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WesternU College of Podiatric Medicine celebrates Class of 2024 graduates

by Rodney Tanaka

May 21, 2024

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Graduates in green and black academic regalia stand in a theater, holding programs and facing forward during a commencement ceremony.
College of Podiatric Medicine graduates recite the Podiatric Physician’s Oath. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Podiatric Medicine celebrated the accomplishments of 37 Class of 2024 graduates at a Commencement ceremony held May 15, 2024 at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California.

A person in academic regalia speaks at a podium in front of a large screen displaying "Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD, MBA, President" and "Western University of Health Sciences.
WesternU President Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD, MBA, addresses graduates and guests at Commencement. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

CPM and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific kicked off the first of five WesternU Commencement ceremonies in Pasadena. WesternU President Robin Farias-Eisner, MD, PhD, MBA, presided over the ceremonies. He quoted Mark Twain, who stated “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day that you find out why.”

“Today, we can honestly say that one of those reasons why is you are destined to a higher calling to join the elite group of healers in the art of the medical sciences,” Farias-Eisner said. “You are our new ambassadors and our emissaries. This year, WesternU celebrates a momentous achievement, surpassing 21,000 alumni worldwide. You will now join those elite ranks. You are forever a part of the WesternU community and we welcome you with open arms.”

A man in academic regalia speaks at a podium during a graduation ceremony at Western University of Health Sciences. A large screen behind him displays the university's name.
CPM Jashpreet Singh Sanghera, DPM ’24, speaks at the COMP-COMP Commencement ceremony. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

Each college selected a graduate speaker to represent their class. The CPM Class of 2024 selected Jashpreet Singh Sanghera, DPM ’24. He opened by apologizing on behalf of his classmates to all their friends and family for all the times they were delayed in responding to texts and phone calls.

“We were stressed, anxious, and just drained, so thank you for being patient with us over these four years. Your unconditional support means more than you can imagine,” Sanghera said. “To my classmates, I will forever cherish the moments we had together – the ups, the downs, the good times and bad. The house parties we absolutely did not throw during COVID restrictions. Thank you for allowing me into your lives, and I look forward to our lifelong friendships. May the rest of our bright futures be filled with fun, joy and fulfillment, and, fingers crossed, family functions with the least amount of consults possible. Congratulations, friends.”

CPM graduate Doug Weng, DPM ’24, said prior to the ceremony that he’s “ready to get this done.” He was always interested in kinesiology and biomechanics, but this particular path started when he was hired as a WesternU standardized patient.

“Working with (students), I realized I could do this, so I applied and got in,” Weng said. After graduation he will enter a Podiatric Medicine and Surgery residency at the Harvard Medical School-affiliated Mount Auburn Hospital.

“I’ve always been about movement and anatomy. This field allows me to exercise that foundation, and also allows me to do what I want to do in medicine and also do surgery,” Weng said.

A podium speaker addresses a graduation ceremony at Western University of Health Sciences. A large screen displays the name Bryanna Vesely, DPM '20 and her fellowship details. Graduates are seated onstage.
CPM alumna Bryanna Vesely, DPM ’20, MPH, provided a welcome from the WesternU Alumni Association. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

CPM alumna Bryanna Vesely, DPM ’20, MPH, provided a welcome from the WesternU Alumni Association. She is a Foot and Ankle Surgical Fellow at Desert Orthopedic Center in Las Vegas. She encouraged graduates to take the time to listen to their patients to truly understand their concerns and perspectives.

“Treat each person with the same level of care and compassion that you would want for your loved ones and never underestimate the power of a kind word, a gentle touch, or a compassionate presence in providing comfort and healing to your patients. But beyond clinical skills and medical knowledge you have acquired, remember that being a doctor also means advocating for change,” Vesely said. “As you navigate the complexities of our health care system, never lose sight of the need for equity, access and justice for all. Speak out against injustice. Work to dismantle barriers to care. And strive to create a world where everyone has an opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life.”

CPM Dean Jonathan Labovitz, DPM, FACFAS, CHCQM, emphasized to graduates that they now have the responsibility to care for people far beyond the daily niceties that other people can and should do.

“Now you need to listen, not simply wait to speak. To show empathy. To have integrity. And most of all, to care for someone the way they want to be cared for. That’s a heavy lift. But it’s the one you signed up for, so embrace it,” Labovitz said. “Remember that while the world changes around us, and while you are going through a significant personal transition, your change is also affecting the lives of everyone else you touch. Your patients are putting a blind trust in you and you will impact their lives and their families’ lives on a daily basis. Your change also impacts the ones who are there for you throughout your education providing you with love and support. So as you embark on your new adventure, remember those who were there for you. Never neglect yourself, your family or your friends. Take pride in your work, but do it with humility and be grateful. As your time at WesternU ends, I hope you have fond memories. You have accomplished incredible things. On behalf of everyone at CPM, we congratulate you and we look forward to your future accomplishments.”

A group of five people wearing academic regalia stand together indoors. They are smiling and looking at the camera.
CPM Dean Jonathan Labovitz, DPM, FACFAS, CHCQM, (right) with CPM Class of 2024 graduates. (Jeff Malet, WesternU)

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