Grenadian SGU Student Secures Highly Competitive US Residency Position

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News

True Blue, Grenada– What does it feel like to match into residency? Just ask St. George’s University medical student Toya Ameda, BSc ’21. Toya, who hails from Grenada, secured a highly competitive residency in the United States in interventional radiology. She is one of 930 soon-to-be graduates of SGU to secure US postgraduate residencies in the 2024 match cycle.

“As you can imagine, the match process was both nerve-wracking and incredibly fulfilling,” said Toya, who is expected to graduate next week from SGU’s School of Medicine. “Finding out that I matched felt surreal. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders, as I now had confirmation that I would actually be an interventional radiologist.”

In July, Toya will be relocating to Miami, FL to begin her career as a preliminary surgery resident at Jackson Memorial Hospital. She will then transition to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, PA to start her integrated interventional radiology residency in 2025.

At the forefront of medical treatmentMatch Day is a monumental occasion for all aspiring doctors—the moment they discover where they are going for residency training and what specialty they will be entering.

SGU students matched into at least 22 specialties this year, including highly competitive positions in fields such as: anesthesiology, vascular surgery, urology, and Toya’s chosen field of interventional radiology— a medical sub- specialty of radiology utilizing minimally-invasive image-guided procedures to diagnose and treat diseases in nearly every organ system.

One of the reasons why an interventional radiology residency is seen as so competitive is the rapid pace of technological advancement in this field. Interventional radiologists must stay up to date on the latest imaging techniques and treatment options and be skilled at using complex equipment like CT scanners and fluoroscopes.

Toya chose interventional radiology as her specialty because she believes it is a revolutionary medical field—offering minimally invasive treatments to patients from routine procedures to lifesaving ones.

“Its incorporation of the latest technologies and innovative techniques ensures that patients receive the most innovative advances in treatment without having to opt for the traditional invasive route,” she said.

Dr. John Madden, director of SGU’s Office of Career Guidance and a former faculty member at the Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, was thrilled to learn that Toya matched into the university’s interventional radiology residency program.

“She will be part of a very large and prestigious healthcare system in the Philadelphia region,” said Dr. Madden. “I know from personal experience at this academic center that she will be joining fellow residents and staff who are at the cutting edge of medical procedures and has the potential to become a world class interventional radiologist.”

SGU Alumni SupportMany students rejoiced and breathed a sigh of relief on Match Day 2024. For Toya, she is forever grateful to her mentor and SGU alum, Sumeet Bahl, MD ’13, and couldn’t imagine not having him guiding her through the process.

As someone who had been in Toya’s shoes vying for a residency spot in the same specialty, Dr. Bahl is now a practicing interventional radiologist at TheBrooklyn Hospital Center and one of her biggest champions.

“I saw the fire in her as soon as I met her,” Dr. Bahl said. “She had incredible board scores, was well-spoken, and showed up for everything. She was called to one of the most competitive fields in medicine. There are very few black women in our field, let alone international medical graduates. This is a huge deal for the field, women in medicine, and her country.”

A Daughter of the SoilFrom as far back as she could remember, it seemed Toya, who grew up in New Hampshire, St. George’s, desired academic greatness. In 2015, she garnered public recognition of her scholastic prowess by winning the Grenada Brain Bee Challenge, while attending St. Joseph’s Convent (SJC), St. George’s.

Two years later, Toya brought home the coveted Alan A. La Grenade Shield Award to SJC by obtaining 100 percent passes in the 2016 Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examinations. She promptly topped that a year later, when she was honored at the National Youth Awards ceremony for academic excellence in the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) Unit 2.

Toya’s academic dominance led her straight to SGU, where after becoming one of Grenada’s prestigious Island Scholars she was awarded a scholarship to attend the University in 2019. She enrolled as a premedical student in SGU’s five-year MD pathway and two years later graduated from the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) with a bachelor’s degree in medical sciences.

“From the moment she arrived on campus, Toya has been impressing us all with her outstanding academic abilities,” praised Dr. Lucy Eugene, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “As a graduate of SAS, we are extremely proud of Toya and all that she has accomplished so far. Her accomplishments can be an inspiration to our students and speak to all that is possible with hard work and dedication. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for the soon-to-be Dr. Ameda.”

The Journey to Future Dr. AmedaPracticing medicine was not always the goal for Toya. She originally wanted to be a veterinarian.

“It wasn’t until my late teens that I recognized the need for improved healthcare in Grenada and felt that my calling was instead human medicine,”shared Toya.

The journey to making that dream come true began with her decision to apply to SGU as a premedical student. By choosing SGU, Toya felt that it made sense not only because she is Grenadian, but she would also get to remain close to home, while still receiving an international education encompassing academic excellence and a rich, multicultural environment.

Another benefit for Toya was that she also received SGU’s Grenadian Scholarship Award.

“I am incredibly grateful to have received this scholarship,” said Toya. “It has allowed me to pursue my studies without worrying about tuition and provided additional benefits that greatly enhanced my medical school experience.”

During her time at SGU, Toya immersed herself in several extracurricular activities and student clubs. She was a part of the Iota Epsilon Alpha (IEA) International Honor Society and Women in Medicine (WIM) student organization while on island, where she had the opportunity to volunteer and give back to the community.

“I couldn’t imagine another medical school experience other than my time at SGU,” stated Toya. “One of my greatest accomplishments was conducting the mini-health fairs in Grenada that I pioneered during my clinical years. I worked with the Grenada Government’s Ministry of Health to reach the wider community and recruited first and second year SGU medical students to participate. I felt honored to give back to my Grenadian community and can’t wait to continue doing so on an even bigger scale.”

With a highly competitive residency position secured, the future Dr. Ameda said she ultimately hopes to practice interventional radiology in Grenada.

“This will allow me to help Grenadians and other Caribbean nationals gain access to advanced healthcare without having to travel abroad,” said Toya. “Until then, I plan

n on being a part of global health initiatives like RAD-AID, a nonprofit public radiology service that delivers life-changing healthcare to underserved communities worldwide.”