Graduates Sent Off to Next Phase of Medical Careers
On a cool spring day, with vistas of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan around them, 143 members of the Class of 2006 at the Feinberg School of Medicine received their MD degrees during graduation ceremonies held May 19 at Navy Pier. Eight other graduates did not attend the ceremony.
Dean Lewis Landsberg, MD, congratulated the students, counseling them to consider three pillars of professional authority in medicine: peer validation and oversight, scientific knowledge and educating the public, and the principle of altruism.
Graduation speaker Peter G. Traber, MD, GME ’86 (shown at left), president and chief executive officer of Baylor College of Medicine, challenged the graduates to be more than just good practitioners by developing a moral compass and becoming leaders in a changing world. Defining leaders as visionaries who energize others, Dr. Traber noted that leaders come in all personality types but “the best leaders have an attitude of service and humility.” He cautioned graduates not to confuse leadership with power since “leaders are not loud, showy, pompous, nor self-aggrandizing.”
Proving that even one person can make a difference, Dr. Traber offered the example of a colleague who within seven years of his first visit to Romania in 1996 opened care centers for children with HIV and AIDS in that country and in Africa. “For many of you, leadership with these results might seem daunting, but I want to remind you that this success resulted from a man who calls himself a simple pediatrician just wanting to take care of children.” He told the graduates that the future held unlimited possibilities for making a difference.
Northwestern University Provost Lawrence B. Dumas, PhD, conferred the degrees. Graduates were hooded by their college mentors: James F. Brandman, MD, assistant professor of medicine; Anne M. Ditto, MD, GME ’95, associate professor of medicine; Aaron R. Gilbert, MD, assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation; and Cynthia A. Lagone, MD, GME ’93, instructor in medicine. Thomas C. Corbridge, MD, associate professor of medicine, was named outstanding teacher by the class.
Three students received hoods from their proud parents who serve on the Feinberg School faculty. Melin J. Khandekar, MD ’06, PhD ’04, was hooded by his father, Janardan Khandekar, MD, professor of medicine; Rebecca B. Mets, MD ’06 was hooded by her mother, Marilyn Mets, MD, professor of ophthalmology; and Jason H. Przybylo, MD ’06, was hooded by his father, H. Jay Przybylo, MD, assistant professor of anesthesiology.
Class speaker Rod R. Youssefi, MD ’06, of Belmont, California, added levity to the occasion. He reminded classmates of just how far they had come in their four years at Northwestern. His comical speech traced their growth in maturity and teamwork as they went from first-year students who wore their white coats everywhere—even to night clubs—to teammates working together in the hospital. As evidence of their unity, Dr. Youssefi told how they used beepers and cell phones to keep each other informed of the location of free lunches. His talk ended on a serious note, though, as he maintained that the training he and his classmates had received at Northwestern is second to none.
Nearly all members of the Class of 2006 are headed to myriad residency programs around the country. Four graduates are pursuing research or other opportunities.