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Video: School of Medicine Commencement 2013

Sunday, May 19, 2013 11a.m. ET

2013 Med School Commencement Webcast Photo

The live webcast has finished. An archived recording will be posted online in the future.

British physician and medical scholar Sir Michael Rawlins advised the 197 graduates of Georgetown’s School of Medicine to be ready for a changing industry and urged them make sure they have a say in changes within the practice of medicine.

Rawlins, chair of the National Institute of Health & Clinical Excellence in London, said he always has kept in mind that he held great sway over the practice of medicine in Great Britain, and that U.S. physicians are also in a great position to hold sway over how patients will be treated in the future.

“Physicians need to be ready for, and part of, the future to come,” he said during his Sunday morning commencement address at Warner Theatre. “Looking back on the sorts of drugs we used, the operations we did when I was a young man, it all has completely and utterly changed, and it will change again.”

He said U.S. doctors can help guide changes in how medical care.

“They must use their voice in many different ways for the benefit and support of the patients they are responsible for. If they don’t do it, someone else will,” he explained. “This is why I will tell the medical students not to try to plan their careers too precisely. If they are flexible, open to change and dedicated to patient care, they can be future leaders.”

Rawlins, who also is an honorary professor in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine at the University of London, received an honorary Doctor of Science from Georgetown along with Dr. William Thomas, retired executive vice president for medical affairs and chief medical officer at MedStar Health.

Before she crossed the stage to receive her diploma, Megan Flynn (M’13) thought about all the people who shaped her Georgetown experience.

“My classmates, teachers, residents and the attending physicians have supported, challenged and guided me through an arduous four years,” said Flynn, who served as executive class council vice president. “Without them, I may not have been able to successfully complete my medical education. I am forever indebted to them all.”

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