SGU Physician Humanitarian Network Brings Life-Changing Eye Care to Grenadians

The content originally appeared on: The Barnacle News

True Blue, Grenada – Grenadians received critical eye care services recently through the St. George’s University (SGU) Physician Humanitarian Network (PHuN) ophthalmology clinic—the first specialized eye clinic since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Former SGU student Dr. Bernard Spier headed the ophthalmology clinic in Grenada, along with two ophthalmologists, Dr. Elliot Crane and Dr. Zachary Mendelson, and two assistants, Ms. Karen Rodriguez and Ms. Carrie Rivera. The clinic took place from February 19 to March 1, 2024.

The team completed 139 examinations and consultations for those suffering from eye-related ailments such as cataracts and glaucoma. Additionally, the team did more than 40 procedures including small-incision cataract surgeries, corneal transplants, YAG laser procedures, and Avastin injections that restored and improved sight for many Grenadians. The team completed these procedures with $117,656 USD worth of donated medical supplies, surgical equipment, corneal tissue, and more, organized by Dr. Spier.

Dr. Spier, an ophthalmologist with a practice in South Orange, NJ, participated in his first PHuN ophthalmology clinic in 2006. This past trip marks his 13th trip to Grenada to serve the local community through PHuN.

According to Dr. Spier, he chose to donate his time and skills to the Grenadian people because it is “a basic act of human kindness.”

“For me, it’s the idea of improving a person’s life with these procedures,” Dr. Spier said. “Simply, it feels good to do that.”

The SGU PHuN Program has a history of making an impact on the lives of Grenadians in other specialties such as cardiology, vascular surgery, and obstetrics/gynecology.

“The SGU PHuN program is extremely beneficial to the Grenadian community because it provides valuable support in the form of medicalservices to the people of the island as well as donations of medical supplies to the ophthalmology clinic,” said Dr. Brendon La Grenade, vice provost of St. George’s University. “It also provides an outlet for a variety of SGU doctors of various disciplines to give back to the island where they got both their education and medical career starts.”

For Dr. Spier, the chance to give back to the people of Grenada is deeply meaningful.

“I have a special place in my heart for Grenada because that’s where I got my start in medicine,” said Dr. Spier. “Grenada gave me an opportunity to become a doctor. If I hadn’t gone to Grenada, I would’ve done something else [besides medicine].”

Dr. Spier encourages other former students and alumni of SGU to consider participating in the SGU PHuN program, naming it as a profoundly rewarding experience.

“If you want to help the people of Grenada and want to go back to Grenada you should do it,” Dr. Spier said.