“Imagine Your Future and Go Create It”
Class of 2018 Graduates of the School of Health Sciences Celebrate at Commencement
Hundreds of friends and family members celebrated with graduates of Touro College School of Health Sciences on September 13 at the Tilles Center in Long Island. SHS awarded 510 degrees in fields ranging from undergraduate health sciences to doctorates in physical therapy.
Speaking to the newly minted graduates, Dr. Nadja Graff, vice president of Touro’s Division of Graduate Studies, noted the celebration’s proximity to both 9/11 and the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah, which Dr. Graff noted symbolized a new beginning.
“The School of Health Sciences commencement is a response and a beacon of hope and light,” said Dr. Graff. “Through the education you received here under the leadership of my friend and colleague Dean Louis Primavera, you, dear graduates, are the promise of a better future. You are healers. You are change agents. You will make a difference.”
Dr. Louis Primavera, dean of the School of Health and Sciences, asked for a moment of silence for the lives lost on 9/11. Afterwards, to thunderous applause, he thanked both the staff of the school and the students’ family members for helping the graduates succeed.
Keynote speaker Dr. Patrick Michael O’Shaughnessy, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of the Catholic Health Services of Long Island, began by noting that the students had entered a constantly expanding field, ripe with opportunities for new graduates.
“You chose wisely; you chose a great school; you chose great professions. You will have long, fulfilling careers,” he said.
Citing physician and author Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto, Dr. O’Shaughnessy provided the students with a checklist of their own to ensure success in their future medical careers. His list included the following:
- Embody and embrace team-based care
- Embrace the humanity of the medical profession
- Truly be there in the moment
- Save time for innovation and creation
- Continue to learn
Dr. O’Shaughnessy also stressed the need for the future medical practitioners to maintain a positive work-life balance. “Pile up enough tomorrows and you’ll have a pile of empty yesterdays,” he said. Then speaking to the students, he added, “Imagine your future and go create it.”
SHS undergraduate students Tiffany Aracena, Jennifer Hernandez and Nicole Fabian took his words to heart. “It’s an accomplishment,” said Aracena about their graduation. All three are planning on attending PA school next year.
“We’ve reached the end of a marathon,” said OT graduate Olivia Myszkowski, though Myszkowski, who is a triathlete, declined to say whether a triathlon is more difficult than OT school.
OT graduate Ashley Blanchard plans to become a certified hand therapist. “OT is constantly evolving and there are always new avenues you can explore,” she said.
Despite the celebration, SHS Doctorate of Physical Therapy program graduate Avital Ackman admitted she was a bit sad about leaving her friends and professors behind. “I don’t want to be done,” she said.