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RELEASE DATE: December 2, 2021

The University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School Honors the Graduating Class of 2021

UQ OCS Graduating Class of 2021

NEW ORLEANS – The University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School honored its 2021 graduating class at its annual Culmination Ceremony held on Saturday, November 20 at The Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center on the Ochsner Medical Center – New Orleans campus. Students and faculty attended in person and the festivities were streamed live to family, friends and other guests.

The 108 graduating students of the Class of 2021 successfully completed a world-class medical program that offers four years of training and clinical experience across two continents. Students completed two years of medical school curriculum in Brisbane, Australia at UQ, which is ranked 36th in the world for 2022 by U.S. News Best Global Universities Ranking. The final two years of clinical study were completed at the UQ Ochsner Clinical School in New Orleans at Ochsner Medical Center, which is nationally ranked as one of the best hospitals by U.S. News and World Report.

“Students in our program leave ready to take on real-world challenges because they graduate with a global perspective and enter residency programs from a competitive position. We are honored to train the next cohort of medical heroes, who are needed now more than ever as the world continues to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic and other threats to community and global health. We congratulate our students as they stand ready to rise to new challenges and help shape the future of our healthcare,” said Dr. Ronald Amedee, Dean of Medical Education and Head of School for Ochsner Health.

In 2021, UQ Ochsner Clinical School’s match rate through the National Residency Match Program was at 97%, a testament to both the quality of students entering the program and to the curriculum taught by faculty in Queensland and Louisiana. The match rate is comparable with the national Match Rate for U.S. medical schools and was the highest match rate ever for the full cohort of UQ Ochsner Clinical School.

The keynote address for this year’s ceremony was delivered by Kathryn M. Andolsek, MD, MPH. Dr. Andolsek is a Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health and Assistant Dean of Premedical Education at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Dr. Kathryn Andolsek graduated from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in 1975 before completing her residency in Family Medicine at Duke University Medical Center from 1976 to 1979. She completed a fellowship in Geriatrics at Certificate of Added Qualification in 1988. She’s embraced telehealth as a convenient and accessible way for her patients to access her care.

During the 2021 Culmination Ceremony, several UQ Ochsner Clinical School physicians, residents, and graduating students were recognized with awards.

The 2021 Teacher of the Year award – the highest individual award of excellence – was bestowed upon:

  • Lauren Bergeron, MD.

The following teachers were nominated:

  • Michael Blanchard, MD – Psychiatry
  • Bruce Cleland, MD – General Surgery
  • Christopher Damm, MD – Cardiology
  • Asahel Gridley, MD – General Surgery
  • Charles Leithead, MD – Vascular Surgery
  • Danielle Levy, MD – Psychiatry
  • Raj Warrier, MD – Pediatric Hematologist-Oncologist

Resident teaching awards were awarded to the following physicians:

  • Amber Sleem, MD - Internal Medicine
  • · Erika Pettis, MD - OBGYN
  • · Jeffrey Coote, MD - Pediatrics
  • · Varad Deshmukh, MD - Psychiatry
  • · Eduardo Alcantar, MD - Surgery
  • · William Dolan Mitchell, MD - Surgery

Recipients of Post Graduate Research Fellowship Awards included:

  • Sarah Chisholm
  • Dustin Chalmers
  • Arielle Kasindi
  • Nadia Hussein
  • Jay Shah

The following students were recognized with individual awards:

  • Jaye Espinas – Internal Medicine-American College of Physicians Excellence Award
  • Stanimira Kartolova – Dr. E. Edward Martin, Jr. Family Medicine Award
  • Nadia Hussein – John Lockwood Ochsner Sr. Surgical Award
  • Angela Conway – Student Excellence Award for OB/GYN
  • Morgan Viviano – Student Excellence Award for Pediatrics
  • Brett Pearce – Student Excellence Award for Psychiatry

At the Culmination Ceremony, the UQ Ochsner Clinical School also recognized Guy Helman, who completed two degrees – an MD and a PhD – in six years.

“Guy Helman is one of only a few of our UQ MD-PhDs who has completed the PhD before MD graduation. To complete the double is an impressive feat, but to complete both in six years is remarkable,” said Professor Diann (Di) Eley. Director of MD Student Research and Chair of the Medical Student Research Advisory Group, UQ Ochsner Clinical School. “Additionally, Helman’s PhD work is world class. The guidance from his principal supervisor, Dr. Cas Simons, has obviously been superb and speaks to Helman’s numerous international connections, publications and presentations which would be the envy of every one of us.”

For more information on the UQ Ochsner Clinical School, visit