With an audience of faculty mentors, family, friends, and fellow scholars, UMass Chan Medical students graduating from historically underrepresented pathways in medicine and science were festively presented with Kente and multicultural shawls on Friday, June 3, to wear at the 49th commencement ceremony.
Brian Lewis, Ph.D., and George F. chair Booth in Basic Sciences, Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Cancer Biology, Vice President for Communication and Employment and Associate Dean for Diversity and Pre-Registration Programs, called the ceremony, “A new tradition at UMass Chan we hope will live long,” welcoming guests to the Albert Sherman Center.
Students from TH Chan School of Medicine, Tan Chingfen Graduate School of Nursing and Morningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences were given a chance to reflect on their academic journeys and speak to the community that had nurtured them along the way.
We pushed each other to break boundaries with respect,” said Daniel Hidalgo, PhD candidate, spokesperson for the Class of 2022 at Morningside College of Biomedical Sciences. “Let this be the beginning of the union of the three schools. We are knocking on the same door at the same time, and if we are united, I think we can knock on it a little more forcefully and knock on the ground.”
Kanari Lee, the NDP candidate, echoed the feelings of unity among the schools.
“It shows that intersectional medicine will continue to advance as long as there are supportive people in this community,” he told me.
In recognition of UMass Chan’s mentorship through outreach programs, the Worcester Pipeline has been involved in many of the students’ reflections.
Medical student Rebecca Toohey, a product of the Worcester public school system who is heading to UCLA Medical Center for an anesthesia residency, expressed her gratitude for the Health Sciences Preparatory Program at UMass Chan that contributed to her success in medical school. She reminded her peers to never forget where they came from and to give back to their community.
The college wished the graduates success.
“Never forget to look for mentors in your career,” said Joan Vitello, Ph.D. Donna M. The Robert J. Manning Head of NursingTan Chingfen, Dean of the Graduate School of Nursing and Professor of Nursing.
David Hatem, professor of medicine and co-director of TH Chan School of Medicine, told Learning Communities.
“I am not very emotional about what I did, but I am more emotional about what I started. Don’t forget the strength of your character and your ability to change the lives of those around you,” said Mark Johnson, MD, Ph.D. Maroun Simon chair Chairman and Professor of Neurosurgery and Senior Vice Dean of Guidance, Leadership and Transformation. Johnson encouraged more gatherings to strengthen community bonds throughout the school year.
Feelings overcame his feelings, NDP candidate Ezequiel de Leon expressed his happiness with the concert and diversity in the hall.
“Diverse spaces normalize you. A sense of belonging allows me to take on any challenge,” de Leon said.
The event was organized by the UMass Chan chapter of White Coats for Black Lives and the UMass Chan Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The fabrics and colors on the shawls represent unity, belonging, renewal and prosperity, and embody the realization of the dreams of graduates and those who traveled with them. Starting Sunday, June 5 at UMass Chan.
Related UMass Chan news stories:
Vibrant shawls at the graduation ceremony to honor the achievements of students of color
Graduate medical students say BaccMD provided key support early in their medical journey
UMass Chan Medical School 49th will conclude on Sunday 5th June, Festive Week