The past 19 months have been devastating for global health. The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the international nature of healthcare provision. Future generations of health care providers will need to be equipped to tackle further pandemics, in addition to the impact of climate change, conflict and outbreaks of infectious diseases, alongside projected increases in noncommunicable diseases.
The current pandemic has taught us a great deal about approaches to health care and reinforced the principle that a cooperative, international and multi-disciplinary approach is paramount in guiding future medical research, practice and education.
The crisis we found ourselves in brought together the world’s top scientific minds to develop vaccines at unprecedented speeds using techniques from multiple countries and research centres. Coordinated research and innovation will make an enormous difference to the future health outcomes of the global population and this must start with the education of our future medical professionals.
International medical schools, such as St. George’s University (SGU) on the Caribbean island of Grenada, have fully embraced this global approach to health education and work hard to give their students the opportunity to gain an international perspective in global healthcare.
SGU has contributed over 18,000 physicians to the global physician workforce, with students, graduates, and faculty from over 150 countries. They have practiced in every state in the US, as well as in more than 50 countries. Students also have the opportunity to live and learn in four different countries (Grenada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and India).
An MD program at SGU provides ambitious students with the chance to study and work in multiple countries as part of their training in order to experience a multitude of healthcare systems and practice medicine across all specialties with a global perspective.
In addition to the University’s True Blue campus in Grenada, SGU’s students can complete up to 50% of their degree in the United Kingdom at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Similarly, in a partnership with the Ramaiah Group of Institutions, students on a 5-year medical pathway can complete their first year of study in Bengaluru, India. The three paths feature the same curriculum and provide a strong foundation for SGU’s future physicians. For the last 2 years, SGU students take up core rotations and sub-internships in specialities such as surgery, paediatrics and psychiatry at one of over 70 affiliated hospitals and health systems in the US and UK.
Covid-19 has shown us that health is a global issue and our health and education systems should reflect that. As the world gets an increasing grip on the virus and borders open, a global outlook on education should be a priority for us all.
By Dr James Coey, Associate Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Anatomy, St. George’s University, Grenada. Dr James Coey BM, BMedSci, BSc (Hons), SFHEA, is the Course Director, Associate Chair and Associate Professor in Anatomy at St. George’s University in partnership with Northumbria University. As an Associate Dean and Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (SFHEA), he continues to be actively involved in curriculum design and assessment along with the formulation and implementation of academic policies, procedure development, external accreditation processes and course management. He has international clinical experience spanning the US, UK, South Africa, Haiti, India, and Thailand.