A new group of 37 University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix medical students were officially conferred with their medical degrees at ceremonies Monday in the fourth graduation for the downtown Phoenix medical school.
Led by a bagpipe and drum corps, commencement exercises began with a procession from the college to the ceremony at Phoenix Symphony Hall. The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix has graduated 151 physicians in four years. The school opened in 2007 in what was the largest city in the nation without an allopathic (MD-granting) medical school.
UA College of Medicine – Phoenix Dean Stuart D. Flynn, MD, began Monday’s ceremony with a short description of the fourth class to complete four years of study on the downtown Phoenix campus.
“You arrived with a wonderful mix of confidence and humility, fun interpersonal skills and leadership characteristics,” Dr. Flynn said. “You have valued being trailblazers on our campus and adjectives you have used to describe your class include that you have a community feel, you are family-centered and you are all in together.”
A special hooding ceremony and the recitation of the oath were part of the ceremony, which included an address from renowned researcher Eric Reiman, MD, executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and a faculty member of the UA College of Medicine.
“I am here to tell you that you are entering our profession at the most exciting time in history, the most important moment to become a doctor,” said Dr. Reiman, who is also director of the Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium. “You will have opportunities to make a difference far greater than you think, far greater than the rest of us could have imagined when we began our own careers. You will be on the frontline of a new frontier, you will transform the way health is promoted and care is provided and you will blaze the trail for generations to follow.”
Graduating senior Christian Dameff, who will be a resident in the emergency medicine department of Maricopa Integrated Health System, gave the student address.
“I am awestruck at the accomplishments of every single person in this class,” Dameff said. “The thousands of hours of volunteer work, the passion and dedication to scholarly research, the diligence they show during their study of medicine and most important, the passion and superior care they give when they treat every single one of their patients. It is truly inspiring.”
The ceremony capped a day of celebration that included a senior luncheon with graduates cited for awards by specialty and achievement in the community, for humanism and scholarship.
At the lunch, graduate Jacob Gold singled out the administration for its leadership, thank them specifically.
“For taking this school from this tiny, three high school buildings to this big building, very well respected organization that we have here,” Gold said.
Among the citations, faculty member Stephanie Briney, MD, who oversees the service learning program on campus noted that the Class of 2014 had collectively served more than 5,000 hours in clinics, teaching and other areas during their four years of medical school.
The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix opened in 2007 as a way for the state to address the critical shortage of physicians in Arizona. Nearly half of this year’s graduates from the Phoenix campus are staying in Arizona for their residencies and a similar number are pursuing primary care specialties.