May 12, 2016

Going forth to heal and to lead: U-M Medical School graduates 166 in the 166th class

Ceremony features new school flag designed by student; festivities to be streamed live

Medical School Graduation

Medical School Graduation

STUDENT PROFILES: Jonathan Bender | Julie Blaszczak | Lesley Everett | Mohamad Issa | Jonathan Peterson | Yasmine White

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Today, 166 future health care leaders will enter the University of Michigan’s historic Hill Auditorium as students, and leave as physicians. 

And as the 166th graduating class of the U-M Medical School, they’ll enter the profession of medicine at a time of change and promise.

They’ll take their Hippocratic oath before a new school flag designed by one of their fellow graduates, with symbols and colors representing medicine, knowledge, learning, leadership and humanity.

And they’ll receive parting words from both the dean who led the school during most of their time as students and the dean who took the helm this past January.

Key facts about the Class of 2016:

  • The 166 graduates are evenly split between men and women.
  • 34 will graduate from one of the Paths of Excellence established by the school to give students enhanced experiences and training in areas such as global health, health policy, and ethics.
  • 30 earned both a medical degree and a second graduate-level degree while at U-M, including several who completed the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program with an M.D. and Ph.D. Others earned master’s degrees in public health, business, clinical research or other fields.
  • One-third of the class took part in training and clinical care opportunities in other countries through the school’s Global Reach program and partnerships with institutions in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India and beyond.
  • As in previous years, the vast majority of these students conducted research in diverse fields during medical school, far higher than the national average.
  • 45 percent of the graduates will soon start residency programs in internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics, and gynecology, or family medicine, fields that can lead to careers in primary care.

The students graduating today didn’t all enter the Medical School at the same time, but they leave a school whose future they helped shape.

This year’s graduates include students who helped advise on the development of a new curriculum now being phased in over the course of several years and students who helped the University redesign the Taubman Health Sciences Library building to make it a high-tech hub for medical and interprofessional health sciences education.

Both of those efforts were spearheaded by James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., who served as dean from 2007 to late 2015, and who will give the commencement address today.

Former dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D.
Former dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D.

A longtime leader in medical education, Woolliscroft also led U-M’s effort to purchase the former Pfizer campus that has been transformed into the diverse and vibrant North Campus Research Complex, and greatly expanded the school’s global partnerships and research innovation and translation efforts. He has returned to a faculty role as the Lyle C. Roll Professor of Medicine, with appointments in the Department of Internal Medicine and the Department of Learning Health Sciences.

In January, Woolliscroft handed the baton to Marschall Runge, M.D., Ph.D., the first U-M Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs to also serve as dean of the medical school under a new leadership structure for the U-M Health System. Runge will also speak at today’s ceremony, which will be streamed live here.

In a few short weeks, the Class of 2016 will embark on residencies to prepare them for their chosen area of medical practice.

More than a quarter will stay in the state of Michigan for this next phase of their training — including 18 percent who matched to residency slots at the U-M Health System after being selected from among thousands of applicants. Nearly 1,200 doctors-in-training in 105 residency and fellowship programs currently train at U-M’s hospitals and clinics.

The new Medical School flag design
The new Medical School flag designed by Bella Shah, Class of 2016, with input from students, faculty and alumni

Among today’s graduates is Bella Shah, a student who came to medical school with a strong interest in the fine arts and design as well as a U-M biopsychology degree. This summer, she’ll become an emergency medicine resident at U-M.

At the invitation of Associate Dean for Medical Student Education Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., she spearheaded the effort to design a new flag for the school to replace one designed in the 1950s. Her final design, which hundreds of students and alumni helped shape, was flown at U-M commencement ceremonies in December and April.

Today it will stand on the Hill Auditorium stage at its first Medical School commencement. And like the curriculum and the library, the new flag will serve as a lasting legacy of the Class of 2016.

Watch video of Commencement

More about the 2016 Medical School Commencement

More information about all degree programs at the U-M Medical School