Georgetown American University hosts inaugural graduation

─ “Not the end but rather the beginning” – Valedictorian

─ watchwords – Leadership and Research: Public Health Minister

─ graduates urged to facilitate good patient-doctor communication

DPI, Guyana, Saturday, November 24, 2018

Seven students of the Georgetown American University have completed four years of required study in medicine and are now moving on into careers as doctors. The first batch of doctors graduating with degrees in medicine is from various parts of the world such as Nigeria, Russia, the United Kingdom, Canada and Guyana.

Valedictorian, Dr. Isioma Oside of Nigeria remarked that she is happy to have completed the course, notwithstanding the many challenges she faced. Dr. Oside urged fellow graduates to view this accomplishment as a stepping stone to greater things in the field of medicine.

“We have bought the land, set the foundation and now it is time to build…” Dr. Oside told her classmates, adding “Humble yourselves and always ask questions. My mother has a saying ‘people who ask questions hardly get lost’.”

Dr. Oside was judged to be the most suited for the post of valedictorian since she was ranked the highest and best all-around student during the four-year period.

Also, receiving special awards were two Guyanese; Dr. Amanda Amsterdam, for outstanding academic performances and Dr. Alicia Jaikaran, the President’s Honour award in recognition of outstanding contribution to the institution during the study period.

The students of this graduating class are either preparing to sit the Caribbean Association of Medical Councils (CAMC) Examination, British Licensing Examinations (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) or the United States Medical Licensing Examination, which will grant them the license to practice in their respective countries.

Minister of Public Health, Volda Lawrence, in presenting the keynote address, applauded the GAU for establishing itself in Guyana, which afforded Guyanese and those abroad, an opportunity to come to pursue their careers in medicine.

Describing the graduates as ambassadors of this institution, Minister Lawrence said:

“The expectations for you are, therefore, high. You will be the trailblazers and torchbearers striving in your respective milieus to uphold the name of the institution, demonstrating the knowledge and requisite skills you have acquired to ensure that the mission of the GAU is fulfilled.”

She also reminded that the words – ‘Leadership and Research’ – that form part of GAU’s mission statement, are now watchwords which the newly minted doctors must always be cognisant of.

“As doctors, you already have the mandate of alleviating human suffering but I would like to prioritise the words leadership and research… I want them to resonate with you because the countries you represent and the people whom you will serve will be relying on you to lead the charge and to participate in research that will attenuate human suffering and more importantly helping the realisation of universal health for all.”

The Hippocratic Oath was administered to the graduates by both Doctor of Philosophy, Dr. Hector Butts and Doctor of Medicine, Dr. Haydock Wilson.

Dr Butts noted that the newly-minted doctors must always be prepared, as they will be called upon at any time to tend to a myriad of illnesses and serious cases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Wilson advised the doctors to communicate effectively and develop good bed-side relationships with their patients. “We need to be able to communicate with our patients without the patients feeling intimidated.”

The Georgetown American University (GAU) was founded in November 2013 by Guyanese, Dr. Melissa Varswyk. The first batch of students was enrolled in June 2014.

The mission of Georgetown American University is to provide students with a healthcare education of the highest quality. The programmes offered, mirrors the curriculum taught in USA Universities, which allows students easy transition into clinical programmes and the healthcare workforce.  

Delicia Haynes

Images: Jules Gibson