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126 Men and Women to Graduate from UCSD’s School of Medicine


September 19, 2005  |  

First the cheers, then the tears will roll when 126 new physicians receive their M.D. degrees on Sunday, June 5, 2005 at University of California, San Diego (UCSD) School of Medicine commencement ceremonies. Among the 69 men and 57 women graduating, three students completed the medical scientist training program and will jointly receive their M.D. and Ph.D. degrees. One student jointly completed a Masters of Public Health.

Blair Sadler, J.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Children’s Hospital and Health Center-San Diego since 1980, will be this year’s commencement speaker. UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, and Edward Holmes, UCSD Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, will welcome the graduates and guests, with H. Eric Bender selected as the student speaker.

The 2005 graduates followed many unusual paths to reach this graduation day, such as the unorthodox journey of former businessman Walter Root. At 48 years of age Root is admittedly the oldest class graduate. Root wanted to attend medical school since his college days. But an early marriage and children on the way made him question whether it was fair to ask his young family to endure the financial hardship of medical school, internship, residency and fellowship. He opted to attend graduate business school instead which lead to a successful business career at Ford, Frito Lay and Mission Foods. Once his children were taken care of he decided to pursue his dream. Seven years ago he quit his job to live off of savings and return to college to complete post baccalaureate work in the sciences.

“My wife thought I was nuts,” recalls Root.

But he wasn’t alone in his educational quest. During his freshman year in the School of Medicine, his son, Brad, was completing his senior undergraduate year at UCSD. Over the next four years his son Brad began a Ph.D. at UCSD and his wife completed a master’s degree. On Saturday, May 21 his daughter received her undergraduate degree at San Francisco State University.

Root will enter a psychiatry residency at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, where he spent many years working for Frito Lay.

When Julie Gladsjo entered UCSD’s medical school in 1999 she came with impressive credentials, she was already a Ph.D. in psychology, working as an assistant clinical professor in UCSD’s Senior Behavioral Health Unit. At the end of her first year she found out she was pregnant, to be a first-time mother. She and her husband figured it wouldn’t make too much of an impact.

“I planned to take off one year, then I found out I was carrying twins in June 2000,” she says.

When her doctor put her on total bedrest at 25 weeks gestation she thought her educational pursuits would have to take a long hiatus. But her friends, instructors and staff in the Office of Student Affairs were determined to help her finish as many courses as possible. She completed final exams that quarter in bed, proctored by professors and staff from the Office of Student Affairs, including the histology exam which required use of a microscope in her bed and another where the proctor beamed medical slides on her bedroom wall. Because of the sequential course requirements, Gladsjoe ultimately took off two years, returning when her twins were 18 months old.

“Actually, I couldn’t have returned earlier,” she recalls. “I was so tired I couldn’t remember my address much less medical and scientific terms.”

Next up, Gladsjoe will enter a one year internal medicine internship in San Diego followed by a dermatology residency at UCSD.

Kei Yamada has been a runner for nearly 10 years, a sport he says got him through medical school. “It’s been an integral part of surviving medical school,” he says explaining that long distance running is a mental challenge, which he likens to medical school. “Runners continue to punish their bodies, running through the pain, all to wake up the following day and do it all over again. That’s what medical school is like. It takes both love and devotion to continue.”

Yamada will enter an internal medicine internship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles followed by a radiology residency at Beth Israel Deaconess in Boston.


Award Recipients


National Gold Humanism Honor Society Members

Amanda Sanford
Thomas Catron
Miranda (Rizk) Chyo
Ann Folkins
Jonah Hulst
Tony Jolly
Mark Koenig
Colin McCreight
Lynn Nisbet
Julie Kiko Gladsjo
Natalie Rodriguez
Danielle Schindler
Charles Bart Smoot

Merck Award for Outstanding Academic Accomplishments

Pejvak Sassani
Allen Hu
Cheryl Bates

School of Medicine Leadership Award

Amy Mikail

School of Medicine Class Spirit Award

Sherry Yafai

Outstanding Contributions to Medical School Community Awards

Charles Bart Smoot
Natalie Rodriguez

Pharmacology Education and Research Foundation
Medical Student Award

Julia Ozbolt

Department of Medicine Senior Award

Colin McCreight

Foundation Achievement Award in Surgery

Hop Tran Cao

Department of Pediatrics Senior Award

Elizabeth Pohl

Department of Neurosciences Senior Award

Ann Folkins

American Academy of Neurology Student Prize

Shana Patterson

Department of Psychiatry Senior Award

Thu (Jennifer) Le

Department of Ophthalmology Senior Award

Allen Hu

Department of Reproductive Medicine Senior Award

Gina Reggiardo

Primary Care Clerkship Award

Julia Cronin

Edwin Reithmayer, M.D. Memorial Scholarship Award
San Diego Academy of Family Physicians

Amy Kennard

Emergency Medicine Senior Award
Society for Academic Emergency Medicine

Thomas Catron

Thomas E. Carew Prize for Cardiovascular Research

Kristian Brown

Roderick K. Calverley Humanitarian Service Award

Charles (Bart) Smoot

The Mark B. Fefferman, M.D. Memorial Award

Jacob Ballon

The Debi Taylor Award for Excellence in the Study of
Social and Behavioral Sciences

Victoria Nguyen

American Medical Women’s Association
Glasgow-Rubin Award for Commendation of Academic Achievement

Ann Folkins

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award
Presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation

Victoria Nguyen

Baird-Davidson Award for the Arts in Medicine

Elizabeth Arnold
Danielle Schindler

Joseph Stokes, III Award

Eric Bender

S.B. H. Memorial Thesis Award, in Memory of Samual B. Hamburger

First Prize:
Mitchell Kamrava

Second Prize:
Allen Hu

Honorable Mentions:
Jonah Hulst
Dana Sajed
Holly Luong

Arlene J. and Dr. Bernard Goodhead Service Award in Oncology

Mitchell Kamrava

The John and Lola Ross Award in the Science and Culture of Medicine

Timothy McCajor Hall
Amy Mikail

The George G. Glenner Memorial Award
Presented by the Department of Pathology

Ann Folkins

The Kiwanis Club of San Diego Foundation
Walter A. Zitlau Memorial Award

Jonah Hulst
Bahram Khadivi

UCSD Medical Alumni Association:
Carrlene Harper Memorial Scholarship

Ann Folkins

Bud Whipple Memorial Endowed Scholarship

Linh Vuong

Kaiser “Excellence in Teaching” Awards

First Year
Nora Laiken, Ph.D.
Department of Medicine

Second Year
Lawrence Hansen,M.D.
Departments of Pathology and Neurosciences

Third Year
Bruce Potenza, M.D.
Department of Surgery

Fourth Year
Renate Pilz, M.D.
Department of Medicine

House Staff
Stephanie Doniger, M.D.
Department of Emergency Medicine

Sean Evans, M.D.
Department of Neurosciences

# # #

News Media Contact: Jeffree Itrich, 619-543-6163,

Note to broadcast and cable producers: UCSD provides an on-campus satellite uplink facility for live or pre-recorded television interviews. Please phone, or e-mail, the media contact listed above to arrange an interview.

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