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Vital Signs

Community and responsibility were Class Day themes

By Kelley Meck

To a casual observer, the Medical School's 2007 Class Day celebration might have looked like lots of pomp and spectacle. Kilted bagpipers and robed marshals led the faculty and soon-tobe graduates into a grand tent towering over Derzon Courtyard on the Hanover campus.

But at its core, the event was down-to-earth. The speeches focused not on self-congratulation but on the ability and responsibility of medical professionals to serve their communities. "Excellence and service," in the words of Dr. Stephen Spielberg, DMS's dean, were the central themes of the day.

Keynote: The keynote speaker, Dr. Benjamin Carson, Sr., the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins, echoed those themes—and defined success as uplifting all the people in a community—as he told a story from his own career. In 1997, he led a team that separated conjoined twins in a 28-hour operation at the only black teaching hospital in South Africa. After the surgery, Carson said, "one of the twins popped his eyes open and reached up to the endotracheal tube, and [a little while later] the other one did the same thing . . . and today they are graduating the fifth grade."

But the real success, he continued, was "the reaction of the people who had been there following so closely something being done in their country and community. Their level of selfesteem was so high, they were literally dancing in the streets." That, said Carson, is true success. It's the ability "to elevate other people [that produces] real fulfillment in life."

He called on the graduates to be leaders in solving such problems as lack of access to affordable medical care. "I don't think there is anyone more capable . . . than people in the medical field, because we have more education than anyone else in society," he said. "We have to come up with solutions.We cannot leave it to others."

After a standing ovation for Carson, medical student Kevin Desrosiers and graduate student Cary Boyd followed with rousing speeches of their own. Desrosiers recalled his motivation for entering medical school—"the ideal of helping other people cope with illness"—and encouraged his classmates to reflect on their own reasons for entering medicine. Consider, he urged them, "how our work has impacted the patients that we have already cared for, and how they have impacted us."

Moral: Boyd emphasized "the moral responsibility we have as doctors, scientists, and educators to be sensitive to the burden of shame" associated with mental disorders and diseases such as AIDS and SARS. The treatment of disease cannot be effective until shame is alleviated, she said. "Obtaining our degrees obligates us to break the silence." (See this issue's Student Notebook essay, which is adapted from Boyd's Class Day talk.)

Awarded this year were 54 M.D.'s; 24 Ph.D.'s (eight in biochemistry, six in microbiologyimmunology, three in pharmacology- toxicology, four in physiology, and three in the evaluative clinical sciences); 25 M.S.'s (one in microbiology-immunology and 24 in the evaluative clinical sciences); and 46M.P.H. degrees.

Top: As always, the recipients of the top prizes were announced at Class Day. The Dean's Medal went to Julianne Mann; the Strohbehn Medal to Elizabeth Harris, who earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry; and the Good PhysicianAward to Brian Porter. See the adjacent box for the other prizes awarded to '07s.

In addition, the M.D. graduates chose the recipients of three major teaching awards: the Basic Science TeachingAward went to Dr. Brian Catlin of anatomy; the Clinical Science Teaching Award to Dr. Catherine Pipas of community and familymedicine; and the Thomas P. Almy Housestaff TeachingAward to Dr. Todd Burdette, a surgery resident who only three years ago was graduating from DMS himself.

The festivities ended with language professor John Rassias chanting the Hippocratic Oath in Greek, followed by the medical students, led by Dean Spielberg, reciting it in English.

As the 149 graduates filed out of the tent, they were no doubt mulling over Carson's words: "Entering the field of medicine and medical sciences, when you really stop and think about it, is there anything more important?"

Class of 2007 Prizes and Awards

Dean's Medal Julianne Mann
Good Physician Award Brian Porter
John W. Strohbehn Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research Elizabeth Harris
Frederic P. Lord Award in Anatomy Kenton Powell
American Academy of Neurology Prize Casey Olm-Shipman
E. Elizabeth French Pathology Award Derek Jenkins
Department of Anesthesiology Award Peter Killoran
Department of Medicine Award Brian Porter
Dr. Freddie Fu Orthopaedic Surgery Award Derek Jenkins
Saul Blatman Award for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Casey Olm-Shipman
New England Pediatric Society Award Cara Haberman
Department of Psychiatry Award Cara Haberman
Harte C. Crow Radiology Award Stacey Crawford
AMWA Glasgow-Rubin Achievement Citation Julianne Mann
Arthur Naitove Surgical Scholar Award Theodore Yuo
Dartmouth-Mosenthal Surgical Society Jennie Baek, Erik Bergquist, Scott Faucett, C. Luke Rust, Gregory Sawyer, Scott Tobis
Julian and Melba Jarrett Memorial Prize Theodore Yuo
C. Everett Koop Courage Award Debraj Mukherjee
Merck Manual Awards Stephanie Black, Kevin Desrosiers, Jonathan Huntington, Roy Wade
Payson-Hampers M.D.-M.B.A. Scholars Award Stacey Crawford
John F. Radebaugh Community Service Award Christopher Jons
Rolf C. Syvertsen Fellow Brian Porter
Rolf C. Syvertsen Scholars Peter Killoran, Jonathan Huntington
Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award Christopher Jons
John and Sophia Zaslow Prize Meghan McCoy
Douglas P. Zipes Research Prize in Medicine Loc Nguyen
Hitchcock Foundation Student Research Prize Casey Olm-Shipman, Theodore Yuo
Rural Health Scholar Awards Stephanie Black, Sandra Maruszak, Adam Templeton

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