July 12, 2023 | Jane Moon, MD
The 2023 DAPM Residency Graduation, the department’s first graduation ceremony to be held indoors since the COVID-19 pandemic, was a lovely and festive occasion. Friends, family, and colleagues—new and old alike—gathered at Covel Commons in UCLA’s Sunset Village on June 17 to celebrate the culmination of the Class of 2023’s four years of training in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine.
After a lively pre-banquet reception, Maxime Cannesson, MD, PhD, DAPM Professor and Chair, welcomed the audience and congratulated the graduates on completing a grueling chapter of life that he likened to adolescence with its extreme highs and lows. He commended the Class of 2023 on their “excellence, camaraderie, dedication, leadership, commitment to health equity, and humility” during a uniquely stressful period of human history. The graduates had remained focused on their mission to become exceptional doctors within the larger social context of workforce challenges, burnout, political and racial tension, and a global pandemic.
“To be happy working in an academic institution,” Dr. Cannesson said, “you must love to watch people grow.” The graduating residents, having grown tremendously over the past four years, were a source of great pride and joy.
He thanked everyone in the audience who had helped the graduates reach their potential and imparted several words of wisdom. He urged the Class of 2023 never to forget the privilege and honor of being physicians who care for patients in their most vulnerable state. He emphasized the value of teamwork in anesthesiology and the importance of viewing medicine not only as a biological science but also a social one. He encouraged a lifelong commitment to cultivating growth both within ourselves and in others.
Dr. Cannesson concluded his speech with a moment of reflection on the magnitude of the graduates’ achievement and the sacrifices made by them and their loved ones. He urged them to carry a deep sense of gratitude and humility forward “as [they] go for [their] next challenge.”
Faculty physicians from UCLA, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, and Long Beach Memorial Medical Center then presented a series of faculty and resident awards for the 2022-23 academic year:
- Special Award: Mansoureh Eghbali, PhD
- Dillon Award: Tiffany Williams, MD, PhD
- Olive View Award: Dikran Nalbandian, MD, and Joshua Sadik, MD
- Long Beach Award: Peter Schnaak, MD
- Medical Student Educator Award: Brittany Burton, MD, MHS, MAS
The graduating Chief Residents—Maryte Gylys, MD, John Kleinman, MD, Ramita Rahimian, MD, and Peter Schnaak, MD—brought warmth and levity to the occasion, interspersing friendly banter with heartfelt appreciation for their residency experiences. They each read aloud roasts of themselves written by their classmates and passed the torch to the incoming Chiefs—Sara Arastoo, MD, Chase Barker, MD, Mariana Gomez, MD, MBA, and Jennifer Nam, MD, MBA. Dr. Gomez, speaking on behalf of the new cohort, thanked the outgoing Chiefs for being role models.
Then, the graduating Chiefs presented several awards voted on by the resident physicians:
- Peri-Op Award: Julius Roxas
- Affiliate Teacher of the Year Award: Thanh Cung, MD
- Excellence in Teaching Awards: Joseph Meltzer, MD, Leo Li, MD, and Colby Tanner, MD
- UCLA Teacher of the Year: K. Elliott Higgins, MD
The graduates of the Class of 2023 were then presented by the faculty physicians who had worked closely with them for two consecutive weeks at the start of their clinical anesthesia training. These mentors shared anecdotes about their now seasoned mentees before the graduates walked onstage to receive their diplomas from them, Jack Buckley, MD, Residency Program Director, Christine Myo Bui, MD, Residency Associate Program Director, Judi Turner, MD, PhD, Vice Chair for Education, and Dr. Cannesson.
The evening concluded on an upbeat note with the Chief Residents gently roasting their classmates with a series of senior superlatives. A funny and heartwarming video created by faculty physicians Michael Wolfe, MD, Jason Lee, MD, and Andrew “Ace” Young, MD, showcased appreciative comments for the graduating residents by their junior colleagues.
The graduation was masterfully planned by Dr. Myo Bui and Dr. Buckley and seamlessly executed by the DAPM Education Office administrators—Lucelva “Lucy” Mendez, Residency Program Manager, Areli Gonzalez, Associate Residency Coordinator, Karen Larrañaga, MEd, Residency and Fellowships Didactic Coordinator, and Dalena Le, MHA, Administrative Assistant.