More than 1,000 OHSU students are on their way to the next step in their health care careers — as they get set for graduation ceremonies in the next couple of weeks.
OHSU’s School of Medicine will graduate 121 students with M.D. degrees and will graduate a record total of 517 students in ceremonies this Monday, June 4.
OHSU’s School of Dentistry, School of Nursing and the Oregon State University/OHSU School of Pharmacy will also honor graduates in ceremonies either Monday or on June 15.
Here are profiles of four of the OHSU grads.
Kelly Griffith-Bauer, 33, OHSU School of Medicine
Kelly Griffith-Bauer arrived in Portland as a 17-year-old high school graduate from St. Joseph, Mo., with her six-month old son, Braxton. She had no money, and after a short stay with relatives, nowhere to go.
She found a job at a local jewelry store, and for a while lived in a teen parent foster home. She later began working for USWEST but was eventually laid off from that job — a layoff that changed her life.
Her severance package included two years of free tuition. Kelly enrolled in pre-med classes at Portland State University and began the long journey toward her dream of becoming a dermatologist. In addition to school work, she worked at Starbucks and volunteered at OHSU. This Monday, 10 years after entering PSU, she will be graduating as an M.D.
“It’s incredibly emotional,” Kelly said. “As I’m going up to get my diploma, I’ll be thinking that, 16 years ago, I didn’t even know I was going to get a high school diploma. This is the furthest dream that I can possibly imagine.”
“I am grateful to the city that offered a warm embrace to a struggling teen mom. And the people who have supported me at OHSU have been absolutely incredible. I couldn’t have made it without them.”
Lori Cardwell, 40, OHSU School of Medicine
After serving as an officer in the U.S. Navy Supply Corps, then moving to Intel as a systems engineer, native Oregonian Lori Cardwell decided she wanted to be a surgeon. She’s now an OHSU medical school graduate, on her way to a residency in the OHSU General Surgery program.
Lori is a graduate of Portland’s Franklin High School. She is interested in general surgery and hopes to possibly someday practice in rural Oregon.
Jesse Hollander, 27, OHSU School of Dentistry
After growing up in Kathmandu, Nepal, watching his father do dental work for people who had never seen a dentist before, Jesse Hollander decided he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps. Now, he’s a graduate of the OHSU School of Dentistry, on his way to a one-year residency in Hawaii before he hopes to return to Oregon to work as a dentist in a community health organization.
Hollander was born in Kathmandu, Nepal, to American parents. His father worked as dentist at the United States embassy, first committing to two years and eventually staying 30.
But it wasn’t until Jesse was in college, and he spent a summer traveling with his father in Mongolia, treating people who had never seen a dentist before, that he decided he wanted to be in medicine, and eventually dentistry.
“For me, the unique skill set of getting people out of their pain, and bringing a smile to their face again, is the most exhilarating feeling,” Jesse said.
Jesse is on his way to a one-year general dentistry practice residency at the Queens Medical Center in Honolulu, Hawaii. After that, he hopes to return to Oregon.
Yassar Arain, 27, OHSU School of Medicine
After writing in a second-grade “I Have a Dream” essay how he wanted someday to be a doctor, Yassar Arain is now on his way to becoming one. Arain — the first person in his Pakistani family to be born in the United States — is headed to Stanford University to train in pediatrics.
Yassar’s family is from Pakistan and moved to the United States shortly before
he was born. His father is a manufacturing engineer; his mother runs a daycare center.
But he has wanted to be a doctor since he was very young. His family not too long ago found
a copy of his “I Have a Dream” speech from second grade. “My dream is to become a doctor and help people all over the world,” he wrote.
“For me, it was the altruism perspective of medicine — where I could potentially be able to help anyone anywhere,” Yassar said. “I think that’s what initially attracted me to medicine.”
Lani Doser, 42, OHSU School of Nursing
Lani Doser’s first career was as a high school teacher. But when she started teaching heath education, that kicked in an intense interest in medicine.
She went back to school to study nursing, co-founded a doula program at OHSU where she still vo
And on June 4, she will graduate from OHSU’s School of Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner /Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.
Doser said she especially appreciated the personal support she received from OHSU staff and colleagues during her time in the program. This year’s is the first graduating class from her combined program.
“They did a very nice job of shepharding us through that program,” she said.