• Press Release

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Honors Master’s Graduates and Health Care Leader at Annual Commencement Ceremony

Former World Bank Global AIDS Program Director Debrework Zewdie, PhD, Receives Honorary Degree and Delivers Keynote Address

  • New York, NY
  • (June 22, 2018)

The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai honored emerging health and science pioneers today at its master’s degree commencement ceremony. 

Debrework Zewdie, PhD, former Director of the World Bank Global AIDS Program and Deputy Executive Director and COO of the Global Fund, presented the keynote address.  “Your graduation puts you among those who are armed with knowledge to prevent, care, and treat diseases—but also to fight injustice and poverty,” she said. The Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai awarded Dr. Zewdie, an immunologist and leader in public health for several decades, an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

This year’s commencement reflects Mount Sinai’s commitment to excellence in distinguished education of the next generation of scientists and health professionals, who are making a profound impact on human health, locally and globally.

A total of 180 students graduated in the Class of 2018 with master’s degrees in areas including Public Health, Biomedical Sciences, Clinical Research, Biostatistics, Genetic Counseling, and Health Care Delivery Leadership. In May, the Icahn School of Medicine graduated its PhDs and MD/Dual Degree students.

In his opening remarks, Eric J. Nestler, MD, PhD, Dean for Academic and Scientific Affairs, told the graduates, “You are an impressive group and your influence has already been felt here at Mount Sinai and well beyond.”  Dr. Nestler commended the graduates for seeking solutions to disease, sometimes in places as far-flung as Uganda, where Icahn School of Medicine students have lent assistance to malaria prevention programs. Dr. Nestler focused his remarks on the opioid epidemic.  “It cuts across the disciplines of all of today’s graduates,” he explained, noting that the severity of the epidemic is “impossible to overstate.”   

Dominique Peters, a graduating MPH student on the Global Health Track who has distinguished herself both academically and as a dedicated volunteer, was elected by her fellow master’s students to speak on behalf of the graduating class.  “Today we all came together to fulfill a collective promise, a promise we made to ourselves that we are dedicated to the service of others, through the advancement of clinical research and scientific discovery; strengthening health systems through policy-making and disease prevention; empowering communities through health care delivery and leadership; aiding in the diagnosis, treatment, and counseling of genetic disorders; or using practical computational and data science skills to provide evidence-based solutions to complex issues both locally and abroad,” she said.

Finally, Marta Filizola, PhD, Dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, spoke to the graduating class with these words: “Whatever career path you ultimately take, we trust that you will continue to pursue science in the service of society, and that you will continue to advocate for change for those in greatest need, and that you will leave the world a better place than you found it.”

This year also marks a special occasion – the 50th Anniversary of the Icahn School of Medicine. Under the leadership of Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine and President for Academic Affairs of the Mount Sinai Health System, the School has become a world-class leader in medical education, research, and patient care. Key facts about the School, including recent awards and accolades, are available online.


About the Mount Sinai Health System

The Mount Sinai Health System is New York City's largest academic medical system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai is a national and international source of unrivaled education, translational research and discovery, and collaborative clinical leadership ensuring that we deliver the highest quality care—from prevention to treatment of the most serious and complex human diseases. The Health System includes more than 7,200 physicians and features a robust and continually expanding network of multispecialty services, including more than 400 ambulatory practice locations throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, and Long Island. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 14 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of the Top 20 Best Hospitals in the country and the Icahn School of Medicine as one of the Top 20 Best Medical Schools in country. Mount Sinai Health System hospitals are consistently ranked regionally by specialty and our physicians in the top 1% of all physicians nationally by U.S. News & World Report.

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