India Abroad June 24, 2011 India Abroad June 24, 2011
AUA hosts 5th graduation event in NY
165 graduating students from American University of Antigua College of Medicine attend the ceremony
Excitement was in the air as students and par- ents huddled together at the 5th graduation ceremony of the American University of
Antigua College of Medicine at New York’s Grand
Hyatt June 3.
Set in a large cavernous hall with black stage
lights hovering the rostrum, the graduates were seated in the ceremonial black robes and hats. The
keynote speaker was John Sampson, the New York
state senator, who saluted the students for their
excellent performance in the program.
The American University of Antigua graduation
ceremony began with the singing of the Antigua and
Overseeing the ceremony was Neal Simon, pres-
and vibrant university with over 1,700 students and
“We are dedicated to providing our students
ident and one of the founders of the AUA. Also in
attendance was Dr Jagbir Singh Nagra, the executive dean
and vice president of the university. Dr Nagra was the
founder-dean and director of the Manipal College of Medical
Photo above, the new $60 million campus of American University of
Antigua is among the most modern in the Caribbean. Photo below,
from left, Dr Jagbir Singh Nagra, executive dean of the university; Neal
Simon, founder and president of the university and Par Prem Kumar,
the university’s associate director for International Admissions, at the
graduation ceremony in New York June 3.
for clinical clerkships and residency training by New
York state, giving its students the option to complete their
clinical training and residencies at NY State-approved hospi-
“This is very important because it allows our students the
Founded in 2004, the American University of Antigua
College of Medicine, based in the Caribbean island nation of
St John’s, Antigua, is affiliated with the Manipal University,
India, known for its excellent medical programs that attract
students from over 52 countries.
you the opportunity to do that.”
means the students have to spend a tremendous amount of
Riviere-Marcelin secured her residency after graduating, took the ceremonial Hippocratic Oath, the students lined up time studying, going to classes, and to the hospitals and clin-
in Mayo Clinic. Of the 165 graduating students this year, 145 to receive their degree.
ics,” adds Simon. “We have resources, like a full gym at the
were matched for resident placements.
The AUA strives to offer qualified individuals an opportu- university, soccer and cricket fields, basketball and tennis
Riviere-Marcelin picked pathology, the study of disease, nity to attain the highest quality US-modeled healthcare edu- courts, and a very large swimming pool at our doorstep, called
as her favorite class, so did Raaj Ruparel, from Quincy, cation to help realize their dream of becoming medical doc- the Atlantic Ocean, so that students can relax and better bal-Massachusetts, who graduated Magna Cum Laude.
tors, veterinarians or nurses in the United States. That real- ance their lives and attain the optimum level to complete the
After the students and many doctors in the audience - ization would have been hard to imagine when the school first program successfully.”
opened its doors with 9 students. Today, AUA is a growing
‘The number of students with alternate careers we get on the campus is amazing’
Dr Jagbir Singh Nagra is the executive dean, Antigua campus and vice president for
students. When you evaluate such diversity, you really feel that the students are pas-
Academic Affairs at AUA. He was the founding dean and director of Manipal College of sionate about their careers.
Medical Sciences, Nepal. The Manipal group has medical colleges in Nepal, Malaysia, 3
colleges in India and the institution in Antigua. Dr Nagra attended the graduation cere- Is a background in the sciences a pre-requisite for admission in AUA…?
mony of the AUA students in New York. Excerpts of an interview:
If you do not have the pre-requisites to go directly into the medical program, you will
join the AUA at the pre-medical level and go through getting your perquisites, before
On the application process…
joining the medical course. The majority of the students have a science background.
We like to think we review every student application very holistically. We don’t maintain that if you don’t have a certain GPA, we are not even going to consider your appli-
On any new campus facility…
cation. We look at what you have achieved academically; your volunteer hours, and the
We have a skills lab, which is about 8,000 square feet and can accommodate about 60
jobs you have held. We also evaluate very closely your letters of recommendation, focus- students at a time. There are some very important skills that medical students should
ing on your time management and accountability skills.
know, but find it difficult to practice in a hospital setting. We provide models on which
we have the capability of performing many different examinations, such as the pelvic or
On the profile of students at the AUA campus…
The number of students with alternate careers we get on the campus is amazing. For
instance, I had a student who was an engineer for 20 years, before turning to a medical
career. I also had a mother and a daughter, and a father and a daughter, on campus as
catheterization of the male or the female patient. The female model also has the capa-
bility of giving birth. Additionally, there is a small room, created simply for hand wash-
ing, where students learn to clean and sanitize their hands. Most cross infections are
primarily because of inadequate hand washing.