Gov. Charlie Baker
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will deliver the commencement address during the 43rd Commencement Exercises at UMass Medical School on Sunday, June 5.
“UMass Medical School holds a special place in our commonwealth as the only public medical school, dedicated to high-quality, affordable education and cutting-edge biomedical research, coupled with a deep commitment to public service,” said Gov. Baker. “I feel honored to be able to join their next commencement celebration.”
“It is a privilege to host Gov. Baker for this wonderful milestone in the lives of our students as they begin careers in medicine, nursing and scientific research that will change lives for the better,” said Chancellor Michael F. Collins. “Our world-class faculty, staff and students strive every day to improve the health of our neighbors in communities all across the commonwealth and, indeed, all around the world.”
Baker was inaugurated Jan. 8, 2015, as the commonwealth’s 72nd governor. Previously, Baker served as a cabinet member in the administrations of Gov. William Weld and the late Gov. Paul Cellucci. From 1999 to 2009, Baker served as the chief executive officer of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, where he led the company out of receivership to become one of the top-ranked health plans in the nation.
Since Baker took office, his administration has addressed a number of pressing matters, including the opioid crisis. Toward this effort, he has called on UMass Medical School to work in collaboration with Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders, Public Health Commissioner Monica Bharel, MD, MPH, and the other three Massachusetts medical schools in defining core competencies that will form a new standard for all graduating medical school students. The School of Medicine is incorporating all 10 competencies into its curriculum in the current academic year to ensure that all medical school graduates are prepared to be “sound prescribers” in the screening, prevention and management of prescription drug misuse.
Baker has supported the efforts of the UMass ALS Cellucci Fund, named in tribute to his former mentor and boss, which funds groundbreaking research at UMass Medical School into neurodegenerative and neuromuscular diseases such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
UMass Medical School has recently announced a number of plans for strategic growth, including an academic affiliation to allow students to complete clinical rotations at Cape Cod Hospital; an expansion of its School of Medicine from 125 to 150 students by the 2017-18 academic year, a total that will include the admission of up to 25 highly qualified out-of-state candidates; and the establishment of its first regional campus, to be located in Springfield, in partnership with Baystate Health and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
“Gov. Baker is keenly aware that our medical school is making an impact in nearly every corner of the commonwealth,” said Collins. “Our economic and workforce strength; the contributions of our students, faculty and alumni; and our status as one of the top-ranked and most affordable medical schools are all clear and compelling evidence that our campus and the entire UMass system are truly here for a reason.”
The 2016 Commencement Exercises will take place on Sunday, June 5, on the campus green, with seating beginning at 11 a.m., the processional initiating at 11:45 a.m. and the ceremony starting promptly at noon.