• By Matthew Brenden

Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine graduates ease physician shortage in world affected by COVID-19 pandemic

May 23, 2021

Ninety-eight students took part in commencement events on Friday, May 21, at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine ― Arizona Campus and Sunday, May 23, at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine. This is the first multistate commencement for Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and the first commencement for the inaugural class of students at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine ― Arizona Campus.

In reference to the inaugural class of graduating physicians, Michele Halyard, M.D., vice dean of Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine said: "Today is the culmination of your hopes, dreams and hard work that reflects not just the last four years, but many years of preparation before. It also reflects the dedication and support provided to you by friends and loved ones who have been the wind beneath your wings. This is a day you should be proud of as you have accomplished so much."

In an unprecedented year, these students persevered to overcome what no other modern medical students have ever had to endure: a rapid change to online classes, a halt in patient care and rotations, and a firsthand account to how one of the largest medical institutions in the U.S. responds to a public health crisis.

Fredric Meyer, M.D., Waugh Executive Dean for Education, Mayo Clinic, reminded graduates: "The cornerstone of Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science is our commitment to our students. When the Mayo brothers and families donated their estate to create the Mayo Foundation for Education and Research, they stated in their bequeath 'in service to humanity.' Students, you are about to embark on a noble mission."

Watch: Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine graduation in Rochester, Minn.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video is available in the downloads at the bottom of the post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."

Watch: Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine graduation in Arizona.

Journalists: Broadcast-quality video is available in the downloads at the bottom of the post. Please "Courtesy: Mayo Clinic News Network."

Samuel Rouleau, M.D., a graduating medical student, said: "Overall, what has been fulfilling as a medical student is when you have time to sit with someone in their suffering. It is (then) when you really have that connection with a patient."

These graduates are headed across the country to residency, where they will do their part to ease the physician shortage. An AAMC study projects a shortfall of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033. These graduates will bring their Mayo training and values with them as the first class of physicians this generation to graduate under the direct effects of a global pandemic. It has forced them to learn, practice and innovate in new ways.

Holly Thomson, M.D., a graduating medical student, said: "This (pandemic) has changed our routines and our whole lives. The pandemic has provided a shared connectiveness with our patients. This has been a defining moment in all our lives."

Students have worked side by side with Mayo Clinic's world-renowned experts to create new ways to address patients' future needs and lead positive change in medicine. They are empowered to lead innovative and transformative efforts in health care, and apply knowledge to develop creative solutions for some of the most complex problems facing patients and health systems today.

"There is a human aspect of medicine, but I think the benefits of telehealth outweighs the negatives, and that has been brought out through the pandemic. A major barrier to health care in addition to cost is access," said Jacqueline Zayas, M.D., Ph.D., a graduating medical student.

Dr. Meyer concluded, "I am confident that our graduates will transform the future of health care through innovation and technologies."

To hear more about what Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students are saying as they graduate, listen to this media briefing.

Watch: Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students share thoughts as they graduate.

Journalists: Sound bites are available in the downloads at the end of the post.

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About Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine
Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine is a national medical school with four-year medical degree programs in Rochester and Arizona. The school also offers a two-plus-two program option, enabling students to complete their first two years of medical studies in Arizona or Minnesota, and their final two years of learning in Florida. For more information, visit Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine.

About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit organization committed to innovation in clinical practice, education and research, and providing compassion, expertise and answers to everyone who needs healing. Visit the Mayo Clinic News Network for additional Mayo Clinic news and An Inside Look at Mayo Clinic for more information about Mayo.

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#Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine #Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science #Phoenix #Rochester #Commencement #Florida #medical education