Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Perelman School of Medicine Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony

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Greetings to all.

I am Dr. Suzi Rose.

And as the Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education,

it is my proud honor to open these proceedings

and pronounce that the Commencement Exercises of the

Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine

at the University of Pennsylvania,

recognizing and honoring the graduates of the Class of 2020,

will now begin.

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome you

all virtually, including our


Dean and Executive Vice President

for the Health System, Dr. Larry Jameson,

our commencement speaker, Dr. Katrina Armstrong,

the Class of 1970 speaker, Dr. Elliot Yolles,

members of our 50th Reunion Class, the Class of 1970,

our Class of 2020 student speaker,

Dr. Ilana Nelson-Greenberg,

the entire Class of 2020, virtual guests, faculty,

parents, children, relatives, significant others,

and friends.

We realize that this is not the celebration you had planned

for, but we do celebrate with great enthusiasm

as you, the Class of 2020, have reached

this wonderful milestone.

You have worked so hard to get here,

with many joys and successes, and some more challenging

times, supported by your own resilience.

And that has been tested no greater than in the past couple

of months.

But also supported by the power of those who love you.

This is a commencement-- a beginning,

in a difficult time--

but what we expect will transition

to a magical journey for you over many years to come.

This is a powerful point of transition,

and it is only right to pause and celebrate your achievements

and reflect on your successes and accomplishments.

We are exceptionally proud of each and every one of you,

and applaud your ideals, commitment, and talents.

So please, enjoy this moment.

Cherish your sense of pride in yourself,

your family, your school.

Many of you are staying at Penn, but others are leaving.

We hope you will always look upon our school

as your launching pad and as a source

of professional development, knowledge, and support.

On behalf of the faculty, I extend hearty congratulations

to you, our graduates, and to those who love and support you.

I now introduce our Executive Vice President and Dean,

Larry Jameson.

Thank you, Dr. Rose.

Good morning, everyone.

I'm Larry Jameson, Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine.

It's great to be with you today, even virtually.

Graduates, this is still your day!

And we're here to celebrate you, the Class of 2020.

To say that your commencement is different

is, of course, a huge understatement.

Certainly, I miss the opportunity

and the togetherness of a traditional graduation


But gathering this way is a mark of our resolve

to be resilient until the end of this pandemic.

Rarely has a graduation ceremony been more significant or more


Commencement remains a beginning and a time of joy,

and our focus is firmly fixed on the medical knowledge

and skills you have acquired and will use for decades to come.

There are many people to recognize for bringing you

to this point in your career.

This recognition begins with our faculty--

the professors, the clinicians, and the scientists--

who have been role models and mentors,

sharing their wealth of knowledge

and their values of humanism and professionalism.

Many of them have joined us online

to demonstrate their support, and I thank them for that.

This group also includes the Trustees of Penn and Penn

Medicine, and other leaders whose service to the school

is invaluable.

I want to recognize some of them online with us today.

David Cohen,

Andy Heyer,

Walter and Anne Gamble,

Barrie Jordan,

Robert Johnson,

Kevin Mahoney,

and Jon Epstein.

Thank you for all you do to support our graduates

and the mission of Penn Medicine.

Your families, spouses, partners, and friends

have made sacrifices to get you to this point.

For their support, I'm sure you're deeply grateful.

So please turn to those who are with you now

and acknowledge their support, along

with the support of those who could not

be with you physically today.

To reach this milestone, you've worked extraordinarily hard,

met every challenge we've set before you,

and amazed us with your accomplishments.

We're proud of each of you.

Congratulations to all of you.

This is a moment of great change and transition.

Even in extraordinary times, it is bittersweet.

Many of you will be moving away to a new city

with the added challenges of physical distancing.

And as you begin internships in the next month,

the learning curve will be steep, but also incredibly

exciting and invigorating as you hone your skills

and begin your lives as doctors.

Penn has prepared you well for this new responsibility.

You have proven your ability to acquire

the knowledge and skills to serve

as outstanding physicians.

While the pandemic has been swift and frightening,

it has also afforded you an opportunity

to reflect on what matters most to you, what kind of doctor

you want to be, and what kind of impact you want to have.

You have chosen the medical profession

because it is a calling to serve, as well as a profession.

In this respect, the pandemic has revealed your character,

and I couldn't be prouder of the way you

have run towards this crisis.

You've responded with urgency, resourcefulness,

and resilience.

Staffing our telemedicine hotlines,

working with the e-ICU, staffing the CHOP COVID call center,

working with the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care

Innovation to create an artificial intelligence

chatbot for patient questions about COVID.

Helping our hospitals find personal protective equipment

and other essential supplies, shopping for groceries,

volunteering, and countless other ways

to support the people of Penn Medicine, the patients

and the communities we serve.

You have come together in this crisis

and will be different doctors--

better doctors than you otherwise might have been--

stronger, more resourceful, and better prepared to address

the urgent needs of our communities,

and more appreciative of teamwork,

and quicker to look out for one another.

You're becoming doctors at an exciting time for medicine.

The tools we have for discovery, diagnosis, and treatment

have never been more powerful.

As you enter the medical field and practice,

the use of imaging, minimally-invasive surgery,

new medicines, informatics, and artificial intelligence

will allow you to make diagnoses earlier

and treat diseases with ever-increasing precision

and better outcomes.

These advances make our health system one

of the best in the world.

However, the pandemic has shined a harsh light on the ways

that the health of our society falls

short of our expectations--

the fragility of our public health system,

the racial and socioeconomic health disparities

that have been starkly exposed in the midst of this outbreak,

particularly with respect to the high death rates of our Black

and Hispanic communities.

