New doctors graduating Saturday from the School of Medicine and Health Sciences were encouraged to balance local health care reform efforts with serving the medical needs of a globalized and interconnected world.
The ceremony honored 175 graduates receiving doctors of medicine in Lisner Auditorium with and address by the U.S. Virgin Islands Delegate to Congress Donna Christensen, an alumna of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Christensen praised graduates’ dedication to applying their new medical specialties in addressing global medical needs.
“Our class never thought about traveling further than to the McDonald’s on the corner. You on the other hand have had the opportunity to travel the world and use those opportunities to service the communities where you found yourselves, from St. Thomas to Uganda, from Haiti to India,” Christensen said.
While applauding students’ involvement with medicine abroad, Christensen urged students to recognize the outstanding medical concerns within the U.S. such as national health care.
“We live in a country which shows little concern for the uninsured. Some day that must change. You, my dear colleagues, are not only on the cusp of change; you must be that change,” Christensen said. “You can begin right at the residencies which you are about to enter and in the communities which surround you.”
Reminiscing on the dilapidated facilities and outdated resources that characterized her time as a medical student, Christensen called upon the Class of 2012 to take advantage of developing technology and new medical advancements to improve medicine on the national stage.
“We can and must make it better one patient at time, but we must also recognize that to get to the improvement of that individual patient, we must also improve the community in which they struggle against many and great odds to be well,” Christensen said.