May is always a very exciting month for the IHP and this May was no exception. On May 11th, we graduated 596 students in two commencement ceremonies, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  This was the first time we hosted two ceremonies and by all accounts, it was a successful change. As our graduating classes have grown in number, it became difficult for students and their families to sit for three-plus hours and listen to 600 names just to hear their loved one’s name called. In this new model, each ceremony has approximately 300 graduates and took about an hour and a half. It was just the right amount of time where people remained engaged and involved in the event.   

We had a student speaker, Alina Shirley, Doctor of Physical Therapy Graduate, for the morning ceremony, which included the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and the School of Healthcare Leadership.  Alina inspired her classmates and all of us about her “why” for becoming a PT and studying at the IHP. In the afternoon session, School of Nursing graduates and their families heard from student speaker Isabelle Girard, graduate of the Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program. Isabelle inspired the audience with her description of the nursing graduate’s journey as Ambitious, Brave and Committed.  

The excitement of launching so many exceptional graduates who are prepared to enter the health professions is never lost on me. Especially this year, when we are facing such a significant health care professional shortage, seeing all of those graduates cross the stage reinforced the critical work we are doing at the IHP. 

Just as we were launching our graduates for 2023, we welcomed a new cohort of ABSN nursing students who will be joined by new students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy and the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Programs. These new students are choosing health care at a time when we know the work is challenging but the opportunities are endless. Without even yet meeting them, I know they will be committed to the social justice paradigm of health care delivery and will work to make our system of health care more equitable. Our students come to the IHP because they know they will get an education that prepares them for his role. On behalf of the IHP faculty and staff, we welcome our new students and wish them an exceptional experience as they prepare for their chosen health care career. 

We also had our final Board meeting of the academic year followed by the President’s Council meeting which included a panel discussion by IHP students who shared their perspectives on their educational experience. The President’s Council is a group of individuals with whom I meet three times a year and who serve as advisors to the President and ambassadors for the IHP in the community.  Four students, Carina Dillon (PT, ’24), Marc Maffei (PhD ’23), Matthew Reinemann (PA ’24) and Leah Rothchild (MS in Nursing ’24) talked about why they chose the IHP and the kinds of experiences they’ve had preparing them for professional practice. Each shared their perspectives on their program and their vision for their future as a health care provider. It was so inspiring to listen to what is important to them as they grow in their professional role. We heard stories of wanting to focus on underserved populations and improving the quality of care to those populations as well as bringing high quality care to children in third world countries. Our students are amazing. Hearing them reinforced my belief that they are well-positioned to change the world.   

Other exciting events in May included welcoming the MGH Psych Academy to the IHP campus. While they will remain a unit of MGH, they have relocated to our campus with offices in CW1 and will begin working with us to expand our Continuing Education offerings and bringing increased visibility to the work of the IHP.  In addition, we learned this month that the School of Nursing received a very prestigious, $5.9 million U.S. Department of Labor Grant to increase the number of individuals who are prepared to serve as clinical nurse educators thereby addressing one of the barriers to producing more nursing graduates. At a time when there is a severe nursing shortage, this work will expand the pipeline for nursing education in the greater Boston region and begin to mitigate the impact of the nursing shortage on the local hospitals. Congratulations to the School of Nursing and the authors of the grant, Dr. Pat Reidy, Dr. Bradley White and Dr. Elaine Tagliareni.

After commencement, my family and friends will often ask “Do things slow down for you now?”  I always chuckle because that can’t be further from the truth. Planning for the next fiscal year, celebrating our faculty and staff, developing our next strategic plan and recruiting the next cohorts of students are just a few of the things that keep us busy this summer. But working on the shore of the Boston Harbor makes working a lot more enjoyable. 

I wish you all a safe and joyous summer.