May 24, 2015
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) held commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 23 in Sint Maarten. Graduates, together with their family, friends, and the AUC community, gathered to celebrate the culmination of the journey toward earning the Doctor of Medicine degree.
Distinguished guests included representatives of the Sint Maarten government and members of AUC’s leadership including Acting Governor Reynold Groeneveldt, President of Parliament The Honorable Dr. Lloyd J. Richardson, Heidi Chumley, MD, Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Ronald Testa, PhD, Medical Sciences Dean, and Julie Taylor, MD, Clinical Sciences Dean.
DEAN CHUMLEY APPLAUDS GRADUATES
In what has become a university tradition, the Generations New Status Drum Corps Band, directed by Mr. Urmain Dormoy, led the commencement procession of graduates, deans and faculty.
Dr. Chumley offered words of congratulations and encouraged graduates to continue their dedication to the study and practice of medicine. “You’re sitting here because you brought more to the journey, but also because you had the opportunity to start the journey,” she said. “You’ve succeeded at this and will continue to succeed wherever your career takes you.”
The keynote address was given by Steven Brooks, MD (Class of 2005). Dr. Brooks is a Board-certified surgeon and 2010 recipient of the American College of Surgeons’ prestigious Resident Award for Exemplary Teaching. Currently, he holds the positions of Assistant Trauma Medical Director, Director of the Geriatric Trauma Unit and Surgical Director of the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas.
Randy McCreery, MD and Brittany Mott, MD were chosen by their peers as graduation speakers. They both expressed the profound effect studying at AUC and being part of the campus community had on them.
Dr. McCreery was particularly touched by the culture of “competition without animosity” and attributed his success in large part to it. “I’m a graduate of AUC and I am going to be a doctor at one of the premier infectious disease hospitals in the country,” he said. “The AUC community got me there.”
“AUC gave us a chance when no one else would. We stand here today with our dreams achieved because we didn't give up. I hope you go onto achieve your career dreams and thrive in happiness.” said Dr. Mott, who earned a Psychiatry residency at the University of Rochester, New York. “You have become my second family, and it has been an absolute honor to learn medicine with all of you, and to share this moment where years of exam grade numbers have finally become the letters MD.”
INAGURAL TRANSFORMATIONAL AWARDS PRESENTED
In 2015, AUC created the Executive Dean Transformational Award to honor those whose vision and execution transformed the educational content and approach at AUC. The inaugural recipients of this award were Malary Mani, MD (Class of 2015) and Nimish Sudan, a former AUC student, for their creation of Project HELP, and Dr. Best for his co-leadership of the Platform Public Health, Social Development and Labor/AUC.
Dr. Mani and Mr. Sudan created Project HELP to enhance the exposure to clinical experiences during the medical sciences curriculum. In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, Project HELP has grown to support the healthcare needs of uninsured and under-served residents of Sint Maarten. It also creates a collaborative learning environment for patients, AUC physicians-in-training, and St. Maarten physicians.
Dr. Chumley presented the Executive Dean Transformational Award to Dr. Earl Best, Inspector General of Health, on behalf of the university. “Dr. Best has provided visionary leadership, has a remarkable positive spirt, and continues to support the growth of existing and new initiatives between AUC and St. Maarten,” she remarked. “This enhances the education received by graduates of our institution and addresses the public health needs of St. Maarten.”
RESIDENCY AND BEYOND
As the commencement ceremonies concluded, graduates prepared for the next milestone on their journey by reading the Physician’s Oath/Declaration of Geneva. In doing so, they pledged their dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine and vowed to abide by it as they begin their residency training.
This year, AUC graduates earned residencies in specialties such as child neurology, ophthalmology, general surgery, pediatrics, radiology, and emergency medicine. Many will also help to address the United States’ significant unmet need in family medicine, internal medicine and pediatrics.
They begin their residency training at hospitals across the Unites States this July.
To view photos of the ceremonies, visit our Facebook album by clicking here.