To kick off official graduation festivities, the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences’ Undergraduate Medical Program Office invited graduates, their family and friends, as well as Faculty members, to a Virtual Cocktail Ceremony on June 1.

Despite the pandemic, students were encouraged to make the most of this milestone occasion, and that they did. Many joined the Zoom event to celebrate their achievements, cheer on the prizewinners and listen to special messages from distinguished speakers. The lineup of presenters included: Dr. David Eidelman, Vice-Principal (Health Affairs) and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; Dr. Michael Stein, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Rheumatology and recipient of the Osler Teaching Award; and Dr. Jiameng Xu, Class Valedictorian, among others.

As event host, Dr. Mélanie Mondou, Associate Dean, Undergraduate Medical Education, began by acknowledging that, “McGill University is on land which long served as a site of meeting and exchange amongst Indigenous Peoples.” Dr. Mondou commended students for stepping up to the many challenges during the pandemic when they were needed in long-term care facilities and to train physicians and other healthcare professionals on how to use new technologies.

With a feeling of great pride in the air, Dr. Eidelman addressed the cohort with a heartfelt message. “You got into McGill and into this program because you have what it takes. You have the character, you have the drive and you have the talent.” he reaffirmed. He reminded the class about, “the importance of the shared values of [their] profession,” such as compassion and respect, and asked that they be their guide. In addition, the Dean reminded the cohort that “lifelong learning, by definition, never stops.”

Upon accepting the Osler Teaching award with appreciation, Dr. Stein also offered congratulations to the Class and sound advice about being proud, humble and respectful. In his words, “Enjoy the process. Each part of your career will be great and sometimes difficult and sometimes at the same time.”

Dr. Jiameng Xu, Class Valedictorian, captivated the audience with a personal story that involved a worrisome moment during her student life while rotating in Rural Family Medicine in the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi. While these feelings are normal, Dr. Xu went on to reassure her classmates that, “in the span of a day [they] navigate so many demands. The training of medicine flows all around [them] until [they] are as smooth as river stones.”

During the event, Dr. Sabrina Fallavollita, Assistant Dean, UGME, presented twenty-four awards of excellence to deserving students (full list below). And, Dr. Léanne Roncière, Class President, presented the Senior Class Gift. Dr. Roncière explained that the gift is “a way for the graduating class to recognize the impact that previous donors have had on our education, as well as to express what values [they] share as a group.” Therefore, this year, “[the Class] chose to create a new endowment fund for medical students who identify as Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.”

A virtual toast marked the end of the first part of the event. Graduates then had the opportunity to mingle in breakout rooms and exchange on light topics, such as what helped them get through medical school and exciting next steps.

The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Undergraduate Medical Education Office wishes the Class of 2021 the very best of success and professional fulfillment. Congratulations, everyone!
The Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences Virtual Convocation Ceremony took place on June 10. To watch the ceremony videos, click here.

Alexander D. Stewart Prize: Dr. Ravi Datar
Brian Newton Memorial Award: Dr. Sara Ismail
CHAP Graduation Prize: Dr. Kacper Niburski
Dr. Allen Spanier Prize for Professionalism in Medicine: Dr. Safina Adatia and Dr. Adam Gosselin
Dr. Mark Cohen Prize in Ophthalmology: Dr. Sonia Anchouche
E. David Sherman Award in Geriatric Medicine: Dr. Alfiya Mukharyamova
Elizabeth Ann Munro Gordon Prize: Dr. Lea Sultanem
H.S. Birkett Memorial Prize in Otorhinolaryngology: Dr. Jessica Hier
Holmes Gold Medal: Dr. Alexander Ni
J. Francis William Prize in Medicine and Clinical Medicine: Dr. Elie Ganni
John H. Altshuler Prize in Family Medicine: Dr. Kacper Niburski
Keenan Memorial Prize in Clinical Surgery: Dr. Alicia Lessard
McGill Alumnae Society Prize: Dr. Marina Lara Fesdekjian
Mona Bronfman Sheckman Psychiatry Prize
: Dr. András Tikász
Montreal Children’s Hospital Prize for Pediatrics Excellence
: Dr. Lea Sultanem
Newell W. Philpott Award
: Dr. Naomi Chevrier
Psychiatry Prize
: Dr. Audrey Le
Reilly Madsen Prize:
Dr. Alessandro Pedicelli and Dr. Léanne Roncière
Robert Forsyth Prize
: Dr. Eric Harvey
Ronald Douglas Naymark Prize
: Dr. Léanne Roncière
Scriver-Steinberg Convocation Prize in Human Genetics
: Dr. Patrick Park
Strachan Alexander Hartley Award
: Dr. Nicholas Zelt
Vascular Surgery Prize
: Dr. Sabrina Lasry-Shemie
Wood Gold Medal: Dr. Frédéric Grou-Boileau

By Marisa Rodi
June 11, 2021