The crisis is illuminating a better path

for the future of medicine--

one that places more emphasis on prevention, access and equity,

and has a more robust and innovative public health

infrastructure that expands telemedicine and uses

technology to engage patients more actively in their care

and applies cutting-edge sequencing technology

and informatics to spread the development of new therapies

and vaccines.

You benefit from the training you have received

at the Perelman School of Medicine,

but also from the diversity and wide-ranging life experiences

that each of you brought here.

These are tremendous strengths.

As you join the healthcare workforce,

we're confident that you will elevate your impact.

At Penn Medicine, we're accustomed to taking

the long view.

Our medical school was founded in 1765

as the first in the United States.

Our graduates have answered the call

to service throughout our nation's history--

from outbreaks of yellow fever at the time

of the American Revolution, to the Spanish flu in 1918,

and the coronavirus pandemic today.

Soon you will be hearing from the Class of 1970,

marking its 50th reunion.

I would like to thank

Dr. Elliott Yolles

for all of his support.

Ordinarily, he would be joined by many members of his class.

While they could not be with us today,

I want to thank them for their engagement and generosity

over the years.

Today's graduates could not find better role models

than our 50-year alumni.

They never stopped learning, and over the decades,

they have adapted to the enormous changes

in our profession.

You will have to do the same over the course

of your careers--

perhaps even more so, as the creation

of new biomedical knowledge and the accompanying pace of change

continue to accelerate.

I know you're anxious to begin this next exciting phase

of your career.

The Perelman School of Medicine has

prepared you extraordinarily well, not only

to save lives in this crisis, but to lead

throughout your medical careers.

We're very proud of you and we look forward to your impact.

It is now my privilege to introduce today's graduation

speaker, an international leader in academic medicine

and an expert in studies of health

disparities, medical decision-making, and cancer


Dr. Katrina Armstrong is Chair of the Department of Medicine

and Physician-in-Chief at the Massachusetts General Hospital,

where she also serves as the Jackson

Professor of Clinical Medicine at the Harvard Medical School.

I'm proud to say that she was a distinguished member

of the Penn faculty and a Penn Medicine leader for many years.

Dr. Armstrong is a graduate of Yale

and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

She was a resident and a chief resident in Medicine

at Johns Hopkins and completed a research fellowship and Masters

of Science in Clinical Epidemiology at Penn.

In 1998, she joined the Penn faculty

and led a research program in cancer control.

Over the years, Dr. Armstrong took on multiple leadership

roles, including serving as the Associate Director

of the Abramson Cancer Center, Co-Director of the Robert Wood

Johnson Clinical Scholars Program,

and Chief of the Division of General Internal Medicine.

In recognition of her impact, she

is an elected member of the American Society

of Clinical Investigation, the Association

of American Physicians, and the National Academy of Medicine.

Among other awards, she has received the Outstanding Junior

Investigator of the Year Award from the Society of General

Internal Medicine, the Outstanding Investigator

Award from the American Federation of Medical Research,

and the Alice Hersh Award from AcademyHealth.

In addition to her career in health policy

and disparities research, Dr. Armstrong

is a dedicated practicing internist.

Over her career, she has prioritized her role

as an educator, including developing and leading courses

on clinical decision-making at Penn and at the MGH.

She has created multiple innovative educational

programs, including the Master's program in Health Policy

Research at Penn and the Center for Educational Innovation

and Scholarship at Mass General.

Diversity and inclusion are central to Dr. Armstrong's

leadership, including her award-winning roles

in the advancement of women, her commitment to programs

to support diversity across faculty

and trainees at the MGH, and her research leadership in health

disparities and community-based research.

These are extraordinary accomplishments,

and it's my distinct honor and pleasure

to welcome Dr. Katrina Armstrong to our ceremony.


Thank you.

I am delighted to be a part of this incredible day

of celebration.

I want to congratulate Dean Jameson, Dean Rose,

and the rest of the Perelman School of Medicine leadership

on this innovative online ceremony,

on their unwavering dedication to your medical education,

and on their exceptional leadership at this time

of national crisis.

I have never been more proud to be part of the Penn family.

Of course, I also want to congratulate

you, the Class of 2020, and your family,

friends, and colleagues who have walked this journey with you.

This is a graduation that will be

written into the history books.

Some of that history will be about what we are missing.

We're missing being together in person

today to celebrate your achievements.

Across the globe, people are missing spending time

with their family and friends, sending their children

to school.

Many are missing a job, a paycheck.

And most importantly, more and more

are missing a loved one who has been lost to COVID-19.

But even as we recognize and honor those losses today,

I have no doubt that this medical school graduation,

the graduation of 2020, will be remembered first and foremost

not for what we have lost, but for what we have been given--

the chance to begin and to begin again.

For your class, it is the chance to begin your career

at a time of national crisis when

your humanity and your skills have never been more needed.

For medicine, it is the chance to begin again as a field,

to begin a new era for medicine, to define

what medicine can do for our patients, our communities,

and our society.

What it means to be a doctor today.

Even though it has been almost 30 years since I

stood in your shoes, I have strong memories

of medical school.

Some of those memories are concrete, even visceral--

memories of rooms, and people, and smells.

But my strongest memories are of feelings--

the combination of fear, excitement, and humility

when I first walked into a room to take

a history from a sick patient, the growing anticipation

that I am sure you all are feeling now

of when I would be the doctor, not a student doctor anymore.

