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Brianna Johnson, 2020 graduate of Stanford School of Medicine

‘You are the leaders of tomorrow, forged in the crisis of today.’

At the Stanford School of Medicine's virtual graduation ceremony, speakers told newly-minted health professionals that they can make a difference.

For Stanford School of Medicine's 112th commencement on June 13, the newest batch of physicians, physician assistants and scientists were celebrated online in the school's first virtual diploma ceremony, an adjustment prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Karthik Nathan, 2020 graduate of Stanford School of Medicine
Karthik Nathan, who graduated with an MD from the Stanford School of Medicine

As my colleague Mandy Erickson noted in her story, the speakers addressed the somber backdrop of 2020 -- the coronavirus, the reality of racism and violence against black Americans, the health inequities that persist in medicine -- but they also emphasized that these newly-minted health professionals will be in a position to make a difference in the future.

"No Stanford Medicine class has ever dealt with the uncertainty and the turmoil that you have faced," Dean Lloyd Minor, MD, told the class via video address. "We as a society are very much in need of healing, and you, our graduates of 2020, are ultimately dedicating your lives to helping heal. You are the leaders of tomorrow, forged in the crisis of today."

The school bestowed 89 medical degrees, 110 doctoral degrees and 88 master's degrees, including 27 given to graduates of the inaugural master's in physician assistant studies program, which launched three years ago.

Marian Padilla, 2020 graduate of Stanford Medicines physician assistant program
Marian Padilla, who earned a master's in physician assistant studies degree at Stanford, with her parents.

In her speech, MD graduate Paloma Marin-Nevarez, encouraged her class to advocate for all of their patients: "Turning a blind eye to systemic injustice is a disservice to them," she said.

Neil Gesundheit, MD, senior associate dean for medical education, applauded the students' achievements, saying, "You know that the initials 'MD' stand for 'much deserved' as much as they do for 'medical doctor.'"

Jon Sole celebrates getting his MD from Stanford.

He also reminded the graduates of the optimism and idealism they felt when they first put on their white coats.

"I hope you will remember your commitment, expressed in your medical school essays, 'to apply your knowledge to alleviating human suffering and treating disease,'" he said. "You have earned a powerful credential. Use it wisely, and make sure you unleash its full power to repair our country and world."

Congratulations to all the graduates!

Top photo of Brianna Johnson, who received her MD on June 13, courtesy of Brianna Johnson. Other photos courtesy of Karthik Nathan, Marian Padilla and Jon Sole.

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