She was born at 28 weeks in 1970s Indonesia and was not expected to live. Nearly forty years later, after pursuing a dental degree on and off for 20 years — first in Indonesia and then in the U.S. — Susanny (Sunny) Thenus will walk across the stage to receive her lilac hood, signifying receipt of her doctor of dental medicine degree from Oregon Health & Science University’s School of Dentistry. She plans to go into private practice.
After studying biological psychology, biochemistry, and behavioral economics, Kyle Ambert landed in the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology in OHSU’s School of Medicine, where his research synthesized all these areas, focusing on using artificial intelligence to create tools for neuroscientists. After graduating with a doctor of philosophy degree, he will join Intel Labs in Portland as a Research Scientist.
Born and raised in Oregon, Brian Garvey uncovered an interest in rural and international medicine through OHSU’s School of Medicine. He pursued this interest through summer research in Colombia on health in conflict zones. After receiving his doctor of medicine degree, he will pursue residency training in family medicine at OHSU.
Jane Miller, a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, is also interested in rural medicine. Two years ago, Miller decided to expand her horizons and her influence by enrolling in the OHSU School of Nursing’s post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program, participating in the Rural Health Track. She is interested in finding ways to improve the pre-hospital care of heart attack patients, especially from rural Idaho and eastern Oregon.
These are only four of the hundreds of stories behind another group of health care professionals and biomedical scientists graduating from Oregon Health & Science University this month and moving forward with their health care careers.
In total, 1,198 degrees will be awarded this month to students in various health care and bioscience programs at OHSU.
Commencement ceremonies for the OHSU School of Medicine and School of Nursing will be June 3. Ceremonies for the OHSU School of Dentistry, the Oregon State University/OHSU College of Pharmacy and for School of Nursing campuses outside of Portland will be June 14 and 15. See below for commencement ceremony details.
“One of the reasons that I, and so many of our faculty members, choose to work at an academic health center like OHSU is the chance to interact with students, to see their enthusiasm and their idealism,” said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A. "Commencement is a special day when we send new graduates out into the world to be health care providers, educators and research scientists – to improve the health and well-being of Oregonians.”
The OHSU School of Dentistry will award degrees and certificates to 92 graduates.
“I am so delighted with the OHSU School of Dentistry Class of 2013. They are an impressive group of health care professionals and I am very proud to count them among my colleagues,” said Interim Dean Gary Chiodo, D.M.D., F.A.C.D., a 1978 graduate of the OHSU School of Dentistry. "Where this class is going after dental school — into one- to six-year advanced specialty programs, public health dentistry, and private practice, among other destinations — confirms their clinical excellence and commitment to lifelong learning.”
OHSU’s School of Medicine will award 530 degrees to 514 graduates this year, with some graduates receiving combined degrees.
“This year is a notable one for the OHSU School of Medicine, as we’re celebrating our 125th year. Since our founding in 1887, we have grown immensely and diversified our programs, yet our commitment to serving Oregonians remains unchanged. Today, our graduates are presented with unlimited possibilities in the fields of health care and bioscience, and the school takes pride in knowing they will become leaders in their chosen profession,” said OHSU School of Medicine Dean Mark Richardson, M.D., M.B.A., M.Sc.B.
The OHSU School of Nursing will be awarding 492 degrees this year, an increase of nearly 100 degrees over last year. This number reflects a new cohort of Accelerated Baccalaureate students who completed their studies in December 2012 as well as the School of Nursing’s first graduating group of Health Systems & Organizational Leadership students. The School of Nursing is also graduating the first group of students from Portland Community College through the Oregon Consortium for Nursing Education agreement.
“As the only publicly supported baccalaureate, masters’ and doctoral degree nursing programs for the state of Oregon, OHSU’s School of Nursing has increased its program offerings and is awarding a record number of degrees this year,” said Christine A. Tanner Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., interim dean of the School of Nursing. “With dramatic changes in health care on the horizon, the School of Nursing is playing a critical role in assuring access to care across the state. Graduates from our school of nursing — nurses, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse leaders and nurse scientists — will shape that future.”