But my deepest feelings was a growing sense of awe--

awe about what it means to join a profession that is

dedicated to serving others--

as you will say in the oath later today,

to dedicate our lives to the service of humanity.

Medical school was also when I began

to understand that this profession, united

in its goal of serving humanity, often approached that goal

from two parallel worlds.

Of course, I now know that this medical dualism has

been recognized for centuries and the descriptions,

of course, have varied across time and setting.

Sometimes, it's called the art and science of medicine.

Sometimes, the worlds of mind and body.

Sometimes, the power of data and the power of stories.

Increasingly, the biological and social determinants of health.

In the end, all of these words are

seeking to describe a fundamental truth--

the truth that both disease and circumstance matter,

or to paraphrase William Osler, we

must both know what sort of patient

has a disease and what sort of a disease a patient has.

We know here today, as you stand graduating and becoming

a doctor, that the health of our patients

is driven both by the behavior of molecules

and by the behavior of humans, driven

both by biology and by society.

Nothing, of course, could have brought that truth home

more clearly than the experience of the last months.

While the SARS-CoV-2 infection would not

exist without the COVID-19 virus,

there is no doubt that the impact

of that virus on our patients and our communities

has been driven by social forces, particularly

the long-standing structural inequities

across racial and ethnic groups in the US.

In Boston, our hardest-hit community

Chelsea became a hotspot not because of a change in virus

biology, but because it is impossible to self-quarantine

when you have no food and eight people

live in a one-room apartment.

One of the greatest accomplishments of the last 70

years has been our ability--

the medical profession's ability--

to change fundamental human biology.

We now target proteins to change their function,

turn on and off the immune system,

reprogram cells to create miniature organs,

remove parts of the body that are causing disease,

and replace them sometimes with man-made new parts.

We have harnessed scientific advances

to prevent illness, cure disease, and relieve

suffering far beyond anything that I

could have imagined when I stood in your shoes

almost 30 years ago.

Unfortunately, the same story cannot be told for the other

world in which we live.

In fact, paradoxically, over the last decades,

we have become a profession that believes that we can transform

fundamental human biology, but are relatively helpless against

social forces, incapable of changing the man-made social

structures that drive health, a profession that believes we can

edit specific genes and specific tissues to prevent heart

disease, but cannot provide high-quality health care

for all, that we can redirect immune responses to cure

metastatic cancer, but cannot ensure that our patients can

afford their medications, that we can grow an organ in a dish,

but cannot address racism in health care,

that we can replace heart valves or even an entire aorta when


but cannot not provide mental health care to those in need.

Honestly, this has never made sense to me.

How can we feel so empowered to take on fundamental biology,

but so disempowered when faced with the human and social

processes that we ourselves created?

At least those were the two worlds

that we lived in until the last several months,

until the COVID-19 pandemic, until the year

of your medical school graduation

because we have seen over the last months

that, in fact, we can take on these processes.

In the matter of weeks, we have transformed the health care


We created hospitals in parking lots

and shut down practices that we did not need.

We turned orthopedic surgeons, and internists,

and primary care nurses into critical care experts.

We brought medical care to patients

wherever they needed it, using whatever modality

that we needed.

We train new skills overnight using Zoom

and some well-curated handouts.

But perhaps most importantly, we came together.

We came together across disciplines,

across countries, and across institutions that

have competed for generations.

We did it because it was right, it was needed,

and it was what a doctor should do.

Although there are many stories of courage and commitment

that will be told about the pandemic,

none are more inspiring to me than how medical students have

risen to this challenge.

You and your colleagues have volunteered

to track patients across settings, to staff hotlines

and pagers, to develop new tools to support health care workers,

to provide support for vulnerable populations,

including food and quarantine supplies.

These stories are important to me not only

because what you have contributed to the COVID-19

epidemic, but because of what it says about you, the Graduating

Class of 2020.

It says that you understand that we can

do much more than we thought.

Yes, we can edit genes.

Yes, we can target proteins.

Yes, we can turn on and off the immune system.

But you also know that we can get patients

the care that they need.

We can work across a city to take care of our most

vulnerable populations.

We can stand up housing for those who

have nowhere else to recover.

Yes, we can do what is needed and what is right.

As inspired as I am about what has been accomplished

over the last months, I know that this is just a beginning

and that the path ahead will not be easy.

There have been many, many years of believing that such changes

were out of our reach.

There are deep structural issues and perverse incentives.

The complexity of health care--

comprehensive health care for all--

is far greater than even the most complicated response

to COVID-19.

We have our work cut out for us.

Today, you graduate from the nation's first medical school.

For well over 250 years, the University

of Pennsylvania School of Medicine,

now called the Perelman School of Medicine,

has led this country in defining medical education,

defining what it means to be a doctor.

You should be incredibly proud.

It is now your turn to take up this mantle,

to build upon what you have learned over the last years

and what you have seen and accomplished

over the last months to lead our country in service

to our patients, our communities, and yes,

to humanity, using and creating every tool that

is needed because after all, that is what a doctor does.

Congratulations and godspeed.

Good morning.

I'm Horace DeLisser, Associate Dean

for Diversity and Inclusion.

I would first like to thank Dr. Armstrong

for those very inspiring and very timely words.

Each year, we recognize outstanding teaching here

at the Perelman School of Medicine.

I am therefore truly honored to present the very

deserving award-winning faculty to you now.

The Leonard Berwick Memorial Teaching Award

for fusing basic science and clinical medicine teaching,

Divya Shah, MD, MME.

The Blockley-Osler Award, Nadia Bennett, MD, MSEd.

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Basic Science

Training, Rodney Camire, PhD.

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

at an Affiliated Hospital, C sar Brice o, MD, Michael Hogarty,

MD, Kristin Leight, MD, and Victoria Werth, MD.

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Clinical Teaching

by Housestaff, Albert Yu, MD.

The Dean's Award for Excellence in Medical Student

Teaching by an Allied Health Professional, Jacqueline Hudak,


The Dripps Award for Excellence in Graduate Medical Education,

Margaret Baylson, MD, MPH.

The Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Distinguished Teaching

Awards, Judy Shea, PhD, and Autumn Fiester, PhD.

The Scott Mackler Award for Excellence in Substance Abuse

Teaching, David Weiss, MD.

The Medical Student Government Teaching Awards, Nadia Bennett,

MD for clinical teaching and Robert Doms,

MD for basic science teaching.

And finally, the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, Nahla Khalek, MD.

Congratulations to these outstanding faculty members.

Thank you, Dr. DeLisser.

My name is Dennis Dlugos, and I am

the Associate Dean for UME Science and Discovery


It is my honor to introduce the 50th-year speaker.

The Medical Class of 1970 Reunion Committee

unanimously agreed to invite classmate Dr. Elliott A. Yolles

to offer greetings here today.

Dr. Yolles is a retired ophthalmologist

who practiced in Indianapolis, Indiana for 43 years.

Dr. Yolles graduated from the Perelman School of Medicine

in 1970, completed his internship

at the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1971,

and returned to Philadelphia to complete his residency

in ophthalmology at Penn in 1974.

Dr. Yolles' work focuses on diabetic eye disease.

Dr. Yolles has served as a dedicated

member of his medical class through his role

as class agent for more than 10 years

and has volunteered with the HOST Program for many years

as well.

Thank you for being with us today, Dr. Yolles.

Dr. Jameson, distinguished faculty,

fellow classmates of 1970, medical school Class of 2020,

families and friends.

To the Class of 2020, congratulations and welcome

to membership in the most noble and revered profession

in the world, especially now with COVID-19.

There is no better calling than helping someone deal

with their illness and its surrounding fear,

treating them and giving them hope.

As representative of the medical Class of 1970,

I will venture to say that we are really

no different than you, although we

had less sophisticated and cruder tools at our disposal.

To name a few, the microscope.

Do you all even know what this is?

Each of us in the class of 1970 had to buy one of these.

And if I remember right, they were

very expensive at around $450 or about $3,000

in today's dollars.

I still have mine.

We used these to view our mounted histology

and hematology slides, et cetera.

You undoubtedly have all of this on your computers.

A Kodak Carousel-- lectures were done

with these with the use of 35 millimeter slides

with this device.

Often, the slides would jam during a talk.

You have your PowerPoint.

33 and 1/3 records--

we listened to these to learn our heart murmurs.

How do you do this now?

The PDR-- the number of hours we used

this thick, yearly-updated book to look up side effects

and match patients' pills to the colored pictures were endless.

Now, you just Google or ask Siri or Alexa.

You graduate well-prepared by a wonderful, outstanding faculty.

Our class also was fortunate to be

taught by illuminates, such as

Peter Nowell-- pathology, the Philadelphia Chromosome,

Stanley Dudrick-- hyperalimentation,

Celso-Ram n Garc a, one of my faculty advisors--

co-investigator of the pill,

Harold Scheie, ophthalmology, who was my Chief,

just to name a few.

I'm sure I left out others that my classmates would

love to add.

I have no doubt that you will experience

revolutionary and amazing advances in medicine

and techniques as did I. Some of you in the Class of 2020

will be inventors of these changes.

Others will be good at applying them.

Others will do both.

To give one example from my own specialty,

ophthalmology, when I just finished residency in 1974,

cataract surgery was a two-hour operation.

Patients were hospitalized over here at the Scheie Institute

for 10 days, and after three months of healing,

were finally given Coke-bottle glasses or hard contact lenses,

which they had difficulty handling, just

to be able to see.

Now, cataract surgery takes less than 20 minutes

and is done as an outpatient with a two-hour stay.

Thanks to this miraculous implant,

the patients see quite well almost immediately.

You will have up days and down days in medicine.

One day, you'll save a patient's life

by diagnosing a brain tumor from simple clinical findings

in the office.

You will go home that night feeling like a million bucks.

The next day in the office, you will

find that one of your glaucoma patients

unfortunately has lost more vision because the eye

pressure was not low enough.

You will diagnose a melanoma early and save a life.

One day, you'll be successful at a difficult delivery,

but the next day, a baby will be stillborn.

But because of your wonderful training and dedication,

I can guarantee you that you'll have many, many more

highs than lows, and you will find that a grateful patient is

the best high of all.

Also, don't forget that each patient is unique.

Despite all the education you've had here at Penn

and will obtain elsewhere and despite all your extra reading

and research, the patient's body and mind

will do unexplainable things.

Emboli will still be thrown despite proper anticoagulation

or you'll be faced with a situation that

will let you not anticoagulate because the patient has

another condition.

Then what do you do?

Or you will do everything right, and still, the patient

will go downhill.

Or you will inadvertently make a mistake

and the patient will miraculously recover.

You will have ongoing challenges,

but don't ever lose the idealism and quest

for learning that you have today.

I can predict that 50 years from now, your representative

from the Class of 2020 will be giving

a similar speech to the Graduating Class of 2070.

They will also say that we went through the dark ages

of medicine, but we helped a lot of people along the way.

I hope you enjoy the road ahead as much as I did.

Go forth into your wonderful profession.

