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SIU Medicine to Hold 43rd Commencement

Published Date:

Southern Illinois University School of Medicine will hold its 43rd commencement at noon on Saturday, May 20, 2017, in the Sangamon Auditorium at University of Illinois Springfield. Sixty-three physicians and four graduate students will receive degrees.

Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, PhD, immediate past president of the American Public Health Association, will deliver the keynote address. Jones’ work focuses on the impact of racism on the health and well-being of the nation. A family physician and epidemiologist, she seeks to broaden the national health debate to include universal access to high quality health care, social determinants of health and social determinants of equity.

“It doesn’t just so happen that some people are overrepresented in poverty, while other people are overrepresented in wealth,” Jones said in a 2016 interview with Kaiser Permanente Institute for Health Policy. “You have to ask, ‘How did that happen and what’s maintaining those inequities?’  It’s all well and good to put resources in low income communities, but you have to ask, ‘How did those communities become poor and what systems and structures are keeping them that way?’ Jones uses allegories on race and racism to illustrate topics that are otherwise difficult for many Americans to understand or discuss.

Following the keynote address, numerous honors will be presented. Former SIU Medicine dean and provost J. Kevin Dorsey, MD, PhD, professor in the Department of Internal Medicine, will receive the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Janet Albers, class of 1987, will receive the 2017 Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes alumni for their outstanding contributions to medicine and distinguished service to humankind. Albers is the chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at SIU Medicine, where she has helped integrate mental health, behavioral health, financial, legal and care coordination services into traditional care.

A faculty member and a student will receive the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

The new SIU physicians will begin residency training in their chosen specialty fields in July.

SIU 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, 2,754 physicians, plus the 2017 graduates, have earned SIU medical degrees.


Note to media: To arrange coverage of the event or schedule an interview, contact Lauren Murphy or Karen Carlson, SIU Public Relations, 545-2819 or 545-3854. To secure an interview the day of commencement, please arrive before 11:30 a.m.

Schedule an interview or request more information by contacting SIU Medicine's Office of Public Relations and Communications:

Karen Carlson
Lauren Murphy

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