University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School Honors 2019 Graduates at Culmination Ceremony
The University of Queensland (UQ) Ochsner Clinical School, celebrating its 10thanniversary this year, presented its 2019 graduating class during the program’s culmination ceremony on Saturday, November 23 at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center (900 Convention Center Blvd., New Orleans, LA 70130).
The 113 graduating students successfully completed medical education through a unique four-year training, academic, and clinical experience across two continents. Students completed two years of medical school curriculum in Brisbane, Australia at UQ, which is recognized as one of the top universities in the world and ranked 42nd worldwide on the 2020 US News Best Global Universities list. The final two years of clinical study were completed with Ochsner Health System– one of the largest independent academic medical centers in the United States – at UQ's Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans.
“We began the UQ-Ochsner partnership 10 years ago with the goal of graduating physicians with a unique global perspective. Since our inaugural class, students who have completed their medical studies through the UQ Ochsner Clinical School have gone on to successful careers in nearly every field of medicine. I’m pleased to say some have stayed here in Louisiana, serving local communities across the state,” said Leonardo Seoane, MD, Chief Academic Officer, Ochsner Health System. “We are incredibly proud of everything the members of this year’s graduating class have accomplished and cannot wait to see where the future takes them next.”
William W. Pinsky, M.D., FAAP, FACC, delivered the keynote address. Dr. Pinsky is currently president and chief executive officer of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research (FAIMER). Prior to this role, Dr. Pinsky served as executive vice president and chief academic officer of Ochsner Health System, among numerous other roles at Ochsner. He retains an Honorary Professor title from UQ.
During the culmination ceremony several UQ Ochsner Clinical School faculty and residents were recognized with awards of excellence in clinical teaching. The highest individual award of excellence – the Teacher of the Year award – was bestowed upon Michael Blanchard, MD, Psychiatry. Blanchard has been on staff at Ochsner for more than 4 years. He holds a Doctor of Medicine degree from Louisiana State University Health and Sciences Center at New Orleans and completed a Psychiatry Residency at Louisiana State University where he served as a Chief Resident for over two years. Blanchard is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and the Louisiana Psychiatric Medical Association.
The following teachers were nominated for the Teacher of the Year Award:
- Suma Jain, MD – Pulmonology
- Sam Langberg, MD – Emergency Medicine
- Mehul Sheth, MD – Primary Care
- Russell Steele, MD – Pediatric Infectious Disease
- Juan Carlos Velez, MD – Nephrology
- Vu Vuong, MD – Ob/Gyn
- Rajasekharan Warrier, MD – Pediatric Hematology/Oncology
Resident teaching awards were awarded to the following physicians:
- Craig Naccari, MD – Medicine
- Angela Nakahara, MD – Ob/Gyn
- Hayden Jahn, MD – Surgery
- Varsha Thomas, MD – Pediatrics
- Andrew Aubin, MD – Psychiatry
The following were recognized with Post Graduate Research Fellowship Awards:
- Raza Ahmad – Combination therapies for colon cancer targeting tumor initiating cancer cells
- Shourjo Chakravorty – Identifying Risk Factors Specific to Left Atrial Thrombus Formation in Patients with Atrial Arrhythmias Found by Transesophageal Echocardiogram
- Elizabeth Cho – Molecular Analysis of Renal Cell Carcinoma Metastasis
- Gregory Desrosiers – The Reluctance to Prescribe Newer Drugs to Treat Patients with Cardiovascular Disease
- Sajan Gill – The Impact of Patient Education to Define Value in Cardiovascular Imaging
- Olivia Manayan – Lift Your Spirit and Reduce Your Weight: A Pilot Study of a Faith-based, Community Weight Loss Program
- Evan O’Keefe – Comparative effects of recommended doses of EPA (ethyl ester) vs EPA+DHA (triglyceride) on the Omega-3 Index
- Vipin Varghese – Urine cast composition and diagnostic utility in acute kidney injury
The following students were also recognized with individual awards:
- Sajan Gill – Internal Medicine – ACP
- James Fabiszak – E. Edward Martin, Jr. Family Medicine Award
- Olivia Manayan – Ob/Gyn
- Claire Natsios – Pediatrics
- Alexander Horwitz – Psychiatry
- Raza Ahmad – Surgery
Additionally, Sarah Vitug also received Master of Philosophy degree in Experimental Dermatology from The University of Queensland, Faculty of Medicine.
The class of 2019 marks the eighth graduating class from the UQ Ochsner Clinical School and will celebrate Match Day in March 2020. Earlier this year, UQ Ochsner Clinical School’s class of 2018 garnered an impressive 93 percent match rate through the National Residency Match Program (NRMP), comparable to other medical schools in the U.S. Eighty-five students from the class of 2018 matched into residency training programs at many prestigious institutions in Louisiana and across the country in a variety of specialties, including Anesthesia, Emergency Medicine, Family And Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Plastic Surgery, Neurology, Ob/Gyn, Pathology, Pediatrics, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Psychiatry.
For more information on the UQ Ochsner Clinical School, visit https://education.ochsner.org/clined/uq-ochsner-clinical-school.
About Ochsner Health
Ochsner Health is Louisiana’s largest non-profit, academic, healthcare system. Driven by a mission to Serve, Heal, Lead, Educate and Innovate, coordinated clinical and hospital patient care is provided across the region by Ochsner's 40 owned, managed and affiliated hospitals and specialty hospitals, and more than 100 health centers and urgent care centers. Ochsner is the #1 ranked hospital in Louisiana by U.S. News & World Report and is recognized as a “Best Hospital” across two specialty categories caring for patients from all 50 states and more than 70 countries worldwide each year. Ochsner Hospital for Children is the only facility in Louisiana to be recognized as a top 50 children’s hospital by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years. Ochsner employs nearly 25,000 employees and over 4,500 employed and affiliated physicians in over 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and conducts more than 700 clinical research studies. Ochsner Health is proud to be a tobacco-free environment. For more information, please visit ochsner.org and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.