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Leaving Med School & Facing a Pandemic, the Newest Dell Med Graduates Share Their Wisdom

May 19, 2022

Zarra Qasim in a celebratory pose while wearing graduation regalia.

Zarra Qasim.

(AUSTIN, Texas) – At its first in-person graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, tonight Dell Medical School at The University of Texas at Austin will honor 47 medical students in its Class of 2022 who are beginning their journey as new physicians.

“As a medical student, I have seen and experienced the constraints that bar providers from changing the reality of our health care system — a system that prioritizes profits over patients and numbers over humanity,” said Zaara Qasim, who is featured alongside five other of Dell Med’s finest as part of this year’s online Class of 2022 exclusive. “To deliver evidence- and value-based, patient-centered care, the system needs a major overhaul,” she said.

Qasim reflected on her four years on the Forty Acres earning an M.D. and a Master of Arts in Design Focused on Health — one of eight dual degrees available to Dell Med students. More than 80% of her class achieved dual degrees alongside their medical education.

Caring for the Community, Where It’s Needed Most

This year’s graduating medical students pursuing specialized training were matched to residency programs in 18 states, but almost half of them will remain in Texas. A quarter of those will continue their medical training in Austin in residency programs jointly run by Dell Med and its academic medical partner, Ascension Seton. In all, Dell Med will be home to 400 physicians-in-training starting this summer — up 83% since 2012.

Additionally, almost half of this year’s graduates will be entering primary care — including internal medicine, pediatrics, family medicine, and obstetrics and gynecology — helping to counter the primary care physician shortage projected in the coming years as reported by the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Lessons to Learn from the Physicians of the Future

Ciaura Brown in a celebratory pose while wearing graduation regalia.

Ciaura Brown.

Reflecting on her medical school training, Ciaura Brown recalls insights she has gleaned about seeing the humanity in others.

“As clinicians, we have to make sure that patients are treated as people first. This involves elements like respect, empathy and autonomy. Once this is established, we can then begin to understand their illnesses better and be equipped to provide targeted education and advocacy,” said Brown, who is headed to an emergency medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

Ben Wroblewski in a celebratory pose while wearing graduation regalia.

Ben Wroblewski.

Fellow graduate Ben Wroblewski relies on humor and humility to propel him forward. “There is so much uncertainty in life. If you can be the one thing someone can count on, I think that goes a long way,” he said.

Wroblewski will hone his skills in family medicine as a resident at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth.