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early grad Sweeney

Upstate graduates 65 medical students early to aid in COVID fight

Sixty-five medical students at Upstate Medical University became doctors April 10, graduating early so they could join other health care workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Governor Cuomo issued an executive order earlier this month enabling medical students to graduate early to help with the COVID fight.

The 20-minute virtual ceremony featured the recitation of the Physician’s Oath and remarks by College of Medicine Dean Lawrence Chin, MD.

The dean expressed his disappointment at not being able to share this proud moment with students in person. “As much as I wanted to share and celebrate these moments with you, I believe your sacrifice is the right thing to keep this terrible disease from causing more damage.”

Students who participated in today’s ceremony did so with the intent of going to hospitals to provide relief to an already strained health care workforce treating COVID patients.

Jared Sweeney, MD, who took part in the ceremony from his apartment in Albany, wants to support his health care colleagues in any way possible. “Even though I may have limited experience, I’m ready to offer myself to do what’s necessary,” he said. “I know staffs are strained, and any role I can play to undo the burden on many, I will be ready.”

Sweeney is set to begin his residency in neurosurgery at Albany Medical Center on July 1. He’s contacted the medical center to offer his assistance; he also completed the online state Department of Health survey for physicians looking to support the effort in New York City.

“This what we signed up for when we entered this field,” he said.

The remaining medical students and students in the colleges of Graduate Studies, Health Professions and Nursing will receive their degrees in a virtual ceremony May 1.


Caption: Jared Sweeney, MD, was one of 65 medical students to earn their medical degrees early so they can aid in the coronavirus pandemic.  Sweeney is pictured here with his fiance, Amanda Benacquisto.