools but there are simply not enough spaces.” The competition to attend medical school is fierce in Canada, as the number of available spaces in schools is significantly smaller than in the United States. In fact, for the year that McCormack entered medical school, fewer than 10 percent of the total number of applicants to Canadian medical


Ahead of the Competition By Paula Distefano schools were admitted. In the United States, just under 50 percent of

Center. Although she may one day still return to Canada to practice, she

applicants were admitted that year.

is also considering staying in the United States permanently.

The decision to go to a school so far away from her homeland came with

As a foreign national, staying in the country after completing her residency

its share of uncertainty. “They don’t really give you a lot of guidance in undergraduate Canadian schools about going overseas [for medical school] — whether it’s Australia, Great Britain or the United States,” McCormack explained.

is not without its share of procedures. Currently, she is in the country on a J-1 visa, which will allow her to complete all years of residency and fellowship. After that, however, she must either return to Canada for two more years of training, or request a waiver of the home residency requirement. For many, the best way to stay in the country is to practice in an underserved

And even though she personally knew medical doctors who had graduated

area of the United States for three years after completing training. McCormack

from Caribbean schools and were in residency at the time, some people

is taking the latter into consideration.

advised her against it.

“At this point I am planning to stay in the United States. The only thing that

“People try to make you fearful that you won’t be able to go back to

may change is that recently the Ontario government actually lifted the previous

Canada to practice, but that is certainly not the case,” she said.

requirements for Canadian foreign graduates, in that they had to complete all the Canadian medical qualifying exams and the medicine board exams,”

That was a lesson she said she learned very quickly in the AUC program.

she explained. “That is something right now that has changed my outlook

“[With regard to] the quality of the education [at AUC] and subsequent

a little, but for the foreseeable future I will be staying in the United States.”

resident training in the United States, there is no inferiority. Plus, all the

Another option for Canadians who wish to take McCormack’s path is the

Canadians that I went to school with at AUC are now working in the

H-1b visa, which does not require the waiver position after training. In

fields that they really wanted to, so there’s really not a limitation.”

order to be considered for it, however, the physician must complete the

It was certainly not a limitation for McCormack.

USMLE Step 3 before applying, so it makes it hard for some graduates to

An excellent student in medical school — she graduated in the top of her class — McCormack had no problem matching into her first choice program: internal medicine at Roger William Medical Center at Boston University in Providence, R.I., where she is now chief resident. And, as for the bias that is said to plague foreign medical graduates during residency, McCormack has yet to experience it. “Once I was accepted into residency there was never a time when somebody questioned whether I was a foreign medical graduate at all,” she recalled.

complete everything in time before residency. McCormack says she is hoping for a waiver position and would like to continue in academic medicine, either at George Washington University or another institution. After those three years, she will be eligible for permanent residency. Wherever the young doctor decides to call home in the near future, whether in the United States or Canada, there is one place that will always be close to her heart: the island of St. Maarten.

“And during fellowship interviews I surpassed my own expectations in

“The beaches, and the friends that I met there — even though we have

terms of getting a fellowship. I think people are curious about Caribbean

pursued different residencies in many different directions — the time that

medical students and the path of their training. If anything, I encountered

we had there was really the best part of my medical school experience,”

a lot of positive feedback.”

McCormack said.

Matching into residency in her native Canada was never really in McCormack’s

“The people that I met there are still the people that are closest to me.”

plans, as the rules governing medical licensing for foreign-trained graduates in her home country were very stringent at the time. “I graduated in 2005 and at that time the CaRMS (the Canadian Resident Matching Service) basically only accepted Canadian graduates on the first match, and if then there were any leftover positions you would be considered,” she explained. In her desired specialty, internal medicine, there were only three spots left, and McCormack decided to not go that route.

And she believes her fellow Canadians currently at or thinking of attending AUC are doing it at the best possible time. “I think Canada put itself in a position where they underestimated the number of physicians that they were going to need in the future with their growing and aging population. And they are trying to bring back Canadian foreign medical graduates that had their training in the United States, and that were educated in a system that’s essentially similar. I think that the

McCormack is now moving to Washington, D.C. to start a fellowship in

trend will be to try to attract physicians that have left Canada back to

hematology/oncology at the prestigious George Washington Medical

practice. It is definitely a good time to be a Canadian at AUC.” q

Dr. Elise McCormack stands by the water, as a flock of Canadian geese fly overhead. McCormack is chief resident in internal medicine at Roger William Medical Center at Boston University in Providence, R.I. Photo by Ara Howrani.


A Unique Path By Paula Distefano

Dr. Leslie Reid points to her hometown of Sarnia on the map. Reid is a pediatricts resident at Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies. Photo by Ara Howrani.


or many physicians, medicine is a calling rather than a profession. Leslie Ann Reid, M.D. (’07), says there was never a moment in her life where she doubted that medicine was her calling. Her path to becoming a physician, however, was decidedly different.

“I was heartbroken, and my dad told me, ‘don’t worry about it, you’re

As a high school student in her native Ontario, Canada, Reid said she worked hard to make good grades and get accepted into a good university program. In Canada, medical school admissions are so fiercely competitive that Reid says she applied to medical school while still a junior at McMaster University, where she was earning a degree in biology. Upset when denied admission to her first-choice school, Reid decided to pursue a master’s degree instead.

It was while working at the Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory in Jamaica —


only in third-year, you can re-apply,” Reid explained. “But it really startled me, so basically I went on and did my fourth year and I decided to do my master’s because I was just not ready to get rejected [again].”

as part of her master’s program in aquatic ecology through McMaster University — that Reid decided where she was going to start her medical education. “I fell in love with the Caribbean, and I never wanted to leave,” she said. “So I looked for a medical school specifically in the Caribbean. I didn’t apply to any universities in Canada and went directly to AUC.”

Reid took a leap of faith and applied to AUC, hoping for the best. And the rest is history. Currently a pediatrics resident at her first-choice program at Michigan State University Kalamazoo Center for Medical Studies, Reid says she not only enjoyed her Caribbean medical education, but feels

In 2008, the rules governing the Canadian match have changed, making it easier for Canadian IMGs to obtain a residency than it was when Reid applied. Still, she said she encountered no problems in securing a residency and matching at her first-choice program in the United States.

prepared and confident enough in her abilities to

“You have to study and get good grades,” she explained. “Once you get

return to Canada to practice after residency.

