As they started across the stage of U-M’s historic Hill Auditorium last Friday, 165 future health care leaders were students. But when they stepped off the stage, they were physicians.
The 168th graduating class of the U-M Medical School received their diplomas in a commencement ceremony capped by an address from the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Vivek Murthy, M.D., M.B.A.
The choice of speaker — a physician who has led national health policy and medical innovation initiatives — especially fits this year’s class, which includes the first students to complete special coursework and projects in those topics. They elected to enroll in two of the Paths of Excellence that were introduced as part of the new Medical School curriculum in recent years.
Fifteen completed the Health Policy and Health Economics Path of Excellence, designed and led by faculty from the U-M Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation. It prepares students to analyze and lead change in health care delivery, regulation and reform.
Ten others completed the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Path of Excellence, co-sponsored by the Medical School’s Fast Forward Medical Innovation initiative. They gained firsthand experience in the innovation process that leads to new biomedical devices, diagnostics, therapeutics and health information technologies.
In all, one-third of the graduating students completed a Path of Excellence program to gain enhanced experiences and training, including the global health and ethics paths. The school now offers eight paths, including newer ones in medical humanities, scientific discovery, scholarship of learning and teaching, and patient safety/quality improvement.
“Our curriculum transformation is entering a maturation phase,” said Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D, Marguerite S. Roll Professor of Medical Education and associate dean for medical student education. “We are so proud of all of our graduating students, each of whom has embraced the mission of becoming outstanding clinicians as well as trying to impact health by leading change.”
To exemplify this point, this year’s class also paved the way for a service and innovation program that’s now required for all incoming U-M medical students, called the Impact Curriculum.
In the pilot phase of the program, 28 percent of 2018 graduates completed a capstone project that allows them to leverage their leadership training in medical school and make a measurable impact on a specific area of medicine. Projects from this graduating class ranged from biomedical research to literary endeavors to starting a company.
As Mangrulkar said, “With each successive graduating class, more and more students work through these exciting new elements of the educational program, making them better for the classes that follow.”
Key facts about the Class of 2018:
- The 165 graduates range in age from 25 to 38, and hail from 30 states.
- They came to U-M from 84 undergraduate schools, including 12 in Michigan.
- 17 percent earned both a medical degree and a second graduate-level degree while at U-M, including several who completed the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program with an M.D. and Ph.D. Others earned master’s degrees in public health, business, clinical research or other fields.
- 20 percent of the class took part in training and clinical care opportunities in other countries, through the Global REACH program’s partnerships with institutions in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, India and beyond.
- More than 1 in 5 will stay at U-M for residency training at Michigan Medicine, becoming part of one of the nation’s largest graduate medical education programs with more than 1,400 residents and fellows.
- 40 percent of the graduates will soon start residency programs in internal medicine, pediatrics, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, or family medicine, fields that can lead to careers in primary care.
Want to watch Friday’s ceremony? Click here to see the entire event!