<p>The Warren Alpert Medical School Class of 2012 Commencement ceremony begins at 11:15 a.m. Sunday, May 27, 2012, in the First Unitarian Church. Speakers include Harvard’s Dr. Joseph Martin, who will discuss the doctor’s role in health care and research changes.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Rhode Island and the nation will gain 78 brilliant new physicians on Sunday, May 27, 2012, when the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University holds its 38th annual Commencement. The festivities begin at 11:15 a.m. in the First Unitarian Church at 1 Benevolent St.

Dr. Edward Wing, dean of medicine and biological sciences, will preside and administer the Physician’s Oath, as adapted by the M.D. Class of 1975. A committee of the class developed a modernized version in which students pledge “to take care of the sick, the promotion of health, and the service of humanity.”

The Class of 2012 comprises 44 women and 34 men. Six students grew up in Rhode Island and 10 will serve their residencies in the state.

During the ceremony, students will hear from three speakers who will address medicine from the personal perspectives of treating patients and leading a career, and from the broader standpoint of systemic changes in health and science.

That latter theme, that doctors have a responsibility to participate in the inevitable changes in health care and biomedical research, will be the subject of an address by Dr. Joseph Martin, the Edward R. and Anne G. Lefler Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. His talk is titled “Bend the Curve.”

Alpert Medical School faculty speaker Dr. Kelly McGarry, associate professor of medicine, will speak about “Caring and Connecting.” She will talk to students about the essential elements in a satisfying medical career. Doctors she notes, often receive as much from their patients as they give.

Students also will hear from one of their own: Kumar Vasudevan. Like 49 other graduates this year he studied at Brown as an undergraduate in the Program in Liberal Medical Education. After graduation Dr. Vasudevan will head to Emory University in Atlanta for a residency in neurological surgery. Before that, he will deliver a graduation speech titled “Let me remind you ...,” in which he will highlight the skills and perspectives students bring to patient care and how those will continue to be valuable to students as they begin their careers.

During his studies, Vasudevan participated in a young program called the Scholarly Concentration. Students can supplement their medical education with added academic work in a special topic. In Vasudevan’s case, he studied medical education itself.

The opportunity to engage in scholarly concentrations and other academic programs, explains why the graduating class numbers significantly fewer than the 100 of last year, said Dr. Phil Gruppuso, associate dean of medical education. Students are staying in school longer to learn more.

“This year’s class is very small because a large number of students have chosen to do an additional year of scholarly work, such as research, or a master’s in public health,” Gruppuso said. “Next year’s class will likely be over 115.”

The M.D. Class of 2012 has chosen Dr. Edward Feller, clinical professor of medicine and health services, policy and practice, as this year’s recipient of the Medical Senior Citation, which will be awarded in the First Unitarian Church during Commencement ceremonies.