[board scores] that are equivalent to U.S. students, you will have no problem

“[AUC] has just as good an education as anywhere

getting the residency you want.”

else and I’d love to challenge anyone who would come

The pediatrician-in-training is very satisfied with her program and the

up to me and tell me otherwise,” said Reid, who is in

opportunities it has afforded her, such as a month-long international tropical

the United States on a J-1 visa. The young doctor plans

rotation to Madagascar last year.

on returning to Ontario after writing the U.S. pediatrics board examinations upon finishing residency, in 2010. “I think it’s a great option for Canadians,” she added. “It may take an extra couple of hoops to jump in order to return, but it’s worth it.”

“It made me confident,” said Reid of her Madagascar adventure. “When I came back I realized, ‘wow, I’m so thankful for my U.S. education,’ in that I actually learned something and I am able to apply it.” Reid encountered many rare diseases in the island nation off the southeastern coast of Africa, such as schistosomiasis and malaria. She even caught a

These “hoops” include the many rules set forth by each

“bug” herself, which caused her to fall ill for part of her time on the trip.

Canadian province to assess medical doctors that go

Even this minor inconvenience did not deter her from thoroughly enjoying

outside of Canada for their medical education and/or

the experience. She said one of her best memories was of a little boy she

training. The rules are different for individual provinces

treated for kwashiorkor, a protein deficiency, which had caused the boy

and can include extra examinations and further

to have a severe case of dermatosis as a manifestation of his disease.

residency training. Due to physician shortages in certain areas of the country, though, some of the hurdles are becoming less burdensome, Reid said.

“The [local doctors] didn’t know what it was, and we were able to help him with a quick regimen that we would do in a heartbeat here in the United States,” said Reid. “Once I helped him out it was amazing the turn

“Ontario has opened its doors and it has become

that he had, in such a short time. It was really bad edema, and once we

easier for Canadians who have been trained in foreign

got that in control, he was a different little boy.”

schools and completed residencies in the United States to go back,” she explained. Prior to 2008, Canadian IMGs had to complete an extra year of residency in

Reid said she plans on traveling abroad for a medical rotation in the near future, hopefully to her beloved Caribbean.

Canada and write the Canadian boards in order to

She also has some advice for Canadian applicants interested in the AUC

return to Ontario. Currently, according to Reid,

route. “Get a loan in the United States,” as the Canadian loan system is

Canadian IMGs are allowed to go back immediately

different and requires a different pay schedule. She also suggests setting

after residency and successfully writing the board

up clinical rotations in Canada. Reid completed four elective rotations

exams. They can go to work as a physician but have

through the University of Toronto, which she set up herself by contacting

to practice under a “mentor” for a period of time. The

the university directly.

mentor is usually a Canadian-trained physician that verifies their education and assesses them

“Participating in community service while at medical school also can’t hurt,”

after a year. Although her plans had always been to return to Canada for practice, Reid says she never seriously considered returning to her native country for residency.

Reid added. She created a program called “M.D. to Be” while on the island, in which AUC students mentored local high school biology students. But most importantly, Reid advises medical students — Canadian

“I thought about it, but at the time there was a lot

or otherwise — to treasure their brief time

of red tape to go through to get back to Canada

on the island, as time does tend to fly.

for residency,” she explained. “And it was pretty much laid out for me in the United States, so I thought, ‘let’s just finish it off in one country and then worry about the next.’”

Individuals should check with the appropriate regulatory authorities for updated information on undertaking a residency or establishing a practice in Canada, as regulations are constantly changing.

“I loved St. Maarten so much, I wish I could go back to medical school,” Reid said. “It was the journey, not the destination.” q


AUC 30 Years

p p p p p p p p How Far We’ve Come!

AUC Alumni Weekend 2008 and 30th Anniversary Celebration


he Florida weather — typically rainy that time of year — granted a

passed through AUC’s halls in — at times — uncertain circumstances,

respite and the sun shone bright and glorious over 100 alumni and

have all created an unbreakable bond. Friendships that were forged on

their families who descended upon Coral Gables on the weekend of

“The Rock,” (whichever that rock may be) through hardships and also

September 5, in celebration of the 2008 Alumni Reunion and the American

adventure, were clearly cemented and have survived graduation and the

University of the Caribbean’s 30th Anniversary. It was truly a family affair for the close-knit AUC community. Alumni representing the classes of 1982 all the way up to 2008, got together for

passage of time. Alumni may be practicing in diverse specialties and in opposite parts of the country, but they remain connected through a very unique shared experience.

a weekend of mingling with old friends and meeting new ones. Graduates

“The reunions have helped us keep in touch with the great AUC friends

came from around the country to reminisce about their days on the islands

— and their families — we’ve made over the past twenty years,” said

of Montserrat or St. Maarten. Former and current professors, members of

Richard Campbell, M.D. (‘87), who attended for the second time with

the board of directors and Miami AUC staff were present to celebrate three

wife Linda, son Curt and daughter-in-law Katy. “These folks played a huge

decades of medical education.

part in my success at AUC.”

It didn’t seem to matter that alumni went to two very different Caribbean

Kenneth Redlin, M.D. (’83), agrees. “It was a wonderful event and we

islands during three very distinct decades. The generations of doctors who

are still talking about it,” he said. “There is truly a special bond between

“The reunions have helped us keep in touch with the great AUC friends — and their families — we’ve made over the past twenty years.”

AUC classmates. The reunion was a great opportunity to renew old friendships and share wonderful memories.” For some, like Jerome Kuhnlein, M.D. (’84) and Abe Hardoon, M.D. (’86), who brought their families along, those memories were renewed as AUC becomes a family tradition. Kuhnlein’s son Ryan, who was in utero during part of his dad’s medical education and was born while

Top: Dr. Jerry Ferrell (’86) with wife Laura. Bottom: Drs. Paul Valigorsky (’87) and Lawrence Fazioli (’87). Right: AUC Chief Financial Officer Paul Suid chats with Dr. Andrew Luxenberg (’86). Photos by Robert Holmes.


his dad was taking the ECFMG exam, is thinking of medical school at AUC. Hardoon, whose nephew is attending basic medical sciences on the island, came with son Scott, who got his medical degree from AUC in 2008 and was on board as a young child during his father’s Monstserrat days.

p p p p p p p p p p p

Top left: Drs. James Kochkodan (‘83), Morgan Warffuel (‘83), Lily Liu (‘84) and Kenneth Redlin (‘83). Bottom left: Dr. Saul Muro (’89) and wife Cheryl. Top right: Dr. Jeffrey Kagan (’88) chats with Dr. Richard Campbell (’87) and family. Bottom right: Dr. Erik Jacobsen (’01) and his wife, Amy.

