The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine will award medical degrees to 148 graduates at the 2018 Honors Day ceremony, starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 19, at Aronoff Center for the Arts in downtown Cincinnati.
This year’s Honors Day will be the 200th commencement exercises in the history of the UC College of Medicine. The college was founded in 1819 by Daniel Drake, MD, as the Medical College of Ohio, the first medical school in Ohio. It became part of UC in 1896. The college has graduated physicians every year since its first commencement exercises in 1821 with the exception of 1823. Two commencement exercises were held in 1862, 1863 and 1943 to fulfill an urgent need for physicians during the Civil War and World War II. UC celebrates its bicentennial in 2019 based on the state charter granted to the Medical College of Ohio in 1819.
William Ball, MD, dean of the UC College of Medicine, and William Portman III, vice chair of the UC Board of Trustees, will offer opening remarks, while Christopher Cooper, MD, executive vice president for clinical affairs and dean of the University of Toledo (UT) College of Medicine and Life Sciences, will deliver the keynote address.
Cooper, a magna cum laude graduate of Wittenberg University earned his medical degree in 1988 at the UC College of Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency and cardiology fellowship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Cooper, a cardiologist, became dean of the UT College of Medicine and Life Sciences in 2014. He first joined the college’s faculty in 1994 and also has served as chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine from 2002 to 2012 and was director of the UT Heart and Vascular Center from 2008 to 2011.
A prolific researcher, Copper has had grant funding of more than $28 million during his UT tenure and was the principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health-funded CORAL Trial, an international, multi-center clinical trial comparing medical therapy alone against medical therapy with stenting for renal artery stenosis. The research findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine and have been cited over 400 times in the four years since publication.
Upon graduation, members of the Class of 2018 will be entering residency programs in 31 states and the District of Columba, with 35 percent of the class staying in Ohio for their primary hospital residences. Twenty-nine students will complete all or a portion of their residency in Greater Center. Of those, 10 will do residency at UC Health University of Cincinnati Medical Center and seven will complete pediatric residency at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The rest will be residents at Jewish, Christ, Good Samaritan and Bethesda hospitals.
The most popular primary residency for this year’s graduates are pediatrics with 20 students and family medicine with 19 students. Other popular matches included internal medicine with 17 students for primary residency and anesthesiology with 16 students.
At the start of the Honors Day ceremony graduates will recite the class oath they wrote upon entering medical school. Once their hooding is complete, graduating students will recite the Hippocratic Oath.
During the ceremony the 2018 Excellence in Public Health Award will be presented to fourth-year medical student Christian James Williams. The award is given to a student who develops or implements programs that help educate patients about a specific disease or to promote healthy lifestyle choices.
The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award will be presented to faculty and student recipients. Ndidi Unaka, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the UC College of Medicine and associate program director of the Pediatric Residency Training program at Cincinnati Children’s, is this year’s faculty awardee, while Ellen Pittman, a fourth-year medical student is the student honoree. The Tow award recognizes individuals who emphasize humanism in the delivery of care to patients and their families.
Two UC faculty members in the College of Medicine will receive the Daniel Drake Medal, the highest honor the college can bestow on living faculty or alumni. This year’s medalists are Andrew Filak Jr., MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, and Robert Luke, MD, emeritus professor of internal medicine.
Three College of Medicine faculty also will receive awards for outstanding teaching and mentorship. Peirce Johnston, MD, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, will receive the Gold Apple Award, while Jeffrey Schlaudecker, MD, Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Krishna Athota, MD, Department of Surgery, will receive Silver Apple Awards.
For more than four decades, medical students have upheld the tradition of giving "apples” to their favorite teachers at their commencement ceremony. The Gold and Silver Apple Awards program was established in 1968 by the Pi Kappa Epsilon fraternity. The idea was to give the students the chance to recognize professors who had the most impact on their medical career—and life path—by serving as excellent instructors and mentors.