Global Medicine graduates celebrate at Coliseum

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Ginny DeFrank

Publish date

July 1, 2021
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Graduates of the Master of Science in Global Medicine program celebrated their extraordinary educational experiences with twice the fanfare of a typical USC Commencement; both virtual and in-person ceremonies recognized their academic achievements in spite of the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A reminder of efforts exceeding expectations

From left to right: Aarti Dixit, Joshua Manlutac, and Simaron Dhillon.

Let me be the first one to say that you are all outliers,” said Global Medicine graduate Joshua Manlutac, one of two graduates from all of the Keck School’s master’s and doctoral programs chosen to speak at the KSOM virtual celebration.

Citing Malcolm Gladwell’s premise in his book Outliers: The Story of Success that becoming truly exceptional in a skill or field requires a minimum of 10,000 hours of effort, Manlutac assured his fellow graduates that they had completed the required 10,000 hours, if not more, to gain knowledge to help them excel in future health care careers.

“[T]his experience taught us firsthand about our resilience, our ability to adapt to changing circumstances,” he said. “Because of our shared experiences today, we are more confident in our ability to overcome and triumph in those situations of tomorrow.”

Student recognition: from Arete to Fulbright

Global Medicine graduates earned prestigious accolades at the national and university levels. Nine GM graduates were honored at the university’s Student Recognition ceremony, held virtually on May 13, 2021.

  • Two GM progressive degree graduates were named to the 2021 Fulbright U.S. student program: Marigrace Buendia and Elaine Huang. A December graduate, Buendia is earning a BS in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies and an MS in Global Medicine. She will utilize a Fulbright research grant to analyze the role of community health volunteers in providing primary mental health care in the Philippines. Buendia intends to use this project to inform her future career in international health research and mental health care initiatives. Huang earned a BS in Human Biology and an MS in Global Medicine. She was awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant grant in Taiwan, after which she plans to attend medical school to learn how to better address health equity and education.
  • Isabelle Osterholt was named to Phi Kappa Phi, USC’s oldest interdisciplinary honor society recognizing graduates’ creative and scholarly achievements.

Finally, nine GM graduates were named to the Order of Arete, which represents the highest honor accorded to graduate students upon completion of their degrees. The Order recognizes those who have “demonstrated significant depth and scope of responsibility in their leadership, upholding value and meaning over individual achievement.” The nine new members of the order are Nillani Anandakugan, Emily Doan, Chirag Doshi, Joshua Manlutac, Sarah Rasmussen, and Tara Shooshani.

Award-winning graduate research

Tara Shooshani

Tara Shooshani won first place in the Health and Wellness category of the 2021 Graduate Student Government Research Symposium held in mid-April. Shooshani presented research findings relating to efficiency in healthcare systems titled “Lean Methodology in Healthcare: Waiting Rooms and Perceptions of the Healthcare Team.” Her presentation examined the healthcare applications of lean business strategies, which have the goal of reducing waste and improving efficiency while also reducing the overall costs for a business.

Shooshani began her research as a student in the Global Medicine program’s management track, which allows students to gain insight into business fundamentals and healthcare administration. “It is very important in healthcare because healthcare in the U.S. is very wasteful and expensive,” Shooshani said. “A lot of people die due to medical errors, so it is very important for hospitals to reduce inefficiency and reduce costs.”

Shooshani will attend medical school at UC Irvine in the fall, where she will have the opportunity to continue to investigate ways to optimize efficiency in healthcare as she trains to join its ranks. Shooshani was awarded a $1,000 prize for her project to use toward future education. She was joined in the symposium by her fellow GM students, Aarti Dixit, who earned a first runner-up award, and Inaya Riaz.

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