May 30, 2016
Class of 2016 graduates and their families gathered in St. Maarten on Saturday, May 28 to attend American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine’s (AUC) annual Commencement Ceremony. The event, which honored attendees’ academic accomplishments, signaled the start of graduates’ professional careers as MD-credentialed physicians.
Dr. Golden Jackson, Assistant Dean for Service Learning and Community Affairs, presided over the ceremony, which included performances by Generation New Status Drum Corps and addresses by St. Maarten Governor Eugene B. Holiday, AUC Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Heidi Chumley, and 2003 alumni and Fast Track Urgent Care Corporate Medical Director Dr. Paul Nanda.
Prepared for Evolving Health Issues
This year’s Commencement concentrated on physicians’ growing societal responsibilities, and the sophisticated views and experiences that AUC-trained physicians possess.
In his keynote speech, Dr. Nanda described how opportunities at AUC shaped a world view on global health disparities. Upon completing rotations in the United Kingdom, he began to understand how different healthcare models and systems impact communities and care—an interest that led him to pursue numerous global health endeavors in sub-Saharan Africa, Belize, Honduras, Brazil, Peru, Haiti, New Zealand and Northern India.
“I believe that AUC students are educated with a broad, problem-based learning background and structure that further prepares them to move the system forward,” said Dr. Nanda. “AUC students who choose to work or volunteer overseas at some point in their career are further qualified and uniquely positioned to participate in discussions about healthcare in the United States.”
Continuing a Path of Care and Compassion
Drawing from her background as a family physician, Dr. Chumley encouraged graduates to direct their new-found influence as physicians in meaningful ways.
“There is a power that comes with being a physician, and today I want to encourage you to use that power,” said Dr. Chumley. “Realize that you have an enormous opportunity to positively impact your patients’ life. Remember that passion and compassion that you embodied here at medical school and know that you have the power to make a difference.”
Recognizing Academic Excellence and Service
Two inaugural awards were presented during the morning and afternoon ceremonies. Dr. Kevin Kresofsky received the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award, which honors an exemplary commitment to the study of medicine and academic excellence while at AUC. Dr. Kresofsky will begin his general surgery residency this July at Nassau University Medical Center in New York.
Dr. Adetoun Adeyemi and Dr. Vicken Zeitjian each received the Excellence in Community and University Service Award, which recognizes students' service to AUC, St. Maarten, and the clinical communities. Dr. Adeyemi will begin her internal medicine residency at Morehouse School of Medicine in Georgia and Dr. Zeitjian will begin his internal medicine residency at Maricopa Medical Center in Arizona.
Entering the Medical Profession
Class of 2016 graduates join a network of more than 5,000 AUC alumni around the world. Many will now prepare for residency training in a variety of specialties, including internal medicine, pediatrics, neurology, general surgery, radiology, family medicine and more.