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TODAY news for Thursday, May 25, 2006

School of Medicine news

Schools of Medicine, Pharmacy, and Dentistry plan commencement activities

The 34 students graduating as doctors of pharmacy later this month from Loma Linda University represent a milestone for the School of Pharmacy—its first class to graduate since the School began in 2002.

The conferring-of-degrees ceremony is scheduled for Sunday, May 28, for the School of Pharmacy as well as the School of Dentistry and School of Medicine.

All three ceremonies will take place on the Campus Mall.

Medical students will graduate at 8:30 a.m., followed by pharmacy students at 1:30 p.m. and dental students at 5:00 p.m.

The School of Medicine will award 143 medical doctor degrees and 10 master of science degrees. The School of Dentistry will award 42 dental hygiene bachelor of science degrees, 91 doctor of dental surgery degrees, 18 master of science degrees,  and 18 professional certificates. In addition, nine students will complete the international dentist program this June, and another eight will complete it in December of this year.

Richard Spann, MD, chief executive officer at Community Hospital of Seventh-day Adventists in Port of Spain, Trinidad, will deliver the address at the conferring of degrees for the School of Medicine and the School of Pharmacy.

At 5 years of age, Dr. Spann was impressed by the stories he heard in Sabbath school about the life of missionary doctors; and he began to dream of one day becoming a missionary. This desire grew in his heart for more than a decade. When he was 17 years of age, he read a story in Reader’s Digest that led to his decision to pursue a career in medicine, specializing in neurosurgery.

After completing his undergraduate education in Trinidad and later earning his medical degree in Jamaica in 1989, Dr. Spann returned to Trinidad to complete an internship and junior surgical training, while also working as a houseman in neurosurgery. Dr. Spann and his wife began an eight-year period of postgraduate training, which commenced in Edinburgh, Scotland, and ended in South England, where they were named Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (United Kingdom) in neurosurgery and Member of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (United Kingdom), respectively. He also began a master of science degree program with a research focus on methods of manipulating the cerebral blood flow in a clinical setting in delayed ischemia following aneurismal subarachnoid hemorrhage.

The hospital—now a leader in health care provision— includes a highly regarded intensive care unit that specializes in the care of neurological patients, a hemodialysis center, and a modern radiology department. Today the hospital continues to make a real difference in the lives of hundreds of patients and their families.

In addition to his duties at Community Hospital, Dr. Spann also serves as a visiting neurosurgeon in nearby Tobago and Guyana in South America. Through this ministry, he has played a role in fascinating stories of God’s providence.

Randall Roberts, DMin, MDiv, MA, senior pastor, Loma Linda University Church, will deliver the address at the conferring of degrees for the School of Dentistry.

Randy Roberts—who was born in Bogatá, Colombia, South America—is the son of missionary parents.

Until he went to college, the majority of his life was spent in Latin American countries.

After graduating in 1981 from Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, with a major in theology and a minor in modern languages, he began five years as a pastor in the Texas Conference Seventh-day Adventists. During this interim he completed an MDiv degree from Andrews University Theological Seminary in Berrien Springs, Michigan, in 1985.

In 1987 Pastor Roberts began work as a chaplain at Loma Linda University Medical Center. For more than seven years he provided patient and staff support, spiritual care, and counseling.

He was also instrumental in establishing and leading the Medical Center’s grief recovery program.

In early 1994 Pastor Roberts accepted a full-time teaching appointment in the Faculty of Religion and later served the faculty as associate dean. In 1996 he earned the DMin degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

From 1996 to 2000 he also served on the pastoral staff of the Corona Seventh-day Adventist Church, where he was appointed senior pastor during the latter portion of that assignment. In September 2000, Pastor Roberts began his current duties as senior pastor of the Loma Linda University Church.

Pastor Roberts has been the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award for Loma Linda University School of Medicine (Class of 1994), the Thomas and Violet Zapara Excellence in Teaching Award (1998), and the Pacific Union College Charles Elliot Wenigar Award for Excellence (2005).

By Heather Reifsnyder

TODAY news for Thursday, May 25, 2006