Jun 04, 2012 1:00 PM

Author: Vivian S. Lee, MD, PhD, MBA

On a recent gorgeous Saturday afternoon, I was honored to participate in the 68th commencement of the University of Utah's School of Medicine. We were there to celebrate the impressive academic achievements of the students in the Class of 2012, who had just completed some of the toughest, most intensive, and best programs the University has to offer. Collectively, they earned 50 PhDs, 100 MDs, 121 master’s degrees, and 26 bachelor’s degrees.

I may be a little biased, but I can’t think of a group of graduates that has more potential to do so much good. This is the generation of physicians and scientists that is going to help our nation get a handle on the unsustainable $2.7 trillion we spend every year on health care. This is the generation that is going to put the United States on the top of the chart—not for health care spending—but rather for the unparalleled quality of care we provide and the unrivaled quality of science and discovery. This is the generation that is going to keep patients healthier and happier than we thought possible.

Dr. Chris Murray, a distinguished leader in global health, reminded the graduates of their responsibilities not just to improve health in the United States, but throughout the world. In his articulate and thought-provoking commencement address, “Think Locally, Act Globally,” he pointed out that our wide-ranging health care needs are united by the need for our help. Murray emphasized that this is a two-way street—because what we learn on the global landscape can be brought home to benefit us locally. 

Commencement always reminds me of the profound responsibility that we, as faculty and deans, feel for our students’ growth and development, how proud we are of their accomplishments, and how hopeful we are for their future. It’s similar to the feeling that parents have for their children. The journey to becoming scientists and physicians is a long one, and I hope we will keep the paths of communication wide open, and continue to support our students to be as successful as they can be.

Once again, congratulations Class of 2012! 
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