In the Community: From Pioneers to New Physicians

Backed by an innovative curriculum, the freshly minted physicians will bring a new perspective to the practice of medicine.

The inaugural class of Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine, a group of 39 students who helped pioneer a new approach to medical education, recently celebrated graduation at Hofstra University’s John Cranford Adams Playhouse.

“This is a historic day,” said Hofstra University President Stuart Rabinowitz. “Four years ago, this gifted group of young men and women began a ground-breaking journey at a new medical school with a unique curriculum that challenges convention. Today, they graduate not just as doctors, but as innovators and leaders who will transform their profession for decades to come.”

Established in 2008, the School of Medicine is the first allopathic medical school to open in New York State in more than 40 years. The institution has 2,200 faculty and approximately 280 students, a roster that is expected to grow to 400 by 2016.

The school’s innovative curriculum combines basic science with clinical experience from the first day of training, focusing on patient interaction, interdisciplinary teamwork and community service. All first-year medical students train as emergency medical technicians who ride with North Shore-LIJ Health System ambulance crews.

Following their commencement, the newly minted physicians will start postgraduate work at elite institutions across the country, including North Shore-LIJ hospitals.

“I think we all realized the potential risks and benefits of being at a new medical school, and some of us were more apprehensive than others,” said Daniel Ohngemach, a member of the charter class who will train for a year in internal medicine before beginning a residency in radiology at North Shore-LIJ Health System. “But I knew that if I stayed true to myself, I would graduate a well-trained physician.”

AJ Blood, a fellow graduate and past president of student government, agreed.

“I looked at the track record of these institutions [North Shore-LIJ and Hofstra University] and the leadership brought in to begin the School of Medicine, and I saw an amazing opportunity,” said Mr. Blood, who is heading to Duke University to train in internal medicine. “I knew that far from a risk, I was being offered a chance to get in at the ground floor of the ‘Google’ of medical schools.”

Said Samantha Ruff, who is looking forward to training in surgery at North Shore-LIJ: “The faculty and staff are incredibly supportive and engaged in the students’ development. Throughout my four years, there was never a shortage of faculty ready and willing to support me and my career.”

The commencement ceremony included the bestowing of the Branson Sparks Humanism Award. Mr. Sparks, who completed the first year with the charter class, died in 2013.


School of Medicine Earns Full Accreditation

The Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine recently earned full accreditation by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). The organization certifies all medical schools in the US and Canada. The LCME accreditation shows that the School of Medicine’s innovative approach to education meets strict national standards for structure, function and performance.

The School of Medicine teaches medicine in the context of real clinical problems, provides students with hands-on experience from the beginning and helps them become lifelong learners who will be the medical leaders of the future.

The Association of American Medical Colleges projects a physician shortage of 130,000 by the year 2025, but the school can help fill that gap. This will not only help assure health care options for the future but also serve the downstate New York region for many years.

Jobs in the medical field are among the fastest- growing occupations in the country. The Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine prepares students from the area, the region, the country and around the world to advance innovation in medicine, biotech and health science industries.


Doctors of Tomorrow

PBS recently debuted the documentary Doctors of Tomorrow, which showcases the Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine’s revolutionary approach to educating the next generation of physicians. See the video at


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