Medical School graduates look to the future

May 15, 2017  //  FOUND IN: Michigan Medicine News,

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Last Friday, 174 U-M Medical School graduates filed into Hill Auditorium and left ready to enter the evolving world of health care as new physicians and future leaders.

The students’ hard work and sacrifice over the past four years — or more — culminated with Friday’s commencement ceremony. In a few weeks, the graduates will embark on a residency program to prepare them for their chosen area of medical expertise.

The Class of 2017 is a diverse group of scholars representing 33 states. Eighty-five women and 89 men received their degree and celebrated the achievement with friends and loved ones.

“I’ve had the opportunity to receive such an incredible education,” said Marybeth Hall, who is headed to Vanderbilt University for a urology residency. “Words cannot express the amount of support I have received from the Michigan Medicine community, and I will be forever grateful to the friends, faculty, mentors and patients who have helped me develop into the person I am today and the clinician I will become.”

‘Make the world a better place’

Friday’s ceremony featured remarks from Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice president for medical affairs, dean of the Medical School and CEO of Michigan Medicine; and a keynote address by Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., former U-M Medical School faculty member and current director of the National Institutes of Health.

As NIH director, Collins oversees the work of the largest institutional supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. He was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 and continues in this role in President Donald Trump’s administration.

As director, Collins has helped launch major initiatives to: advance the use of precision medicine, increase the understanding of the neural networks of the brain, and identify areas of cancer research that are ripest for acceleration to improve prevention and treatment.

Collins had several pieces of advice for the newly-minted doctors: “Be prepared for rapid changes in medicine. Keep your focus on what really matters — how are you going to use your talents to make the world a better place? Ultimately that will be a lot more important than what titles you achieve or how much money you make.”

Collins concluded by telling graduates to handle challenges as gracefully as possible.

“Be prepared to learn from trials and failures,” Collins said. “They are just a part of life.”

Runge also addressed the evolving health care industry.

“Now more than ever, we need strong leaders in medicine who can rapidly adapt to our ever-changing environment,” Runge said. “We need collaborators, innovators and pioneers who can reach across disciplines and work with many different subject matter experts. And we need compassionate caregivers who — in spite of technology — remember the power of the human touch.

“You are these leaders, pioneers and caregivers who will shape the incredible future of health care.”

To watch a video of the entire commencement ceremony, click here. And check out the photo gallery above to see images from the festivities. 

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