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OHSU celebrates graduates, future of health, science

Total of 1,050 degrees, certificates to be awarded during June 2 commencement ceremony
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2023 OHSU graduation: dozens of OHSU students and faculty on a stage, signing during the 2023 OHSU ceremony at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, on Fri., June 9, 2023. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)
The OHSU graduates sing during the 2023 OHSU Convocation at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, on Fri., June 9, 2023. (OHSU/Christine Torres Hicks)

A new generation of health care, research and education professionals are graduating from Oregon Health & Science University this month. A total of 1,050 degrees and certificates will be awarded.

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The ceremony will start 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, at the Oregon Convention Center, 777 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Portland.

Graduates are available for interviews at noon, before the ceremony.

Graduates will assemble for the all-school commencement ceremony at 1 p.m., Sunday, June 2, at the Oregon Convention Center. The keynote speaker will be Oregon Health Authority Director Sejal Hathi, M.D., M.B.A.

The all-school ceremony will be followed by separate hooding ceremonies for the OHSU schools of medicine, dentistry and nursing, and for the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. The OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy Program will also have a reception that day, in addition to a separate graduation ceremony that to be held in Corvallis on June 14. The OHSU School of Nursing will hold additional commencement events on its Ashland, Klamath Falls and Monmouth campuses June 13 and 14.

OHSU president Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS (OHSU) stands in a garden at OHSU
Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS (OHSU)

“The Class of 2024 has the talent, tools and ambition to embrace the evolving landscape of health and science, and leave an indelible mark on human health and well-being,” said OHSU President Danny Jacobs, M.D., M.P.H., FACS. “All of our graduates hold great potential, and I look forward to seeing the impact they make.”

“Graduation marks a time of incredible academic achievement filled with the hopes and promises of a new chapter ahead,“ said OHSU Provost Marie Chisholm-Burns, Pharm.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FCCP, FASHP, FAST, FACHE.

Marie Chisholm-Burns, Pharm.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FCCP, FASHP, FAST (Courtesy) has dark hair pulled back and in smiling in the OHSU garden.
Marie Chisholm-Burns, Pharm.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A., FCCP, FASHP, FAST (Courtesy)

“The Class of 2024 is prepared to use their skills, training and knowledge to improve health for all. We look forward to celebrating with all the graduates, their families, friends and the OHSU community,” she said. 

The OHSU School of Dentistry will award 84 degrees this year.

“Our students are an inspiration for my faculty colleagues and me,” said Ronald Sakaguchi, D.D.S., Ph.D., M.S., M.B.A., dean of the OHSU School of Dentistry. “Despite their very full schedule of classes and clinics, they lead and volunteer in our communities, tutor and mentor young learners and each other, and participate in extramural activities. They helped their patients understand the importance of oral health while developing empathy, confidence and technical skills to care for everyone with dignity and respect."

Ron Sakaguchi, Ph.D., D.D.S. has short dark hair, glasses and is smiling inside a building.
Ron Sakaguchi, Ph.D., D.D.S. (OHSU)

"Our graduates will thrive as leaders in oral health care, working for a more inclusive health care system that provides high-quality and accessible care to all. Congratulations to our graduates. The School of Dentistry is honored to have played a part in their professional growth,” he said.

The OHSU School of Medicine will award 359 degrees and certificates.

“The class of 2024’s graduates in medicine and biomedical science have overcome unprecedented adversity,” said Nathan Selden, M.D., interim dean of the OHSU School of Medicine.

Nathan Selden, M.D., Ph.D., has short gray hair, glasses, a dark suit and smiling against a dark gray background.
Nathan Selden, M.D., Ph.D. (OHSU)

“Their success is a triumph of optimism and hope: for themselves and their families, for the communities in which they will practice, and for the thousands of patients who will benefit from their creativity, discovery and compassion,” he said.

The OHSU School of Nursing will award 441 degrees.

“OHSU School of Nursing graduates are well-prepared and in high demand — both those entering their first positions as registered nurses and those advancing their careers,” said Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, dean of the OHSU School of Nursing.

Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., RN, FAAN (OHSU) has shoulder-length hair, glasses and is smiling.
Susan Bakewell-Sachs, Ph.D., RN, FAAN (OHSU)

“They will make a difference and lead wherever they are, to improve care delivery and patient outcomes, achieve health equity, educate future nurses, discover and translate science, and ensure a preferred future for us all,” she said.

The OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy Program will award 57 degrees.

“The graduating class of 2024, with their outstanding accomplishments, have been a source of motivation and inspiration for all of us,” said David Bearden, Pharm.D., FIDP, FCCP, dean of the OSU College of Pharmacy.

