Six Vincentians in Trinity’s entry class 2014
September 19, 2014

Six Vincentians in Trinity’s entry class 2014

Six Vincentians are among the 60 persons in the Trinity School of Medicine entry class for 2014.

Last Saturday, September 6, Melissa Baptiste, Kitson Deane, Kande Francis, Shamon Gumbs, Rashida Lavia and Ashlee Liverpool, along with their colleagues, received their ‘white coats,’ which, according to Dr Paula Wilson, {{more}}were “personally placed on each student’s shoulders by faculty,” and are said to represent the institution’s faith, hope and confidence in the students’ ability to succeed.

The event attendees heard from several speakers, including Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne. He outlined the Vincentian way of life, fostering the overseas students’ understanding of their new home for the next two years. He also advised, “The journey is long and arduous, but at the end of it, it is very fulfilling. You will be equipped with the tools to touch the lives of people for the better, and also for the betterment of the planet.”

To cement this idea, a video by graduates of Trinity was presented, giving germane advice on good strategies for spending their medical school years, which president of Trinity Steve Wilson introduced. “I have questioned many students who have done well, about what each did to succeed,” he said. “The video will give answers to that question.”

Then, in “Words of Wisdom from Trinity Graduates,” the entrants heard of experiences on the island and at the institution. They were encouraged that, while they should maximize their enjoyment of St Vincent and the Grenadines, they should endeavour to put their studies first and remain focused. They heard about dealing with everyday class activities, beneficial study habits, ease of working with lecturers, methodologies for coping, exam tips and tips for enhancing the pursuit of their residency in the United States and Canada.

“It’s a humbling experience,” one student reminisced, “it shapes you into a good person and a good doctor. Just learn to face your tasks and go forward.” Two of these graduates were Vincentians: Dr Apoorva Jayarangaiah and Dr Jessiela Roberts.

The origin and significance of the white coat was shared by Dr Paula Wilson, assistant professor of Public Health and Health Informatics and associate dean of Admissions. She chronicled its conception from Dr Arnold Gold’s illuminating idea, to the prestige it now affords medical students in their shorter coats and doctors in their longer coats.

In a jovial manner, Dr Wilson explained that, “What distinguished the long white coats from the short white coat is that the long coats are starched and white and beautiful, but the short coats worn by the students are not. The pockets are filled with books, pens, five-hour energy drinks and so on.” She then reiterated that the administration and faculty of Trinity hold every faith, hope and confidence in its students’ movement from short white coat to long white coat, every time it is placed on their shoulders.

Associate dean of Students, Dr Frances Jack, joined her voice in welcome and commendations of the future doctors. She reminded them that the white coats signified their “willingness to take responsibility of being a student doctor.” She cautioned that at times there will be challenges, “to the point where you will believe the task is insurmountable”, but she finished by saying that this will teach them to “work with diligence and perseverance and to serve humanity.”

At that point the students rose and walked forward to be robed by Douglas Skelton, MD, dean and chancellor of the school; Andreas Reymann, MD, associate dean of Academic Affairs and Evaluation; Joe Wilson, MD, associate dean of Clinical Clerkships; and Frances Jack, MD. Each was welcomed into the profession by Sir Frederick Ballantyne.

Speaking on behalf of the Vincentian contingent, Khande Francis explained: “We started in pre-med. At first, we were worried that we would not be able to cope. Some of the students had degrees already.” Francis said that the work was different, yet it closely resembled the sciences they did at college. “We were able to fit in easily,” she gushed. She spoke of the ease with which student assistance is available. “If there is something you don’t understand, you could just ask the lecturers. Even if you meet them in the hallway, they will give you the guidance you need.” When questioned about the long haul of studies, Khande said, “Well, that is what we signed on for, and that is what we are going to pursue. There are going to be tough times, but we are just happy that at Trinity, our confidence is there.”

The students will complete five terms here in SVG, then proceed to do residency in the United States and Canada.