LECOM holds commencement ceremony
Nearly 350 graduates receive diplomas

Academic leaders of the College of Medicine and School of Pharmacy classes of 2009 carry standards of the five affiliates of the Millcreek Health System.

For more pictures of the 2009 Commencement ceremony, click here.

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine held commencement ceremonies for nearly 350 future osteopathic physicians, pharmacists, and master’s degree recipients on Sunday, May 31, at the Louis J. Tullio Arena. Students receiving degrees included 217 medical students, 124 pharmacy students, and eight Master of Science in Medical Education students.

Stephen Giordano, DO, LECOM class of 2002, places a hood on his sister, Jennifer Giordano, DO.

The event marked the 13th commencement for the school’s College of Medicine, whose students received the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. The School of Pharmacy graduated its fifth class, with each student receiving a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree. This was the third class of students graduating with a Master of Science in Medical Education degree (MS).

This year’s class graduates at a time when news reports and studies indicate there will be a continuing shortage of primary care physicians. In addition, a report released by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation challenged medical schools nationwide to meet recommendations that would help existing and future medical schools improve the quality of education for future physicians in the 21st century and beyond.

As graduates of LECOM, these future physicians and pharmacists will be equipped to handle the unique pressures and situations they will face in the health care profession. LECOM continues to be among the leading proponents of primary care education, with two of every three osteopathic medicine graduates continuing on to practice primary care medicine. A recent study by the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation made recommendations that challenge medical colleges to improve the quality and reduce the cost of medical education. The College, through its innovative program offerings, low-cost tuition rates and a commitment to professionalism and patient-centered care, has surpassed many of those recommendations.

The commitment to primary care is evident among many of the 2009 graduates of the College of Medicine. Gregory Yost, winner of the LECOM Dedication to Primary Care award for Internal Medicine, said his continued interest in serving patients as a primary care physician motivated him through medical school and into an internal medicine residency in Danville, Pa., later this year.

Lisa Tarcy, PharmD, LECOM class of 2008, places a hood on her cousin, Samantha Tarcy, PharmD.

“It’s tough to see this decrease in primary care physicians, especially because they are needed everywhere for patients to have that initial point of contact,” he said. “Diseases and ailments have to be caught and managed at the front lines in the primary care physician’s office because they coordinate the patient’s health and teach patients on a personal level how to deal with their health.”

LECOM specifically recognizes four graduates each year for their dedication to primary care, specifically regarding interest in moving into family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics, and obstetrics and gynecology. Along with Yost, graduates receiving this special recognition include Desiree Yetter, Holly Kline and Susanne Spranklin.

Other graduates include David Seastone, PhD, who earned his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree while also serving as a member of the school’s faculty as an assistant professor of biochemistry; and Kevin Grzybowski, who will work to ensure patients’ continued health in northwest Pennsylvania as a CVS pharmacist.

Grzybowski is eager to work with other health care providers to ensure the health of his patients in the small community of Warren, Pa.

“The pharmacist is available to meet with patients,” he said. “Because of that access, the pharmacist can make patients aware of any issues, and, if there’s a problem, the pharmacist can contact the physician. In that way, the pharmacist acts as a liaison between the patient and doctor, and performs an important task on the front lines of health care.”

Lazarus Mayoglou, DO and Suzan Zaghloul, PharmD, celebrate their graduation.

Upon graduation, LECOM College of Medicine graduates go on to osteopathic internships through the AOA intern match program, or they choose a medical specialty internship and residency program. They continue post-graduate medical training at hospitals in Erie and throughout the country.

LECOM School of Pharmacy graduates go on to work in retail or community pharmacies, hospital/clinical pharmacies and long-term care facilities, and others move on to residency programs. LECOM’s Master of Science in Medical Education graduates have gained the knowledge, skills and attitudes needed to become more effective teachers, administrators and leaders in medical education.

May 30, 2009
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