Recently, CEO Rebecca Onie delivered the commencement address at Rush University in Chicago, Illinois. Nearly 800 students received degrees from one of the four schools – Rush Medical College, the College of Nursing, the College of Health Sciences, and The Graduate College – at the university.

In her speech, Rebecca calls these graduates “more ready than they will ever be” to challenge the status quo and tackle some of the most pressing challenges in healthcare. She highlights two specific advantages they have because of their “newness” to the sector:

  1. Clear Vision. These graduates have the ability to see the healthcare sector clearly in ways that more experienced professionals can no longer discern. Because of this, Rebecca urges them to question the norms, looking beyond what the healthcare system is to what it could be for patients.
  2. Freedom from Healthcare’s Complexity. New graduates are less encumbered by the healthcare system’s existing messiness and complexity. Using her own story and Health Leads as an example, Rebecca notes that often the most compelling ways to change a system are the simplest.

We’re at a turning point in American healthcare, a point in which our leaders – both new and old – must pursue solutions that bring the system closer to what it can and should be for patients. In her call to action for these Rush University students – and graduates across the country – Rebecca urges them to pursue this unrelentingly:

The one certain thing is that [this transformation] will take leadership from our nurses, our primary care physicians, our specialists, our nutritionists, our health systems leaders, our researchers – in short, from all of you – to blaze the path for the rest of the country in making this the healthcare system our patients deserve. It will be imperative that you use the knowledge, wisdom, and insight that you have accrued in the determined pursuit of real, integrated, collaborative healthcare.

The full commencement ceremony can be viewed below or on the Rush University website. Watch Rebecca’s speech beginning at 1:15:34. A Q&A with Rebecca and Rush University’s Anthony Giornalista can also be found on the Rush University website.

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