On Saturday, May 20, 2023, Texas A&M University School of Engineering Medicine held the inaugural graduation for the world’s first class of physicianeers.
In observance of this historic moment, Roderic I. Pettigrew, PhD, MD, inaugural dean of the School of Engineering Medicine, hosted a momentous, two-day celebration at the Westin Hotel located in the heart of the Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. “This is a time for all of us to recognize those who envisioned ENMED, our dedicated faculty who impart knowledge in it, and our students who are completing the curriculum as they move forward in their professional careers,” said Pettigrew.
On Friday, May 19, 2023, celebrations began with an ENMED Students Innovations Poster Session, followed by a Nobel Laureates and Inventor of the Internet Colloquy – bringing together some of the brightest minds in the nation.
Then, on Saturday, May 20, 2023, the landmark graduation was held, topping off the weekend of monumental celebrations. Graduates received a Medical Doctorate and Master of Engineering degree, which focused on the design and implementation of impactful medical technologies in the same four years through a revolutionary curriculum. “These physicianeers are truly remarkable individuals. The dual-degree curriculum is demanding and they should be proud of their accomplishment. I firmly believe these individuals will be leaders in the advancement of health care,” said Douglas Baxter, PhD, associate dean for education. “The last four years sped by, and I’m so excited to begin my surgical training at Houston Methodist,” said Priya Arunachalam, who now stands alongside her classmates as a proud physicianeer. Arunachalam, who will serve her residency at the Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, Texas, will specialize in general surgery.
The ENMED program, founded in 2019, is a collaboration between Texas A&M University’s School of Engineering Medicine and the state’s top-ranked Houston Methodist Hospital established to transform health care through the development and training of physicianeers, the creation of medical technologies, and translational research. “I am thrilled to have been a part of this historic event and to witness its groundbreaking achievements,” said Amy Wright, assistant dean of Student Affairs, School of Engineering Medicine. “Texas A&M School of Engineering Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital have set a new standard in health care education and research, and I am excited to see the impact that the physicianeers will make in transforming health care for the better.”
Graduating the world’s first class of physicianeers is a significant milestone for the School of Engineering Medicine and the health care community. This momentous moment in time represents a new era in health care education globally, which students expressed as an opportunity of a lifetime. “I am thankful to be at the end of my medical school journey, but I cannot leave without saying thank you, said Nickolas Mundo who will specialize in family medicine at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas. My being here is the result of many wonderful people, including my family, classmates, faculty, and friends who supported and cared for me. I am truly honored to have been selected and given the opportunity to be in the first ENMED class, but I am more honored and touched by the people I have met and the memories I will always have. Thank you for all of your support!”
As this chapter comes to a close with degrees in hand, another begins with students commencing their graduate medical training as residents in June and others who will start in July. “The thought of finally practicing medicine is both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. I’m ready to take on the challenge and make a positive impact on patients’ lives,” said Evan George who will specialize in family medicine at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston, Texas. One hundred percent of ENMED graduates successfully matched with a medical residency training program, and several will serve at some of the top teaching hospitals in the U.S. “I’m really going to miss my classmates, but I’m excited for a new adventure,” said Kenneth Sims who will specialize in Otolaryngology at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii.
ENMED’s historic graduation and colloquy are just the first steps in bringing the program’s vision of a future where health care is revolutionized by technology and innovation to fruition – much more is yet to come. “To our graduates, you will forever be pioneers of the ENMED curriculum and the first graduates from our school, said Pettigrew. On behalf of all faculty and staff at the School of Engineering Medicine and Houston Methodist Hospital, I would like to express our sincerest gratitude for your remarkable achievements. Congratulations, class of 2023!”
If you’d like to view the inaugural class commencement, you can view it here.