Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum rocked with applause on May 22 as a new wave of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) physicians joined a legacy of more than 7,500 graduates.
NYIT’s newest osteopathic physicians, spanning ages 24 to 49 years, received their doctoral hoods during a ceremony where speakers urged the 281 graduates to be the difference in their patients’ lives, while also remembering to practice compassion for one’s self.
“Put ethics, commitment, work dedication, and compassion before ego and try to weave sufficiently long periods of fun into your new fabric as a physician. Start now and remember: a good sense of humor means finding something to laugh at when others see only problems,” said Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., dean of NYITCOM. “Remember that you are valuable...your career is just beginning! Use your knowledge to become a catalyst for others.”
As in past years, the Class of 2018 achieved an exceptional residency placement rate. This year’s graduates will go on to premiere residency programs in specialties ranging from ophthalmology, neurological surgery, anesthesiology, and pediatrics at institutions such as Tufts Medical Center, Virginia Tech, Robert Johnson Wood Barnabas Health, and many other prestigious medical centers.
“I know the strength established from day one of medical school will carry over through residency and for the remainder of our lives,” said Class President Frank Joseph Frasca (D.O. ’18), who will complete his residency in internal medicine at The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education in Scranton, Pa. “I’m proud of each member of our amazing class. Congratulations. The title Doctor fits you all.”
“Not only will you be asked to heal, you will be asked to lead,” said NYIT President Hank Foley, Ph.D. “Modern medicine, as we all know, is practiced in teams, with nurses, technicians and pharmacists and other health care professionals all working concurrently to deliver the best possible treatment and outcomes to patients. Eventually, you will be at the center of such a team, and it will be you who will make the challenging critical care decisions that must be made, and at the same time it is you who will most inspire patient confidence and it is you whom we look to uphold the integrity of medicine and health care.”
Foley went on to note strides made toward gender equality, calling to attention that NYITCOM’s Class of 2018 consists of 143 women and 138 men. “When we compare that with NYITCOM’s first graduating class in 1981, which was just 24 percent female, and there were three men for every woman, we see how much more inclusive the medical profession has become,” he said.
The completion of medical school is not only emotional for new physicians, who are hooded just weeks before beginning their residency training, but also for family members who supported them through years of demanding coursework, exams, and clinical rotations. Take, for instance, Charles Fennie (D.O. ’18), a father of four whose family stood by his decision to leave a career in finance in order to pursue his calling in medicine.
The event can be particularly sentimental when medicine runs in the family, and parents, brothers, and sisters welcome their loved ones to the profession by performing the ceremonial hooding. This year, approximately 60 family members carried out that honor. Five new physicians received armed forces scholarships and took the military oath of office administered by Air Force Captain Nicolas Antonino (D.O. ’17).