Thank you so much, Dr. Yolles.

Benjamin Franklin, the founding father of the University

of Pennsylvania, is known for many famous quotes.

He has said, "without continual growth and progress,

such words as improvement, achievement, and success

have no meaning."

Today, we take note of this moment in time,

even as you plan for continued growth and progress,

to recognize and celebrate your achievement and success.

This is the moment you have been waiting for.

We can affirm that each of you, graduates of 2020,

have completed all of the necessary requirements

to receive your Doctor of Medicine degree

from the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine

at the University of Pennsylvania.

So it is now our great pleasure to call each of you

by name to recognize your outstanding accomplishments.

Dr. Jon Morris, Associate Dean for Student Affairs,

will recognize each graduate.

As your name is called, we will pause for a moment

to celebrate you, view your picture,

and your plans for the future with our very best wishes

of congratulations.

And now, we celebrate the achievements

of each member of the Class of 2020.

You will notice in the program that many of these students

have already been honored with numerous additional accolades.

We have students who are in our combined MD-PhD program,

have already received their PhD degree,

and other students who are graduating

with additional certifications or degrees.

We would also like to acknowledge those students who

have been elected to the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor

Society and the Arnold P. Gold Humanism Honor Society.

I now present to you the Class of 2020.

Dr. Andrew Mark Acker.

Dr. Acker would have been hooded by his father, Dr. Michael

Acker, Professor of Surgery and Chief

of the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery.

Dr. Alexandra Adegoke.

Dr. Adegoke is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in bioengineering.

Dr. Prateek Agarwal.

Dr. Anjali Agarwalla.

Dr. Teja Alapati.

Dr. Liz Albert.

Dr. Priyanka Anand.

Dr. Bryan James Auvil.

Dr. Steven Baldassano.

Dr. Baldassano is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in bioengineering.

He would have been hooded by his father, Dr. Robert Baldassano,

Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Gastroenterology

at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Vivek Behera.

Dr. Behera is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Nadir Sinan Bilici.

Dr. Hannah Bogen.

Dr. Kelly Boylan.

Dr. Remy Bremner.

Dr. Ming Cai.

Dr. Richard Campbell.

Dr. Julia Carney.

Dr. Angeliz Caro Monroig.

Dr. Alejandro Cazzulino.

Dr. Cazzulino would have been hooded by his mother, Dr. Maria

Oquendo, Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry.

Dr. Beda Cha.

Dr. Madeline Crystal Chandra.

Dr. Gina Chang.

Dr. Megan Chenworth.

Dr. Daniel Child.

Dr. Child is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Amanda Li-Ming Chin.

Dr. Steve Sungwon Cho.

Dr. Caroline W. Chung.

Dr. Chung would have been hooded by her father, Dr. Chun-Hsi

Chung, Director of the Postdoctoral Orthodontic

Program at the School of Dental Medicine.

Dr. Zachariah Cole.

Dr. Victor Richard Cotton.

Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Cullen.

Dr. Nicole Romano Curnes.

Dr. Sonya Davey.

Dr. Lauren Davis Rivera.

Dr. Yang Ding.

Dr. Alexandra Doms.

Dr. Doms would have been hooded by her father, Dr. Robert

Doms, Professor and Pathologist-in-Chief

at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Alexandra Dreyfuss.

Dr. Claire Drolen.

Dr. Elizabeth Duckworth.

Dr. Hanna Elmongy.

Dr. Elshaddai Ephrem.

Dr. Christine Farrell.

Dr. Christopher Gajewski.

Dr. Ivana Ganihong.

Dr. Nicholas Jay Goel.

Dr. Drew William Goldberg.

Dr. Goldberg would have been hooded

by his father, Dr. Richard Shlansky-Goldberg, Professor

of Radiology.

Dr. Meghana Golla.

Dr. Sofia Gomez.

Dr. Jan Gong.

Dr. Austin Lewis Good.

Dr. Good is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Kendall Lyn Goodyear.

Dr. Justin Edward Grenet.

Dr. Jeremy Grevet.

Dr. Grevet is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Emily Jeanne Gup.

Dr. Naomi Gutkind.

Dr. Jessica Guzman.

Dr. Mitchell James Hallman.

Dr. Nicholas Henry Hampilos.

Dr. Kirlos Nader Haroun.

Dr. Elaine Hong Hatch.

Dr. Jorge Andres Hernandez.

Dr. Mary Ann Hernando.

Dr. Sutton Elizabeth Higgins.

Dr. Krystal Hill.

Dr. Shawn Hines.

Dr. Zachary Michael Hostetler.

Dr. Hostetler is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Andrew Huang.

Dr. Catherine Elizabeth Traina Hutchison.

Dr. Jasmine Hwang.

Dr. Arvin Jadoo.

Dr. Olivia Simone Jew.

Dr. Couger Jaramillo.

Dr. Lauren Lee Johnson.

Dr. Yong Hoon Kim.

Dr. Kim is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Lohith Ganesh Kini.

Dr. Kini is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in bioengineering.

Dr. Rebecca Kotcher.

Dr. Kevin Kulshrestha.

Dr. John Lankalis.

Dr. Scott Michael LaValva.

Dr. Harrison Ty-Sen Lee.

Dr. Jae Won Lee.

Dr. Lee is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in immunology.

Dr. Julian Lijbman.

Dr. John Li.

Dr. Mischa Li.

Dr. Li is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Allyson Lieberman.

Dr. Lieberman is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Jessica Fang Liu.

Dr. Liu is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in bioengineering.

Dr. Jason Liu.

