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Release Date: 12/2/2022

The University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School honored its 2022 graduating class at its annual Culmination Ceremony on Saturday, November 19 at The Jefferson Performing Arts Center. Students and faculty attended the ceremony along with family, friends, and other guests.

The 88 graduating students of the Class of 2022 have completed the four-year program which offers training and clinical experience across two continents. Students completed two years of medical school curriculum in Brisbane, Australia at The University of Queensland (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.

In addition to their extensive training and education hours, this class of students participated in community outreach events in greater New Orleans throughout 2022. In total, 123 students volunteered 1,675 hours across 27 different outreach events. Fourteen of the 123 students volunteered more than 30 hours of service.

“Students in our program earn a world-class education while developing a global perspective through the unique partnership between The University of Queensland and Ochsner Clinical School,” said Dr. Ronald Amedee, Dean of Medical Education and Head of School for Ochsner Health. “Training the next generation of healthcare professionals is at the heart of Ochsner’s mission. Today, as the need for medical professionals continues to grow, we are honored to help narrow that gap with this esteemed class of professionals. We congratulate our students as they leave this program ready to take on new challenges and care for all in need.”

The keynote address for this year’s ceremony was delivered by Sam Hawgood, MBBS. Dr. Hawgood is the Chancellor and the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). He is a distinguished alumni of The University of Queensland and a native of Australia. Dr. Hawgood graduated medical school with First Class Honors, and trained in pediatrics as a resident, followed by specialization in neonatology as a fellow. At UCSF, he was dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs from 2009-2014, after assuming the role of interim dean in December of 2007. His distinguished career at UCSF includes serving as chair of the Department of Pediatrics and associate director of the Cardiovascular Research Institute.

During the 2022 Culmination Ceremony, several UQ Ochsner Clinical School physicians, residents, and graduating students were recognized with awards.

The 2022 Teacher of the Year award – the highest individual award of excellence – was bestowed upon:

  • Dr. Anna Suessman, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, OMC New Orleans

The following teachers were nominated:

  • Dr. Shilpa Amara, Psychiatry, OMC New Orleans
  • Dr. Lauren Bergeron, OB/GYN Ochsner Baptist
  • Dr. Freddie Joseph, III, Pediatric Neurology OMC New Orleans
  • Dr. Aaron Kala, Neonatology Ochsner Baptist
  • Dr. Bethany Mensink, General Surgery OMC Baton Rouge
  • Dr. Brennen Watson Poplus, Psychiatry, OHC LaPlace
  • Dr. Eric West, Psychiatry OMC Kenner

The following resident teachers were also recognized:

  • Dr. Brent Ruiz, Internal Medicine
  • Dr. Sarah Oliver, OB/GYN
  • Dr. Ana Falcon, Pediatrics
  • Dr. Greg Backes, Psychiatry
  • Dr. Sarah Budney, Surgery

Recipients of Post Graduate Research Fellowship Awards included:

  • Lauren Cohen
  • Rohan Krishnan
  • Peter Liao
  • Rohit Rajendran
  • Michael Schneider
  • Charles Sisk
  • Abdul Zia

The following students were recognized with individual awards:

  • Abdul Zia - Internal Medicine-American College of Physicians Excellence Award
  • Rana Mehdizadeh - Dr. E. Edward Martin, Jr. Family Medicine Award
  • James O’Leary - John Lockwood Ochsner Sr. Surgical Award
  • Harsheen Chawla - Student Excellence Award for OB/GYN
  • Grace Kooi - Student Excellence Award for Pediatrics
  • Isabel Yoon - Student Excellence Award for Psychiatry

In 2022, UQ Ochsner Clinical School’s match rate through the National Residency Match program was at 98%, 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.