Our University is proud of its faculty members who, united in a common purpose, are dedicated in their teaching of the next generation of physicians. The size and location of WUHS’s basic medical science campus in San Pedro, Belize contributes to a special atmosphere where faculty and staff are able to concentrate on maintaining the optimum conditions for students to acquire the basic medical knowledge necessary for their clinical experience.
Dr. Lerida Rodriguez lectures in physiology and histology at the Washington University School of Health and Science. She was born and raised in Cuba. After studying medicine at Havana University, she completed her training in general practitioner. She worked in polyclinics in Medanzas, Cuba, before being appointed to the post of chief of the regional medical service.
Later in her career, Professor Rodriguez trained in gastroenterology and endoscopy. She specialised in the treatment liver disease. Over the following decade she was medical director of a 900 bed hospital, assistant professor of medicine at Havana University and spent time in Guinea-Bissau advising the Minister of Health. In 1993 she came to Belize for the first time to help develop its fledgling health system.
In 1997, Professor Rodriguez settled in San Pedro, setting up a private practice, specialising in internal medicine.
Professor Rodriguez has been teaching on the Washington University of Health and Science basic sciences programme for the past five years. She loves to teach, seeing a reflection of her younger self in her present students.
Dr Paul Courtney, visiting professor to our basic science program in Belize, lectures on medical ethics. After graduating from Manchester University in 1981, Dr Courtney underwent postgraduate clinical training in London and Leeds.
He has been employed as a consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital, Winchester since 1991. His main clinical interests are the assessment and treatment of acute psychiatric emergencies. In addition to his clinical duties, Dr Courtney is a member of the Parole Board of England and an assessor for the National Clinical Assessment Service.
Dr Courtney has involved with Southampton Medical School in many academic capacities for the past twenty years. He specializes in the teaching of ethical issues, suicide and the interplay between law and psychiatry. His principle research interest is in the provision of secure psychiatric services in the UK.
When asked why he had accepted a teaching role at Washington University of Health and Science, Dr Courtney answered, “during my thirty five years working in mental health services in England, the times I most enjoyed often involved teaching medical students in clinical situations. I have been impressed over the years by the drive and dedication of students from WUHS who are often more mature and have taken less traditional routes into Medicine. The opportunity to expand my teaching experience into the pre-clinical years in beautiful Belize was too good to miss.”
Dr. Javier Zuniga has taught the microbiology and pathology components of the basic sciences course at WUHS for six years.
A native Belizean, Professor Zuniga graduated from the Instituto Superior de Ciencias Medicas, Cuba, in 2003. Postgraduate training has included gaining qualifications in Emergency Medicine from Taiwan and Diving Medicine from Key Largo, Florida.
After ten years working in the San Pedro Polyclinic Professor Zuniga travelled to Australia to complete a Masters Degree in International Public Health at the University of Sydney. Since his return to Belize in 2014, Professor Zuniga has been employed within the Ministry of Health. He is presently responsible for all medical facilities in Central Health Region of Belize, which included Belize City and San Pedro.
Professor Zuniga explained that with his father also being a professor, “teaching is in my blood”.
Dr. Elvira Briceno teaches medical terminology and behavioral science on the basic sciences program. Originally from Orange Walk, Belize, she now lives in San Pedro.
In 2012, Professor Briceno graduated from the Faciltad de Medicina Manuel Fajardo, Havana, Cuba.
After graduation, Professor Briceno returned to Belize to complete her internship program at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital. She worked at the Northern Regional Hospital before transferring to San Pedro. Since 2014 she has been employed at the Dr Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic.
Professor Briceno has done advanced training in adult and pediatric life support. Her main clinical interests are internal medicine and the management of chronic illnesses.
As well as lecturing on the basic sciences programme, Professor Briceno is one of our practicing clinicians who supervises clinical observation sessions in the Polyclinic.
Professor Briceno explained that having been inspired by outstanding teachers who were prepared to go beyond the core syllabus, “I want to do the same for her students here at Washington University for Health and Science”.
