Awesome, exciting, and a bit nerve-wracking.
That’s how Samuel Jacob (D.O. ’17) described his emotions moments before stepping inside David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center on May 22. In just a few hours, he and 294 fellow graduates of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) would be adorned with the ceremonial physician hoods and take the Osteopathic Oath at the 36th NYITCOM Hooding Ceremony. With the Class of 2017, the total number of osteopathic doctors who’ve earned degrees from NYITCOM is 7,500 across four decades.
“You have learned more over these four years than is called for in any other professional field,” NYITCOM Dean Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., told the graduates. “You have passed the most demanding examinations that can be found anywhere.”
Gilliar added that the Class of 2017 had a duty to use the competence and confidence they gained at NYITCOM to treat patients with compassion and courage.
“Without compassion, a doctor is nothing more than living medical software,” he said. “And in the end, when all fails, courage may be the most important ingredient in your osteopathic prescription. Cultivate a culture to lead with courage, not as mere medical technologist, but as a civic leader, as a caring scholar, and a citizen of the world.”
An NYITCOM graduate is hooded by Associate Professor Maria M. Plummer, M.D.
Vice President for Medical Affairs and Global Health Jerry Balentine, D.O., noted the incredible influence their education will have on the lives of patients: “Each one of you will make such a difference in many people’s lives. Countless patients will feel better, live longer, and suffer less because of all of you.”
Keynote speaker and NYITCOM graduate Humayun “Hank” Chaudhry (D.O. ’91) urged the Class of 2017 to remember that learning does not end with their medical degrees.
“As you begin your graduate medical education, know that medical science will continue to progress and advance alongside you,” he said. “The explosion of medical information also means that you will need to find the time to keep up with what is happening around you.”
Following the Osteopathic Oath, Class of 2017 President Mark Mahan (D.O. ’17) shared words of advice for his newly minted medical colleagues: “Don’t bury your failures, but let them inspire you. If you never fail in life, it does not show greatness, but that you never tested your true potential. Simply, if you don’t fail you are not trying.”
The formal hooding included six members of the U.S. armed forces as well as 66 family members who donned hoods onto relatives. By noon that day, 295 new doctors joined family and friends for photos outside Lincoln Center.
As for Jacob, he will complete a traditional rotating internship at Plainview Hospital in Plainview, N.Y., followed by physical medicine and rehabilitation at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, N.Y. But like his classmates, he had plans to celebrate the day and spend time with his family.
“For the past four years, I didn’t get much of that,” he said with a smile.