The Keck School of Medicine of USC’s MD and MD/PhD ceremony, held May 14 at the Galen Center, was both heartfelt and humorous.
Henri Ford, MD, MHA, vice dean for medical education, was the grand marshal of the ceremony. Interim Dean Rohit Varma, MD, MPH, set the tone for the graduates with three items of advice for the future: look beyond the status quo to find ways to break new ground; provide care not only to those who can afford it but also to those who cannot as they deserve good health as much as anyone; and always practice with passion.
Attendees were particularly moved by the commencement address from Paul Farmer, MD, co-founder of Partners in Health.
Farmer told the story of his high-stakes quid pro quo exchange with Ford, who is a close friend and colleague. As a favor to Farmer, Ford assembled a surgical team from Keck Medicine of USC, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and local physicians in Haiti to successfully separate twins who were conjoined at the abdomen and sharing a liver at the PIH-established University Hospital in Mirebalais in Haiti. As part of the deal, Farmer agreed to speak at the ceremony.
Farmer choked back tears of gratitude as he reflected on the medical community’s power in collaboration and obligation to heal all populations.
“You will feel fear and see suffering, but most of all you will experience the joy of the most rewarding profession that I can imagine. And that’s true no matter where you end up practicing or how,” Farmer said.
For more photos from the ceremony, go to the Keck School’s Facebook page.
by Mary Dacuma