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Quillen College of Medicine celebrates commencement

JOHNSON CITY (May 3, 2019) – Fifty-nine medical students received their doctoral hoods and took the Hippocratic Oath as new physicians at East Tennessee State University’s Quillen College of Medicine commencement ceremony held on Friday, May 3.

The Class of 2019 is Quillen’s 38th graduating class. Dr. William Block, a 1992 alumnus and dean of Quillen College of Medicine, presided at the ceremony, which was held at First Christian Church in Johnson City.

“I am very proud of our 38th graduating class,” Block said. “These students have dedicated their lives to helping others, and are a true testament to the college and the region. I look forward to watching the great things they will accomplish in their careers.”

The class selected Dr. Patricia Amadio, assistant professor in the Departments of Medical Education and Family Medicine, and Dr. Jason Moore, professor and medical education director in the Department of Family Medicine, to present their doctoral hoods. In addition, 17 students were hooded by a physician relative, of which six are Quillen alumni.

Dr. Brian Noland, ETSU president, presented the diplomas, and Dr. Wilsie Bishop, senior vice president for academics, provided closing remarks.

The college also presented several student awards during the ceremony.

The culminating awards included the Dean’s Distinguished Student Honor Award, presented to Dr. Alexandrea Imani Chatman for overall outstanding senior student. Dr. Chatman served as her class president each of her four years at Quillen. 

Dr. Kathryn Maureen Shelton was presented the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award. Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, this award is presented to the student, as judged by his or her peers, who consistently demonstrates compassion and empathy in the delivery of care to patients; illustrates professional behavior by example; demonstrates cultural sensitivity in working with patients, family members, and colleagues; adheres to professional and ethical standards; pays attention and is sensitive to the patient’s psychological well-being; and displays concern for the general welfare of the community.

Other award recipients included:

  • The Bieber Scholarship recognizes a graduating student who established a keen interest in sciences prior to entering medical school or has demonstrated interest in research and has overcome personal adversity along the way to achieving completion of a medical degree was presented to Dr. Jeremy Warner Jacobs.

  • The Corbin family established the James Christopher Corbin Award in Psychiatry to honor the memory of James Christopher Corbin, whose brother Michael Corbin was a 1995 graduate of the Quillen College of Medicine. Dr. Steven Trevor Taylor received this award.

  • The Department of Surgery in conjunction with the Hinton family established The Philip John Hinton, M.D. Career in Surgery Award to recognize the student(s) demonstrating the most promise for an outstanding surgical career. Dr. William David Tucker was so honored this year.

  • The Ronald S. McCord Rural Family Medicine Award was established in memory of one of Quillen’s faculty, Dr. Ron McCord, and awarded to the student or students who exemplify commitment in rural medicine. This year’s recipients are Dr. Christian Michael Francis and Dr. Rachel Megan Kowaleski.

  • The Dr. Jay and Mina Mehta Family Award in Preventive Medicine is presented to the graduating medical student who is planning a residency in internal medicine with a strong interest or achievement in pursuing a career in preventive medicine, epidemiology or public health. This award was presented to Dr. David Andrew Wilhoite.

This summer, the Quillen graduates will begin their residencies at programs across the country, such as ETSU, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Emory University, Harvard, Loyola, Mayo Clinics, University of Alabama, University of North Carolina, University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee, University of Virginia, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Yale.

Dr. Maddison Gowder is going to Vanderbilt University for her residency in emergency medicine. As she reflected on her time as a student at Quillen, she said she will remember it as a supportive community that felt like family.

“My husband likes to tell the story about how I was beaming after my interview at Quillen,” Gowder said. “I knew right away that it would be a good fit. When I was accepted, I withdrew all of my applications to other schools. The students and faculty just made it feel like a family and a place where I could thrive.”

Dr. Autumn Demonbreun, who is headed to University of Alabama for her residency in internal medicine, agrees.

“I am excited and a little nervous because this ends a chapter of my life, and I am about to be an MD,” Demonbreun said. “Medical school is tough, but at Quillen, there was such a nurturing atmosphere. This was where I was supposed to be to achieve my goals.”

To learn more about Quillen, visit

Media contact
Melissa Nipper


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