News

3.07.2017

Pinning Ceremony Welcomes the Miller School Class of 2020

After spending much of her childhood and adolescence watching her mother take care of students in the clinics of the University of Miami School Health Initiative, Jasmine Lawrence celebrated the first year of her own medical career at the Miller School of Medicine’s 17th Annual John G. Clarkson Freshman Pinning Ceremony Friday afternoon.

“Every day after school I watched my mother take care of kids,” said Jasmine, daughter of Joycelyn Lawrence, M.D., former medical director of the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation School Health Initiative. “It was great to see how the whole staff cared for patients. I see how much help the communities I grew up in need, not just medically but in other areas, including education. I want to stay here and help address health disparities.

“Liberty City made me who I am today,” said Jasmine, an M.D./M.P.H. candidate. “I want to give back to the community.”

Her mother, who is now Chief Medical Officer of the Jessie Trice Community Health Center, went up to the stage to pin her daughter during Friday’s ceremony, which welcomes first-year students into the medical profession. “I’m very proud of her,” Joycelyn Lawrence said. “That early exposure led her toward medicine. The clinic staff was very kind with her — I’m sure she learned from all of them. Plus she always loved math and science.”

At the event, named in honor of John G. Clarkson, M.D. ’68, Dean Emeritus of the Miller School, Jasmine and her classmates were urged to “continue falling in love with this profession” by Noor Judi, Student Government executive president and a member of the Class of 2018. “This ceremony represents the beginning of a lifetime of learning. Treasure those experiences that made us want to be physicians in the first place.”

Laurence B. Gardner, M.D., interim Dean of the Miller School, welcomed the students to the medical profession and congratulated them on all that they have already accomplished. “You’ve almost completed your first year, and thus far you have made us proud.”

Echoing the encouragement to keep learning and to keep celebrating victories was keynote speaker Susan Alpert, M.D. ’84, Ph.D.

“Welcome to medicine — the most wonderful thing to study, and the most wonderful thing to be involved in,” said Alpert, founder of SFA Consulting, LLC, a firm focused on the strategies needed to place medical devices and other medical products into the global marketplace. “You will keep learning from each other, from your teachers and, most importantly, from your patients.”

The continuing expansion of technology to help prevent and treat disease will be critically important to the members of the Class of 2020, Alpert said, urging the students to “take advantage of all these tools that will be made available to you.”

The pinning ceremony, which opens Medical Alumni Weekend, drew family members and friends from around the country to celebrate with the students. Among them was Teriel Go, who traveled from Los Angeles with her two young children to share the joy of her brother, first-year student Ariel Go — and to embarrass him a bit as she took pictures of him marching into the big tent on the Schoninger Research Quadrangle.

“This is a really big deal,” said Teriel, who was thrilled to be visiting South Florida, and who said her brother was thrilled to get the chance to study at the Miller School of Medicine. “Ever since the admissions interview he has been raving about it.”

A link to photos from the freshman pinning ceremony can be found here.

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