June 6, 2004

WORCESTER, Mass.—The University of Massachusetts Medical School, comprising the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and the Graduate School of Nursing, awarded 153 degrees, including one honorary degree, at its 31st commencement exercises held June 6 at 1:00 p.m. at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Chancellor and Dean Aaron Lazare, MD, presented 98 doctor of medicine degrees, including one MD/PhD; 22 doctor of philosophy degrees; and, in nursing, 27 master of science degrees, three post-master’s certificates and, in conjunction with UMass Amherst, two doctorate degrees. 

The commencement address was given by Carolyn M. Clancy, MD, the director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which supports research to improve health care access, quality, safety and cost-efficiency.  Dr. Clancy, a 1979 graduate of UMass Medical School, is also an associate clinical professor at the George Washington University School of Medicine.

Clancy’s evolution from clinical practice to health care policy research began at UMMS. Upon graduation, she completed her residency in internal medicine at the former Memorial Hospital and served as a Kaiser Foundation Fellow. She then became medical director of the primary care clinic at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, where she served from 1984 until 1990, when she joined the AHRQ. Prior to her current appointment in February 2003, Clancy was director of the AHRQ's Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research. Her research priorities currently include issues of quality, access and the impact of delivery system changes, and her medical specialties include internal medicine and women’s health.

Clancy has authored or co-authored six medical books, published widely in peer-reviewed journals, and presented multiple research papers at academic conferences; she also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, the American Journal of Public Health, and the Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice and is a senior associate editor for Health Services Research.

UMMS also awarded an honorary degree to R. Norman Peters, Esq., of Paxton, a longtime supporter of the Medical School and its clinical partner, UMass Memorial Health Care. Peters began his close relationship with the institutions in 1990, a time of fiscal crisis, when he brought together then-Governor William Weld and Dr. Lazare—an act that helped preserve crucial state support for the Medical School.   “As member and past chair of the UMass Memorial Foundation,” the fundraising arm of the Medical School and UMass Memorial, “Norm Peters is a civic-minded professional who has continually volunteered his time and talents to tout the expertise of the institutions’ educators, clinicians, and researchers, thus helping us continue to make strides in positively affecting the health and well-being of the residents of the Commonwealth and beyond,” said Dr. Lazare.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School was created in l962 by an act of the Massachusetts legislature to enable state residents to study medicine at an affordable cost, and to increase the number of primary care physicians practicing in underserved areas of the state.  Located in Worcester, New England’s third largest city, the School of Medicine accepted its first class of 16 students in 1970; the school now accepts 100 students per class. Today, the 67-acre campus is comprised of the School of Medicine, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences (opened in 1979), and the Graduate School of Nursing (opened in 1986), as well as a 783-bed teaching hospital and specialty clinics. The Medical School has consistently ranked among the top medical schools in the country for primary care, and this year was ranked third among the 125 schools nationwide. One of the fastest growing academic health centers in the country, UMMS attracts more than $154 million in research funding annually and is on the leading edge of medical research into human disease and treatment.

Class speakers were James Scott Bath (Medical School); Cheryl Lynn Gatto (Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences); and Cynthia Sachs (Graduate School of Nursing).

Click here for degree recipients, listed alphabetically by hometown.

Contact: Alison Duffy  508-856-2000