“It is really a nice event that the school puts out where you meet old friends

“All of them have made great successes of their careers. Seeing them made

and discuss the ‘good old days’ in Montserrat or St. Maarten,” said Abe

my journey to attend the Board meeting earlier that day worthwhile.”

Hardoon. His son, Scott, who represented the most recent graduating class at the reunion and is currently an internal medicine resident at Orlando Regional Hospital, agrees. “It was an amazing experience to meet alumni from a generation ago. These are the very people that paved the way for AUC’s current great reputation.” It was a sentiment echoed not only by alumni, but also professors, present and past — though not forgotten. “It was wonderful seeing our graduates again and reminiscing with them about old times,” said Robert Chertok, Ph.D., former dean of medical sciences who was part of the AUC family from 1987 to 2002. Chertok and his

Ronald Testa, Ph.D., professor of behavioral sciences, associate dean of student affairs and director of student services, who attended his first alumni reunion, was also effusive. “It was truly a privilege to learn of the wonderful service of our graduates, to experience their

“It was wonderful seeing our graduates again and reminiscing with them about old times.”

continuing affection for one another and for the institution that provided them with an opportunity to fulfill their dreams, and to laugh and rejoice in the 30 year success story of AUC,” he said. Planning for the special weekend began a year before. The city of Coral Gables, or “the Gables,” as locals call it, was chosen for its proximity to shops and restaurants so that alumni and guests could enjoy their down-time and

wife, Dottie, are still remembered fondly by

partake in walking-distance activities — a

graduates and faculty. “One of the great

treat in car-oriented South Florida.

pleasures in our lives is seeing our students become so successful and knowing that we had a very small part in helping them along the way,” Chertok explained.

The festivities started on Friday night with a reception by the rooftop pool of the historic Colonnade Hotel, overlooking the city. The weather could not have been nicer — sunny, breezy and mild in spite of the threat of a

“It was a joy to see so many graduates that I taught when they were students,”

looming storm — and the informal affair was a great moment to “break

said Douglas Model, MBBS, FRCP, associate clinical dean for England.

the ice,” and mingle over cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.


p p p p p p p p p p p CME For our second reunion, once again we co-sponsored a continuing medical education

Dr. Mohan Persaud (’82) and his wife, Meena.

program with the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This time around, however, there was an exciting surprise in store for the participants: one of the three physicians selected to present was fellow AUC alumnus Daniel Yip, M.D. (’89). Yip, assistant professor of medicine and

Ryan, Colleen and Dr. Jerry Kuhnlein (’84).

medical director of the Heart Failure and Transplantation service at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, talked about accepted drugs, the use of devices and the role of cardiac transplantation in the treatment of heart failure. “It was an honor for me to be able to speak at the CME event as an AUC graduate and represent the class of 1989,” Yip said. “If asked again, I would be very happy to give another presentation in the future. There are many talented AUC grads and it would be a wonderful opportunity to have a CME event with grads presenting and grads attending the education portion of the reunion,” he added. The response from alumni who attended the event was so positive, in fact, that plans are to do just that: have future CME programs taught by AUC graduates who are leaders

On the following evening, alumni gathered in the beautiful colonnade ballroom at the namesake hotel for a cocktail hour punctuated by the sound of a piano. Alumni association president Faith Dillard, M.D. (’01) welcomed all present and shared AUC anecdotes and trivia. Chief Academic

“The reunion allowed us to reunite, reminisce and exchange stories for the ‘zillionth’ time and [we are] never too old to hear them again and again with some of our long lost friends.”

in the world of medicine. And to offer these programs to current students as well. “If current AUC students had the opportunity to attend an education conference given by graduates,” Yip suggested, “not only

Officer Bruce Kaplan, D.O., took the microphone and asked the classes of Montserrat and St. Maarten to stand up and cheer when “their” island was called. There was incredible emotion, clapping and whistling as one side tried to “outcheer” the other. (The jury is still out on which group has the most school spirit!)

would they be able to advance their

Sue Atchley, Ph.D., professor of immunology and director of community services and external

knowledge base, but also see AUC graduates

affairs, delineated some of the new developments on campus, including the many strides students

in a leadership role.”

are making in research and community service, such as health fairs and screenings, to the local

The other two educational sessions presented

population of St. Maarten.

at the CME program were on in-vitro

This year’s alumni awards recipients were Kim-Doan Katrina Nguyen, M.D. (’02), who won the

fertilization, taught by George Attia, M.D.;

professional achievement award, and Rizwana Fareeduddin, M.D. (’01), who took home the

and meta-energetics, taught by Janet Konefal,

distinguished service award.

Ph.D., both University of Miami Miller School of Medicine faculty. Conference attendees could claim up to three CME credits. q

Nguyen, who was not present, was honored by AUC, her peers and the Alumni Association for her indefatigable research and teaching work as a pediatric gastroenterology fellow at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn, N.Y. Nguyen was the first foreign medical graduate to be awarded the Community Access to Child Health grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The grant allows


