The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) celebrated its 49th Commencement and granted a total 399 degrees during two ceremonies.
Over the course of their academic careers, the class of 2018 took on national and local leadership roles in human rights and social justice movements to undo racism and bias in the medical professions; authored books and publications to improve the state of domestic and international health care; conducted groundbreaking research in immunotherapies and anti-viral treatments; organized around a national movement to protect patients; and has been recognized for providing unrivaled care locally through the East Harlem Health Outreach Partnership, as well as in the global community.
Since 2016, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has held two commencement ceremonies to confer degrees to students within the Master’s, MD, PhD, and Dual Degree programs. In total, the School conferred 399 degrees, which consisted of: 145 Doctors of Medicine, 94 Master’s of Public Health, 64 Doctors of Philosophy, 25 Master’s of Science in Biomedical Sciences, 19 Master’s in Healthcare Delivery Leadership, 11 Master’s in Clinical Research, 10 Master’s in Genetic Counseling, 5 Master’s in Biostatistics, 2 Master’s in Biomedical Informatics, and 24 Dual Degrees (12 MD/PhDs, 7 MD/MPHs, and 5 MD/MSCRs).
The class of 2018 joins a network of accomplished alumni, known the world over for their integrity, discovery, altruism, and excellence in clinical care and research.
Highlights of the MD, PhD, and Dual Degree Ceremony
On Friday, May 11, the Icahn School of Medicine held the MD, PhD, and Dual Degree Ceremony at Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall. Kenneth L. Davis, MD, CEO and President of the Mount Sinai Health System, opened the proceedings with a riveting speech to the next generation of leaders. “Four years ago, we asked you to come here because we saw in you the promise of leadership. Now your job is to prove us right.” With a nod to the School’s mission and the country’s shifting social climate, Dr. Davis urged the graduating class to continue to be change agents in their practice and beyond.
In celebration of the Icahn School of Medicine’s 50th Anniversary, Dean Charney commented on the School’s successes through the years, which were only made possible by standing on the shoulders of founding leaders (or Giants) at Mount Sinai. Dean Charney then paid homage to the School’s current Giants, some of whom served as the platform party and included: Nathan Kase, MD; Kurt Hirschorn, MD; Sandra Masur, PhD; Janice Gabrilove, MD; Jeffrey Laitman, PhD; and Gary Butts, MD, among others.
Dr. Charney encouraged the graduating class to reflect on the work that’s left to accomplish over the next fifty years and beyond. Expressing his confidence in the class of 2018, he encouraged the graduates to close the inequitable gaps that persist in medicine and science; discover novel treatments for those who continue to suffer, and to carry the values held by the institution throughout their careers.
Timothy P. Shriver, PhD, Chairman of the Board, Special Olympics, delivered the Commencement Address, advising this year’s graduates to be people who choose to heal—in medicine, research, and humanity. He encouraged this year’s graduates to use their revered positions to empower, unify, and restore trust in every encounter with others. “I ask you to have the eyes to see; to tell people that they belong; to put science and the spirit together,” he advised
In addition to Dr. Shriver, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai awarded Honorary Degrees to: Cecile Richards, Former President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund; Cato L. Laurencin, MD, PhD, Director, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, University of Connecticut; Douglas R. Lowy, MD, Deputy Director, National Cancer Institute, National Institute of Health; and Nora D. Volkow, MD, Director, National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Highlights of the Master’s Degree Ceremony
Led by the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Master’s Degree Ceremony was held at the Icahn School of Medicine’s Leo C. Stern Auditorium on Friday, June 22.
In his opening remarks, Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs said of the graduates, “You are an impressive group and your influence has already been felt here at Mount Sinai and well beyond”—a statement supported by the graduates’ accomplishments throughout their tenure at the School. From traveling to Uganda’s local health clinics to assess malaria-prevention programs, to being the catalyst for a future opioid abuse prevention campaign (headed by the NYC Department of Health), the class of 2018 shouldered real world responsibilities with real world impact. Dr. Nestler encouraged the graduates to continue confronting the hard issues to bring lasting benefits to society. “Success will require your bold imagination and working across many disciplines to improve our nation’s public health,” he said.
This year, Debrework Zewdie, PhD, Former Director of the World Bank Global AIDS Program, and Deputy Executive Director and COO of the Global Fund presented the Commencement Address, and with candid appeal urged the graduating class to reflect on the society in which they will enter and treat. “Your graduation puts you among those who are armed with knowledge to prevent, care, and treat diseases—but also to fight injustice and poverty,” she said. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai awarded Dr. Zewdie with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
The 2018 Master’s Degree Ceremony is the third commencement under Marta Filizola, PhD, Dean for the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
Achievement Awards Ceremony
The 2018 Achievement Awards were presented separately and preceded each commencement ceremony on Thursday, May 10 and Thursday, June 21, respectively. The awards were granted to outstanding ISMMS graduates, and was followed by a Dean’s reception which was attended by students, parents, faculty, and guests. Download the Master’s Degree and the MD, PhD, and Dual Degree Achievement Ceremony programs.