Ninety-nine medical students officially became physicians on Saturday, June 1, following commencement ceremonies for UC Davis School of Medicine.
The event, which began at 10 a.m. at the Mondavi Center on the Davis campus, represented the 42nd graduating class from the School of Medicine. By tradition, the students filed into the auditorium led by the pomp and circumstance of a bagpipe band. Proud family members, friends and medical school faculty and staff packed the room to witness the exciting and emotional culmination of four challenging years of studying medicine.
Speaking on behalf of the class of 2013 was Kaveh Zivari, who is heading east next month to begin his residency in general surgery in Brooklyn, N.Y. The 27-year-old Southern California resident is following in the footsteps of two uncles who also are physicians. Zivari noted that the collaborative environment at UC Davis helped his classmates and him to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of others, important qualities that will guide them in the patient care they will provide as new physicians.
“This medical education has been a long road, but my passion toward helping others is what drives me,” said Zivari, shortly before commencement. “There is no other feeling that comes close to how proud and motivated I feel by helping others. Every interaction with patients has reaffirmed my love of medicine, and I would never choose any other career.”
Approximately 60 percent of this year’s graduating class will remain in California for the next phase of their physician training, with 15 percent remaining at UC Davis Medical Center. About half of the class have chosen residencies in primary care, which includes family practice, general pediatrics and internal medicine — areas in medicine where physician shortages are becoming particularly acute. Less than 10 percent of this year’s class chose an advanced subspecialty training program such as anesthesiology, diagnostic radiology or ophthalmology.
The 2013 commencement included 12 graduates from the school's Rural PRIME program, a special curriculum developed to attract and prepare future physicians for careers in medically underserved and diverse communities around the state. The students experienced their third-year clinical rotations far from the capital city’s urban core. PRIME students were assigned four- and eight-week medical clerkships in primary care, where they worked alongside local physicians in small communities such as the Central California towns of Oakdale and King City.
The ceremony also featured commencement remarks by noted cardiologist Lawrence Czer, medical director of the heart transplant program at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles and a physician who is well known for his medical missions to some of the poorest and most war-torn regions of Africa.
In addition to the awarding of medical degrees, 24 other students received master of public health degrees, and another 16 students received master of health informatics degrees. These graduate programs are affiliated with the School of Medicine and draw upon the multiple strengths of UC Davis in public health, epidemiology, rural health, occupational and environmental health, telemedicine, and other research and academic studies. UC Davis developed its combined degree programs to address the growing need for health-care practitioners who can lead state and national efforts to track, manage and prevent injuries and disease, as well as work with large amounts of health information and data to enhance the practice of medicine and improve health for all.