p p p p p p p p p p p pediatricians to plan community-based projects to increase children access to medical or specific health services that are otherwise unavailable. In Nguyen’s case, she used the $2,860 grant to fund free health screenings for children who were underinsured, not insured or who were insured though did not have a primary care doctor. Fareeduddin, a busy maternal-fetal medicine fellow at the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, was present to receive her award. The award recognizes alumni who have gone above and beyond in service to their alma mater. In spite of her hectic schedule, Fareeduddin still finds the disposition to devote time to the alumni contact network and serve as the alumni association’s secretary. AUC’s alumni programs would not be as successful without people like Fareeduddin. Another very special award was saved for last. Kaplan called on stage — to a standing ovation — Paul Schnatz, M.D., chief academic officer and executive/clinical dean for the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine from 2000 to 2008. The Distinguished Service Award was given in appreciation of his commitment and dedicated service to the University. Schnatz will continue on with AUC as clinical dean for the United States. After guests dined on a duo entreè of filet mignon and pan seared mahi mahi with lobster beurre-blanc sauce and delicious desserts, Chief Operating Officer Yife Tien said a few words about the trajectory of the school from its humble beginnings to where it is today. To conclude the exciting evening, everyone was treated to a slide show — with art submitted by alumni — that displayed a pictorial history of the past three decades of the school. Few eyes were dry at the end of the presentation, as alumni re-lived their incredible medical school journeys and renewed their sense of pride for their alma mater. Said James Kochkodan, M.D. (’83), “meeting other alums and staff and attending the reunion events made me all the more proud, enthusiastic and excited about our great school and its future success.” “The reunion allowed us to reunite, reminisce and exchange stories for the ‘zillionth’ time and [we are] never too old to hear them again and again with some of our long lost friends,” said Lily Liu, M.D. (’84), who attended with her husband, Morgan Warffuel, M.D. (’83). “It permitted us to recapture our youth that, once upon a time, was and will never be again – how sad! – except in memory.” As for the third reunion, plans are still on the drawing board. The office of alumni relations is open to suggestions for the next venue and to increase participation. We are definitely excitedly anticipating the next celebration. No one said it better than Lily Liu, when asked if she would attend a third reunion. “Bring it on!” q First: Dr. Vasuki Sittampalam (’98), Trish Newlands and Dr. Katherine Anglin (’98). Second: Drs. Judy Anderson (’81), Ricardo Garcia-Rivera (’81), his wife Lilian, Ken and Ollie Mae Gatewood (’82) Third: AUC faculty meet and reminisce. Dottie Chertok, Drs. Douglas Model, Robert Chertok and Sue Atchley. Fourth: The Hardoon clan: Barbara, Abe (’86), Valerie and Scott (’08).


Class Notes

1970’s Niberto Leonardo Moreno, M.D. (’79) was appointed chief of cardiothoracic surgery for Baptist Health System in Miami, Fla. Dr. Robert “Bob” Di Giulio (‘90)

1980’s Robert Koser, M.D. (’81) is board certified in family medicine and practices solo in Bradenton, Fla. Koser is a single dad to five children — Bobby, Tommy, Sara, John and Becky. M. Jonathan Tessler, M.D. (’81) twice boarded in internal medicine, has maintained a private practice in the Bronx for the past 22 years. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City and has received the Award for Teaching Excellence from the college in 2008, the same he received six years ago. Tessler and his wife, Marie, have been married 25 years and have two daughters, Jessica, 15, and Joanna, 20. Joanna is a senior and honor student at Skidmore College.

Dr. Ali R. Malek (‘95)

Joe Sciammarella, M.D. (’85) participated in a medical relief mission to the Dominican Republic with the Army Reserve in 2008. The mission treated over 5,000 patients in two weeks. Sciammarella is a major with the U.S. Army. Joel Last, M.D. (’86) is currently on staff at Excella Health in Greensburg, Pa., where he practices psychiatry. He recorded a CD, “Foolish Hearts,” a collection of ballads including Gershwin’s “Embraceable You” and Hammerstein’s “I Have Dreamed.” The CD is the first of three and is being sold at the hospital gift shop for $10. Proceeds will go to various charities. Mark A. Messinese, M.D. (’86) is currently practicing internal medicine in Northern Florida. He is chief of the department of internal medicine at Baptist Medical Systems in Jacksonville Beach. Messinese, an avid surfer, photographer and golfer, has three of his five children in college, one of whom is pre-med. Messinese said he would love to hear from classmates and fondly remembers his friend and professor, Robert Chertok.

Dr. Maj. Ahmad Slim (‘99)

Jeffrey Kagan, M.D. (’88) has passed the board exams for hospice and palliative care medicine. He is a board-certified internist in private practice in Connecticut since 1991. Kagan is part time director of Vitas Innovative Hospice, in Hartfort, Conn. Hospice and palliative care medicine became an official subspecialty in 2007. Stephen Soloway, M.D. (’88) was selected as one of 2009’s “Top Doctors” by Philadelphia Magazine for the fourth year in a row. He was also selected for the seventh time to the Guide to America’s Top Physicians, as published by Castle Connolly. Soloway is a rheumatologist and practices in Vineland, N.J.


Dr. Angela Camfield (‘00)

Robert “Bob” Di Giulio, M.D. (’90) has been working for the past nine years as a hospitalist in Lynchburg, Va. He recently earned a pilot’s license which he plans to use for future jobs. Before going to Virginia, Di Giulio worked in a variety of office practices and emergency rooms in Michigan, West Virginia, Kentucky and Indiana. He is currently department chair for internal medicine at Medical Associates of Central Virginia, which is part of the Centra Corporation and has been ranked a top 25 hospital in the United States. Di Giulio has been married for 18 years, and has a son at the University of Virginia, and a daughter about to graduate high school. Dr. Wael Mourad (‘04)


From left to right: Drs. Robert Chertok, Eugene Arnold and Duncan Munro celebrate commencement with new graduate Dr. Kim Karschner (‘87) on Montserrat.


Photo submitted by Robert and Dottie Chertok.


t is with great sadness that we report the passing of our alumna and friend Janet Kimberly “Kim” Karschner, M.D. (’87). Karschner, 53, passed away suddenly at her home on August 20, 2008. She was born on June 3, 1955, in

Connellsville, Pa., the daughter of William E. “Bud” Moyer and Frances Furin Moyer, and was preceded in death by her loving husband, David Lee Karschner. She completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s Shadyside Hospital in Pittsburgh. Karschner had practiced medicine at UPMC Shadyside and served there from 1991 to 2000 as an instructor in the internal medicine residency program. She took particular pride in her 10 years as a member of the faculty at Shadyside, where she taught general internal medicine as well as cardiovascular and renal medicine. In 1998, Karschner was named by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Health and Science editors as one of the Top 25 Women Doctors in Western Pennsylvania. In that same year, she opened her own practice in Uniontown, Pa., where she was much loved by her patients. Her professional affiliations included the American Medical Association, the American College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Allegheny Medical Society and the American Society of Hypertension. Former Dean Robert Chertok remembers Kim as “a wonderful gal,” who had many friends among the students, faculty and the people of Montserrat. She will be greatly missed. q

