April 17, 2020—(BRONX, NY)—Answering the call for additional medical workers to join the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic, today more than 100 medical students at Albert Einstein College of Medicine graduated a month early. Many of these newly minted doctors will immediately join the staff of hospitals in New York City, contributing to the heroic efforts of medical teams who are treating patients fighting this devastating disease.
“This is a truly unprecedented time and our students have bravely risen to the challenge,” said Gordon F. Tomaselli, M.D., the Marilyn and Stanley M. Katz Dean at Einstein and executive vice president and chief medical officer at Montefiore Medicine. “Since its founding, Einstein has stressed the importance of humanism and compassion along with scientific excellence and our students’ response to this pandemic has demonstrated these virtues in vibrant relief.”
Many of the early graduates will join the staff at Montefiore Health System prior to starting their formal residencies in July. Although the number of new COVID-19 cases appears to be stabilizing, New York City is still the epicenter of the global outbreak, and the need for additional medical staff continues.
“We could not be more pleased and thankful to have our Einstein graduates join our residents, attending physicians, nurses, and staff” said Catherine Skae, M.D., associate dean for graduate medical education at Einstein, who oversees the residency and fellowship programs at Montefiore. “Their familiarity with our hospitals and close relationships with our staff that were established during their years here will allow them to make a significant impact right away.”
Most of the Einstein students who chose to graduate on the original date of May 26 will continue their volunteer activities that support healthcare workers and their families. The student-initiated projects range from child care and dog-walking to making face masks and shields to volunteering on the hospital wards.
“We’re very proud of how our students have conducted themselves over the past several weeks,” Joshua Nosanchuk, M.D., senior associate dean for medical education at Einstein and an infectious diseases specialist at Montefiore. “We’re not surprised at their reaction and selfless attitude but salute them for facing these extraordinary circumstances with compassion, grace, and determination.”
Responding to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s call for additional doctors to join the fight against COVID-19, Einstein has worked with the governor’s office, the New York State Department of Education, the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, and numerous other local, state, and national agencies and organizations to ensure that its fourth-year medical students could fulfill their curricular requirements and graduate early. Einstein will hold its virtual commencement ceremony for all graduates on May 26.