NYIT’s newest osteopathic physicians received their doctoral hoods during a ceremony where guest speakers urged each graduate to “hold on to their humanity” while treating patients.
Family and friends of the 283 graduates of NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM) packed the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts on May 18 to celebrate with the new doctors just weeks before they begin their residency training. The Class of 2015 achieved a 100 percent match and placement rate. Seven recipients of armed forces scholarships took the military oath of office administered by Captain Roy Guinto (D.O. ’10).
Keynote speaker Gail Wilensky, Ph.D., an economist and senior fellow at Project HOPE (Health Opportunities for People Everywhere), reminded graduates of the need for cultural sensitivity and empathy for patients who are frightened and confused.
“Being responsive to these human fears and concerns is every bit as important to being a good and caring physician—the type that you would want for yourself or for your family—as is knowledge of the latest science or changes in the clinical practice of medicine,” she said.
Wilensky received an honorary Doctorate of Science at NYIT’s 54th Commencement on May 17 and also received the Riland Public Service Award named for W. Kenneth Riland, D.O., one of the visionaries behind the establishment of NYITCOM.
In his address to the class, NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., said the “power of Big Data” and other technological advances have made medicine more data-driven and, in some cases, accessible to more people. Yet the human side of medicine is crucial, he noted, praising the graduates for showing compassion by participating in charitable activities.
“Whether it’s participating in clubs or walk-a-thons to support certain causes, shaving your heads at St. Baldrick’s fundraisers … or growing moustaches to bring awareness to men’s health in 'Movember' … or composing songs and poems to honor your 'first patients,' the people who donated their bodies so you could learn anatomy, you have demonstrated the human connection that is so vital to your field,” said Guiliano. “And let’s not fail to mention the medical-musical connection that has grown stronger with our osteopathic a capella group,” he added, referring to The Note-O-Chords.
Dean Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O., said he could sum up his message in two words—be human—that he hoped the new doctors could "use as the North Star when you are in those long, lonely nights at the hospital or in the surgery suite.”
He said, “Never lose your humanity—hold onto it. Remember your ideals, those things that brought you here in the first place and never, ever let those go.”
Gilliar advised each graduate to “accept yourself and be there for each other. It’s not just ‘teamwork’—it’s being a team.” He also announced winners of several honors, including Jason E. Cutler, D.O., who won the dean’s achievement award for overall academic excellence.
"It really does mark a new beginning in all of our lives," said Class President Jeffrey Jett. "We're doctors now, as crazy as that sounds, and with that we are going to be thrust into a very unique position. People in their most scared and vulnerable states are going to come to us and confide in us and look for our guidance. But to look at the transformation we've all made from shaky-voiced first-years to this room full of compassionate doctors, I am more than confident these patients could not be in better hands."