Graduates hear theme of humanities and understanding the patient’s narrative
On May 19, 2018, Northeast Ohio Medical University conferred 221 degrees upon Ohio’s newest physicians, pharmacists and other health professionals ― health-system pharmacy administration, integrated pharmaceutical medicine and public health. The 2018 Commencement, held at E.J. Thomas Performing Arts Center in Akron, was the University’s 38th, and its mission remained intact as the theme of “humanities in health care” resonated with every speech.
From Jay A. Gershen, D.D.S., Ph.D., president of NEOMED and the deans ― Drs. Elisabeth Young, Richard Kasmer and Steven Schmidt ― of the Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Graduate Studies, those in attendance were treated to personal experiences from which all could draw upon to better understand the circumstances of one’s life, particularly that of patients.
Dr. Gershen shared his story of having to give up his life’s work ― 31 years ago ― after a spontaneous dissection of the right coronary artery, a condition associated with stress. He told the graduating students to be dedicated to their patients but make sure they find balance in their lives before their version of a heart bypass surgery forces them to do so.
Thought leader and featured speaker Steven Wartman, M.D., Ph.D., president of the Association of Academic Health Centers (AAHC), talked about the transformation of 21st century medicine, but quoted Maya Angelou as he reminded students that “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
During the commencement, which was celebrated on the same day as Armed Forces Day, NEOMED celebrated all current and former members of the military. The University also recognized eight graduates, who plan to use their medical education immediately in the military.
Earlier in the day, ceremonies began with the presentation of an honorary degree to another veteran, Robert Liebelt, M.D.. Ph,D., 91, who served as a turret gunner in the U.S. Navy during World War II. Some 30 years later, Dr. Liebelt helped found and served as charter dean for Northeast Ohio Medical University. He was recognized for “his transcendent service to humankind.”
NEOMED’s Class of 2018 comprises 144 College of Medicine graduates ― who will move on to residencies in some of the best hospitals in the nation; 71 College of Pharmacy graduates ― most will go directly into practice but 24 of them have chosen to be pharmacists in residencies first; and six other health professionals whose graduate studies will help them advance drug development, health-system management, and public health.