The MD Class of 2012 gathered with faculty, friends, and family on May 24 to celebrate the culmination of at least four years of medical school. The 158 students graduating Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine lined up for the commencement ceremony at Chicago’s Navy Pier Grand Ballroom.
“It’s a little hard to believe that I’m graduating today,” said Samia Farooqi, MD ’12. As she put on her gown, her mother began to cry. Her family was unable to attend her undergraduate graduation, so all were excited to fly in from Saudi Arabia to watch her participate in this special ceremony. Farooqi received the Excellence in Emergency Medicine Award and was one of the recipients of the Phi Rho Sigma Dennis Award for outstanding performance in junior year clerkships.
Eric G. Neilson, MD, vice president for medical affairs and Lewis Landsberg Dean, greeted guests to the 153rd MD convocation. After a few brief remarks from Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro, Dr. Neilson shared some thoughts and advised the graduates, “In addition to your scientific and clinical skills, you will find that sympathy and kindness are an effective means of discovering the needs of your patient.”
The commencement speaker, Samuel O. Thier, MD, professor emeritus of medicine and healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School, is known for his expertise in national healthcare policy, medical education, and biomedical research.
“It’s not easy to start out now; each generation makes its living through a time of great change,” Thier remarked. He went on to name several responsibilities the graduates will assume as professionals, “knowledge, ethics, standards, and performance.”
“It is your responsibility to take the time for those who come after you and be sure that they are taught the way you were taught,” Thier said. “You are the trustees of the knowledge and skills you have been given. Those are not proprietary items. You don’t own them, you got them from those before you, and you will give them to those after you.”
He concluded with a request that the Class of 2012 help guide the country in building a better healthcare system.
“I am confident that you will face that challenge with excitement and that you will do better than us,” he said.
After the degrees were conferred, Richard Leiter, MD ’12, nominated to give the senior class message, said, “Today, we join the community of physicians. We enter a profession. We gain all the rights and responsibilities that come with it, including, finally, the long white coat.”
He reminded his peers that medicine is a team sport.
“Teams on the wards, or in the operating room, or in the clinic aren’t measured by goals, points, or runs,” he said. “Teamwork in medicine means that even though there is a hierarchy, we are committed to teaching and learning from all of our colleagues; that we deal with each other with integrity and we put our patient’s needs above our own; and that we support one another even if it is inconvenient or difficult. We better ourselves and we better our patients because we do it as a team. This is what Feinberg has taught us.”
Class of 2012 PT Graduation
Fifty-six graduates received their DPT degrees on Saturday, April 21, 2012, at Thorne Auditorium on the Northwestern University Chicago campus. The Class of 2012 began their studies in fall 2009 and was the first to graduate under the new curriculum.
Kathy Sullivan, PT, PhD, FAHA, was the guest speaker and presented, A New Vision for Physical Therapy: Protectors of Physical Health across the Life Course. Nat Collins, DPT was the Class Speaker.
The Clinical Education Awards were presented to Jessica LeJeune, Meghan Lillyblad, Lauren Scott, and Jeff Westgate. Sarah Kraushar received the Class Leadership Award; Laura Miller received the Dean’s Feinberg DPT/PhD Scholar Award.
Inaugural PA Class Celebrates Feinberg Graduation
As members of the inaugural class of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant (PA) program, students in the Class of 2012 became a part of the medical school’s history as they graduated on the second Saturday in May.
“As the first class, we have taken a great deal of pride in setting the bar high for future classes,” said Brian Filippini, MMS ’12. “The program is very challenging and requires a lot of hard work, but in the end, it did a great job of preparing us for our futures in health care.”
The 30 graduates earned a master of medical science degree after one year of classroom instruction and another year of clinical rotations. Developed in 2010 with support from Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the program uses problem- and team-based learning.
“I think the problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum really sets Northwestern apart from other programs,” said Margaret Wilson, MMS ’12, who served as Class Speaker. “Medicine is ever changing and knowing how to find information and synthesize it quickly is critical; it won’t always be presented to you in a tidy lecture. PBL also teaches you to be comfortable admitting what you don’t know.”
Instrumental in launching the Northwestern PA program, Lewis Landsberg, MD, Irving S. Cutter Professor of Medicine and dean emeritus at the medical school, was honored as the inaugural commencement speaker.
“We believe that a PA program enables us to develop a cadre of well trained, bright young people that can be incorporated into our medical practices and position us to take advantage of the team concept as the changes in medical practice unfold,” he said. “Being a PA adds value, both to patients and society, and being a PA has the potential for enormous personal and professional growth.”
“It was nice to see the hard work of our faculty, staff, and, most importantly, the students, be celebrated after two years of rigorous work,” said James Van Rhee, MS, PA-C, PA program director. “One of our graduates is likely to become one of the first PAs at the Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. As the healthcare landscape changes, this program will continue to train students to fill crucial needs.”
A division of the Department of Family and Community Medicine, the PA program accepts 30 students each June. Seven hundred hopefuls applied for the Class of 2013, and 1,600 hoped to be a part this year’s incoming class.