Dr. Michael Butler, M.S., D.C., C.C.S.P. teaches anatomy in the classroom as well as the cadaver laboratory. Originally from Missouri, he graduated in 1983 from Life University, Atlanta, Georgia with a doctorate in Chiropractic. After practicing for 25 years in St Louis, he returned academic life completing a Masters Degree in Sports Science. Further training was undertaken at the Mayo Clinics, in Scottsdale and Jacksonville and at the Olympic Training Facility in Colarado Springs.
In his clinical practice in St Louis Professor has focussed on all aspects of neuro-musculoskeletal ill health. He has developed expertise in electrodiagnosis and musculoskeletal sonography. Over the past decade he has been one of the pioneers of prolotherapy and stem cell transplantation as a treatment for sports and degenerative injuries. He has for the last five years worked with the Volunteers in Medicine, delivering quality care to indigent patients in Missouri.
Professor Butler has spoken at numerous seminars, teaching physicians sonography of all the major joints, tendons and muscles. In the tradition of medicine, he is a keen believer lifetime learning. He is widely published in his fields of interest including Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Professor Butler has been the host of “Back Talk”, heard on St. Louis radio stations for 12 years.
Professor Butler has a passion for teaching our students here at Washington University of Health and Science to carry the torch for the advancement of medical knowledge.
Dr. Javier Canul lectures pharmacology at Washington University of Health and Science. Born and brought up in Belize City, he studied double majors in biology and chemistry at the University of Belize prior to travelling to Havana, Cuba to complete his medical studies.
After graduating in 2014, Professor Canul has worked in palliative care and then family medicine in Belize City and San Pedro. In addition to his position with Washington University, he is employed at the local polyclinic in San Pedro, Belize.
A member of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the International Association for the Study of Pain, Professor Canul has clinical interest in the management at the end of life and chronic physical illnesses.
As well as lecturing on the basic sciences programme, Professor Canul is one of our practicing clinicians who supervises clinical observation sessions in the Dr Otto Rodriguez Polyclinic.
As a recently qualified Belizean doctor Javier Canul is able to empathize with our students and provides a strong role model for those who have had to travel abroad to fulfil their career aspirations.
Dr. Ekiti Mesumbe spent 8 years on active military service before deciding on a career in Medicine. In this time Captain Mesumbe was the operations officer for the Armed Services Blood Bank Center, based in Bethesda, Maryland. He was responsible for providing blood products to the troops during the second Iraq war.
Having been awarded a scholarship by the Army to study medicine he completed his studies at Howard University, Washington DC in 2003 and later adding a Master’s Degree in Public Health from Walden University.
Professor Mesumbe underwent training in Internal Medicine in Washington and Baltimore. He returned to academic life in 2016 when offered an opportunity to teach at Washington University of Health and Science.
Professor Mesumbe teaches biochemistry at WUHS. He is proud to be part of the academic team training the doctors of tomorrow.
Dr. Richard Snouffer, MD. is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, College of Medicine. He has practiced Emergency/Urgent Care medicine and Anti Aging medicine for a combined total of almost 20 years. He has practiced internationally as well as in the US during this time. He has incorporated integrative medicine techniques into his practice since 2008. He is now certified by the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. His interests outside medicine include photography and the outdoors.
Dr. Paul Smith, MD. joined us for the 2016 Fall semester. He is the instructor for Physical Diagnosis, Epidemiology/Biostatistics and Microbiology. Dr. Smith is a native Texan and along with his Doctor of Medicine degree, he is also a licensed chiropractor. His approach to teaching medicine is to be as dedicated as an instructor as he was as a student. Dr. Paul said “Medicine is my life and profession. I don’t think you ever quit learning, because medicine changes on a daily basis.” We could not have said it better, Dr. Smith!
Dr. John Cooper, MD. joined us for the 2016 Fall semester and he taught Medical Terminology, Microbiology and Physical Diagnosis. When asked what his goal was for teaching our students, Dr. Cooper said “My overall objective at WUHS is to give the students the best education, in order for them to be successful on their USMLEs, but most importantly so that they are better equipped to take care of people (physically, mentally, and emotionally). I take a holistic approach with teaching students that they need to look at the patient as an intricate connection of systems, rather than solely focusing on a single pathology. I believe the students at WUHS are a great group of hard working professionals. They will soon be leaders in the medical community!”