More info about the 2013 OHSU graduates
Susanny (Sunny) Thenus, D.M.D., 39, OHSU School of Dentistry
Susanny (Sunny) Thenus’s journey to receiving her dentistry degree has spanned 20 years, two continents and an uncertain start in life. Born at 28 weeks in 1970s Indonesia without advanced technologies, Thenus’s doctors did not expect her to live, or if she did live, to have profound disabilities. However, Thenus survived and thrived; she began dental school in Indonesia in 1993. Following her high school sweetheart to the United States, she transferred to Oregon State University in 1995 and because she could not enter dental school as an international student, switched her major to nutrition and food management, graduating in 1998 and taking a job as a food manager. Following riots in Jakarta, Thenus’s family moved to the U.S. as well. After one year working as a food manager, Thenus realized that she wanted to finish what she started — becoming a dentist. She graduated from PCC’s dental assisting program in 2000 and the dental hygiene program in 2004. She worked in the field for a few years but knew she wanted to give dental school a try. It took her two years to re-take all of her science courses (while working as a full-time dental hygienist); she was accepted to OHSU’s School of Dentistry in 2008, the same year she was sworn in as a U.S. citizen. After graduating, Thenus hopes to go into private practice.
“There is nothing you can’t do if you put your heart, mind, and determination into it,” said Thenus. “It’s never too late to reach your dream.”
Kyle Ambert, Ph.D., 32, OHSU School of Medicine
After studying biological psychology, biochemistry, and behavioral economics, Kyle Ambert landed in the Department of Medical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology, where his research synthesized all these areas, focusing on using artificial intelligence to create tools for neuroscientists. During his undergraduate studies at Wheaton College, he fell in love with research science during a summer neuroscience internship, thus saving him from his erstwhile career trajectory of constitutional law. The son of a math teacher, Ambert actively contributed to the educational development of his department, by serving as the student representative on the department curriculum committee, tutoring students, and co-creating a course on using computer programming in biological sciences. Also an avid writer, Ambert was a founding contributor to the OHSU StudentSpeak blog. He is joining Intel Labs in Portland as a Research Scientist."There are two things that excite me more than discovery. One is seeing the light of discovery in the eyes of another: that moment when seemingly disparate pieces of information are synthesized into a new realization. I suppose the other is drawing stick figures."
Brian Garvey, M.D., 30, OHSU School of Medicine
Brian Garvey was born and raised in Oregon and graduated from Beaverton High School. Before starting medical school, Garvey worked at Harvard School of Public Health on a project that researched the cost effectiveness of AIDS and tuberculosis interventions in sub-Saharan Africa. Continuing his education at OHSU, he has uncovered an interest in rural and international medicine, which he has pursued through summer research in Colombia on health in conflict zones. He has also served as president of the OHSU School of Medicine Senate and co-chair of the Associated Students for the Underserved. Garvey will pursue residency training in family medicine at OHSU. His hope for the future is to deepen his work with the underserved in Oregon, and to inspire more practitioners to follow suit. "I came to medicine through an interest in political economy, anthropology, and social justice. After exploring these areas through other venues, I learned that the most revolutionary work was being done by physicians."
Learn more about School of Medicine students and the work they have done, including Kyle Johnson, who has served in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq, Jenna Emerson, who spent time in Guatamala, and Richard Bruno, who co-authored a study showing that U.S. medical students recognize a need to provide care to the underserved and are willing to make personal sacrifices to meet that need.
Jane Miller, Doctor of Nursing Practice, 63, OHSU School of Nursing
Jane Miller, a Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist, decided to expand her horizons and her influence by enrolling in the OHSU School of Nursing’s post-Master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. After two years of rigorous coursework and the completion of a scholarly project, Miller will be awarded her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. In addition to the regular program courses, Miller became interested in expanding her understanding of rural health care issues by enrolling in the Rural Health Track. Although Miller lives and works in the Boise, Idaho area, her experiences as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the cardiovascular intensive care unit piqued her desire to find ways to improve the pre-hospital care of heart attack patients, especially from rural Idaho and eastern Oregon. Her project to identify communication barriers between rural emergency medical services and cardiac intervention facilities identified opportunities for education and outreach to promote more timely care of these vulnerable rural patients.