C.J. “Paul” Flora, M.D. (’92), an internist in Lihu’e, Hawaii, was chosen by the readers of the Garden Isle newspaper as 2008’s “Best Physician.” Flora is the owner of Aloha Medical Center, which employs three other doctors. The practice offers general physician services as well as echocardiograms and bone density testing. Mark A. Thoma, M.D. (’92) specializes in internal medicine and practices in Pound Ridge, N.Y. Ali R. Malek, M.D. (’95), interventional neurologist, has joined St. Mary’s Medical Center, in West Palm Beach, Fla., as medical director of the hospital’s neurointerventional program. Malek is triple-boarded in neurology, neurocritical care and vascular neurology. He formerly practiced at Tampa General Hospital, where he served as the director of neurosciences ICU for five years. He was also member of the faculty in the departments of neurology and neurosurgery at the University of South Florida. Malek has been involved in professional and community organizations throughout his medical career, namely as vice president of the American Heart Association Florida/Puerto Rico affiliate, and as member of the board of directors of the Florida Society of Neurology. Rhazi Khodadad, M.D. (’98) and Antonio Rojas, M.D. (‘98) have reconnected in Cincinnati, Ohio, and are now practicing together. Khodadad and Rojas are both internists.

was awarded several service medals throughout his military career. Slim is a prolific researcher and was published in several peer-review journals and publications, including the Journal of Interventional Cardiology. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Jason S. Thomas, M.D. (’99), completed his residency training in psychiatry at the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston in 2004, and a forensic psychiatry fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine in 2005. He is currently a forensic psychiatrist and assistant professor at Tulane. He is board-certified in clinical and forensic psychiatry. Thomas and his wife, Monica, have two children, Karina and Kyle, and live in Baton Rouge, La.

2000’s Angela Camfield, M.D. (’00) became chief of pediatric anesthesia at Covenant Medical Center in Lubbock, Texas, in January 2009.

Omaima Degani, M.D. (’99) is practicing nephrology in Vernon Hills, Ill. She and husband Nadeem have two children, Saira and Sahil.

Richard Peterson, M.D. (’00) recently returned from Iraq where he was deployed as a combat trauma surgeon with the U.S. Air Force. Peterson is currently chief of bariatrics and advanced laparoscopic surgery at the USAF flagship hospital, Wilford Hall Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas.

Maj. Ahmad Slim, M.D. (’99) is currently director of preventive cardiology; director of cardiac rehabilitation; director of the Coumadin Clinic and assistant director of cardiovascular research at Brooke Army Medical Center, in San Antonio, Texas. He completed his cardiology fellowship last year. Slim received the army commendation medal in 2008. He has served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps since 2003, and

Asif M. Qadri, M.D. (’00) has completed a gastroenterology fellowship at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and joined Athens Gastroenterology Association in Athens, Ga., in July 2008. Qadri and his wife welcomed a new addition to their family, a son named Zakariyya Xavian Qadri, born in December 2006. The couple has two other children, Kian and Kalen.



Martha Charles (01/04/1933 - 02/21/2009)


t was late on a balmy January afternoon, the sun hurrying down to a

And for most, if not all of us, the

well-deserved rest deep in the blue bosom of the Eastern Caribbean Sea.

Charles’ became our surrogate

A noisy little plane, one of series, descends on an unsuspecting island. Fearing a collision with the mountain and desperately dependent on the light, it races with the sun to the horizon. Safely landed, the passengers emerge. Having no regard for the little plane’s courage they instead joke about LIAT, “luggage in another town.”

family. Not just Mrs. Charles but Frampton (same thing here by the way, he was always Mr. Charles to me, in fact it was a very long time before I came to know his first name… other

And what an odd assortment they are. Young men and (a few) women,

than ‘my boy’ that is!), Bernadine, Colleen, John, and yes, little Sonia. All

hoping to become physicians. They were ambitious, apprehensive, and

became our island family.

absolutely unaware of what lay before them. Most were privileged, protected and some a bit pompous. Apart from an

Even when Jo Ann and I moved into the Hibbs’ house in Olveston we continued to see the family several times a week. Indeed even when the time

education, they came expecting scenes from a Caribbean dream vacation:

came to move back to the States we continued to correspond by mail and

endless white-sand beaches, cool sea breezes and romantic evenings with

telephone. We went on to marry, complete our medical training, and moved

free-flowing rum under moonlit skies. In any event they took for granted hot

to California where we now live, practice and have a family. Through all these

water, air conditioning and cable TV. Hurricanes, mosquitoes, electrical

years, Mrs. Charles wrote faithfully, never missing Christmas or a birthday.

outages, and no-see-ums were most certainly not part of the plan.

In 1992, for our tenth anniversary we returned to Montserrat, as much to

And so it was, piled with their few belongings, in the backs of caravanning

see Mrs. Charles as anything else.

pickup trucks that this first wave of expatriates made their way from the

When we heard in 1995 that the volcano did blow our first thought was for

W.H. Bramble Airport to Plymouth. Arriving as they did, in the wake of

Mrs. Charles. In time she came to live with John in Georgia. After a time

Christmas carnival season, they perhaps should not have been so surprised

we received a late night call from her, excited to tell us of the move. We

to find campus construction, shall we say, a bit behind schedule. And while

quickly extended an invitation to come and visit us in California and just

the uncompleted classrooms were for many a “bearable disappointment,”

as quickly she responded that perhaps John could drive her over for dinner

the apparent absence of anywhere to sleep, eat, bathe or do laundry was

some night soon. Distance and time zones were concepts as yet somewhat

more than a little unsettling.

abstract for her. That said, I will be forever inspired by her unshakable

It was in no small measure the kindness, good humor, and general optimism

faith and simple wisdom.

of the Montserratian people that made these early days bearable for the

Each of the innumerable cards and letters she wrote us began, “In Jesus’

students. Even the school’s makeshift arrangements for housing depended

name.” And for Mrs. Charles this was no mere formality. It was an expression

heavily on their good will. And while some, overwhelmed by the circumstances,

of heart and soul. And so now do I say to you, “In Jesus” name, know that

gave up and went home, most stayed.

