PHILADELPHIA — The Perelman School of Medicine’s impact in global and community health will be well represented this Sunday at graduation, when 160 students take the Hippocratic Oath for the first time as new doctors. Among the group is a host of students who reached far and wide—and as close as West Philadelphia—to help the underserved. Tanya Keenan journeyed to The Gambia to bring solar energy to hospitals; Naomi Rosenberg coordinated efforts to get Haitian earthquake victims to Penn for life-saving treatments; and Christopher Sha immersed himself into the Sayre Health Center to bring better health and education to students.
Kimmel Center for Performing Arts
Sunday, May 12, 2013 (9 am to 12:30 pm)
9:15 am — Commencement address given by Penn Alumna and Health and Human Services Official Nicole Lurie, MD, MSPH
When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Rosenberg decided to leave school for a year to help coordinate the transfer of critical care patients to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, and to see that care through. “What if it was my sister who had lost her legs in an instant and was suddenly evacuated by herself to a different country? Wouldn't I hope that someone would make a significant effort to help her?” said Rosenberg, who is headed to Temple University for an Emergency Medicine residency. Today, many of those refugees live in a group home in Germantown, Pa.—which Rosenberg helped start—to rehabilitate and get them back on their feet.
For Keenan, being a part of Power Up Gambia was incredibly powerful. That organization, started by Penn alumni Kathryn Cunningham Hall, helps bring reliable energy to hospitals throughout the African country. “One of the most memorable patients was a six-month old child named Aminata, who suffered from pneumonia and would not have survived the night without the oxygen supplied by a solar-powered oxygen concentrator,” said Keenan, who served as Board Chair her last year and is going to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for an Internal Medicine residency. “This experience taught me the importance of persistence, patience, respect, and, above all else, on-the-ground allies.”
Sha’s search for community health projects led him to Penn and eventually to the Sayre Health Center in West Philly, where he served as community medicine fellow and education programs director. “This experience reconfirmed my passions in life, and I ended up applying to the University of California, San Francisco’s Internal Medicine Primary Care residency program that has a focus on underserved populations,” said Sha.
The Sayre program provides quality medical care to underserved individuals while at the same time, offering an educational and mentoring program that encourages students to pursue health care careers. Sha helped develop a two-year curriculum leading to a medical assistant certification, and next year, the first class graduates.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 17 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2013 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2013, Penn Medicine provided $814 million to benefit our community.
Department of Communications
For Patients and the General Public: