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ATSU-Arizona School of Health Sciences holds commencement ceremonies

– ATSU-ASHS honored 436 graduates during two ceremonies

– Keynote speakers encouraged responsibility, compassion

– 2016 marks the School’s 35th & 36th commencement ceremonies

Family, friends, faculty, and staff filled the Mesa Arts Center to celebrate the accomplishments of 436 freshly minted graduates from A.T. Still University’s Arizona School of Health Sciences (ATSU-ASHS) on August 5.

“Many of you have made this day possible for our graduating students,” said ATSU-ASHS Dean Randy Danielsen, PhD, PA, DFAAPA. “You’ve provided love, support, and encouragement; whether through teaching, mentoring, preceptoring, or just being there when the demands of the program seemed too much – you are the community that each of our students has needed to succeed.”

Distance-Learning Commencement

Students from ATSU-ASHS’ distance-learning programs earned a master of science in occupational therapy; master of science in physician assistant studies; doctor of audiology; doctor of occupational therapy; or doctor of physical therapy. This was the first time most students had met each other in person, as they all earned their degrees through online courses.

During the ceremony an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters was awarded to keynote speaker W. Richard Bukata, MD. Dr. Bukata completed his emergency medicine residency at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center in 1975 where he currently holds a clinical professorship. He founded Emergency Medical Abstracts (EMA), which is currently providing printed, internet, and audio summaries of medical literature to 5,000 emergency physicians monthly.

“As you begin your career, let’s leave here with renewed commitment to optimize the care of our patients and help create the healthcare system that treats all patients in America, that treats them fairly and equitably, and creates a model for the world to emulate,” said Dr. Bukata.

Residential Commencement

Following the distance-learning ceremony, residential program students took the stage earning a doctor of physical therapy; doctor of audiology; master of science in athletic training; master of science in occupational therapy; or master of science in physician assistant studies.

Gregory L. Henry, MD, FACEP, gave the residential commencement keynote and was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Dr. Henry serves as clinical professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He is former chief of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Beyer Center in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he held the position for 21 years.

In his keynote address, Dr. Henry concluded with the importance of practicing compassion and care for patients.

“The role of healthcare people has not changed. To cure occasionally, to manage mostly, but to care always. Patients come to us for care, not for judgment. It will be the hardest lesson you will ever learn,” he said.


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