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SBU School of Medicine Graduates 112 New Physicians Set to Launch Their Journeys in Medicine Around The Nation


Sen. Flanagan Addresses Graduates, Citing Talent and Diversity of a Gifted Class

The Stony Brook University School of Medicine held its 33rd Convocation in front of a capacity crowd at the Staller Center on May 17 where 112 graduates received M.D. degrees. Most of the graduates will begin residency programs in June or July. Collectively, they will enter programs at major hospitals and healthcare institutions in New York and 12 other states, such as at Yale-New Haven Hospital, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, the Lahey Clinic in Massachusetts, and Children’s Hospital-Philadelphia. Twenty graduates will stay at Stony Brook University Medical Center for their residencies.

The Stony Brook University School of Medicine Class of 2007 included 112 graduates. Most of the graduates, which featured 59 women and 53 men, will begin residency programs in June or July. Collectively, they will practice at major hospital and healthcare institutions in New York and 12 other states nationwide.

The graduating Class of 2007 included students originally from cities and towns across the United States in areas such as Long Island, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Arizona, and California, and as far away as Hong Kong and Uzbekistan. The Class featured 59 women and 53 men graduates. Twenty graduates had previously received undergraduate degrees from Ivy League institutions. Only 266 of 2,523 original applicants (10.5 percent) to the class were accepted in 2003.

Richard N. Fine, M.D, Dean of the School of Medicine, told graduates to persevere in their careers and lives. "When you encounter difficult times in your careers, keep striving and see the cup half full," emphasized Dr. Fine. He also urged graduates to begin their journey in medicine with a vision of compassion and service, and to see the example of Christopher Pendergast, a 14-year survivor of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) who received an Honorary Doctor of Science Degree at the Convocation, who "turned anger into advocacy," as an inspiration when caring for their patients.

It is an awesome responsibility to save lives and improve the quality of living for those you treat, and their families," said Shirley Strum Kenny, President of Stony Brook University, addressing the graduates. "Practice medicine with the highest level of integrity and respect for patients, which medical school has instilled in you."

"These new doctors will take their talents and practice in many areas, from ophthalmology to surgery and pediatrics, to help save lives," added keynote speaker Honorable John J. Flanagan, New York State Senator. He heralded the class for its talent, drive and compassion as new physicians. Sen. Flanagan, a staunch supporter of the University and Medical Center, said that the broad talent embodied by the Class of 2007 would translate into a new group of physicians who will lead in the search for cures of diseases of all kinds, including ALS.

Ryan Spencer, M.D., elected by his fellow graduates to address the Class, received two top awards at the Convocation. He received the Marvin Kuschner Award. Named after the founding dean of the School, the award is given to the graduate who demonstrates the highest levels of professional skill and dedication to the scientific attitude and study of pathophysiology, and a love of human beings and their welfare. Dr. Spencer also received the Research Excellence for Humanistic Studies Award for his project titled "Accepting and Fearing Death: A Mormon Perspective."

Dr. Spencer, a native of Glens Falls, N.Y., came to Stony Brook after graduating from Brigham Young University in Utah. He will remain at Stony Brook for the 2007/08 academic year and work within the Department of Obstetrics/Gynecology in a research laboratory, as well as undertake a clinical project evaluating hospice care referrals.

"Our lives will be as diverse in our chosen fields as we were as a group when we came to Stony Brook," said Dr. Spencer, aptly characterizing a class that will practice medicine and conduct research within 18 specialties at hospitals and academic and military institutions nationwide.

Other top student award recipients include: Jennifer Reckrey, M.D., recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, which honors a student who has demonstrated extraordinary interest in and practice of professional values and commitment to the well being of others; Jeffrey Javidfar, M.D., recipient of the Citizenship Award, given to the student who has made the greatest overall contribution to the school through service to the class, school and community; Kristen Belano, M.D., recipient of the Clinical Excellence Award, given to the graduate who clinical course directors believe exemplified the highest level of all around excellence; and Dimple Bhatt, M.D., Ph.D., recipient of the Kijeon Yoo Award, given to the student who has overcome the most obstacles in obtaining an M.D. degree.

Ten faculty received Awards for Excellence in Teaching, voted in by the Class of 2007. They include: Rahman Pourmand, M.D., Professor of Neurology, who received the most votes; Todd Griffin, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology; Martin Karpeh, M.D., Professor of Surgical Oncology; Frederick Miller, M.D., Marvin Kuschner Professor of Pathology; Sidonie Morrison, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Medicine; Jack Stern, Ph.D., Distinguished Teaching Professor of Anatomical Sciences; Howard Sussman, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine; David Tompkins, M.D., Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine; Siva Vithiananthan, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Surgery, and Andrew Wasckett, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine.

Each of the speakers received enthusiastic applauses.

Established in 1971, the Stony Brook University School of Medicine graduates 100 or more fourth year medical students each year. Total school enrollment is more than 400. The mission of the School is to educate caring and skilled physicians well-prepared to enter graduate and specialty training programs.

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