It used to be easy to give a commencement speech. You could tell a few jokes, praise the graduates, and exhort them to keep learning. Not today.
The 2015 graduates go into a health care world crying out for fundamental transformation. Not just tinkering with a broken system. The focus on how we organize, deliver and think about care needs to be based not on episodic care but rather on how we partner with the patient to advance their health.
But this generation of health professionals will make a difference. I asked the graduates of Jefferson’s six colleges of health sciences to question their role in a system that is more comfortable paying to cure sick patients than investing in efforts to keep people healthy.
As Esther Dyson said when she received an honorary degree from Jefferson this year, “Health care’s actual mission has changed. It’s not just curing the sick. It’s creating health.”
Dyson, who is one of America’s foremost investors in health transformation, went on to say: “We need you to change the risks (for people) and if you do that you will have produced the most important, valuable asset on earth – people living happy, fulfilling and healthy lives.”
This is precisely why at Jefferson we rewrote our vision statement last year. We’re not tinkering with the past. We are reimagining healthcare, education and discovery. We’ll do it to create unparalleled value for the people we serve, and we’ll do it to be your most trusted healthcare partner.
This generation carries the pioneers and ambassadors of that vision. I’m deeply proud of our graduates, educated under the challenge to re-imagine health. For us, that meant 316 in health professions, 89 in pharmacy, 414 in nursing, 56 in biomedicine, 52 in population health, and 278 in medicine. As a unique health science university, Jefferson is one of the nation’s leaders in bringing these disciplines together as high-powered teams. That’s where it starts, and these young professionals will understand it.
I believe they will lead the generation of health professionals that changes the DNA of healthcare. And I can’t wait.