Dr. Liu is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Nancy Liu.

Dr. Carissa Elaine Livingston.

Dr. Meghan Lockwood.

Dr. Dorothy Elizabeth Loy.

Dr. Loy is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in cell and molecular biology.

Dr. Esteban Luna.

Dr. Luna is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in neuroscience.

Dr. Ethan Andrew Mack.

Dr. Mack is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in immunology.

Dr. Katherine Magoon.

Dr. George Maliha.

Dr. Loren Mead.

Dr. Blake Mergler.

Dr. Aryeh Metzger.

Dr. Blake Collins Meza.

Dr. Gabrielle Mezochow.

Dr. Mezochow would have been hooded

by her mother, Dr. Emily Blumberg, Professor of Medicine

in Radiation Oncology.

Dr. Katharine Freeman Michel.

Dr. Alexandra Smith Miller.

Dr. Nicholas Lawrence Moore.

Dr. Jennifer Morganroth.

Dr. Morganroth would have been hooded

by her mother, Dr. Gail Morrison, Professor

of Medicine.

Dr. Heardley Moses Murdock.

Dr. Sneha Narasimhan.

Dr. Narasimhan is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in neuroscience.

Dr. Natalie Neale.

Dr. Ilana Nelson-Greenberg.

Dr. Bianca Nfonoyim.

Dr. Joy Ebunoluwa Obayemi.

Dr. Oladayo Osuntokun.

Dr. Mariah Owusu-Agyei.

Dr. Ethan Pani.

Dr. Alomi Parikh.

Dr. James Clayton Parker.

Dr. Jonathan Peterson.

Dr. William Piwnica-Worms.

Dr. Mark Pyfer.

Dr. Bo Qin.

Dr. Abhinay Ramachandran.

Dr. Lauren Reed-Guy.

Dr. Danielle Corriveau Reny.

Dr. Leah Rethy.

Dr. Emily Rider-Longmaid.

Dr. David Roberts.

Dr. Maxwell Rogoski.

Dr. Rogoski is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in history and sociology of science.

Dr. Jaclyn Rosenthal.

Dr. Andrew Ruff.

Dr. Anik Saha.

Dr. Mohima Sanyal.

Dr. Daniel Saris.

Dr. Saris would have been hooded by his mother, Dr. Ann

Honebrink, Associate Professor of Clinical Obstetrics

and Gynecology.

Dr. Steven Scarfone.

Dr. Hannah Lauren Schultz.

Dr. Mika Schwartz.

Dr. Natty Sergay.

Dr. Juan Serna.

Dr. Preya Shah.

Dr. Shah is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning her PhD in bioengineering.

Dr. Daniel Sierra-Vazquez.

Dr. Kara Silberthau.

Dr. Silberthau would have been hooded by her mother, Dr. Susan

Mandel, Professor of Medicine and Chief

of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes,

and Metabolism.

Dr. Meliha Skaljic.

Dr. Jillian Louise Smith.

Dr. Scott David Symonds.

Dr. Adedolapo Dolly Omohafe Taiw .

Dr. Alan Tang.

Dr. Tang is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in pharmacology.

Dr. Rebecca Tang.

Dr. Sheng Tang.

Dr. Tang is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in neuroscience.

Dr. Elizabeth S. Tepler.

Dr. Estifanos Tilahun.

Dr. Solymar Torres Maldonado.

Dr. Erin Elizabeth Tully.

Dr. Ezinnem Ugoji.

Dr. Leo Wang.

Dr. Wang is a graduate of the MD-PhD program,

earning his PhD in bioengineering.

Dr. Yixin Ally Wang.

Dr. Eric Ward.

Dr. Jenny Wei.

Dr. DJ Wendler.

Dr. Philip Williams.

Dr. Christine Willinger.

Dr. Vivien Wong.

Dr. Ryan Zahalka.

Dr. Leah Zuroff.

In your graduation program, please

note these individuals who have received prizes and awards.

I would like to highlight just three of these awards.

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented

by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation is

awarded to our graduate who displays

the highest standards of humanism and professionalism.

This year's recipient is

Dr. Alexandra Smith Miller.

The Nathan and Pauline Pincus Prize

is awarded each year for outstanding achievement

as a clinician.

Please join me in acknowledging this year's recipients,

Dr. Alexandra Doms and Dr. John Li.

As your program notes, the Dr. Spencer Morris Prize

is awarded each year to the medical student

in the graduating class who scores

the highest on an oral examination

given to selected students based on academic and clinical


It is, without question, the highest academic honor

a graduate from the Perelman School of Medicine can receive.

I'm delighted this year to present

the Dr. Spencer Morris Prize to

Dr. Prateek Agarwal.

On behalf of the Office of Student Affairs,

I would like to take the opportunity

to personally congratulate each member of the Class of 2020.

This is a remarkable achievement.

It's been a privilege and pleasure to work with you,

and we wish you continued success and all

of life's greatest blessings.

Congratulations on a job well done.

Now, please welcome Dr. Jennifer Kogan,

Associate Dean for Student Success and Professionalism,

who will introduce this year's student speaker.

Thank you, Dr. Morris, and congratulations

to the Class of 2020 on achieving

this tremendous milestone.

We are so proud of each and every one of you.

It has been an honor to get to know you

and to work with many of you over the past few years.

It is customary each year for a member of the graduating class

to address the audience on this momentous occasion.

It is my great pleasure to introduce Dr. Ilana

Nelson-Greenberg, a member of the Class of 2020 and someone

I've been fortunate to get to know over the past year, who

was selected for this honor.

Be well.

Thank you, Dr. Kogan, for the very gracious introduction.

Class of 2020, we made it!

I'm really excited and grateful to be speaking to you today.

And first and foremost, I want to thank all of Suite 100.

For our families and friends, Suite 100

is code for the administrative superheroes

because they have moved the world for us.

Throughout all of medical school and especially

over these past few extremely strange and uncertain months,

you have been our rocks.

In particular, I think we're the luckiest class

in the world because we're graduating

with Helene Weinberg, who is retiring this spring.

She's accompanied us, steadied us,

and led us through the myriad of mazes

that medical school requires.

It's not an exaggeration to say that we and many, many doctors

before us wouldn't have made it without you

or at least we would have hit a lot more dead

ends along the way.

Thank you, Helene.

Critically, I want to say thank you

to the parents, the extended families and friends,

and to the found families who have supported and sacrificed

for us not just during medical school, but on the roads

to and from wherever we have been and we will go.

Thank you to everyone who's packed our brains

with knowledge over the years--

to the pre-clinical scientists, attendings, residents,


I promise this will only take an hour and a half,

so bear with me here.

To the AV tech wizards, to everyone

in the Department of Diversity and Inclusion, to the nurses.

Okay, my point here is that we're not alone

as we stand here or sit here today.

We're here because of every person in the school

and in our own lives who have supported us and gotten us

to this point.

So to all of you-- thank you, thank you, thank you.

On a personal note, I also want to thank

all of you, my classmates, who have so graciously adopted

me and so many others into the Class of 2020.

I want to congratulate us all on actually having

made the decision and on arriving

at the moment of graduation.

Though in reality, the exact moment for me is mid-April

and I am recording this in a JMEC studio.

So I'm going to state the obvious.

These are truly extraordinary times.

We're all trying to make sense of what's going on

and how we fit into them.

It's hard not to feel helpless, and I've certainly

been feeling that way.

What's been giving me comfort is remembering that no big thing

happens through one big action.

Small acts amount to major things,

particularly so in the face of enormity.

Two examples of this stand out to me, one for medicine

and one a little more personal.

To start with the more personal, anyone who knows

me knows that I am an extraordinarily big fan

of the Apollo 13 lunar attempt.

And as I speak, it's almost 50 years ago to the day

that the mission to walk on the moon

was aborted by an explosion that threatened

the lives of the astronauts on board.

Those three astronauts-- Jim Lovell, Fred Haise,

and Jack Swigert--

returned home safely because literally hundreds and hundreds

of people took thousands and thousands

of small steps with just slide rulers

as their tools to bring three men home.

In an example closer to medicine,

we get to remember that we're part

of a long, long legacy of people who

have done small daily acts in the face of enormity.

A generation ago, our predecessors

entered internships in the 1980s during the early AIDS epidemic.

It was a time when they called it GRID--

Gay-Related Immune Deficiency.

They didn't know what it was and they didn't

know how it was transmitted.

And they watched people their age die really

awful and lonely deaths.

The people dying were disproportionately

gay men and IV drug users--

extremely stigmatized and vulnerable populations.

Working with clinical providers, community organizers

like ACT UP did the daily acts to catalyze

policy and treatment changes that transformed AIDS

into the treatable chronic disease it is today.

We already see the extraordinary disparities

in this modern-day COVID-19 pandemic.

The people most affected by it are still

the most vulnerable and racism, poverty,

and other structural forces exacerbate its devastation

much further than the biological factor would alone.

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,

the accompanying helplessness that we all feel

has been amplified.

But in some ways, we, graduating today, are lucky.

We have a role.

We have our day-to-day.

Small acts are transformative when

we ground them in large values, but what then are those values?

Thinking back over my time in medical school,

I realized my patients had already

started teaching me the answer to that question.

Taking my cue from a resident, partway through my rotations,

I started asking all of my patients the same question.

If you could give advice to a young doctor

starting out in her training, what would you tell her?

I got so many more answers than I'd expect that I swear to God

had to do with giving patients hoagies.

But universally, the theme that permeated most of the responses

centered around kindness.

The people in their lives that made the most difference

didn't always know the answers, nor did they

spend inordinate time with patients.

Rather, they were unfailingly kind.

What a powerful way to create meaning.

I know we know this.

We know about kindness.

We've had it drilled into us forever,

but that doesn't make it a mushy,

or an unimportant, or perhaps most critically, an easy way

to live.

It's a theme that George Saunders, the American author,

famously discusses in yet another graduation speech.

Saunders says, "I've spent much of my life

in a cloud of things that have tended to push

'being kind' to the periphery.

Things like: Anxiety.




The mistaken belief that enough accomplishment will rid me

of all of that...

Kindness, sure-- but first let me finish this semester,

this degree...

let me succeed at this job....

And it's a cycle that can go on...

well, forever."

And Saunders warns us--

because we, as eternal trainees, are extremely

vulnerable to the cycle.

We're chock-full of anxiety, fear, insecurity, and ambition.

And in this context, kindness takes immense energy.

As trainees, one thing we don't often have is immense energy.

Because real kindness requires vulnerability,

to be able to stay strong when others question us,

and much more commonly, when we question ourselves.

It requires that when Saunders' cycle inevitably comes calling,

we don't give in to meanness, or lean on credentials and titles,

or shut others down in order to look more powerful.

In a divided, frantic, and objectively scary world,

we have to get active and root ourselves in day-to-day acts

of kindness to everyone--

to our patients and colleagues, to our new co-residents

and old medical school classmates, and to those people

we don't know at all.

I think we have to pay special attention to those closest

to us, who we may sometimes overlook,

correctly believing that they'll be forgiving of our neglect.

But in order to do this, we need to learn first and foremost

to be kind to ourselves.

And that requires real work.

It requires us to be comfortable with who

we are because the more confidence we have,

the less likely we are to prove our worth by bullying others.

So for myself and for all of us graduating today,

I hope we use our energy towards this goal.

Oftentimes, that may be as simple as leading

with curiosity.

Curiosity means we're not writing other people's stories

for them.

And so with better understanding,

we may open up rather than wall ourselves off.

I hope, in turn, this curiosity fuels generosity,

both towards those we think are more

vulnerable than us, and also towards the people

who remind us of ourselves and sometimes feel like they

threaten us even more.

I hope we remember how smart and confident we are at our cores,

even if it doesn't always feel that way outwardly,

and that we don't lash out against others when confidence


I hope we've been kind in knowing

that there are times when we have

and when we will fail, when we'll be too tired to ask

for clarification and we'll miss the nuance of what someone is

telling us, when we'll snap at colleagues hoping

to trick people around us into thinking a mistake was not

our own.

And yet, I hope we know that doing so

does not actually make us look stronger

and that we stay brave in deciding

to embrace all of who we are, as opposed to rejecting others

as a shield.

I'm going to end with a quote from one of my favorite

authors, Anne Michaels, who says,

"It's a mistake to think it's the small things we control

and not the large...

We can't stop the small accident,

the tiny detail that conspires into fate...

But we can assert the largest order,

the large human values daily, the only order large enough

to see."

I love this quote because as Michaels reminds us,

it is large choices that we make as we live our day-to-day that

will determine who we are and what kinds of doctors

we will be.

Deciding to come to medical school,

understanding that we have willingly

entered the pain of others, erring

in the direction of kindness; choosing

to be decent and empathic will keep us grounded

and control what really is in our hands to control.

I feel extraordinarily lucky to have you all as my colleagues

as we leave this unbelievable institution

and start our medical careers.

Thank you all, and here's again to our Class of 2020.

Thank you, Dr. Nelson-Greenberg, for your inspirational words.

I am very pleased to announce Dr. Nadia Bennett, Associate

Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, Clinical and Health

System Sciences Curriculum, as the recipient of the Medical

Student Government Clinical Teaching Award.

Dr. Bennett has been honored with this award

from our graduating students.

Dr. Bennett will now lead the Class of 2020

in the recitation of the physician's pledge,

the Declaration of Geneva, a modern version

of the Hippocratic Oath.

At this time, I have the privilege

of leading the Declaration of Geneva.

I ask the Class of 2020 to please rise wherever you are.

According to our tradition, I also

invite all physicians present at this ceremony

to rise to renew their commitments with these newest

members of our profession.

Wherever you may be, please speak loudly

and join me in a recitation of the oath.

Let us now read this oath together.

As a member of the medical profession,

I solemnly pledge to dedicate my life

to the service of humanity.

The health and well-being of my patient

will be my first consideration.

I will respect the autonomy and dignity of my patient.

I will maintain the utmost respect for human life.

I will not permit considerations of age, disease or disability,

creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality,

political affiliation, race, sexual orientation,

social standing, or any other factor

to intervene between my duty and my patient.

I will respect the secrets that are confided in me,

even after the patient has died.

I will practise my profession with conscience and dignity

and in accordance with good medical practice.

I will foster the honour and noble traditions of the medical


I will give to my teachers, colleagues, and students

the respect and gratitude that is their due.

I will share my medical knowledge

for the benefit of the patient and the advancement

of healthcare.

I will attend to my own health, well-being, and abilities

in order to provide care of the highest standard.

I will not use my medical knowledge

to violate human rights and civil liberties, even

under threat.

I make these promises solemnly, freely, and upon my honour.

Thank you.

To the Graduating Class of 2020, as our ceremony

comes to a close, I would like to take this opportunity

on behalf of all the faculty who have been

your teachers, mentors, and friends to express what

a privilege it has been to have accompanied you

on this journey.

We are excited for you and we share in your joy.

We are so proud of your achievements

and accomplishments and wish you continued success

in whatever career path you choose

as you begin your next step in your professional careers.

To all of your parents, relatives, significant others,

and friends, we extend our sincerest congratulations

on this very special day for all of you.

We acknowledge that these are unprecedented and precarious

times, but please know that we feel reassured

to know that you are the future of medicine

and the scholars, clinicians, and healers that will lead us

forward to better times.

A thank you to the Watson Highlanders Bagpipe

Ensemble for providing the music and to Dr. Katrina Armstrong,

our inspirational graduation speaker, Dr. Elliott Yolles,

our alumni speaker, and to Dr. Nelson-Greenberg, our student


Our sincere gratitude is extended to the individuals

in our Office of Academic Programs, who coordinated

today's events, especially Carrie Renner and Jessica

Marcus in the Office of Student Affairs,

our registrar, Helene Weinberg--

Helene, we all wish you well in your next endeavors--

and our Chief Operating Officer, Anna Delaney,

and all of the staff in Academic Programs.

As we conclude today's graduation ceremony,

I personally hope that each of you in the Class of 2020

find supreme satisfaction and joy in your medical careers,

and that you will always regard the Perelman School of Medicine

as your launching pad and home, and that you

stay connected with your friends, classmates, teachers,

and mentors.

Congratulations to all of you.

This concludes our commencement exercises

celebrating the Class of 2020.

[bagpipe music]

The Description of Perelman School of Medicine Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony