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Geisel Graduates Celebrate the Next Phase of their Careers

Dean Compton with the Class of 2019 (Photo by Rob Strong)

On a mild June 1 morning, an excited group of 100 graduating medical students gathered for a final rite of passage—receiving their MD degrees and celebrating their accomplishments with family and friends at Geisel School of Medicine’s annual Class Day ceremony. Among this group of graduates, eleven were awarded combined degrees: three received an MD-PhD, and eight received an MD-MBA.

Dean Duane Compton, PhD, welcomed everyone to the festivities, focusing on a comment he recently heard about the credo by which an anatomical donor lived their life, “it’s not what you gather, it’s what you scatter.” Compton said, “… this simple statement carries a profoundly powerful message of altruism, coming from a donor who had committed themselves to your education, and I have little doubt had committed themselves to countless other acts of altruism during their lifetime. That statement filled me with immense inspiration because of its essence for commitment to the service of others.

“You’ve already been making investments toward improving the lives of others. It’s impossible to calculate how much you have given of yourselves during these past few years as a Geisel student to help others in our community.

“I don’t know what our collective future holds. What I do know, is that I feel confident walking into that future beside all of you. It’s impossible not to have that confidence in our future based upon what I have witnessed in you … seeing community service and patient care as a privilege whereby you actively invest in improving the lives of your patients and our society. In getting to know you over the past four or five years, I can’t imagine putting our future into the hands of a more capable and thoughtful and compassionate group of people to lead us to that new future.

“… we have provided you with the agency to live your lives with an ethos of giving, of ‘scattering’ to use the term from our donor, as you invest of yourself by improving your patients’ lives.”

In her commencement address, Anne Schuchat, MED ’84, the principal deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a retired rear admiral from the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service, congratulated the graduates and assured them her advice would not be, in the words of songwriter Bobby McFerrin, “don’t worry, be happy.” She spoke in defense of worrying—particularly about the state of healthcare and the doctor-patient relationship. Of preserving the importance of nurturing and protecting honest communication with patients, using technology to increase the quality of healthcare—asking this generation of doctors, “Will artificial intelligence replace you? Will you escape burnout?” In the face of rising opioid deaths and decreased life expectancy, she said even the darkest problems have solutions—from the earliest days when clinicians first diagnosed HIV to treatable solutions 10 years later.

“Becoming a doctor is an awesome responsibility … don’t become complacent … realize that patients and families have a lot to teach. Choose worry over apathy, choose respect and compassion, choose humility over hubris … You will make the future happen in your practices and in your communities as physicians connecting to public health, and as doctors through your genuine intelligence and humanity.”

And student speaker Sandhya Rao Bassin, provided a lighthearted reminiscence of the past four years before reminding her classmates of the privilege bestowed upon them. “As we move forward in our careers, I’m sure we will all look back at our time at Geisel fondly … and our friends who’ve already helped us through so much. We are about to become doctors … today is that day, as terrifying and exciting as it sounds. We’ve worked and played hard together as a class, and I’m excited to see all of our futures, and to see the potential our class unlocks as we move onto the next stage in our journey as doctors. Congratulations Class of 2019!”

Among award winners in the Class of 2019, Peter Kahng received The William Mellen Chamberlain Memorial Prize and Dean’s Medal, which is awarded to the student with the best overall record of academic achievement. Simrun Bal received the Good Physician Award, which is selected by the graduating class as someone who best exemplifies the personal and intangible qualities of the good physician.

Vincent Pellegrini, Jr. MED ’79, the John A. Siegling Professor and Chair of the Dept. of Orthopaedics at the Medical University of South Carolina and President of the Geisel Alumni Council, congratulated the graduates and welcomed them as new alumni of the medical school.

During Geisel’s awards ceremony the previous day, the follow students and faculty were recognized for outstanding achievements.

Award Honorees

Frederic P. Lord Award in Anatomy—Ahmad Dbouk

Department of Anesthesiology Outstanding Graduating Student Award—Margot K.LeNeveu

Department of Medicine Paul Gerber Student Award—Thomas M. Kuczmarski

American Academy of Neurology Medical Student Prize for Excellence in Neurology—Nara Michaelson

Barry D. Smithy, MD, Award for Excellence in Obstetrics & Gynecology—Elizabeth Hoffman

The Saul Blatman Award for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health—Kristen P. Delwiche(OB/GYN); Georgia M. Griffin(Pediatrics)

