Miller School Awards Medical Degrees to the Class of 2013

With great exuberance and pride, and a huge sigh of relief, graduates of the Miller School of Medicine’s Class of 2013 took the Hippocratic Oath and were awarded their diplomas at commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11, at BankUnited Center. The graduation program marked the end of four years of intense medical education, preparing the 187 graduates to be physicians.

On this day, the focus was on their monumental achievement, celebrating with family and friends, and looking toward the future. As physicians, Miller School Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., reminded the graduating class that they “have a remarkable opportunity to prevent illnesses and help those who are sick and in need of medical care. It is a privilege to discover the ways to return them to the best life possible.”

UM President Donna E. Shalala pointed out that this generation is ushering in a new era of healthcare, which “eschews hierarchy for teams of doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.” She encouraged them to remember the healing spirit of compassion and hope that they had been taught. “Your knowledge and skills will make the world a better place, but your humanity will heal it.”

Helene D. Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., an expert on health, global development and humanitarian issues, received an honorary Doctor of Science degree before presenting the commencement address. She told the new doctors that they should think about their 10-year reunion and where they might be. “What do you want to say you did? What has been your impact?”

Gayle, president and CEO of CARE USA, a leading international humanitarian organization, has led efforts to reinforce CARE’s commitment to empowering girls and women to bring lasting change to poor communities. Before leading CARE, Gayle spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and was appointed the first director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention.

Because health is fundamental to economic and social justice, Gayle told the graduating class, “You will soon have the hottest ticket to building a better world.” She encouraged them to be passionate, remain open to the unexpected, be persistent, and “think big, bold and believe in the possible.”

One of those who heard Gayle’s message was Graham Ingalsbe, M.D., presenting the student address. Ingalsbe, who was selected by his class to speak, will head to Denver Health Medical Center for a residency in emergency medicine. He recalled the many hurdles they had overcome and countless shared experiences that “made the Class of 2013 a family.” He acknowledged the faculty of the Miller School and told his classmates, “I wish for you a moment when you hit it out of the park.”

As each graduate was announced and ceremoniously hooded by chosen faculty — in some cases parents — cheers erupted from different sections of the auditorium. Cameras flashed and each person was then greeted with a congratulatory handshake from President Shalala and Dean Goldschmidt.

For some, reaching this day took more than four years as they tackled extra degrees, including Ph.D. and M.B.A. Among those was 28-year-old Gregory Schaiberger, who earned both an M.D. and an M.B.A. in five years. “It’s incredible,” he said. “You work so hard to achieve this single day.” He heads to Albert Einstein/Montefiore Medical Center in New York for one year of preliminary surgery, followed by four years of residency in radiology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

Jana Platz, M.D., described the day as “bittersweet,” as she thought about heading back home to Atlanta for a residency in obstetrics/gynecology at Emory University School of Medicine. Several members of Platz’s family, including her 98-year-old grandmother, traveled to Miami to mark the special occasion. “She needs to see this,” her father told her.

“All of the faculty at UM can take pride in the accomplishments of the class of 2013,” said Warren Kupin, M.D., professor of clinical medicine, whom the students selected to serve as Grand Marshal. “They will be outstanding representatives of UM in the community and across the country, and I wish them much success.”

As the new doctors took photos with family, hugged friends and congratulated one another, they were undoubtedly filled with the final words of Gayle, who told them, “The world awaits you.”

View more photos of commencement online.

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