Today, 174 University of Michigan Medical School graduates filed into Hill Auditorium and left ready to enter the evolving world of health care, as new physicians and future change agents.
Their hard work and sacrifice over the past four years — or more — has come to fruition and in just a few short weeks they will embark on their journey through residency.
The Class of 2017 is a diverse group of scholars representing 33 states. Eighty-five women will graduate and 89 men.
On this cool May afternoon, graduates and their loved ones paused to bask in the glow of the moment and celebrate next steps.
“I’ve had the opportunity to receive such an incredible education,” said Marybeth Hall, who is headed to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for a urology residency. “Words cannot express the amount of support I have received from the Michigan Medicine community, and I will be forever grateful to the friends, faculty, mentors and patients who have helped me develop into the person I am today and the clinician I will become.”
Key facts about the Class of 2017:
- 24 graduates leave Michigan having completed intensive experiences in the Medical School’s Path of Excellence Program, 20 of whom focused on Global Health & Disparities and four as the 1st graduates of the Bioethics Path.
- 37 students earned a second graduate-level degree, in addition to their medical degree
- 11 percent of the class took part in training and clinical care opportunities in other countries
- 9 students are graduating as part of the pilot IMPACT program, with radically designed 4th year schedules that allowed them to pursue a year-long project in depth while attending medical school. Accomplishments by all of these graduates were remarkable, and included writing a book of poetry on aging, tackling the opioid epidemic, starting a new elective in Street Medicine, and international work on reducing vision loss from glaucoma.
- About 30 percent of the graduating class will remain in Michigan for residency, working in hospitals in Ann Arbor, the metro Detroit area, Lansing and Grand Rapids. Many heading out of state are going to California, Illinois, Massachusetts and Texas.
- Forty-five percent of graduates will enter a field that can lead to a career in primary care.
The Final Medical School Milestone
The final ceremony featured remarks from Dean Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., and a keynote address by Dr. Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. former University of Michigan Medical School faculty member and current director of the National Institutes of Health.
As NIH director, Collins oversees the work of the largest institutional supporter of biomedical research in the world, spanning the spectrum from basic to clinical research. He was appointed by President Obama in 2009 and continues in this role in President Trump’s administration.
As director, he has helped launch major research initiatives to advance the use of precision medicine for more tailored healthcare, increase our understanding of the neural networks of the brain to improve treatments for brain diseases, and identify areas of cancer research that are ripest for acceleration to improve cancer prevention and treatment.
Collins gave this advice to the newly minted doctors, “Be prepared for rapid changes in medicine. Keep your focus on what really matters – how are you going to use your talents to make the world a better place?”
“Ultimately that will be a lot more important than what titles you achieve or how much money you make,” he said. “Oh yeah, and be prepared to learn from trials and failures, they are just part of life.”