New doctors commit to culture of caring

By: Linda Shepard | Rochester Post | Published May 19, 2015


ROCHESTER HILLS — The 47 graduates of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine are the first of their kind as the initial class of the school that opened to students just four years ago.

As graduates of the first MD medical school in the state in almost 50 years, the new doctors have prepared for the future.

“You are the most well-educated people in society,” said OU President George Hynd during the OUWB commencement ceremony May 15 at OU’s O’rena. “You are risk takers. You decided to come to a brand-new medical school. You are pioneers in an evolution of health care services.”

An MD medical school delivers a degree in allopathic medicine, which is the classical form of medicine focused on the diagnosis and treatment of human diseases, according to OUWB officials. The medical school, led by Dean Robert Folberg, is designed to transform medical education by emphasizing holistic physician development grounded in evidence-based medical science.

“Our graduates have excelled academically and are engaged with their communities,” Folberg said. “They are also physicians who are compassionate, who listen with focused intensity and who communicate clearly, with elevated cultural awareness.”

“You students are the luckiest in the country,” said Mark Schlussel, OU Board of Trustees chair. “Dean Folberg has developed a caring culture. You will face the greatest medical developments in history. You will be the leaders of medicine.”

“You have earned your degree. What you will now be tested on is character,” said Mary Fisher, an author, artist and AIDS activist who received an honorary doctorate of humanities degree during the commencement ceremony.

Fisher urged the graduates to be “intimate healers” of their patients.

“I have been a patient for longer than you have been clinicians,” said Fisher, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1991. “If this school was successful, you will understand intimacy. Intimacy demands trust and requires vulnerability.”

“You are entering the new golden age of medicine,” said keynote speaker John Prescott, chief academic officer of the Association of the American Medical Colleges. “The baby boomers are getting older, and they say they are never going to die — so we need doctors.”

Prescott said the field of medicine is in transition. “It always has been and always will be,” he said. “You must embrace this to make an impact and lead the profession into a new age.”

The commencement ceremony included performances by the OU wind symphony and Cabar Feidh Pipes and Drums, which led the new graduates through campus to the Elliott Tower for a carillon concert.

“We are the first ever to graduate from this school,” OUWB graduate Saad Sahi said. “It was a privilege to spend the last four years here. I learned to work hard, be kind and be humble. When we focus on patients, I will remember why I wanted to be a doctor in the first place. I can’t wait to see our lives take shape.”