David Bearden, Pharm. D. has short, gray hair, and is wearing a suit, smiling outside an OHSU building.
David Bearden, Pharm. D. (OHSU)

“Their contributions to health care in communities throughout Oregon and beyond signifies their readiness to step into the profession as the role of pharmacists continues to evolve," he said. "It is with immense pride that I, together with our entire faculty and staff, extend our heartfelt congratulations to them. Their dedication and commitment to patient care have equipped them to not only propel the profession of pharmacy forward but also to emerge as innovative leaders in collaborative health care. Working with them has been our collective joy.”

The OHSU-PSU School of Public Health will award 109 degrees and certificates.

Paul K. Halverson has short gray hair, glasses, wearing a back suit and standing against a bright green and gray colored wall at the school of public health.
Paul K. Halverson (OHSU)

"This year's graduating class is embarking on a noble journey — a journey rooted in a lifelong commitment to education and unwavering service to others,” said Paul K. Halverson, Dr.P.H., M.H.S.A., dean of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. “The true reward lies in the profound satisfaction of knowing you are contributing to improving the quality of life of countless individuals you may never meet. What we do in public health matters, and we are confident that our graduates are equipped to be the change agents of this transformative work throughout Oregon and beyond."

Meet some of OHSU’s 2024 graduates

OHSU School of Dentistry Ali Sultan, D.M.D.

By Rhonda Morin

Ali Sultan, D.M.D., has short black hair and is smiling at the OHSU school of dentistry.
Ali Sultan, D.M.D. (Courtesy)

Ali Sultan had extracted one of two teeth when his patient began to have a seizure. Sultan quickly removed materials from the patient’s mouth and the sharp tools nearby during the 15-second seizure.

Though the 26-year-old was startled by the incident that occurred during a rotation at a community clinic, the 2024 doctor of dental medicine graduate said his training as an OHSU School of Dentistry student gave him the tools needed to protect the patient in that moment, and later, to refer them to a physician for follow-up care.

Sultan grew up in Bahrain, a Persian Gulf island of more than 1.4 million people, and came to the United States in 2014 in search of educational opportunities. He attended high school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and initially dreamt of working in public health and playing basketball. But his ball-handling skills didn’t quite stack up, so he instead played pick-up ball while considering his next steps.

Sultan had heard the patients of his father — a general practice dentist in Bahrain — describe how much they relied on him.

“Patients refused to see other dentists. They won’t even let others do their cleanings,” Sultan said of his father. A spark was lit.

Sultan decided to attend the OHSU School of Dentistry. While he had never visited the West Coast, he had a friend in Portland.

“I hadn’t lived in a city before. I am an island boy. Portland was a smaller city, so it felt right,” Sultan said.

Now that he’s completed four years of dental school, he looks forward to starting his career in general dentistry. In June, he will move to Washington, D.C., to start a new job and to be with his fiancé.

Sultan may specialize in a specific dental field later on, but right now he’s content simply repairing or replacing damaged teeth.

“I’ll be taking people out of pain,” he said. “That is a driving motive for me.”

Sultan said his education has been made possible by the support of many family members, friends and OHSU faculty and staff. “I feel very lucky,” he said.

OHSU School of Medicine Mandy Paolo, PA-S

By Karen Bishop

Mandy Paolo, PA-S has long light brown hair, wearing a white medical coat, standing on a sidewalk area near OHSU.
Mandy Paolo, PA-S (Courtesy)

Mandy Paolo, who will earn a master’s degree in physician assistant studies when she completes the OHSU Physician Assistant Program in August, became fascinated by science while growing up in the small, Eastern Oregon farming town of Vale.

“I had very little exposure to medicine and knew even less about how one becomes a health care provider,” Paolo said. “But as I explored science, I became enamored with human biology and medicine’s ability to help others.

“I also became distinctly aware that rural communities like my own are disproportionately affected by limited access to care and social determinants of health,” she added. “I saw a severe need and set out to address it.”

As a senior in high school, Paolo partnered with her local hospital to organize a community health fair.  Encouraged by how the fair brought much-needed health information to her community, she said the experience encouraged her to pursue a career in health care.

While attending Oregon State University, she conducted research in cardiovascular nutrition and exercise performance, and received the OSU Presidential Scholarship. After earning a bachelor’s degree in biohealth sciences in 2020, she worked as a medical assistant at a rural family medicine clinic.

At OHSU, she received a Scholars for a Healthy Oregon Initiative scholarship and was an Area Health Education Center Scholar, both of which prepared her to work in rural and underserved communities. Paolo also received the 2024 Outstanding Service to the Community Award for supporting the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Outreach and Engagement team’s colorectal cancer education efforts. Paolo wrote a lay-friendly script designed to be shared with community members who tour OHSU’s new inflatable colon, an interactive tool to raise awareness about colorectal cancer. The script has since been translated into Korean and Chinese. She also designed an evidence-based curriculum for speaking with rural community members about colorectal cancer.

Paolo plans to become a family medicine PA somewhere in rural Oregon.

“I feel well-equipped to embark on my career as a health care provider,” she said, “and to continue reaching out to those who would otherwise not have access to care.”

OHSU School of Nursing — Ana Clark, B.S.

By Christi Richardson-Zboralski

Ana Clark, B.S., has long curly hair, glasses and is sitting on some park steps surrounded by flowers and foliage.
Ana Clark, B.S. (Courtesy)

At age 8, a visit to a weekly clinic in Central Mexico left an impression on Ana Clark. When the rural clinic’s physician had Ana listen to her heartbeat through the stethoscope, Clark was captivated. The experience never fully left her mind, and eventually inspired Clark to pursue a career in health care.

Clark moved to the United States five years later and worked in agricultural fields each summer break from school. She didn’t think about going to college at that time. Thirteen years later, she and her four children moved to Monmouth, Oregon. With her parents' help, Clark earned an associate's degree from Linn-Benton Community College in 2016. Soon after, she became a medical assistant at the local health department.

Clark worked with a primary care provider who traveled to wherever the need was the greatest, including in rural areas. Clark helped provide childhood vaccinations, preventive care, acute care and holistic care, including educating patients on birth control and women's health conditions.

The support of her husband and his family allowed her to continue her education and earn a bachelor's degree in nursing from the OHSU School of Nursing’s Monmouth Campus. She will participate in the OHSU regional campus’ commencement on June 14 in Monmouth.

After graduation, Ana will continue at OHSU in the Doctor of Nursing Practice Family Nurse Practitioner program. As a Scholars for a Healthy Oregon Initiative scholarship recipient, she plans to serve in rural and underserved communities in Oregon after she completes her graduate education.

Clark expressed her gratitude for the countless people who have helped her overcome challenges while pursuing her nursing degree. She advises future nursing students to ask for and accept help from others when needed.

“There is room for everyone in nursing, and we can all bring something to the profession,” she said. “We don’t get to choose who gets sick. Anyone from any background can pursue this goal.”

OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy Program, OSU College of Pharmacy — Sakib Haque, Pharm.D.

By Franny White

Sakib Haque, Pharm.D., has short black hair, glasses, and a beige shirt, smiling against a white background.
Sakib Haque, Pharm.D. (Courtesy)

Attending spring commencement is an important milestone for Sakib Haque, Pharm.D., a 2024 graduate of the OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy Program.

But it doesn’t mark the end of his educational pursuits. He will soon begin another three to five years of study so he can also earn a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the OSU College of Pharmacy.

Receiving a second doctorate degree is the next step in his plan to become a research pharmacist who develops new, targeted cancer medications that are more effective and have fewer side effects than current treatments.

The experience of knowing close family friends who had cancer and other debilitating diseases made an impact on him when he was younger.

“I saw how being sick impacted them and their families,” Haque said. “It was really sad to see them going through such a stressful time. After seeing that, I knew I wanted to help people like them.”

Being part of a science-loving family may have also influenced his career path. Both of his parents, who immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh, have been involved in research. His father is an electrical engineer, and his mother conducts preventive cardiology research; she was a physician in Bangladesh. His older sister is a resident in psychiatry.

After graduating from Westview High School in Washington County, Haque attended the Oregon State University Honors College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 2020.

His appreciation for science deepened while volunteering at a number of research labs as an undergraduate student. At the OSU lab of Siva Kolluri, Ph.D., Haque helped evaluate a potential new  approach to treating therapy-resistant cancers. He also volunteered with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Center for Hematologic Malignancies, where he helped the center’s researchers evaluate investigational cancer therapies.

As a Pharm.D. student, Haque was a pharmacy intern at OHSU and the Legacy Emanuel Apothecary.

After earning his Ph.D., Haque aims to participate in a clinical pharmacology fellowship. He ultimately hopes to work for a pharmaceutical company or a regulatory agency.

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health Araceli Trejo-Rosas, M.P.H.

By Kelly Malakaua

Araceli Trejo-Rosas, M.P.H., has dark, medium-length curly hair, wearing a vibrant purple dress, posing against a colorful wall mural of red/orange sunflowers.
Araceli Trejo-Rosas, M.P.H. (Courtesy)

Growing up as a member of a farm-working family in Hood River, Oregon, and Idaho Falls, Idaho, has driven Araceli Trejo-Rosas, M.P.H., B.S.N., to contribute to a more equitable and inclusive public health system, by improving community nutrition and food education.

“Nutrition is at the core of everything we do, and our means of living, thriving and healing,” Trejo-Rosas said. “Despite this, systematically oppressed communities continue to experience food insecurity, and, in turn, are more susceptible to illness and disease. We all deserve access to healthy, high-quality food.”

Before studying public health, Trejo-Rosas earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Boise State University in Boise, Idaho. While working as a nurse, she witnessed health care inequalities and barriers, which she saw particularly harmed underserved communities. She said this experience fueled her commitment to ensure equitable access to health care and resources for all.

Despite facing numerous personal and academic challenges and not always feeling welcomed in some spaces, Trejo-Rosas says she has been able to succeed with the help of a supportive community of like-minded individuals. Trejo-Rosas has drawn inspiration from her parents and sisters, who have provided unconditional support and motivated her to persevere through tough times. A community nutrition study abroad experience in Japan that was guided by Betty Izumi, Ph.D., M.P.H., RD, also provided new perspectives and solidified her commitment to making a positive impact in public health. And Megan Jacobs, M.D., M.S.C.S., who served as Trejo-Rosas’ mentor and preceptor, has been an important figure who challenged Trejo-Rosas to push herself.

Trejo-Rosas's vision for public health is rooted in her passion for cultivating trustworthy systems of care, education and patient-provider relationships. She recognizes there are both trust and mistrust in medicine, and aims to address both through her work.

Now that she has earned a master’s degree in public health, Trejo-Rosas plans to pursue community-led public health opportunities that support culturally appropriate health and nutrition interventions. She hopes to center Oregon’s farmworkers and other frontline food industry workers while helping them and the greater community access nutritious, climate-friendly foods.

OHSU 2024 Degree Data

Total degrees and certificates given during 2023 to 24 school year – 1,050

OHSU School of Dentistry – 84 total degrees

Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) – 68

Master’s degrees – 6

  • Master of Science in Orthodontics – 4
  • Master of Science in Periodontics – 2

Advanced Education – 10

  • Endodontics – 3
  • Orthodontics – 4
  • Periodontics – 3

OHSU School of Medicine – 359 total degrees and certificates

Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) – 129

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – 42

  • Behavioral Neuroscience – 4
  • Biomedical Engineering – 10
  • Biomedical Informatics – 3
  • Biomedical Sciences – 1
  • Cancer Biology – 3
  • Cell & Developmental Biology – 1
  • Computer Science & Engineering – 1
  • Microbiology – 5
  • Molecular & Medical Genetics – 2
  • Neuroscience – 8
  • Physiology & Pharmacology – 4

Master’s degrees – 107

  • Master of Business Administration – 21
  • Master of Clinical Research – 11
  • Master of Physician Assistant Studies – 32
  • Master of Science in Bioinformatics & Computational Biomedicine – 3
  • Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering – 1
  • Master of Science in Food Systems & Society – 3
  • Master of Science in Health & Clinical Informatics – 10
  • Master of Science in Healthcare Administration – 15
  • Master of Science in Human Nutrition – 6
  • Master of Science in Medical Physics – 5

Graduate certificates – 21

  • Dietetic Internship – 1
  • Health & Clinical Informatics – 3
  • Human Investigations Program – 17

Bachelor’s degrees – 44

  • Bachelor of Science in Medical Laboratory Science – 35
  • Bachelor of Science in Radiation Therapy – 9

Associate of Applied Science in Paramedic – 16

OHSU School of Nursing – 441 total degrees

Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) – 75

  • Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – 7
  • Family Nurse Practitioner – 20
  • Nurse Anesthesia – 14
  • Nurse Midwifery – 8
  • Nursing – 4
  • Pediatric Primary & Acute Care Nurse Practitioner – 10
  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – 12

Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (Ph.D.) – 4

Master’s degrees – 13

  • Master of Nursing in Health Systems & Organizational Leadership – 1
  • Master of Nursing in Nursing Education – 12

Bachelor of Science in Nursing – 349

OSU/OHSU Doctor of Pharmacy Program, OSU College of Pharmacy – 57 total degrees

  • Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) – 57

OHSU-PSU School of Public Health – 109 total degrees and certificates

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) – 13

  • Community Health – 2
  • Epidemiology – 5
  • Health Systems & Policy – 6

Master’s degrees (M.P.H., M.S.) – 93

  • Master of Public Health in Biostatistics – 4
  • Master of Public Health in Environmental Systems & Human Health – 6
  • Master of Public Health in Epidemiology – 21
  • Master of Public Health in Health Management & Policy – 17
  • Master of Public Health in Health Promotion – 20
  • Master of Public Health Practice – 18
  • Master of Science in Biostatistics – 7

Graduate certificates – 3

  • Biostatistics – 2
  • Public Health – 1

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