Inaugural class from CUNY School of Medicine will graduate ahead of schedule at CCNY

The CUNY School of Medicine at The City College of New York (CSOM) has moved up the date for graduating its fourth year medical students to Friday, April 10 in response to the growing need for medical professionals to respond to coronavirus outbreak. The School’s 44 students are its first class to graduate since it opened its doors as a medical school in 2016 and are now permitted to start their residency programs early or volunteer at New York City area hospitals to support their response to the crisis. The original date for graduation was May 21.

“The college has joined our sister institutions in New York City and responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s request to support the state’s front-line health care work force by graduating its fourth-year medical students early,” said CCNY President Vincent Boudreau. “I am proud that so many of our students have expressed a desire to affirm the College’s long-standing commitment to society and will take advantage of early graduation from medical school to assist patients, families and our local communities at this extraordinary time of need.”

For example, at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, CSOM graduates are being trained to participate in a telehealth initiative to relieve staff needed for other duties by answering queries from the public and families of patients. And students slated to begin their residencies at Northwell Health’s Staten Island University Hospital in the fall will start their training there early to help alleviate the burden on current hospital staff due to COVID-19. Other opportunities now being planned include partnering with the Health and Hospitals Corporation where early graduates would work as “house physicians” and work in the inpatient areas where there is the greatest need. 

“No one could have predicted that the students from our first class would be graduating into a health care crisis of this magnitude,” said Erica Friedman, interim dean, CUNY School of Medicine. “They have been trained to identify and address health inequities,  which is already apparent in the COVID-19  adverse health outcomes for New York City’s most vulnerable residents.  They have responded with grace and a desire to help in any way to alleviate the strain on their professional colleagues, as well as help patients and families survive this pandemic.”

CSOM is known as the gold standard for recruiting underrepresented minorities for careers as physicians practicing in underserved areas. Together with historically black colleges and universities, CSOM curriculum emphasizes a compassionate, holistic approach to care, as well as a commitment to social justice and health equity. It admits students directly from high school into an accelerated undergraduate biomedical program and seamlessly transitions them into CUNY’s rigorous preclinical and clinical curriculum.  Seventy-eight percent of the students in this year’s graduating class will be joining the medical staff at New York City-area hospitals.

To help mark the occasion of their graduation, the School is planning a celebration via Zoom on Monday, April 13 to acknowledge the conferring of their medical doctor degree. Students will have the opportunity to reflect on their journey, followed by a collective toast to their future. A virtual formal graduation ceremony will follow on May 21, the original planned date for degree conferral.

About the City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided a high-quality and affordable education to generations of New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. CCNY embraces its position at the forefront of social change. It is ranked #1 by the Harvard-based Opportunity Insights out of 369 selective public colleges in the United States on the overall mobility index. This measure reflects both access and outcomes, representing the likelihood that a student at CCNY can move up two or more income quintiles. In addition, the Center for World University Rankings places CCNY in the top 1.2% of universities worldwide in terms of academic excellence. Labor analytics firm Emsi puts at $1.9 billion CCNY’s annual economic impact on the regional economy (5 boroughs and 5 adjacent counties) and quantifies the “for dollar” return on investment to students, taxpayers and society. At City College, more than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in eight schools and divisions, driven by significant funded research, creativity and scholarship. CCNY is as diverse, dynamic and visionary as New York City itself. View CCNY Media Kit.

Marc Kaplan, Ashley Arocho
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