Trinity School of Medicine held its Fifth Term Ceremony for the class of 2019 on campus last week. With colleagues, faculty, staff, relatives, family, and friends in attendance, the stage was set for students to reflect on the past two years in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and prepare for the subsequent years in Baltimore, Maryland for their clinical rotations.
Trinity’s dean, Dr. Linda Adkison, spoke to mark the occasion, “The first two years are really an awakening for the students. Medical school requires a very different way of learning than they may be used to.” She continued, “The amount of material is enormous, the pace is very fast, and there’s a lot of adjustment to be made. Our students have traveled far from home as well. Coming to a Caribbean island and going forward, while also upping their game in the midst of an adventure is no small task.”
Dr. Adkison continued, noting that Trinity students are very fortunate to have a very dedicated, personally invested faculty who work constantly to help them succeed and care so deeply about that success.
“You learned your basic sciences, but we also taught you how to apply that, or to start the learning process to do so. A process that only intensifies over the coming years.” She went on, “No patient is going to say, ‘I have a biochemistry problem’, or ‘I have a pain in this pathway’. They’re going to say, ‘Here’s my chief complaint’, and you have learned to start thinking about what could be wrong, where, and how to tease that out. Your clinicals are going to teach you so much more, but we do everything we can to teach you in and out of the classroom, to guide you to think in those terms. Leaving us here today, we hope that now, when you see patients, you’re already thinking like a doctor.”
After a brief address by soon-to-be 6th term student Lindsay Watson, the Spring 2017 faculty and student awards were announced. These awards are not typical of the North American medical school experience, but they underscore just how intimate and welcoming the Trinity campus really is. The community that Trinity students find themselves in is more than just each other, it’s the people of St. Vincent, the faculty, and the support staff. It really is a family, and these 5th Term nominations really illustrate the unique level of connectivity and care.
Faculty Bestowed Awards
Top Basic Sciences Performer – Emma Daymond
Top CBSE Score – Emma Daymond
Future Physician Award – Andrea Folds
White Coat Award – Sonia Stasyszyn
Top Peer Tutor (terms 1 and 2) – Rebecca Pratt
Top Peer Tutor (terms 3 and 4) – Anthony Varacello
Student Bestowed Awards
Best Professor (Pre-Med) – Manish Mishra, PhD, and Binu Shrestha, MBBS, MD
Best Professor (Term 1 and 2) – Raju Panta, MBBS, MD
Best Professor (Term 3 and 4) – Dragan Jovanovic, MD, PhD
Best Professor (Term 5) – Bernadette Scott, MD
Most Helpful Support Staff – Laurel Morgan
Term Five Student Choice Award – Andrea Folds
Best Driver – Jerome Da Silva
Best Housekeeper – Loislyn Huggins
Best maintenance Staff – Trevor James
Best Security Guard – Curtis Joseph
As the ceremony concluded, the students were reflective. 5th Term student Mariccia Spearman reminisced, “Being here on St. Vincent teaches you the power and importance of basic medicine at its finest. Coming here and working at the hospital definitely exceeded my expectations as far as any education.” CaMSA president Sonia Staystazin, added, “I definitely had difficult moments, and I needed to balance my studies by spending time outside of the classroom in the culture. I couldn’t have chosen a better place to come than St. Vincent.” She recommended that new students get involved, and make sure they meet the locals by going to the market, for example, and to just start talking to people. “Before you know it,” she said, “you’d be walking down the street and someone will be calling your name to say hello. You’re a part of the community, people know you. It’s a great feeling!”
Dean Adkinson was, as always, focused on what’s next for Trinity students, specifically and generally. She noted that Trinity has been evolving to incorporate the benefits of greater levels of organization and planning for students in their clinicals. “The students’ potential is very strong. And, in the past, students would often get to the third year and feel like they were scrambling. By adding more structure to the fifth term, while still giving them a lot of time for self-directed study, we’re finding that optimal balance for them to act on that potential.” Dean Adkinson explained that Trinity is adding more developmental coaching in this critical time for their students, as well.
It’s only fitting, as a major chapter of these students’ education comes to a close, that for Dean Adkison and the Trinity family, another chapter is only beginning. On May 6th, the summer term White Coat Ceremony will welcome a new group of first-term students.