• 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 integrated delivery system, encompassing eight hospitals, a leading medical school, and a vast network of ambulatory practices throughout the greater New York region. Mount Sinai's vision is to produce the safest care, the highest quality, the highest satisfaction, the best access and the best value of any health system in the nation. The Health System includes approximately 7,480 primary and specialty care physicians; 11 joint-venture ambulatory surgery centers; more than 410 ambulatory practices throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida; and 31 affiliated community health centers. The Icahn School of Medicine is one of three medical schools that have earned distinction by multiple indicators: ranked in the top 20 by U.S. News & World Report's "Best Medical Schools", aligned with a U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" Hospital, No. 12 in the nation for National Institutes of Health funding, and among the top 10 most innovative research institutions as ranked by the journal Nature in its Nature Innovation Index. This reflects a special level of excellence in education, clinical practice, and research. The Mount Sinai Hospital is ranked No. 18 on U.S. News & World Report's "Honor Roll" of top U.S. hospitals; it is one of the nation's top 20 hospitals in Cardiology/Heart Surgery, Gastroenterology/GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, and Neurology/Neurosurgery, and in the top 50 in six other specialties in the 2018-2019 "Best Hospitals" issue. Mount Sinai's Kravis Children's Hospital also is ranked nationally in five out of ten pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report. The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is ranked 11th nationally for Ophthalmology and 44th for Ear, Nose, and Throat. Mount Sinai Beth Israel, Mount Sinai St. Luke's, Mount Sinai West, and South Nassau Communities Hospital are ranked regionally.

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