Indiana University School of Medicine to graduate 404 doctors, scientists Saturday

  • May 7, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS -- There will be several doctors in the house Saturday at the Indiana Convention Center when the Indiana University School of Medicine awards diplomas to 404 physicians, scientists and researchers.

Graduates and their family and friends will gather May 9 at 10 a.m. in the Sagamore Ballroom for commencement ceremonies and to hear IU School of Medicine alumnus Kent Brantly, M.D., discuss his work in Africa treating patients with the Ebola virus and his near-death struggle with the disease.

The IU School of Medicine will award:

-    307 Doctor of Medicine degrees

-    25 Doctor of Philosophy degrees

-    2 Combined M.D./Ph.D.

-    41 Master of Science degrees

-    16 Master of Science in clinical research degrees

-    3 M.D./M.S. in translational science degree

-    7 Master of Science in medical science degrees

-    3 Combined M.D./MBA

This year's commencement speaker, Dr. Brantly, captured headlines for weeks in 2014 when he became the first person to be treated on U.S. soil for Ebola. An Indianapolis native and 2009 graduate of the IU School of Medicine, Dr. Brantly is a family medicine physician who served as a medical missionary at ELWA Hospital in Monrovia, Liberia, from October 2013 until August 2014, when he was evacuated to Emory University Hospital for treatment of the deadly Ebola virus.

Dr. Brantly was working for Samaritan's Purse in early July when that organization took over responsibility for the clinical care of Ebola patients for the nation of Liberia. Dr. Brantly was appointed medical director for what would become the only Ebola treatment unit in southern Liberia. He fell ill with the virus in late July and became the first person in the world to receive the experimental drug Zmapp and the first person with Ebola to be treated in the U.S. His fellow missionary at ELWA Hospital, Nancy Writebol, who was evacuated to an isolation unit at Emory University three days after Brantly, was the second to receive a dose of Zmapp. Both were released from the hospital in late August.

Dr. Brantly made headlines again in December when Time Magazine named Ebola fighters its "Person of the Year."  The magazine released five covers picturing different Ebola caregivers, including Dr. Brantly, saying the five represented those who were dedicated to treating and curing the disease.

Dr. Brantly and his wife Amber are the authors of the forthcoming book "Called for Life: How Loving Our Neighbor Led Us into the Heart of the Ebola Epidemic," in which they share the story of how their calling to serve others turned into a life or death battle during the worst outbreak of the virus in history. The book, published by WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc., is scheduled for release July 21, marking the one-year anniversary of Dr. Brantly contracting Ebola.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Brantly return home to the IU School of Medicine to share his insights with this year’s graduating class,” said Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie. “His inspirational work on behalf of Ebola patients represents the highest order of medical skill and selflessness imaginable and is emblematic of the type of life-changing impact that IU School of Medicine graduates are having across the state, the nation and the world.”

Following Dr. Brantly's address, IU Executive Vice President and IUPUI Chancellor Charles R. Bantz, Ph.D., who will retire in August, and Jay L. Hess, M.D., Ph.D., dean and Walter J. Daly Professor at the IU School of Medicine and IU vice president for university clinical affairs, will present diplomas.

A special segment of the ceremony is reserved for the newly named physicians. Following the formal hooding ceremony, the new doctors will repeat in unison the time-honored Physician’s Oath, promising, among other things, to practice their profession “with conscience and dignity” and always considering the health of their patients first and foremost.

2014 IU School of Medicine graduate Naina Singh was all smiles last year when she accepted her diploma.

2014 IU School of Medicine graduate Naina Singh was all smiles last year when she accepted her diploma. | Photo by Liz Kaye

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Mary Hardin