The Honorable Donna M. Christensen, M.D., former U.S. Virgin Islands Congresswoman and Congressional Black Caucus Health Braintrust Chair, addressed the graduates during Morehouse School of Medicine’s (MSM) 31st commencement exercise on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at 9 a.m. MSM awarded advanced research, public health, and medical degrees to 102 students during the graduation ceremony at the Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel on the campus of Morehouse College.
Having served nine terms as U.S. Congresswoman, Delegate Christensen is a recipient of numerous awards, a sought-after speaker in health equity and a woman of many congressional historical firsts. She is the first female physician to serve as a U.S. Congress member, the first woman to represent an offshore Territory, and the first woman Delegate from the United States Virgin Islands. She first addressed specific health issues, such as practices at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and protecting the rights of people with disabilities, during her 10 years on the House Committee on Small Business. Delegate Christensen has also been involved with the creation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Minority AIDS Initiative and National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities.
“Like Delegate Christensen, MSM has been working to close the health care gap. Over the last 40 years, our institution has trained medical professionals who are committed to their patients and not just their medical condition,” said Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine. “We are honored to work with partners like Delegate Christensen as we prepare and inspire the most important aspect of our school, our students, who help expand MSM’s global reach both as students and alumni.”
MSM conferred degrees of M.D., Ph.D. in biomedical sciences, master of public health, master of science in biomedical research, master of science in clinical research and master of science in medical sciences.
MSM presented honorary degrees to Delegate Christensen and Anthony Welters, J.D., Executive Chairman, Black Ivy Group, LLC, and Trustee Emeritus, Morehouse School of Medicine.