Mrs. Charles is home. Home where she belongs, beyond suffering, pain

We were among those who stayed. I, and ten or so other male students, were put up in the unfinished ‘Joseph House.’ Jo Ann, one of only a few women in that first group, stayed with a local nurse, Mrs. White. Through

and sadness. Yes, even beyond distance and time zones. She will live on in our memories, visit in our dreams, and forever be a shining example of the beauty of the human spirit. q

the chaos, routines slowly emerged and gradually, the campus took shape. Early on I met Mrs. Charles; and Mrs. Charles, not “Martha,” she will always be to me. Odd really when I think about it, we were quickly more than close enough to be on first name basis. Maybe it’s that I never addressed my own mother as Ann, and when all is said and done Mrs. Charles

Martha Charles passed away with her devoted daughter Sonia by her side. She is survived by her loving children Bernadine Brade, of Montserrat; Kathleen Daley, of Houston; Frampton John Charles, of Atlanta; and Sonia Charles, of Manchester, U.K.; seven grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

became a mother away from home for so many of us. Had she been the cook, maid or laundry lady she might have been “Martha.” But no, she was so very much more. As word spread it wasn’t long before the circumference of the table and not the size of her heart came to limit the number of students she could feed.


Eulogy written by Bill Pullen, M.D. (‘82). Dr. Pullen and his wife, Jo Ann PravataPullen, M.D., met and fell in love during medical school in Montserrat. They have kept in touch with the Charles family, who was a surrogate family for them and other students during those early AUC days. The Emerald Isle of the Caribbean and the Charles family will forever be a part of their lives.



peros Livieratos, M.D. (’07) and Shonna McGee, M.D. (’07),

were both chosen to be chief residents in the internal medicine residency

program at Memorial Health University Medical Center, in Savannah, Ga. AUC: Did you know each other on the island during basic sciences? Shonna: No, we were in separate semesters and never had classes together. Speros: I knew who Shonna was but we did not know each other. We had friends in common. AUC: Why did you pick Memorial for residency? Speros: I realized after doing my third year cores in London and my fourth year electives in New York City that I was ready to return to the South. I received several pre-match offers to stay in New York but it came down between Orlando, Fla., and Savannah. I grew up in Southeast Georgia and did my undergrad in Savannah. It’s is a great small city that has a Level One trauma center and a really busy 500-plus bed hospital. It’s rare during the “residency hunt” to find a great program and to like the area as well. Shonna: I spent most of my fourth year in Savannah, which provided a very personal experience, a chance to meet the full staff of attending physicians, and it was clear that Memorial Health University Medical Center was a highly focused and exceptional teaching hospital. Here I found the residents and faculty eager to teach, the camaraderie and teamwork among the house staff stood out from other programs that I visited during my clerkship. My decision was also influenced by the fact that Memorial is the only Level One trauma center for the area, maintains a maximum census, and is consistently presented with a steady flow of interesting and diverse cases. It also helps that Savannah is one of the prettiest cities in America, and it is where I met my husband to be! AUC: Do you think AUC prepared you well for residency training? Speros: AUC gave me the fundamentals that I needed to pass all three steps [of the USMLE] exams. Futhermore, I believe that choosing to go to London, England, was the best decision of my medical school career. The


n late 2002, Monica Jiddou, M.D.

(’06) was a newlywed and happily

working as a clinical study manager at Pfizer when she received a call from Farrah, a childhood friend. Farrah’s

husband, Joe Prezzato, M.D. (’06) was applying to medical school at

doctors in London are very well trained with superb clinician skills. From the first day on those rotations, we were doing procedures and learning how to do a very good history and physical. I would never change that decision to go overseas. Shonna: The curriculum and instruction during basic sciences was sufficient for mastering the skills necessary for the [USMLE]. The clinical rotations provided me with not only the skills to be a competitive candidate during interviews, but also gave me the confidence I needed during wards on busy and challenging calls as an intern. I was very thankful for procedural skills that I acquired while on rotations at AUC. The expansion of clinical clerkships at AUC allows students to learn and practice in various cities of potential interest for residency. AUC: What are your plans for after residency? Speros: I am currently interviewing for fellowships in pulmonary and critical care medicine, also planning on doing a second fellowship in sleep medicine. I am hoping to become faculty and work in those fields in the future, and to stay in the southeast. Shonna: Although I thoroughly enjoy critical care and hospital medicine, I have decided that my true passion lies in outpatient medicine with a focus on prevention. Maximizing treatment for illnesses that plague a large portion of our society such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and depression is a satisfying and obtainable goal for me. My passion is to keep people out of the hospital as much as possible and to focus on risk factor modification and healthy lifestyle. I believe good primary care is imperative for developing a strategy to reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and is the primary element for reducing overall medical costs. I want to assist people with better lifestyle choices that will lead to reduced mortality and an enhanced quality of life. q

The close friends were enjoying their first semester so much that they strongly encouraged Monica’s sister, Renee Jiddou, M.D. (’07), to apply. After a couple of months of convincing, Renee joined them in May of that year. The four friends lived together in a condo in Cupecoy Beach Club and built a support system like no other. “The fact that they were there made the transition to the island much easier,” said Monica Jiddou.

AUC in St. Maarten, and they wanted Drs. Renee Jiddou (’07) and Monica Jiddou (’06)

Monica to come along for the adventure. She knew about the school through her

cousins, Patrick Alexander, M.D. (’04) and Rhonda Yono, M.D. (’06), now AUC graduates. But medical school at such a faraway island wasn’t really in Jiddou’s plans. Her husband, Andy Patros, had just purchased a business in the United States and would not be able to go with her. She was also not very enthusiastic about leaving her career at Pfizer, which she enjoyed. Her husband, however, encouraged her to apply, and two-and-a-half months later, Jiddou was on a plane with her friends Joe and Farrah en route to the island. The Prezzatos did not believe Jiddou was really going until the morning of January 2003, when the three met at the airport to fly to St. Maarten.

