New York, NY (PRWEB) May 11, 2012
Mount Sinai School of Medicine honored pioneers in discovery and innovation at its 43rd commencement ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center. A total of 224 degrees were granted, including 141 MDs, 39 PhDs, and 44 Masters degrees. Ruth J. Simmons, PhD, President of Brown University, addressed the Mount Sinai graduates as commencement speaker.
Dr. Simmons received a Doctor of Humane Letters for championing diversity and inclusiveness in higher education. Also honored were Ada Yonath, PhD, the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel Prize, for her pioneering work in developing novel antibiotic drugs; Harald zur Hausen, MD, a Nobel Prize-winning virologist who established that HPV, the human papilloma virus, is the leading cause of cervical cancer; and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, MD.
This years commencement reflected Mount Sinais commitment to translational medicine: bringing research breakthroughs made in the lab into clinical practice. The medical school and its Graduate School of Biological Sciences collaborate closely in education, patient care, and therapeutic discovery, forming a foundation that defines Mount Sinai. This unique integration gives students the chance to work in interactive, multidisciplinary teams so they have a better scientific understanding of diseases and how research can benefit patients and improve their care.
In her address, Dr. Simmons of Brown University challenged the graduates to embrace their roles as advocates for change and to use their influence to trigger that change, whether through scientific discovery or providing health care to the community. She urged them to not settle for the status quo, and to always reflect on why they chose a career in health care.
As you go out from Mount Sinai, I extend to you my heartfelt congratulations and my very warmest wishes for glorious years ahead in which you have the intellectual and moral challenges you are qualified to meet and deserve to have, the fortitude to weather the difficult periods in which doubts inevitably arise, the good sense to meditate frequently on what matters and what does not, and the heart to love with the full measure of commitment that you can possibly give, Dr. Simmons said.
Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, said in his address that discovery and innovation are encoded in Mount Sinais DNA, exemplified by the opening later this year of the Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine, which will open during a time of fierce competition for scarce research funding. One of few research centers opening at an academic medical center in the United States, this new building will bring nearly a half-million square feet of state-of-the-art medical research and clinical facilities to the area and expand Mount Sinais research program space by about one-third.
Dr. Charney encouraged the graduates to carry on the legacy of the scientific pioneers who grace Mount Sinais history. More diseases and clinical syndromes have been named after Mount Sinai physicians than those at any other medical center. Mount Sinai surgeons have a long history of developing and perfecting new procedures that save thousands of lives. Through advances in genomics, systems biology, and bioinformatics, Mount Sinai will be at the forefront of a revolution in personalized and precision medicine. Stand shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm, and heart to heart with those who have come before you your loved ones, your mentors, and the giants of Mount Sinai.
Peter W. May, Chairman of the Mount Sinai Boards of Trustees, discussed the changing landscape of medicine and the increasing importance of collaboration with philanthropists and lay leaders.
In todays world, your role is more complex, he told the students, and you must adapt to the responsibilities that your training carries. You have learned the value of productive collaboration with your colleagues across disciplines during your time at Mount Sinai that philosophy is fundamentally embedded in every program, every laboratory, every operating room, and classroom at our institution. Do not overlook the importance of partnering with nonmedical professionals who have the vision, influence, and willingness to support your endeavors. I urge you to understand, appreciate, cultivate, and nurture these relationships. What you hope to achieve for your patients and for the future health of generations will rely on the strength of these partnerships, Mr. May said.
Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Mount Sinai Medical Center, stressed the critical need for a team approach to medicine.
Today, we pursue excellence in a culture of cooperation because the best way to address the needs of our patients is within a team, and because of the complexity of the problems we face. We treat patient populations, not just individual patients; multiple organ systems not just single diseases; drug interactions, not just a single medication; and today, we must use not just the most effective treatment, but the most efficient treatment, Dr. Davis said. Most patients have comorbid conditions and a host of factors environmental, social, genetic, therapeutic that greatly influence every aspect of care. When you encounter similar challenges to delivering health care at the institution where you work, we hope that the culture we have immersed you in, of working closely with all kinds of colleagues, will guide you.
Dr. Davis offered Mount Sinais Preventable Admissions Care Team (PACT) as an example of this collaborative spirit. PACT was formed at Mount Sinai in 2010 by a team of nurses, physicians, and social workers to reduce Medicare re-admissions rates. PACT developed a program of engagement that bridges gaps in care and strengthens hospital-community relationships in a variety of ways, including improved processes for appointments, expanded visiting nurse services, and outpatient programs and support groups. All of these efforts resulted in a 45 percent reduction in re-admissions.
Honorary degrees were given to pioneers in education and discovery and innovation in disease prevention: