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Celebrating NYITCOMs Newest Physicians

Members of NYITCOM’s Class of 2024 received their doctoral hoods at ceremonies in Old Westbury, N.Y., and Jonesboro, Ark. May 30, 2024

Pictured: Physician Jennifer Buoncore is hooded at the NYITCOM-Long Island ceremony.

“I will always be mindful of the honor and great privilege bestowed upon me as a physician.”

Those were the words that more than 400 graduates from the College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (NYITCOM) Class of 2024 affirmed while pledging the osteopathic oath at this year’s Hooding Ceremonies in Old Westbury, N.Y., and Jonesboro, Ark.

The newly minted physicians were welcomed into the field of medicine, joining a well-established alumni network of more than 9,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.s).

NYITCOM’s Hooding Ceremonies, which serve as the medical school’s graduation, are a symbolic passing of the guard from one generation of physicians to the next. New physicians are called to the stage to receive their doctoral hoods, which are either presented by medical school faculty and leaders or family members who are also physicians.

This year, the Class of 2024 achieved an impressive match rate of approximately 99 percent. Residencies were secured at institutions such as Harvard South Shore (psychiatry), Dartmouth Hitchcock (anesthesiology), Tulane University (pediatrics), Vanderbilt University (internal medicine), and many others. In addition, 10 members of the class will go on to complete their residencies in branches of the U.S. armed forces.

NYITCOM-Long Island

NYITCOM-Long Island’s 43rd Hooding Ceremony took place on the campus in Old Westbury following New York Tech’s 63rd annual commencement on May 19. Approximately 300 new physicians received their doctoral hoods; 62 were hooded by family members, including Lerone Clark, D.O., who was hooded by his wife, Natalie Lowe, M.D.

“My experience at NYITCOM helped to build my foundation as a new physician…I am confident that I can enter my career knowing that I’ve been given great instruction by faculty, encouragement by my peers, and support from the entire medical school community,” said Clark, who will soon begin a highly competitive diagnostic radiology residency at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education.

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Lerone Clark, D.O., was hooded by his wife, Natalie Lowe, M.D.

NYITCOM Dean Nicole Wadsworth, D.O., reminded the new D.O.s that their medical education provides them with a very advantageous skillset and vital ability to connect with patients.

“With osteopathic students now comprising a quarter of all student-physicians, you are part of a critical workforce that is ready to meet the evolving needs of patients in the coming decades…There’s a growing demand for healthcare providers who not only possess technical expertise, but also demonstrate empathy, compassion, and a holistic approach to patient care—all qualities inherent in osteopathic medicine,” said Wadsworth.

Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D., one of only two holding the title of university professor at the University of Connecticut, provided the keynote address. In addition to many other poignant messages, he urged the Class of 2024 to prioritize their successes above their failures.

“As you go through life, taking care of patients…spend 10 times the amount of your time celebrating your triumphs than even thinking about your setbacks,” said Laurencin, who received an honorary Doctor of Science (Sc.D.) earlier in the day at New York Tech’s commencement ceremony.

NYITCOM-Arkansas

Five days later, NYITCOM-Arkansas held its Hooding Ceremony on May 24 at the First National Bank Arena on the campus of Arkansas State University. Here, 113 new physicians received their doctoral hoods.

Shane Speights, D.O., NYITCOM-Arkansas site dean, opened the ceremony by challenging the Class of 2024 to always honor the title of physician.

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NYITCOM-Arkansas graduates await their hooding.

“You are about to enter into the clinical aspects of your training where you will be directly responsible for the care of a patient,” Speights said. “It’s a level of responsibility that many seek and few have. I ask that you guard this responsibility closely, for it is not to be abused, and it is not to be taken for granted. The relationship between a doctor and a patient is one of a sacred trust, and undoubtedly one that we will all experience at some point.”

Makayla Lund, D.O., class president, encouraged her classmates to stay humble during one of the most significant accomplishments of their lives.

“Amidst the immense privilege of our profession, let us never lose sight of the humanity that lies at its core,” Lund said. “As we embark on this next chapter of our journey, let us do so with humility, with integrity, and with an unwavering commitment to excellence. Let us embrace the challenges that lie ahead with courage and determination, knowing that we have been uniquely equipped to make a difference in the lives of others.”

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Makalya Lund, D.O., is hooded by her father Michael Lund, M.D.

The Class of 2024 arrived in Jonesboro in 2020 as NYITCOM-Arkansas’s fifth class. More than half of its members were placed into residency programs that will keep them in Arkansas, a targeted Delta region state, or a state contiguous to Arkansas. These physicians will carry out the medical school’s mission to improve healthcare outcomes in one of the most medically underserved regions of the nation.

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