• 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

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with 48,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 600 research and clinical labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time—discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 9,000 primary and specialty care physicians and 11 free-standing joint-venture centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report's® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2023-2024.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.