Graduates Urged to Be High Tech and High Touch
Surrounded by family members and friends, 164 medical students celebrated their official entry into the medical profession at the Feinberg School’s 145th Graduation Convocation, held May 23 at Navy Pier’s Grand Ballroom. The event featured guest speaker Jordan J. Cohen, MD, president of the Association of American Medical Colleges.
In his address, “Digital Medicine,” Dr. Cohen spoke about how different the world today is compared with 1960, when he earned his MD degree. “Over 40 years ago, no one had dreamt of, let alone even heard of things like the Internet or handheld computers or genes micro-arrayed on a chip,” he said. “The world of medicine that you’re entering is so vastly different from the one my classmates and I faced that it literally boggles the mind.” A profound, powerful transformation is underway in medicine, he said. “You, the class of 2003, have the extraordinary privilege of not only experiencing it firsthand but shaping its destiny.”
Despite all these advancements, Dr. Cohen reminded graduates that certain parts of being a doctor remain the same. “Doctors are not passive conduits of information,” he said. “Doctors don’t deal with generic classes of medicine but with unique individuals.”
“We know that when people are sick, they want someone to care for them, to care for them as human beings, which means more than having someone provide accurate information on a computer screen …. It means tapping into the genuine concern of a trusted professional, not tapping into an anonymous chatroom. It means experiencing direct, physical contact with someone who cares, someone you can rely upon.”
Senior class speaker R. Kannan Mutharasan, MD, touched upon his class’ journey, one that began the day each individual decided to become a physician. “One way or another, we all wound up here, on the frosty shores of Lake Michigan,” he remarked, adding that with the first phase of their medical education complete, a new one is beginning. “We are sophomores now, not because we are foolish enough to think ourselves wise, but rather because we’re wise enough to know ourselves foolish. We will go forth from here today confident in our skills but also humbled by our inexperience.”
The class selected Vinky Chadha, MD, assistant professor of medicine, as clinical teacher of the year. James F. Baker, PhD, professor of physiology, and Eugene M. Silinsky, PhD, professor of molecular pharmacology and biochemistry, were recognized by the class as basic science teacher of the year for 2000 and 2001, respectively.