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Hooding & Oath Ceremony at the CU School of Medicine a time for reflection, laughter, and looking forward.

CU School of Medicine Celebrates Class of 2022

Hooding & Oath Ceremony a time for reflection, laughter, and looking forward. 

minute read

Written by Greg Glasgow on May 27, 2022

Much of medicine has been transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two and a half years, and medical school is no exception. The 181 students who graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine today have seen their learning and training profoundly altered by the health crisis, and they enter residency in a medical landscape still dealing with the pandemic and its aftermath.

“While COVID brought so many unwelcome changes to our daily lives, it also served as a reminder of how fortunate we are to welcome an extraordinary group into the profession,” Brian Dwinnell, MD, FACP, associate dean of student life, said at Friday’s Hooding & Oath Ceremony for the Class of 2022. “Throughout the crisis, the Class of 2022 responded with resilience, tenacity, and a strong sense of altruism. Rather than dwelling on misfortune, they've used this as an opportunity to strengthen their resolve and enhance their sense of empathy.” 

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Graduate Stephanie Nwagwu with her family.

Passing the torch 

John J. Reilly Jr., MD, dean of the CU School of Medicine and vice chancellor for health affairs for the CU Anschutz Medical Campus, told the graduates that while the pandemic tested them in new ways, it also showed that the field of medicine has a long way to go when it comes to dealing with health crises and health disparities. 

“We will be passing the baton to you for that," Reilly said. “We didn't think you were average when we accepted you to our medical school, and I trust that you won't be average when you get out there and practice medicine." 

Reilly also acknowledged that the world the students are graduating into is different than it was four years ago, when they began their studies at CU. While technology has advanced and telehealth has become more common, he said, it is still important for doctors to listen to their patients and develop empathetic relationships. 

Graduation 2 - 5-27-22

“Our profession remains one of the few that sees people from all segments of society and interacts with them on a regular basis,” he said. “Regardless of their socioeconomic status, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, we take care of everybody. That gives us a special responsibility to advocate for everybody." 

Laughter and vulnerability 

The guest speaker at Friday’s ceremony was Will Flanary, MD, an ophthalmologist and well-known comedian who posts medical satire skits on Twitter and TikTok under the name Dr. Glaucomflecken. With millions of followers worldwide, Flanary reminded the new doctors to balance the serious moments with lighter ones. 

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Guest speaker Will Flanary, MD, with Dean John J. Reilly Jr., MD.

“Laugh, tell jokes, have a sense of humor,” he said. “Medicine is serious business, but it's also outrageously funny. So go out there and lift each other up. Lift medicine up with humor, with compassion, with humanity.” 

Graduating student Troy Kincaid also spoke at the ceremony, sharing stories of a few favorite patients and reminding the graduates that while medicine can be hard, it helps when you are able to share who you are with your patients and fellow students. 

"Through vulnerability comes authenticity,” he said. “That special genuine care for others that called us all to this profession shines through most when we bring our full selves.”  

A fond farewell and commitment to patients 

After the CU School Medicine graduates had been hooded by their mentors, Shanta Zimmer, MD, senior associate dean for education and associate dean for diversity and inclusion, invited the Class of 2022 graduates, as well as all physicians in the audience and at home, to stand and participate in the treasured tradition of reciting the Colorado Physician’s Oath, which reads in part: “I will speak out when silence is wrong. I will respect the law, but I will not fail to seek changes that would reduce suffering or contribute to good health.”  

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