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It's Graduation Day for The Class of 2013

Friday, May 17, 2013

 David Lapides and Ian Oppenheim

The Class of 2013 finally got to put M.D. after their names as they received their doctoral hoods during a special Convocation ceremony at the Baltimore Convention Center on May 17, 2013. “As you contemplate the next chapter of your lives, I encourage you to accept the challenges that lie ahead with determination and integrity, always aspiring for excellence,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean, University of Maryland School of Medicine. “As part of the next generation of physicians and scientists, you must be committed to the health and well-being of the people of Maryland and beyond.”

Healthcare these days can be a daunting challenge, but it is one Dean Reece is confident this class will handle admirably. “You have been taught and mentored by exceptional faculty who are deeply passionate about medical education,” he said. “You have been exposed to a rigorous curriculum that has prepared you to become outstanding physicians and has equipped you to pursue and succeed at the multitude of exciting opportunities that await you across the nation and around the world.”

When pursuing those opportunities, keynote speaker Harvey Fineberg, MD, PhD, President of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, advised the graduates to keep one mantra in mind: “Put your patients first,” he declared. "It seems like such a simple idea, but it’s not so easy to put into practice every day. And it’s not so easy to do with every patient.” Putting the patient first will see you through, even when you think you don’t know what to do. “Your constant companion in medicine will be uncertainty – uncertainty about diagnosis, uncertainty about treatment, uncertainty about consequences and side effects, uncertainty about ultimate outcomes,” Dr. Fineberg said. “One of the most important things to learn is that there are always going to be things you don’t know. There will always be things you have to learn.”

Class president Hersch Bhatia is amazed at everything the class has already learned in their time together. “As class president, I got to know a lot of my classmates, and seeing them go from where they were the day we got here to where they matched and where they're going next...the feeling we all have today is such an amazing feeling, it's hard to even put it into words,” he said. “I am so proud to have been president of this class for the last four years.” Hersch joked that the best part of the day was when he finished the speech he had to give as president. Truly, though, the best moment for him was when “everyone stood up and recited the Hippocratic Oath together,” he said. “We're doctors! We are taking that next step and going to that next chapter.” For the newly minted Dr. Bhatia, that next chapter will take place right here at the University of Maryland, where he will be a resident in the Department of Family & Community Medicine.

Many of his classmates are headed to further destinations. “I'm going to the University of California, Davis, for Family Medicine,” said Camille Madison. As she prepared to walk into the hooding ceremony, she admitted “it doesn't feel real. It seems like just yesterday I was getting here and starting anatomy lab, and now we're finally going to be doctors. It’s unbelievable.” Ian Oppenheim will be making his new home in Philadelphia, with a residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. “Four years is such a long time,” he said, “but on the other hand, it went by so fast.” David Lapides is heading south for a Neurology residency at the University of Virginia. “It's relieving but intimidating,” he said of graduation. “Now we will actually have a lot of responsibility for the first time.”

For Andrew Wright and Shane Cherry, their new responsibilities will include protecting our country. Along with Elizabeth Suniega, who was commissioned as an officer in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, Andrew and Shane were made commissioned officers in the Navy and Air Force, respectively. “My mother did 23 years in the United States Army as a field nurse, and she went through the first Gulf War, so I had a great deal of inspiration from her,” said Andrew, who will be a Lieutenant at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, where he will do a residency in Orthopaedics. Shane’s inspiration to go into the Air Force, where he will be a Captain, was initially financial. “But Officer Training was a really life-changing experience for me,” said Shane, who was commissioned by Chris Stephens, MD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anesthesiology. “I couldn’t be happier, it was the best decision I ever made.” He is headed for the University of Miami, for a residency in Anesthesiology.

Congratulations to the recent graduates from the Graduate Program in Life Sciences (GPILS) PhD and MS programs!
Looking beyond medicine here at the School of Medicine, pre-commencement celebrations were also held on May 16, 2013 for students pursuing degrees other than an M.D. These ceremonies included the Department of Medical and Research Technology (DMRT), the Pathology Assistants program, the Masters in Genetic Counseling program, the Masters in Public Health program, the Graduate Program in Life Sciences, and the Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science. The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s graduation ceremony was held on the afternoon of May 17 and included a procession from University Park to the First Mariner Arena.


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 Keynote speaker Harvey Fineberg, MD, PhD

 Andrew Wright was in uniform under his robes as he waited with Sara Wozny and Richard Zhu for the ceremony to begin.

 Dr. and Dr. Sharoky: Catherine's dad Mel is also a School of Medicine alum.

 Class President Hersch Bhatia (center) with Gregory Bittle and Andrew Barbera.

 Shane Cherry being commissioned into the Air Force by Christopher Stephens, MD.

 Dean Reece addressing the students.

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