Class of 2022: 64 students become doctors

Julie Pilitsis, dean and vice president of medical affairs, said this is significant because Florida is expected to be short nearly 18,000 physicians by 2035.

Richard Pereira, News Editor

With the Class of 2022 moving on to the next chapter of their lives as the spring semester concludes, 64 students are making their way into the medical field.

The Schmidt College of Medicine held its commencement on April 29 to celebrate the graduating students and have them receive their Doctor of Medicine degrees.

Julie Pilitsis, dean and vice president of medical affairs, said this was significant because Florida is expected to be short nearly 18,000 physicians by 2035 as a high retirement rate and a low incoming rate of new physicians will likely exacerbate the shortage in the workforce.

“In recent graduating classes, as many as 50% of our women and 30% of our historically under-represented medical students remained in Florida for their residency and fellowship training. Even more compelling is that an average of 50% of our graduated residents and fellows stay on to practice in our state,” Pilitsis said. “As our state’s population grows, the College of Medicine’s strong track record of training physicians who remain in Florida aligns with the charge to Florida’s medical schools to grow our physician workforce.”

Sarah Rabinowitz, graduating with a degree in emergency medicine, described her time at FAU as an “incredible eight years.”

“I met lifelong friends, incredible mentors, and have grown in my education in a career that I am passionate about. If I had to do it all over again, I would still choose FAU,” Rabinowitz said. 

Sara Twadell, entering the field of emergency medicine as well, said that dedicating so much time and effort to medical school helped her develop as a person.

“I have always loved studying and learning, but the amount of time necessary to study for exams in medical school was a whole different beast,” Twadell said. “The past four years have helped me to become a more disciplined person while also finding new ways to deal with stress.”

Jacob Rosenfield, finishing with an emergency medicine degree, said that medical school was a humbling experience because it exposed him to a lot of information to memorize. 

“This forced me to develop time management strategies and maximum efficiency studying habits,” Rosenfield said. “I realized early on that if I understood something, then I wouldn’t need to memorize it. I now apply these lessons to other aspects of my life and am a better person for it.”

According to Rabinowitz, caring for patients is an honor and privilege as giving them the ability to live their lives takes tremendous dedication.

“I knew medicine was a field that fit my personality and would give me a meaningful fulfilling career in which I could create positive change and care for others,” Rabinowitz said. “It’s a tremendous responsibility to be trusted with another’s life, and I wanted to earn and be deserving of that responsibility.”

Rosenfield said that the dedication of time towards his medical education was important because he knew one day he would be responsible for educating and managing the health of his patients.

“In my mind, it is one thing to be a doctor and it is another thing to be a good doctor. I hope by focusing my time and effort towards expanding my medical knowledge and clinical skills, I will one day be a great doctor,” Rosenfield said. 

To the current students and aspiring physicians, Pilitsis said they are needed now more than ever before, as she saw how the COVID-19 pandemic tested all health care providers. 

“It is these very heroes who continue to inspire the new generation of health care workers who desire to step up and contribute to making a difference in their communities,” Pilitsis said. “With challenges comes [a] great opportunity to put your skills and resilience to the test.”

As Twadell will attend the emergency medicine residency at the University of Chicago, she has some advice for students pursuing a career in medicine.

“My advice to students pursuing medicine is to have a flexible perspective on your future goals and don’t forget to set aside time to maintain your personal relationships and friendships throughout training,” Twadell said.

Rabinowitz said that having dedication will be key to succeeding through challenges.

“Network and connect with mentors and other students in your community. Your community is your biggest support system,” Rabinowitz said. “Do not be afraid to pursue the things you’re truly passionate about. I got a degree in studio art and still went to medical school, so stay true to yourself. Pursue your passions and work hard. You can and will make it happen.”

For students taking a similar road, Rosenfield wants them to be prepared to work hard and achieve their goals should they decide the field of medicine to be their passion.

“You will have to sacrifice some of your free time. You will have to prioritize studying over other things in your life. However, it is all possible and doable and you should remind yourself that there is a finish line,” Rosenfield said. “Time will go by and soon that quiz and other things you were worried [about] will be nearly four years behind you as you stand at your commencement ceremony. Of course, at that point, the real journey is just beginning.”

Richard Pereira is the News Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.