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Five Arlington residents were among the 535 students who graduated from MGH Institute of Health Professions in May. They are Alexandra Chaves, Gregory Fougere and Katherine Guanci, with Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing, and Lynn Gray-Meltzer and Ruthanne Lamborghini, Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees.

Dr. Gary Gottlieb, president and CEO of Partners HealthCare System, was the keynote speaker at the Charlestown Navy Yard graduate school’s 34th commencement at the Hynes Convention Center. A news release said Dr. Gottlieb spoke passionately about the continued discrepancy in health-care outcomes among underrepresented minorities in the United States citing statistics in which African-American men live five years less, and women three years less, than their white counterparts.
"Despite remarkable improvements in science and breathtaking advances in the care and rehabilitation of the very ill, we remain disturbed by the failures of our current system," he told the audience of more than 2,000 graduates and their families. "We are appropriately concerned that health care costs will continue to crowd out our ability to support those who need us most today, while preventing critical investments in our future. Racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities of health care outcome and delivery continue to plague us and reflect perhaps the greatest failures of our system."
The Class of 2014, with students in nursing, communication sciences and disorders, health professions education, and physical therapy, hail from 28 states and five countries. It is the largest class in the school’s history.

Dr. Gottlieb noted that since Massachusetts passed its health care bill in 2006, disparities in access to and use of care have significantly lessened, as he said that 98 percent of the state’s adult and 99 percent of children now have health insurance. "This is clearly an important first step to real equity," he said.
And now that more than an additional 12 million Americans have health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, he told the Institute’s new graduates that they will be the people to deliver care to this growing population.
"You are our greatest opportunity to make good on the promise of humane, safe and excellent health care that can and will be accountable to the demands and expectations of the people of the United States and other countries in which you choose to serve over the course of your magnificent careers," Dr. Gottlieb said. "The opportunities for you in this environment are limitless and your leadership will give us a splendid pathway to excellence, great effectiveness, and a new-found efficiency."

This story was published July 17, 2014.