ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic is celebrating the graduation of the next generation of physicians and scientists. In a combined ceremony on Sunday, May 22, students will receive degrees conferred by Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Forty-one new physicians will join the prestigious Mayo Clinic alumni, with six receiving both medical and doctoral degrees and 30 new biomedical scientists receiving doctoral degrees. In addition, 28 students will receive master’s degrees.
The event is historic for the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, which is a national school. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the medical school in Rochester, and the first tri-site commencement, with ceremonies in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota. Graduates are headed across the country to residency programs where they will do their part to ease the physician shortage. An American Association of Medical Colleges study projects a shortfall of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033.
Students persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic, learning during the height of nationwide lockdowns and an uncertain future. The disruption caused by the pandemic prompted them to learn, practice and innovate in new ways.
Education is a priority at Mayo Clinic, and students benefit from training at the nation's top-ranked hospital and alongside world-class researchers. Fredric Meyer, M.D., Waugh Executive Dean of Education, Mayo Clinic, reminds graduates that they are embarking on a noble mission. "When the Mayo brothers and families donated their estate to create the Mayo Foundation for Education and Research, they stated in their bequest 'in service to humanity'."
The commencement ceremony featured a student speaker from each school. Ericka Wheeler, a graduate of Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, is motivated by her own story growing up in the Mississippi Delta. She wants to provide care to underserved communities.
"My hometown is known for its poor health status, lack of resources, extreme poverty, low educational attainment, and pervasive history of racism and segregation," she says. "I’m passionate about developing community-based strategies that build resilience and provide increased mental health access to youth with behavioral problems and adults with chronic mental illness."
The student speaker from Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Luz Milbeth Cumba Garcia, a recipient of a doctoral degree, conducted research to develop a non invasive technology to detect and assess brain cancer. "What captured my interest about this project was the translation to patients, and how impactful this technology could be to diagnose and monitor treatment outcomes," she says.
Her career goals will leverage her scientific expertise to broadly affect health care as a policy adviser. "My expertise could be widely applicable to developing policies pertaining to pandemic preparedness, response to infectious disease outbreaks around the world and engaging on global health topics to cure the incidence of chronic disease and cancer in the developing world."
Mayo Clinic's graduates 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.
Journalist: Broadcast-quality video can be found in the downloads at the end of the post. Current COVID-19 protocols were followed.
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 Florida program, 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 Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences offers world-class graduate education leading to Ph.D. and M.D.-Ph.D. degrees, as well as master's degree programs. The school offers research opportunities on campuses in Arizona, Florida and Minnesota, with training by leading investigators and clinicians in cutting-edge biomedical fields. For more information, visit Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.
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.