The sisters are now both internal medicine residents at William Beaumont Hospital, in West Bloomfield, Mich. Monica has been accepted into a cardiology fellowship at the same hospital and will begin in July. Future plans are to go into private practice, possibly with cousin Patrick Alexander, a cardiologist. Renee fell in love with infectious diseases during her first year of residency and has been active in research with some of the attending physicians at the hospital. She was selected to be one of the chief residents and will begin fellowship in 2011. Prezzato is an OB/GYN resident at Providence Hospital and will complete his medical training next year. He and wife Farrah have two daughters, Isabella and Julianna. q


From the Mailbag . razil ais, B r e G hy. inas healt e in M y if r l e t v r is rea d fou food gag as an iencin d the n r n a e a n p a e x ent fb ers ly e as. I w pes o d ly div y rrent n t ib u e d c e z e e r fa I ’m cr t’s ith th offee e is in y (tha rily c uits w ultur a a r c d f im e a l r h a p T ais ropic e and is 20 Re are t by th . The l earn s e o h g There azed n w a m , r a he s o r m e f Ia rk een t ties o obra! ave s st wo c h e I v a varie . r e y a s of eh her it b ith th anarie got b birds c w f y l d o t r n u s a a o e cie and n rrots 8 spe ’s the t $10) ith pa ver 7 ed. It w o r e d g abou r n n a lo ere a white can a green ife. Th llow, ie tou ange, e r p y o wildl g a in t h ”m oming e is g brig Loops bloss a her cludin e “Fruit in r a s he sp r s T o e ’s . l e o o r n ca he t ths. It us c a vol er ba and t vario n t g o a in w y r l l l of sp minera litera abana start h hot ity is opac c it C w y e e M r y tur whe entur iolet. Dr. Elmer Mark he cen neiro n adv Kropp (‘87) t a a and v f j o nd is e turn vel a tlife Rio d a h e o r h ig t t t n f ip m e o r h o t r T e f t ii. r bus -BBQ! Hawa dvoca r-hou rival rasco ong a r r s u t e h h s a fou c c d . (’87) ma bea a goo p, M.D nema p tic. I a g a n o in a r Ip K d m d lu rk ro an re, inc er Ma sic is — Elm eek he he mu t w d a n a I woul mend d like t recom what I o sh highly

T. Dr. Gabriel

ily. and his fam Gizaw (‘07)

are have be ov en doing feel AU er the last fe w years C gave m do wha since I t I love e such Angeles . an oppo I have Departm r b t een wo ent of years. I rking fo unity to Mental comple r t he L Health ted a fe Center os for the llowsh in pedia p ip a tric ps s t a t won an s Cedarse ve n ychiatr academ Sinai M y and w ic awar e am now d a ic s al chief f d in my moving ellow. I final ye on to a relocat a a r lso of fello differen ing to S wship. t kind o acramen providin I f to and practic g p will be e — I a have alw sychiatric car w m o r e to ma king for ay s b e e ximumn intere t h been giv e s tate, s sted in en an ex forensic ecurity inmate citing o for eve s . I p pportun rything ity. I w sychiatry and and wo attendin have uld enc anted to g t o go ourage thank A for it! anyone UC interest ed in — Jennif er Heit kamp, M .D. (’92 I’ve been doing )

humanitarian missions for the last two years in Ethiopia, East Africa, with a Detro it cardiothoracic surgeo 2007 we performed nine n. In open-heart surgeries an hearts, seven pacemake d last year, 20 open r implantations and 15 or al maxillofacial surgerie the patients had to go s. All through my unit and we had a very successful mi ssion. My lovely wife Heidi Giza w — whom I married in S t. Maarten — and I have children: Rachel, 4, Sav three annah, 3, and Caleb, 1. I graduated on April 10 commissioned officer at as a the U.S. Naval School in Newport, R.I. I “militar matched” in internal me y dicine at the Naval Med ical Center, in Portsmo and am expected to star uth, Va., t internship June, 2009 . 40 AUC CONNECTIONS

— Dr. Gabriel T. Gizaw (‘0 7) Lt/Mc/USN

Class Notes

Class Notes Form

Mail to: MEAS, Office of Alumni Relations 901 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Suite 700 Coral Gables, FL 33134 Via e-mail at:

Contact Information: (Note: Contact information will NOT be published. This information will be used by the editorial board to contact you if there is a need for clarification)

Rizwana Fareeduddin, M.D. (‘01) and Matthew Calestino, M.D. (‘00) were married on May Drs. Rizwana Fareeduddin (‘01) and Matthew Calestino (‘00). 1, 2009, in Florida. Fareeduddin is completing her fellowship in maternal/fetal medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and has accepted a position at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich. Calestino will continue his work as a hospitalist. The couple met while completing their residencies at Providence Hospital. Penny Heinrich, M.D. (’03) completed her internal medicine residency at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans in June 2008. She was nominated for resident of the year for 2008. Heinrich is currently practicing as a hospitalist in Slidell, La. She will be starting a fellowship in hematology/oncology at LSUHSC in Shreveport in July 2009.

Name: __________________________________________________________________ Name while attending AUC (if different): ______________________________________ Title:


Mailing Address: __________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ City:

__________________________ State: ____________ Zip Code: ____________

Daytime Phone:

Evening Phone: ____________________________________________________________ Fax:


E-mail Address: ____________________________________________________________ Spouse’s Name: __________________________________________________________ Children’s Names:__________________________________________________________

Academic Information: Class Year:

Lori V. Duncan, M.D. (’04) completed her internal medicine residency at the University of South Florida and currently works as a hospitalist at Rex Hospital, in Raleigh, N.C. She is ABIM-certified. Duncan and husband Jeff welcomed a daughter, Madalyn Elizabeth Duncan, born on July 3, 2008.



Certification(s): __________________ Specialty:


Announcements: (approximately 100 words) Personal: (marriage, travel, births announcements, etc. ) __________________________________________________________________________

Wael Mourad, M.D. (’04) was recently appointed assistant professor of medicine at the University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Medicine, in the department of community and family medicine residency program.

__________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Maisara Rahman, M.D. (’05), family practitioner, signed on as core faculty with the Loma Linda University family practice program, in Loma Linda, Calif. Classmates Jason Lee, M.D. (’05), Edwin Chan, M.D. (’05), and Josh Manavi, M.D. (’05), who all started medical school at the same time in May 2001, reunited in Toledo, Ohio, as family medicine residents at Flower Hospital. Lee, who will finish in 2010, hopes to return to California for “that first real job.”

__________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Professional: (research, residencies, fellowships, honors, licensures, private practices, published works, etc.) __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________

Ruben Garcia, M.D. (’06) will finish his residency in family medicine this June from the St. John Hospital and Medical Center, in Detroit. He has accepted a primary care position with Physician’s Clinic/Medicine Lodge Memorial Hospital in Medicine Lodge, Kan., and will also be the Medical Director for the Hutchinson Community College emergency medical services program in Hutchinson, Kan. q

__________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________ AUC Connections editors reserve the right to edit all print submissions for length and clarity.


