SAN ANTONIO, Texas –
The San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium held a graduation ceremony June 10 at the Lila Cockrell Theatre in downtown San Antonio.
The ceremony honored 232 residents and fellows from about 60 physician and allied health specialty programs.
"It’s been a long road,” said Dr. Mark True, SAUSHEC dean. “If you count all the way back to kindergarten, your training years total up to 24 to 28 years of education to this point in your lives.”
True reminded the graduates that they are ready for independent practice.
“You are now the authority for the care you provide to your patients,” he said. “With this authority comes great responsibility, and we know you will rise excellently to this occasion. Our patients deserve the best … we are proud to present them our best – that’s you!”
The dean assured them that their program directors and faculty remain committed to helping them as they move forward in their careers.
“Dial-a-mentor is a real thing, and I encourage all of you to stay connected,” True said. He also encouraged them to “never stop learning.”
SAUSHEC is the organization responsible for military graduate medical education and graduate allied health education in San Antonio with two major training sites at Brooke Army Medical Center and the 59th Medical Wing.
The keynote speaker for the event was U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Scott Dingle, the Army Surgeon General and commanding general, U.S. Army Medical Command.
Dingle congratulated the graduates on their accomplishment and thanked the San Antonio community for always being a tremendous supporter of military medicine. He also thanked the faculty for their mentorship, leadership and instruction.
“I believe that this is the epicenter of military medicine,” he said. “As we have the world’s best consortium of military and civilian partnerships.”
The Army Surgeon General addressed the graduates saying, “You are a member of the world’s best team.”
“There is nothing like the system that you are getting ready to go back into – the Military Health System,” Dingle said. “You have been trained. You have been prepared. You have been educated to build and lead teams in order to save lives.”
He said, “It’s not about the rank on your shoulders or the title that you have, it’s about the service and the lives that you touch.”
He also outlined a series of “dares” for them.
“I dare you to be your best, and maximize the training and education that was poured into you over these last months,” he said. “I dare you to be the best darn doctor, nurse, medical professional that you can be. I double dare you to give your all every day that you put on the uniform and go in there and provide healthcare and readiness.”
“I dare you to be a difference maker in the lives of everyone who comes across your path,” he added. “I dare you to be better than me. I dare you to save lives.”
The ceremony was extra special for U.S. Air Force Capt. (Dr.) Amy Moore, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery graduate. Her father, retired U.S. Air Force Col. (Dr.) Christopher C. Medley and her grandfather, retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Thomas Prioleau Ball Jr., were both in attendance to cheer her accomplishment.
Ball is a former 59th Medical Wing/Wilford Hall Medical Center commander (1986-1987). He also was Joint Medical Military Command commander.
“It was certainly special for me to have him there,” Moore said.
This was also an exciting time for graduations in the Garcia family. Along with mom, U.S. Air Force Capt. Anna Garcia graduating, their daughter graduated college and two of their sons finished high school this past week.
The mother of seven had her seventh child when she was a fourth-year medical student. “He was about two weeks old when I graduated, so he’s grown up with me through my residency,” she said.
“Originally, I was torn between general surgery and obstetrics,” Garcia said.
“I took it as a sign from the heavens that I needed to do OB/GYN because having your seventh baby during your fourth year of medical school, I was like, alright, I can take a hint here,” she laughed.
Along with the graduation certificates, five Commander's Awards for Research, two Housestaff Hall of Fame awards, and eight merit awards were presented during the ceremony.
“Congratulations on this very historical day as you go back out into the military health care system,” Dingle said. “I double dare you to be your best.”