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Dartmouth Medical School Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Vital Signs

Pomp, circumstance, and inspiring speeches

By Amos Esty

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M.D. marshal Albert Ackil and classmate Chiaka Abara

The student speakers who took to the podium at DMS's June 12 Class Day ceremony were an inspiring—and international—lot. Yolanda Nesbeth, the graduate student speaker, grew up and earned her undergraduate degree in Jamaica. Roberto Nicolalde Flores, the health policy student speaker, arrived in the U.S. from Ecuador a decade ago to pursue his education. And the medical student speaker, Rajesh Ramanathan, was born in India and has lived in Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Indonesia. But despite their diverse backgrounds, they sounded common themes: the importance to them of the Dartmouth community and their desire to represent that community well in their careers.

"As Dartmouth graduates, now we have an enormous responsibility, and that is to pay back to society all the cumulative privileges that it has provided to us," said Flores.

Note: Nesbeth struck a similar note. "Dartmouth is the type of place where people work together rather than compete with one another to achieve positive results," she said. "Do something that makes a lasting impact."

Like Nesbeth, keynote speaker Dr. Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, is from Jamaica. His distinguished career as a clinician, researcher, and educator—he is also chair of the Association of American Medical Colleges' Council of Deans—provided another source of inspiration for the 192 graduates.

Degrees: Among them were 86 new M.D.'s; 41 Ph.D.'s (5 in biochemistry, 8 in genetics, 12 in microbiology and immunology, 7 in pharmacology and toxicology, 6 in physiology and neurobiology, and 3 in health policy and clinical practice); 42 M.P.H.'s; and 23 M.S.'s.

"Do something that makes a lasting impact," urged one student speaker.

A number of graduates were singled out for their accomplishments. See the box below for the prizes presented at Class Day and an earlier awards ceremony.

The students handed out some honors, too: the Basic Science Teaching Award to Dr. Virginia Lyons, an associate professor of anatomy; the Clinical Science Teaching Award to Dr. Timothy Lahey, an assistant professor of medicine; and the Thomas P. Almy Housestaff Teaching Award to Dr. Arne Olsen, an instructor of surgery.

At the Dartmouth-wide commencement the next day, two honorary degree recipients had medical ties: Dr. Regina Benjamin, U.S. surgeon general, and Dr. Agnes Binagwaho, permanent secretary of the Rwanda Ministry of Health.

Step: Since then, the graduates have scattered across the country and around the globe—surely heeding Ramanathan's encouragement to "step boldly into new situations and challenges, for it was that boldness that has led to today's achievements."

Class of 2010 Prizes and Awards

Dean's Medal

Linton Evans, Duncan Meiklejohn

Good Physician Award

Matthew Cheney

John W. Strohbehn Medal for Excellence in Biomedical Research

Christopher Baker

Frederic P. Lord Award in Anatomy

Duncan Meiklejohn

Department of Anesthesiology

Award Yi-Cai (Isaac) Tong

C. Everett Koop, M.D., Courage Award

Crandall Peeler

John F. Radebaugh Community Service Award

Katherine Ratzan Peeler

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

Katherine Ratzan Peeler

Julian and Melba Jarrett Memorial Prize

Haitham Ahmed

Saul Blatman Award for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health

Sarah Dotters-Katz

Payson-Hampers M.D.-M.B.A. Scholars Award

Eugene Hsu, Jessica Morgan

Department of Medicine Paul Gerber Award

Austin Kim

Merck Manual Awards

Chiaka Abara, Jennifer Bentwood, Benjamin Snyder, Sherzana Sunderji

American Academy of Neurology Prize

Nu Chai

Barry D. Smith, M.D., Award for Excellence in Obstetrics and Gynecology

Elizabeth Mayhall

Dr. Freddie Fu Orthopaedic Surgery Award

Christos Photopoulos

E. Elizabeth French Award in Pathology

Darcy Kerr

New Hampshire Pediatric Society Award

Noah Hoffman

Department of Psychiatry Award

Rajendra Aldis

Harte C. Crow Award in Radiology

Marius Pakalniskis

Hitchcock Foundation Student Research Prize

Eric Arehart, Maren Speck

Douglas P. Zipes Research Prize in Medicine

Haitham Ahmed

Arthur Naitove Surgical Scholar Award

Nicholas Bayley

Dartmouth-Mosenthal Surgical Society

Omri Ayalon, Peter Bartline, Linton Evans, Duncan Meiklejohn, Christos Photopoulos, Rajesh Ramanathan

American Medical Women's Association Glasgow-Rubin Achievement Citation

Virginie Achim, Maren Speck

John and Sophia Zaslow Prize

Haitham Ahmed

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