Internationally recognized physician to graduates: Medicine is the practice of love
Yale School of Medicine Professor of Medicine Auguste Fortin VI, MD, reminded the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine Class of 2022 that when it comes to effective patient care, the most powerful medicine evolves from care, compassion and love.
“Medicine is an act of love. It's not just an intellectual activity; it's an act of the heart. That's how we serve our patients,” said Fortin in a Commencement address that was insightful, inspirational and grounded in his commitment to improving clinicians’ communication skills.
“Practicing love means doing the right thing. It means keeping the patient at the center. It means caring for mind, body and spirit. I have come to believe that communication skills are the most important medicine that I dispense on a day-to-day basis,” said Fortin. “May you know you are loved. May you understand you are enough. May you feel in your bones you were made for this. May your life be lived in service for your patients and each other. May the joy that comes from caring for others be yours. Your patients will be fortunate to have you as their doctor.”
Provost Debra Liebowitz officially opened the ceremony by welcoming the graduates and their guests on behalf of Quinnipiac.
During her address to the Class of 2022, President Judy Olian commended the graduates’ ability to persevere and adapt during their academic tenure at Quinnipiac. She highlighted the class’ accomplishments, including the creation of a new app to help emergency room physicians treat patients with musculoskeletal issues, scholarly work, crisis hotline management, staffing at community health clinics, telehealth patient care and providing service to need-based organizations across Connecticut.
“I congratulate every one of you for devoting yourselves to this noble calling and the practice of medicine that serves others first,” said Olian as she encouraged the graduates to continue to be a force for positive change in addressing societal needs. “Find ways to help those in need, to advocate for marginalized communities that don’t have the same access to care, and to be a beacon for the human kindness, compassion and support that we all so desperately need right now.”
As he reflected on the Class of 2022 and their academic journey together, Phillip Boiselle, dean of the School of Medicine, also challenged the graduates to channel all they’ve learned into the type of care that will benefit not only their patients, but also the communities in which they will serve.
“As members of our sixth graduating class, you have faced unprecedented challenges amid the pandemic, and you’ve met them with an admirable combination of grace and grit,” said Boiselle. “It’s the commendable way in which you’ve met these challenges that has defined you. As you begin your future careers as physicians, I challenge you to continue your work as change agents for healthcare equity by working to eliminate racial bias and to proactively address the social determinates of health for your patients and your future communities.”
Anoush Calikyan, ’23, sang the national anthem, and Senior Associate Dean Lyuba Konopasek, MD, led the graduates in the recital of the Hippocratic Oath. Linda Kerandi, MD ’22, delivered the student remarks for the Class of 2022, echoing the call to provide compassionate, equitable and patient-centered care.
“We may know medicine, but patients know their bodies, and we are never above learning. The journey we are about to embark on is not easy. In fact, it might be one of the hardest things we ever do,” said Kerandi. “So, on the weeks where you forget what day it is, when all you have is the strength to just survive, lean into the people who have brought you here and remember that someone’s life has been improved because you are in it.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Alumni Association Board President Jeanna Doherty ’94 extended an official welcome into the Bobcat alumni community of more than 60,000 worldwide, with a reminder that a Quinnipiac education is a relationship that lasts a lifetime.
“I invite you to move your tassel to the left of your cap,” said Doherty. “This simple act signifies your transition from student to alumnus, and the continuation of your unique, meaningful and lifelong relationship with Quinnipiac. I’m especially pleased to have you all as fellow alumni. You are a Bobcat for Life. Congratulations!”
The university conferred 3,347 degrees during five Commencement ceremonies May 14-16.
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