Western University of Health Sciences’ 2010 Commencement ceremonies at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on May 20-21, 2010 will feature four prominent guest speakers who will inspire and challenge graduates to make a difference in the world. Click here for more information.

California Medical Association CEO Joseph Dunn, Esq., will address the College of Graduate Nursing and College of Allied Health Professions at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, May 20.

Dunn, who served as a state senator in Orange County’s 34th district for eight years, said graduates’ number one priority should be caring for their patients, but that responsibility is broader than the specific care given at one time.

“This also includes a responsibility to fight for the profession that lets them serve the patients,” he said. “If we allow the profession to be compromised, the ability to deliver the care will also be compromised.”

Dunn will be speaking to graduates entering the workforce as nurses, physical therapists, physician assistants and health sciences educators.

“Delivery of health care is a team effort,” Dunn said. “There are no solo players in the delivery of health care. A very experienced surgeon can’t deliver his or her care without the support of other allied health professionals.”

Alan Kiyohara, PharmD, FCSHP, Kaiser Permanente Pharmacy Operations Leader for Southern California, helped the College of Pharmacy in its early stages of development. Between 1996 and 2002, he served on the College of Pharmacy Admissions Committee, Re-Accreditation Steering Committee, and as a Clinical Adjunct Assistant Professor. In speaking to College of Pharmacy graduates at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 20, he will offer them a challenge.

“They’ve been given a gift,” he said. “Part of that gift is responsibility in terms of making a difference in a patient’s life with the information they’ve learned and their overall knowledge and expertise.”

American Osteopathic Association President Larry Wickless, DO, will address College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific graduates at 9:30 a.m. Friday, May 21. These graduates will be entering postdoctoral training, which is the next big important step in their career.

“This is a very demanding time in your life,” Wickless said. “It’s going to be exciting, fun and a lot of hard work. Each person has to make the best of their training program, which will allow them to get the skills to complete their training and to go on into practice and serve society.”

Graduates must commit to being lifelong learners, and they must find a balance between work and family, he said. Another key piece of advice is to listen to patients. Sometimes their initial complaints mask what is really bothering them.

“You have to ask good questions when interviewing patients,” Wickless said. “You’re treating the whole patient, not just the initial complaint that comes out of their mouth.”

Kevin Fitzgerald, DVM, PhD, will talk to College of Veterinary Medicine graduates at 3 p.m. Friday, May 21. He will remind the graduates that their success is due in part to the sacrifices of their parents, grandparents, teachers and significant others.

“It’s a privilege to be where they are,” he said. “They have to earn it every day they practice.”

Veterinary medicine is a long race, Fitzgerald said. This year’s graduates are finishing a big chapter, but it’s a long journey that’s just starting for them, he said. He wants to encourage them to do something small every day: Judge a science fair. Drive a dog home to a housebound owner. Take a continuing education class.

“They’re going to have to be leaders within their profession,” Fitzgerald said. “There are going to be big changes that are going to affect them. We need our best minds. They have to keep recommitting themselves to their profession.”