Graduates Reminded to Listen for Patients’ Stories
The official Feinberg School of Medicine graduation convocation program listed 162 members of the Class of 2007 who received their MD degrees during ceremonies held May 18 at Navy Pier. Dean Lewis Landsberg, MD, who welcomed the 1,500 or so family and friends in attendance and congratulated the new grads on a job well done, also “graduated” on this day that brought an abundance of blue skies and sunshine to the Windy City.
“As many of you know, in July I will be stepping down as dean of the medical school at Northwestern after eight years,” said Dean Landsberg, officiating over his last Feinberg School graduation ceremony. “So this is my valedictory as well as yours.”
Sharing what he had learned during his Feinberg School leadership, Dr. Landsberg impressed upon the newly minted physicians the importance of team work and the value that individual efforts bring to group success. As the graduates go forward in their training, they will have the opportunity to build, enhance, and eventually lead a team, according to Dean Landsberg. “You have been selected and trained to take a leadership role in your profession. Your efforts will make a difference at all levels. The impact you will have is apt to be much greater than you realize at the time. I know you will accept this responsibility and use your influence wisely to the benefit of patients and the profession.”
Richard L. Rapport, MD (shown at left), a neurosurgeon with Group Health Cooperative in Seattle and author of several nonfiction books and numerous essays, gave the keynote address, while Mark M. Gindi, MD ’07, of Los Angeles provided the senior class message. Although 38 years separate their medical school graduation dates, these two physicians—new and experienced—both urged the graduates to really listen and try to understand the stories their future patients will tell them.
Dr. Rapport stressed a higher appreciation of narrative. “Stories are important to doctors,” remarked Dr. Rapport, who has read widely from his literary works in personal appearances and on National Public Radio. “We call them histories. They let us know why patients have come to see us. As you no doubt have come to realize, patients don’t always directly tell you what is the matter with them.”
While Dr. Gindi has graduated from the Feinberg School in a time of high-tech gadgetry and advances in biomedical research that stretch the imagination, he poetically reminded his classmates that the key to being a good physician is the “unwavering belief in the magnitude of the human voice.”
“One constancy, from the beginning of medicine throughout all the ages, is that patients will have stories to tell,” said Dr. Gindi. “And you doctors, who feel compelled to listen, treat the body, and yes, always but above all, treat the story.”
The 2007 graduating class included three class members who also earned PhD degrees and 10, MPH degrees. Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen joined Dean Landsberg in conferring the degrees. Most of the graduates were hooded by their college mentors: Jennifer A. Bierman, MD, instructor in medicine; Gregory E. Brisson, MD, GME ’94, assistant professor of clinical medicine; Robert Hirschtick, MD, assistant professor of medicine; and Douglas Van Arsdale, MD, GME ’83, assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology. The senior class presented Dr. Hirschtick with the 2007 George Joost Award for outstanding teaching.
Feinberg School faculty members proudly showed their family ties by hooding graduates near and dear to them. Sanjay S. Kasturi, MD ’07, was hooded by his uncle, Janardan K. Reddy, MD, Magerstadt Professor and chair of pathology; Aaron J. Krasner, MD ’07, was hooded by his father, Ronald F. Krasner, MD, interim chair and associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences; Aimee P. Aguilar Mayuga, MD ’07, and Myttle C. Aguilar Mayuga, MD ’07, were hooded by their father, Ruperto D. Mayuga, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine; and David M. Shore, MD ’07, was hooded by father Richard Shore, MD, associate professor of radiology. Proud father of Sarah M. Eickmeyer, MD ’07, Reverend Terry Laabs gave the invocation.
Posted May 22, 2007