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Portrait of Fitzhugh Mullan

May 10, 2012

Commencement Set for SIU Med School on May 19

Commencement exercises for the 38th graduating class of Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will be held at noon Saturday, May 19. The ceremony will be in the Sangamon Auditorium at the University of Illinois Springfield.

The commencement speaker is Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan, the Murdock head professor of medicine and health policy at George Washington University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. His talk is titled, “Doctors and Flat Screens: Social Mission in Medical Education.”

Mullan’s research and policy work focuses on U.S. and international health workforce issues including medical and nursing education. He is the principal investigator of the Medical Education Partnership Initiative Coordinating Center, a 12-country African medical education project, partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Previously he has served as senior medical officer at the NIH, assistant surgeon general and director of the National Health Service Corps, and director of the U.S. Bureau of Health Professions in the Health Resources and Services Administration. He served on both the President’s Task Force on Health Care Reform and the Council on Graduate Education.

Mullan is a contributing editor of the journal “Health Affairs” and editor of the “Narrative Matters” section. His books include “White Coat Clenched Fist: The Political Education of an American Physician” and “Vital Signs: A Young Doctor’s Struggle with Cancer.” Mullan earned his medical degree at the University of Chicago Medical School (1968) and his bachelor’s degree in history from Harvard University (1964).

During the ceremony, Alison Marie Saulog, class chair from Salem, will deliver remarks on behalf of the graduates. Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, Ph.D., dean and provost, will award diplomas to the medical students.  SIUC Chancellor Rita H. Cheng will confer the degrees.

Several awards will be presented including Distinguished Alumnus Award to Dr. Lance Rodewald, director of the Immunization Services Division of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and class of 1979. The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards to one faculty member and one graduating senior will be announced.

The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialty fields in July.  SIU School of Medicine’s mission is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research and service to the community.  Established in 1970, the medical school is based in Carbondale and Springfield and is specifically oriented to educating new physicians prepared to practice in Illinois communities. Since 1975, 2,399 physicians, plus the 2012 graduates, have earned SIU medical degrees. The medical school’s website is