CMU College of Medicine Celebrates 2024 Commencement

| Author: Kelly Belcher | Media Contact:

One hundred graduates accepted their degrees at the CMU College of Medicine 2024 Commencement Ceremony held on Friday, May 3 at McGuirk Arena.  These new physicians began medical school in the fall of 2020, when the world was in the midst of an unprecedented medical crisis.  Despite numerous uncertainties, they began their studies with confidence and enthusiasm.

Over the last four years, these students faced many challenges.  As public health recommendations changed, they adjusted to fluctuating teaching methods and learned, in real-time, how quickly medical advancements can occur.  They gave their time to volunteer at COVID testing sites and vaccine clinics to provide essential services to our community members.  In the face of turmoil, the Class of 2024 preserved through the stresses of both a rigorous educational program and a devastating global pandemic.  As a testament to their resilience and dedication, the Class achieved an outstanding 100% match rate and will now move on to continue their training in their respective residency programs.

The Ceremony also included the presentation of the inaugural Dr. George E. and Mona Kikano Leadership in Medical Education Awards.  Dr. Kikano has been the dean of the College of Medicine since 2015 and became the CMU vice president for Health Affairs in 2018.  Dean Kikano is passionately committed to teaching, community partnerships and access to care, as well as to the College’s mission to educate diverse students and train culturally competent physicians.  He is steadfast in his belief that the success of the College is due to the faculty and staff’s commitment to fulfilling this mission.  In that spirit, the Leadership in Medical Education Award was established to recognize the contributions of one deserving faculty member and one outstanding staff person who exhibit outstanding leadership in their field.

The Leadership in Medical Education Faculty Award was presented to Wendy Biggs, M.D. for her exemplary work as the Director of College’s Comprehensive Community Clerkship.  She has aligned the curriculum with that of the national family medicine clerkship and built a network of community physicians who devote their time to educating students in their offices.  Dr. Biggs is also a devoted mentor and recently took on the additional role of Assistant Dean for Career Counseling and Student Engagement.  In 2022, she received the AMA Women Physicians Section Inspiration Award in recognition for her ongoing support for fellow physicians, residents and students.  Dr. Biggs embodies the values of the College and is most deserving of this award.

Jessica Tuck, the Simulation Operation Specialist at Covenant HealthCare Simulation Center received the Leadership in Medical Education Staff Award for her commitment to creating educational opportunities through sophisticated medical simulation events.  Jessica works with both students and residents from the College and provides services to outside residency training programs, nursing schools and the community at large.  She establishes a comfortable, collaborative environment and her creativity has resulted in the development of excellent simulation scenarios.  Jessica is passionate about the mission of the College and received this award because of her dedication to the ultimate goal of superb medical education.

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