Graduation 2016

(May 27, 2016) Medical school graduates are entering a changing world of health care, and new physicians have a special role in making sure that those changes benefit all patients, speakers said at Friday's graduation ceremony. 

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"I'm optimistic about change, but that optimism is predicated on the fact that you have to take a leading role in shaping that change," Dean John J. Reilly, Jr., MD, said at the ceremony at Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center. "We need to move to a patient-centered system that provides an optimal outcome for all patients who we're responsible for. If we do it in that responsible way, it is not only better for population, but it is a better system to practice medicine in...

"I encourage you to take a leading role and participate in changing the way we deliver medicine and advance science."

Guest speaker Dayna B. Matthew, JD, associate dean of academic affairs at CU School of Law and associate professor of Law in the Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, challenged the 143 graduating physicians to ask themselves if the current health care system treats all patients equally.

"Is it fair, is it just, is it reasonable that in these United States nearly 84,000 people of color die needlessly every year ... I ask you, class of 2016, do we have justice in our health care system, where your ZIP code tells us more about your health than your genetic code?"

To bring justice to the health care system, Matthew suggested the new physicians ask themselves: What more than just medicine does justice require of me?

"If you ask and answer that question on a daily basis I believe you will be doing your part to bring justice to American health care," she said. 

"You are graduating in an extraordinary time in our country's health care history. ... We are transforming our health care system and you are part of it. We no longer are a system of sickness but we are going toward being a system of wellness. We are moving away from a system that rewards and pays for volume and instead rewards and pays for value."

Reilly reminded graduates that team-based medicine is the new reality and can deliver better care.

"Medicine now is a team sport; science is a team sport," he said. "Many other disciplines - nursing, pharmacy, physical therapy, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, social worker, I could go on - have a profound impact on the quality of health care we deliver and that patients experience. I would encourage you to be a good team member and to treat your colleagues with respect and as the valuable resources that they are. "

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