Perelman School of Medicine 2022 Commencement

March 21, 2022

To:PSOM Faculty, Students, and Staff

From:J. Larry Jameson, MD, PhD
Dean, Perelman School of Medicine
EVP, University of Pennsylvania for the Health System

Suzanne Rose, MD, MSEd
Senior Vice Dean for Medical Education

Photo of Commencement Speaker Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD, PhD

It is our pleasure to invite you to celebrate the outstanding achievements of our graduating medical students at the Perelman School of Medicine’s 2022 Commencement on May 15. Graduation will be live at the Kimmel Center this year and will be live-streamed. We will share a link to the ceremony, when it becomes available.

We are privileged this year to welcome back to Penn as Commencement Speaker Vanessa Northington Gamble, MD, PhD. A graduate of PSOM and the University, Dr. Gamble is University Professor of Medical Humanities at The George Washington University, the first woman and African American to hold this prestigious position. She is also Professor of Health Policy and American Studies and Professor of Medicine and is an adjunct professor in Penn’s School of Nursing.

Dr. Gamble has worked throughout her career to promote equity and justice in medicine and public health. She is widely recognized for having chaired the committee that investigated the infamous United States Public Health Syphilis Study at Tuskegee. The committee’s report, issued in 1996, prompted then-President Bill Clinton to issue a formal apology on behalf of the government. Dr. Gamble’s seminal 1997 article about the Tuskegee study in the American Journal of Public Health called early attention to systemic racism in medicine and countless prior injustices.

A physician, scholar, and activist, Dr. Gamble is an internationally recognized expert on the history of American medicine, racial and ethnic disparities in health and health care, public health ethics, and bioethics. She is the author of several widely acclaimed publications on the history of race and racism in American medicine and bioethics. Public service has been a hallmark of her career. In addition to chairing the Tuskegee study committee, she has served on numerous boards. In keeping with her impact, Dr. Gamble is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the Hastings Center. In 2021 she received the PSOM Distinguished Graduate Award.

A proud native of West Philadelphia and graduate of The Philadelphia High School for Girls, Dr. Gamble received her BA from Hampshire College and her MD and PhD in the history and sociology of science at Penn.

Dr. Gamble joins a roster of distinguished scientists, physicians, and health care leaders as commencement speakers.  We look forward to hearing from her at this year’s Commencement and hope that you will join us.

Past Commencement Speakers

1994 Dr. Samuel Thier, President of Brandeis University and former Professor and Chairman of Penn’s Medical School

Dr. Stanley Cohen, Kwoh-Ting Li Professor of Genetics, Stanford University School of Medicine

Dr. David Kessler, Director, U.S. Food and Drug Administration


Dr. Michael Brown, Nobel Laureate; Paul J. Thomas Professor of Medicine and Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Louis Sokoloff, Chief, Laboratory of Cerebral Metabolism, National Institutes of Mental Health

1997 Dr. Philip R. Lee, former Assistant Secretary for Health, DHHS

Dr. Francis S. Collins, Director, National Human Genome Research Institute of the NIH

Dr. Stanley B. Prusiner, Professor of Neurology at UCSF and winner of the 1997 Nobel Prize for Medicine

1999 Dr. Kenneth I. Shine, President, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
2000 Dr. Jordan J. Cohen, President, Association of American Medical Colleges
2001 Dr. Michael S. Brown, C'62, M'66, Nobel Laureate; Paul J. Thomas Professor of Molecular Genetics; Director, Jonsson Center for Molecular Genetics, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
2002 Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH
2003 Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
2004 Dr. Henry W. Foster, Jr., Professor Emeritus and former Dean, School of Medicine, Meharry Medical College and Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vanderbilt University
2005 Dr. Helene D. Gayle, Director of the HIV, TB, and Reproductive Health Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
2006 Dr. Jeffrey M. Leiden, Former President and Chief Operating Officer, Pharmaceutical Products Group, Abbott Laboratories
2007 Dr. Atul Gawande, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School
2008 Dr. Jordan J. Cohen, President Emeritus, Association of American Medical Colleges, Professor of Medicine and Public Health, George Washington University
2009 Dr. Christine K. Cassel, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine and ABIM Foundation
2010 Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, The Emmanual and Robert Hart Director of the Center for Bioethics and the Sydney D. Caplan Professor of Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania
2011 Dr. Arthur H. Rubenstein, Executive Vice President and Dean
2012 Dr. Peter C. Agre, University Professor and Director, Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute, Bloomberg school of Public Health
2013 Dr. Nicole Lurie, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response RADM, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
2014 Dr. Elizabeth G. Nabel, MD, President, Brigham and Women’s Healthcare, Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
2015 Dr. Gaetano Thiene, Professor of Pathology, University of Padua Medical School
2016 Dr. Michael S. Brown, Regental Professor, University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
2017 Dr. Robert M. Wachter, Distinguished Professor, Chair of the Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco
2018 Dr. Gail Morrison, William Maul Measey President’s Distinguished Professor in Medical Education, Special Advisor to the EVP/Dean, Executive Director Innovation Center for Online Medical Education
2019 Dr. Reed V. Tuckson, Managing Director of Tuckson Health Connections, LLC
2020 Dr. Katrina Armstrong, Chair of the Department of Medicine and Physician-in-Chief, Massachusetts General Hospital
2021 Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation