News

5.15.2012

Class of 2012 Graduates Eager for New Responsibilities

With an abundance of enthusiasm and several reminders of their new responsibilities, the Miller School of Medicine’s Class of 2012 accepted their doctor of medicine degrees and contemplated their futures as they exited the BankUnited Center on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus on May 12.

“I’m overwhelmed and honored,” said Juliet Nissan, M.D., who will remain in Miami to pursue her residency in general surgery at UM/Jackson Memorial Hospital.

In welcoming the class of 186 newly graduated physicians, Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., told them and their families that nothing is routine in the commencement ritual and reminded them that “it is always a privilege to discover ways to return patients to the best life possible.”

UM President Donna E. Shalala, who served as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for eight years, focused on the changing landscape of health care in America in her opening remarks. “Yours will be a generation which eschews hierarchy for teams of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals to provide the highest quality care,” she said.

That changing landscape and the responsibility of physicians were themes repeated in the keynote address delivered by Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Science degree. Fauci, who counted Shalala as an ally in fighting disease, told the graduates the nearly endless demand to harness technological advances would leave them “exhilarated and intimidated.”

An outspoken advocate for national funding to fight AIDS, Fauci described what he called the “paradox of graduation.”

“It is normal to feel that you are no longer a student. Not so. We are all perpetual students,” Fauci, a recipient of the National Medal of Science and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, told the graduates. “You will never know everything you want to know or need to know, but use that to motivate yourself and fulfill your potential.”

Recalling his early days as a physician, when medical leaders declared an almost complete defeat of infectious diseases with the advent of antibiotics, Fauci said the AIDS epidemic showed the global nature of public health.

In conclusion, he reminded the new physicians that the U.S. is a biomedical superpower and its physicians “serve as the gold standard for the rest of the world.” He urged them to marry their thirst for knowledge with a complete commitment to the patient.

“The secret in care for patients,” he said, “is in caring for the patient.”

Joshua Moore, M.D., past student president who was chosen by his classmates to deliver the student address, recalled many events and educational milestones as he reflected on how the Class of 2012 had matured through shared experiences. He quoted a passage from author Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

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