Dr. Freddie Fu Orthopaedic Surgery Medical Student Award—Kathleen A. Leinweber

E. Elizabeth French Distinguished Student Award in Pathology—Ana-Maria G. Dumitru

New Hampshire Pediatric Society Award—Ashley E. Hamel

Department of Psychiatry Outstanding Student Award—Jade C. Avery

Harte C. Crow Award in Radiology—Mike Bao

Arthur Naitove Surgical Scholar Award—Peter W. Kahng

Diversity Visionary Award—Aaron M. Briggs

Amwa Glasgow-Rubin Citation for Academic Achievement—Anna E. Fretz, Emily S. Johnson, Katie A. Kozacka, Margot K. LeNeveu, Rachael S. Mazzamurro-Romer, Natash Merali, Grace E. Sollender, Karissa S. M. Tauber

Julian and Melba Jarrett Memorial Prize—Emily F. Dollar

Merck Manual Awards—Ana-Maria G. Dumitru, Sandhya Rao Bassin, Hannah K. Systrom

Payson-Wilson – Hampers MD/MBA Scholars Award—Tolulope O. Kehinde, Ana M. Rodriguez-Villa, David C. Whitehead

John F. Raderbaugh Community Service Award—Emily F. Dollar

John and Sophia Zaslow Prize—Aaron M. Briggs

The S. Marsh Tenney Research Award—Yike Jiang

Douglas P. Zipes, MD, Research Prize in Medicine—Mike Bao

C. Everett Koop, MD, Courage Award Student Recipient—Emily R. Georges

C. Everett Koop, MD, Courage Award Faculty Recipient—Peter A. Mason, MD, Department of Community and Family Medicine

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award Student Recipient Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation—Simrun K. Bal

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award Faculty Recipient Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation—Patricia T. Glowa, MD, Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, and Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dartmouth-Mosenthal Surgical Society Inductees—David S Han, Peter W. Kahng, Tolulope O. Kehinde, Eric Ndikumana, Karissa S. M. Tauber, Lye-Yeng Wong

Dartmouth-Mosenthal Surgical Society Fellow—Meredith J. Sorensen, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery

Rolf C. Syvertsen Fellow—Aaron M. Griggs

Rolf C. Syvertsen Scholars—Megan E. Bunnell, Peter W. Kahng, Thomas M. Kuczmarski, Margot K. LeNeveu, Rachel S. Mazzamurro-Romer

The Dean’s Leadership Award—Aaron M. Briggs

The New Hampshire Academy of Family Physicians Award for the Promise of Excellence in Family Medicine—Michelle F. Scheurich

The New Hampshire American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)—Margot K. LeNeveu


Teaching Awards and Honorees

Thomas P. Almy Housestaff Teaching Award—David J. Linshaw, MD, Department of Surgery

Basic Science Teaching Award—David W. Mullins, PhD, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology

Clinical Science Teaching Award—Rebecca A. Swenson, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine

Ann J. Davis Faculty Award—Roshini Pinto-Powell, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine

Joseph F. O’Donnell Faculty Award—Manish K. Mishra, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Community and Family Medicine


Departmental Clerkship Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Geisel Student Learning

Department of Community and Family Medicine—Laura R. Fry, MD

Department of Medicine—Inpatient: Hilary F. Ryder, MD; GAM: Christine R. Medora, MD

Department of Neurology—Michael C. Ke, MD, PhD

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology—William J. Fletcher, MD

Department of Pediatrics—Inpatient: Xinshu She, MD; Outpatient: Douglas E. Williamson, MD

Department of Psychiatry—Aliaksandr Shakhau, MD

Department of Surgery—Vernon M. Pais, MD


Acknowledgement of Honors and Awards Recognized Previously

Global Health Fellows

James Strickler Global Health Clinical Care Fellow—Dora C. Huang

Ford von Reyn Global Health Research Fellow—Dwan B. Pineros

Rural Health Scholar Awards—Emily F. Dollar, Emily R. Georges, Margaret H. Grinnell, David S. Han, Caitlin P. Hopeman, Katie A. Kozacka, Margot K. LeNeveu, Rachael S. Mazzamurro-Romer, Aurora A. Robledo, Alex D. Tarabochia, Jacob Wasag

Urban Health Scholar Awards—Cristina E. Alcorta, Brendin R. Beaulieu-Jones, Aaron M. Briggs, Chinew I. Echeazu, Alec H. Fisher, Sarah M. Ghabbour, Courtney L. Hanlon, Timothy R. Harris, Thomas P. Meehan, Jr., Dwan B. Pineros, Fernando A. Vazquez,Jr., David C. Whitehead