STONY BROOK, N.Y., May 24, 2021 – A year of a worldwide pandemic tests everyone, yet the rigors of completing the final year of medical school in such an environment has specific challenges such as altering one’s clinical training around the pandemic, additional remote learning, and ultimately, entering medicine at an unprecedented time in history. Fittingly, 150 fourth-year students of the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University received their MD degrees at its 47th Convocation on May 20 – the largest class ever.
The Class of 2021 will launch their physician careers with residency training beginning in July. Collectively they will practice at residency programs in New York State, 23 other states, and Washington, DC. Forty-five percent of the students will stay in New York State for their residencies. Of the students matching to New York State residency assignments, a record 30 percent (20 of 66) will be staying at Stony Brook Medicine as physicians.
“You came to Stony Brook with many diverse backgrounds and experiences, have persevered through many academic and clinical challenges, and what has happened over the past year. We are proud that you have chosen medicine, which remains a noble calling,” said William Wertheim, MD, MBA, Interim Dean of the Renaissance School of Medicine, as he welcomed the Class. “Remember that every one of the patients you care for has dignity and has a story. Take care of them no matter who they are and you will both benefit from that.”
Dr. Wertheim and other speakers addressed the special nature of the Class of 2021, particularly as they showed resilience and creativity, along with immediate willingness to help out in any way they could at Stony Brook Medicine during the entire pandemic.
Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, former Dean and Senior VP of the Health Sciences, delivered the Convocation Address. Dr. Kaushansky completed more than 10 years as Dean of the School in February and will retire from Stony Brook Medicine at the end of June. During his tenue as Dean of the School, class sizes increased, clinical offerings and research opportunities for students expanded, and combined programs took hold, such as the MD/MBA program and the 3-year accelerated MD degree tract, one of only three in New York State and about 15 in the country.
This year the first group of 3-year MD graduates completed their education. These seven students will all stay at Stony Brook Medicine for their residency training. The 3-year MD degree tract offers students the opportunity to be placed in a Stony Brook residency, saves students education costs, and bring MDs more quickly into the profession, a continual need in society.
Among those 3-year graduates are: Brant Lai, originally from Central New Jersey, who wanted to build a long-lasting relationship with a Department of Radiology, his chosen specialty, after working with cancer patients before he entered medical school. Stony Brook provided that opportunity with the accelerated program. Simrat Dhaliwal, from Rochester, NY, who wanted to become a physician since the age of 12 or even earlier, was eager to become a physician quickly. The Internal Medicine Program at Stony Brook led by Dr. Susan Lane was a perfect fit for her, she said, as the program enables her to provide care to adult patients across a wide spectrum of illnesses with an opportunity to sub-specialize further into her medical career. Long Island native Maxwell Moore will be a resident in the Integrated Adult and Child Psychiatry Program. The 3-year tract and immediate entry into a residency that focuses on the health of mind and body combines his long-time love of science and helping people to improve their lives.
“We are all excited about your futures as you enter a field that is continually transforming and translating science into medicine to help eliminate much human suffering,” said Dr. Kaushansky in his address to the graduates.
He urged students to “lean-in” to their chosen profession and cited what he called the “majesty of modern medicine” to inspire them using examples of work — all completed by previous convocation speakers at Stony Brook – that translated from science to practiced medicine. This research included work on cholesterol and plaque, sickle cell anemia and blood cancer.
Chosen by her fellow classmates, graduate Chineze Nwebube addressed the Class and cited her journey as an undergraduate student in Canada with a dream to be a physician. After college she completed an academic program in music and neuroscience in London. Then her journey into medicine began to take hold and led her to Stony Brook, an experience she described on behalf of her classmates as the exact one they all needed — including the pandemic – to be well-prepared for medicine, its challenges, and to move them all forward.
About Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University:
Established in 1971, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University includes 25 academic departments. The three missions of the School are to advance the understanding of the origins of human health and disease; train the next generation of committed, curious and highly capable physicians; and deliver world-class compassionate healthcare. As a member of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and a Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) accredited medical school, Stony Brook is one of the foremost institutes of higher medical education in the country. Each year the School trains nearly 500 medical students and more than 600 medical residents and fellows. Faculty research includes National Institutes of Health-sponsored programs in neurological diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disorders, biomedical imaging, regenerative medicine, infectious diseases, and many other topics. Physicians on the School of Medicine faculty deliver world-class medical care through more than 31,000 inpatient, 108,000 emergency room, and 940,000 outpatient visits annually at Stony Brook University Hospital and affiliated clinical programs, making its clinical services one of the largest and highest quality medical schools on Long Island, New York. To learn more, visit www.medicine.stonybrookmedicine.edu.