MGH Institute Graduates Largest Class in Its History

Thirty-five Charlestown residents were among the 594 students who graduated from MGH Institute of Health Professions on May 13 at the graduate school’s 2019 Commencement.

A total of 594 members of the Class of 2019 received doctoral, master’s, or bachelor’s degrees, or certificates, in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation sciences, and health professions education.

Baothy Huynh gave the Commencement address on May 13 to an audience of more than 2,000 people at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. Huynh, who earned a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree, was the first student in the IHP’s history to give the graduation speech. She reminded her classmates of the reasons each one chose to become a health care practitioner.

“We are here today, after all these years of dedicated work, because we are deeply drawn to the service of others. That we, above all else, are moved, physically and emotionally, by the proclivity to make others feel whole,” said Huynh, who was born in Vietnam and moved with her family to the United States in 1997. “It was a love of the profession that brought us all to the Navy Yard from every corner of the country. It was a love of the education that kept us knocking on doors every week for office hours, and a love of the craft that kept us up until 3 a.m. studying. It was a love of our patients — past, present, and future — that carried us all the way to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jordan, India, and Capitol Hill in the name of service, education, and advocacy.”

Several people were recognized for their accomplishments, both to the MGH Institute and to the advancement of health care.

Stephanie Wilkie Ahmed, DNP ’08, FNP-BC, DPNAP, received the Bette Ann Harris Distinguished Alumni Award, the IHP’s highest recognition given to a graduate. Dr. Ahmed, the executive director for Clinical Effectiveness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was recognized for her role as president and legislative co-chair of the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, during which time she championed the removal of physician oversight with the hope of granting full practice authority to nurse practitioners and greater access to health care for the most vulnerable. She also has been recognized for her work by the Organization of Nursing Leaders of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont, and the American Nurse Association of Massachusetts.    

Jarrad Van Stan, PhD ’16, CCC-SLP, received the Emerging Leader Alumni Award, given to an alumnus who graduated less than 10 years ago. Dr. Van Stan is a speech-language pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation. Just three years after graduating from the Institute, he has become a national leader in voice disorders based on his significant contributions in the development of classification systems for classifying rehabilitation treatments and the application of motor learning theory and principles to the design of new voice therapy approaches. 

In addition, George E. Thibault, MD, the former long-time chair of the MGH Institute Board of Trustees, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, the fourth honorary degree in the Institute’s history.

The Charlestown residents in the Class of 2019 are:

Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology: Maria Elizabeth Galassi, Samantha E. Lovins, Emily Michele Reuling, Catherine Clare Serzan, Darby Elizabeth Smith, Jillian Mariah Davis, and Megan Koch Popp. Bachelor of Science in Nursing: Alene Ashjian, Dominique Elaine Comeau, Heather Leigh Flemming, Marian Herbick, Lindsey Nicole Kraus, Hannah Landerholm, Amanda C. Nawalany, Veronica Mary Peters, Michaela Woods Schmalz, Jennifer Lynn Walsh, Nicole Elizabeth Witham, and Kristen Chantal Zajeski. Master of Science in Nursing: Maria Katrina Celles, Brittany Nichole Frankel, Jenna Katherine Kobett, Jonathan Miguel Romero, and Marisa Crommett Stevens. Doctor of Occupational Therapy: Alyssa Marie Carmell, Sarah K. Engelbrektsson, and Natalya Anne Jenney. Master of Physician Assistant Studies: Jami Ryan Pollard and Lauren E. Spang. Doctor of Physical Therapy: Daniel John Cahaly, Allison Margaux Frickman, Haley Jo Harrison, Kathryn Michelle Quaglia, and Anita Sarmaroy. Certificate in Advanced Study in Health Professions Education: Rita Drummond Olans.

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