Florida International University held a history-making Commencement program Monday, as its new medical school celebrated its first graduating class of physicians.
They went beyond the classroom to learn and serve.
"The special training they get is based in the community and having taken care of households in the poorest parts of Dade County for four years," said Assistant Dean Dr. Joe Greer.
The new doctors from the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine are heading to residency training programs across the country.
"Mercer University in Macon, Georgia for general surgery residency. So, I'm going to be a surgeon," said FIU med school graduate Trine Engebretsen.
When she was just two years old, Engebretsen became the first child from South Florida to have a liver transplant. The surgeons at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh saved her life and inspired her.
"I'm considering a transplant fellowship. I think I want to be a transplant surgeon,” Engebretsen said.
She had a son while in medical school and still graduated on time with the rest of her classmates.
The medical school opened four years ago with 43 students. It's named for Herbert Wertheim, an optometrist and philanthropist who invented UV filters for sunglasses.
"The concept of prevention has been always on my mind. The medical school was the beginning of that fulfillment," Wertheim said.
FIU President Mark Rosenberg bragged about the 33 graduating physicians as they were getting ready to walk across the stage for their diplomas.
"They've proven that they have the qualities to be among the new generation of physicians needed by our country," he said.
Being a patient for so many years has uniquely prepared Engebretsen for a career in medicine.
"I think in her lifetime to this point she has accomplished a lot, but I think it's just beginning, it's just beginning," said her mother, Mary Anne.
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