"With the enriched knowledge and skills attained through OHSU's DNP program, I will continue to expand my contributions to the cardiovascular health of eastern Oregonians and Idahoans by striving to improve preventative and emergency care, influencing wellness for all age groups, and collaborating with EMTs, providers, and legislators for quality care."
School of Dentistry degrees
Doctor of Dental Medicine - 75
Advanced specialty degrees
- Endodontology - 3
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery - 2
- Pediatric Dentistry - 5
- Periodontology - 3
- Orthodontics - 4
School of Dentistry Total — 92
School of Medicine degrees
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) - 118
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) - 36
- Behavioral Neuroscience - 5
- Biochemistry & Molecular Biology PMCB - 3
- Biochemistry & Molecular Biology EBS - 1
- Biomedical Engineering -1
- Biomedical Informatics - 3
- Cell & Developmental Biology - 4
- Computer Science & Engineering - 2
- Molecular & Medical Genetics - 2
- Molecular Microbiology & Immunology - 4
- Neuroscience Graduate Program - 9
- Physiology & Pharmacology - 2
Master’s degrees - 160
- Master of Science in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology - 2
- Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering - 2
- Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics - 5
- Master of Science in Clinical Nutrition - 7
- Master of Science in Computer Science - 2
- Master of Science in Environmental Science & Engineering - 1
- Master of Science in Healthcare Management - 11
- Master of Science in Management in Science & Technology - 1
- Master of Science in Molecular & Microbiology & Immunology - 2
- Master of Biomedical Informatics - 32
- Master of Business Administration in Healthcare Management - 29
- Master of Clinical Research - 15
- Master of Physician Assistant Studies (M.P.A.S) - 36
- Master of Public Health (M.P.H) - 15
Combined Degrees - 12
- Doctor of Medicine & Master of Public Health (M.D./M.P.H) - 4
- Doctor of Medicine & Doctor of Philosophy (M.D./Ph.D.) - 8
- Biochemistry & Molecular Biology PMCB - 1
- Cell & Developmental Biology - 1
- Molecular Microbiology & Immunology - 2
- Neuroscience - 4
Associate’s degrees - 28
- Associate of Applied Science - Emergency Medical Technology - Paramedic - 28
Bachelor’s degrees - 44
- Clinical Laboratory Science - 36
- Radiation Therapy - 8
Graduate certificates - 132
- Biomedical Informatics - 72
- Dietetic Internship - 22
- Healthcare Management - 23
- Human Investigation - 15
School of Medicine Total — 530
School of Nursing degrees
- Bachelor of Science - 398
- Doctor of Nursing Practice - 14
- Ph.D. - 5
- Master of Nursing - 68
- Graduate Certificate in Public Health - 1
- Post-Master’s Certificate in Nursing - 6
School of Nursing Total - 492
College of Pharmacy degrees
Oregon State University/OHSU Total - 84
Graduation Ceremony Details
OHSU School of Dentistry
10 a.m., Friday, June 14, 2013 - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - downtown Portland
OHSU School of Medicine
9 a.m., Monday, June 3, 2013 - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - downtown Portland
OHSU School of Nursing
Depending on the OHSU School of Nursing campus, graduation ceremonies will vary.
- School of Nursing Portland and virtual campuses:2 p.m., Monday, June 3, 2013 - Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall - downtown Portland
- School of Nursing Ashland, Klamath Falls, La Grande and Monmouth campuses:June 14 and 15. View additional graduation information for these campuses.
Oregon State University/OHSU College of Pharmacy
1 p.m., Friday, June 14, 2013 - LaSells Steward Center – Corvallis