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Largest Class in MGH Institute History Graduates

May 13, 2019
Photo of Baothy Huynh, OTD '19 speaking at 2019 Commencement
Baothy Huynh, OTD '19, gives the 2019 Commencement address.

MGH Institute of Health Professions graduated the largest class in its 42-year history on May 13 at 2019 Commencement.

A total of 594 members of the Class of 2019 received doctoral, master, or bachelor degrees, or certificates, in nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, speech-language pathology, rehabilitation sciences, and health professions education.

Baothy Huynh gave the Commencement address to an audience of more than 2,000 people at the Boston Convention and Exposition Center. Huynh, who earned a Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree, was the first student to give the graduation speech, reminded her classmates of the reasons each one chose their particular field.

“We are here today, after all these years of dedicated work, because we are deeply drawn to the service of others. That we, above all else, are moved, physically and emotionally, by the proclivity to make others feel whole,” said Huynh, who was born in Vietnam and moved with her family to the United States in 1997. “It was a love of the profession that brought us all to the Navy Yard from every corner of the country. It was a love of the education that kept us knocking on doors every week for office hours, and a love of the craft that kept us up until 3 a.m. studying. It was a love of our patients—past, present, and future—that carried us all the way to the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Jordan, India, and Capitol Hill in the name of service, education, and advocacy.”

Alumni, Faculty, Trustees Recognized

Several people were recognized for their accomplishments, both to the MGH Institute and to the advancement of health care.

Stephanie Wilkie Ahmed, DNP ’08, FNP-BC, DPNAP, received the Bette Ann Harris Distinguished Alumni Award. The executive director for Clinical Effectiveness at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Dr. Ahmed was recognized for her role as president and legislative co-chair of the Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners, during which time she championed the removal of physician oversight with the hope of granting full practice authority to nurse practitioners and greater access to health care for the most vulnerable. She also has been recognized for her work by the Organization of Nursing Leaders of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Vermont, and the American Nurse Association of Massachusetts.    

Jarrad Van Stan, PhD ’16, CCC-SLP, received the Emerging Leader Alumni Award. Dr. Van Stan is a speech-language pathologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Laryngeal Surgery and Voice Rehabilitation. Just three years after graduating from the Institute, he has become a national leader in voice disorders based on his significant contributions in the development of classification systems for classifying rehabilitation treatments and the application of motor learning theory and principles to the design of new voice therapy approaches. 

In addition, George E. Thibault, MD, the former long-time chair of the MGH Institute Board of Trustees, received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, the fourth honorary degree in the Institute’s history.