Island News

Montserrat Unveils Musical “Wall of Fame” Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Elton John and Sir George Martin Casts on Display


n January 23, 2009, the Montserrat Cultural Centre unveiled a “Wall of Fame” with bronze hand casts of Sir Paul McCartney, Sir

Elton John and Mark Knopfler. The casts signify the “helping hand” they provided by performing in the Music for Montserrat concert at the Royal Albert Hall on September 15, 1997, after the eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano. The concert was organized by legendary producer Sir George Martin, whose connections with Montserrat date back over 30 years. Sir George’s handprints also appear on the wall, with percussionist Ray Cooper’s hands completing the current line-up. The cultural center hopes that the “Wall of Fame” will soon be extended to include the handprints of other artists who performed at the Music for Montserrat concert. These include Jimmy Buffet, Montserrat’s own Alphonsus ‘Arrow’ Cassell, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Dave Hartley, the London Gospel Community Choir, Sting and Ian Thomas. As many Montserrat alumni remember, the island was once the home of AIR (Associated Independent Recording) Studios. Opened by former Beatles producer Sir George Martin in 1978, the studio proudly hosted some of the biggest musicians of all time. During the 11 years it was open, artists such as Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, The Police, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Luther Vandross, Sheena Easton, Earth, Wind & Fire, Jimmy Buffett, Duran Duran and Lou Reed all graced the halls and created sweet sounds enjoyed by many to this day. Providing state-of-the-art recording equipment in a relaxed Caribbean setting, AIR Studios was the location where albums such as Volcano by Jimmy Buffett, Ghost in the Machine and Synchronicity by The Police, Breaking Hearts and Two Low for Zero by

Photo credits: Kevin West for Montserrat Tourist Board.

Elton John, Give Me the Reason and Any Love by Luther Vandross, Behind the Sun by Eric Clapton, and Tug of War

the musical and artistic education of the island. After the volcanic destruction

by Paul McCartney were produced.

of the 1990s, Martin led the way in raising funds for a new cultural center

AIR Studios was one of the most

by spearheading a major fundraising concert event. Dubbed Music for

On May 12, 2007, The Montserrat Cultural Centre opened its doors.

popular recording studios until its destruction by Hurricane Hugo in 1989. Even though a

hurricane and vol-

canic eruption caused


Montserrat, the concert was held at London’s Royal Albert Hall in 1997 and featured many of the former AIR Studios recording artists such as Paul McCartney, Sting, Elton John and Eric Clapton. Martin also sold 500 autographed limited edition lithographs of the score he produced for the Beatles’ song “Yesterday.” On May 12, 2007, The Montserrat Cultural Centre, featuring the Sir George Martin Auditorium, opened its doors. Built at a cost of over $2 million and

the studio to close its doors,

used as a venue for concerts, conferences, exhibitions, ceremonies, and

Sir George Martin, who fell

other special events, the cultural center is part of the country’s long-term

in love with the island in the

strategy to develop Little Bay as a new urban area. For more information on

1970s, wanted to continue

the Montserrat Cultural Centre, visit q

Rough Seas Spur Competition at Heineken Regatta By Herb McCormack


he wild, windswept, epic 29th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta concluded in resounding style on Sunday, March 8, with the traditional prize-giving ceremony

on Kim Sha Beach followed by musical entertainment by a host of top reggae bands including the legendary Wailers, who had a swaying crowd of thousands of sailors and islanders dancing into the wee hours. As race organizers and the dozens of volunteers who helped make the regatta a tremendous success — despite sometimes intense weather conditions that challenged sailors and race officials to be at the very top of their games — finally took a well-earned rest after the nearly week-long marathon of sailing and parties, plans were already being set in motion for the 30th running of the annual event, which is scheduled for March 4 to 7, 2010. Steering committee chairman and event co-founder Robbie Ferron said that the small army of dedicated St. Maarten Heineken Regatta volunteers and organizers learned many new lessons in this latest running of the annual event. “There was a lot of evolution this year,” said Ferron. “We added the Budget Marine Match Racing Cup, which was a very interesting and successful experiment. And the IGY Commodore’s Cup continues to be an important part of the regatta. But this year’s weather taught us quite a bit about logistics — and risks — and how to address unforeseen challenges safely and efficiently. It turned out to be a memorable year.” Everyone who sailed the 2009 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta will have lasting memories of the staunch northerly winds and the often nasty seas over which they competed, but no one will recall them as fondly as Jamie Dobbs and his talented crew aboard the J/122, Lost Horizons, who were honored on March 8, for the Most Worthy Performance Overall of any boat in the 218-strong fleet. Dobbs and his team won the highly competitive Spinnaker 4

Photos of the 2009 Regatta by Tim Wright.

division with a perfect record of four wins in four races. “Jamie Dobbs is a special sailor,” said Ferron of the Antigua-based competitor, a regular fixture at events across the Caribbean. “He’s a bit of a curmudgeon but he has a big, big heart. He doesn’t miss a beat and he has such a good crew. They’re so consistent, they just do everything right all the time. They were certainly most worthy winners. They just sailed so well.” Dobbs was not the only sailor recognized at the awards ceremony. Prizes were also presented to the top three podium finishers in all sixteen divisions of the regatta, and for the “Most Worthy Performers” on all three days of the event. The Friday, March 6, award went to the crew aboard Ralph Van den Berg’s Cyclades 43, French Kiss, in the Bareboat 4 class. For Saturday, the honor belonged to the Charleston, South Carolina, team aboard the Cyclades 50, Sequoyah, racing in Bareboat 2. And on Sunday, Ronald O’Hanley’s canting keel Cookson 50, Privateer, the runaway winner of Spinnaker 2, was the most worthy boat of them all. q



Photo by Scott Levitt.

Shark Awareness Dive with Dive Safaris in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten.


Reconnect with Classmates

Photos by Scott Levitt.

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AUC Connections: Winter/Spring 2009  

Northern Exposure: Canadian Alumni Share Their Success Stories -- A Look Back at Alumni Weekend 2008 -- Basic Science Students Lauded for Re...

AUC Connections: Winter/Spring 2009  

Northern Exposure: Canadian Alumni Share Their Success Stories -- A Look Back at Alumni Weekend 2008 -- Basic Science Students Lauded for Re...