NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Bertagnolli Delivers Commencement Address at Alma Mater

Bertagnolli in black cap and gown stands at podium as graduates wearing caps look on.
NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli speaks to graduates of the University of Utah School of Medicine on May 17.

Photo:  University of Utah Health

NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli returned to her alma mater recently as commencement ceremony guest speaker.

“So many people from so many walks of life are counting on you,” Bertagnolli said, addressing graduates of the Spencer Fox Eccles School of Medicine at the University of Utah (U of U) on May 17. “You are the new generation to take on the challenge of caring for everyone with the wellbeing of your patients your highest priority. And I have tremendous confidence in you.”

While at the university, she also visited a research laboratory at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) and participated in a panel discussion on a documentary film, dêtetsi vo’i oninjakan Winding Path.

Murray has arm around Bertagnolli as they smile together on stage.
Medical student Jenna Murray (l) with Bertagnolli

Photo:  University of Utah Health

The movie features Eastern Shoshone medical student Jenna Murray, who attends U of U, describing the summers she spent with her grandfather on an Indian Reservation nd her healing journey from substance use disorder. The movie premiered earlier this year at the Sundance Film Festival and was nominated in the Best Short Program category.

Bertagnolli, Murray and several other panelists met to talk about topics raised in the movie. The panel was moderated by Dr. Maija Holsti, director of the Native American Summer Research Intern program.

A professor in the division of pediatric emergency medicine and department of pediatrics at Primary Children’s Hospital, Holsti directs research education for the department, which supports several training programs for students who are underrepresented in medicine. She is principal investigator on three NIH grants that support the internship and co-investigator on another NIH grant that supports the Genomics Summer Research Internship for Minorities.

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