Honored speaker Steven J. Stack, MD, president-elect of the American Medical Association, urges graduates to "think big, take charge and whatever you do — don't give up.”
Michael Carag will pursue a residency in pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City.
Yearbook editors Matthew Stevens (center) and Aleksandr Kalininskiy (right) present Nitza Ellis, MD, and Perry Hogan, PhD (left), with the Iris medical school yearbook, dedicated to the late Avery Ellis, MD, PhD.
From right: Graduates including Madeline Kaye, Maygen del Castillo, Kathleen Whitbread, Matthew Stevens and Marcus Ng sing the national anthem.
Andrea T. Manyon, MD (right), helps hood Vincent Bruzola DeChavez, who is pursuing an internal medicine residency at George Washington University.
Suzanne G. Laychock, PhD (right), congratulates Sophia Felisha Francis, who is embarking on an internal medicine residency at SUNY Health Science Center at Brooklyn.
Natalie Gugino (right), who sang the UB Alma Mater during the ceremony, celebrates with friends and family.
Published May 6, 2015
The UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences graduated 136 medical students during its 169th commencement on May 1.
Nine students in the Class of 2015 earned dual degrees:
Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences at UB and dean of the medical school, presided over the ceremony at the Center for the Arts on the North Campus.
Steven J. Stack, MD, the president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA), was the honored speaker.
He shared five keys to success during his address: “Be diligent, be confident, be compassionate, be passionate, be tenacious. It won’t be easy, but I guarantee it will be rewarding because this path you have chosen makes a difference,” he said.
“You are the future of health care in this country. You are the ones who will be on the front lines. So think big, take charge and whatever you do — don't give up,” he urged.
Stack has served as medical director of multiple emergency departments, and he is the first emergency medicine board-certified physician to serve on the AMA’s board of trustees.
Stack, who has special expertise in health information technology, was chair of the AMA’s Health Information Technology Advisory Group from 2007 to 2013. He is currently the secretary of eHealth Initiative, a nonprofit association committed to improving health care through the advancement of health IT.
Stack has made notable contributions to the areas of physician licensure, regulation and assessment.
Michael Wach, a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society and the Gold Humanism Honor Society, was the class speaker.
He discussed his experiences as a bone marrow donor and shared what it felt like to help extend the life of his donee. “Classmates, this is an experience every one of you is going to have in the coming years. You are going to be the ones who save a person's life,” he said.
“During residency, during fellowship and during your career we are trusted with enormous responsibility and we are made to go through hell for it. But the first time someone says ‘This wouldn't have been possible without you,’ you will know it's worth it,” he said.
Wach also expressed his gratitude for his professors at UB. “The time they took out of their own lives to give us so much knowledge is incredible. We stand on the shoulders of giants now with their medical knowledge,” he noted.
Wach has been part of several research projects and has presented his results on a national level. His recent work on artery stenting analysis and outcomes has led to six articles in peer-reviewed neurosurgery journals.
He is “one of the rare graduates we see,” said Cain, noting that Wach is “committed to academic excellence and humanism in the practice of medicine.”
Wach will undertake his residency in general surgery at UB.
The Class of 2015 dedicated the Iris medical school yearbook to the late Avery K. Ellis, MD ’77, PhD ’79, MBA, former senior associate dean for medical curriculum and associate professor of medicine and physiology.
Ellis was chosen because of his incredible passion for the success of medical students, said yearbook editors Matthew Stevens and Aleksandr Kalininskiy.
“He was an outstanding leader of our curriculum, organizing not only the classes we took for four years, but also providing students with electronic notes,” explains Stevens.
“Dr. Ellis helped us overcome many obstacles. He was a humble, affable, hardworking professor who made cardiology interesting for us,” he notes.