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New York Times Science Journalist Gina Kolata to Deliver Graduation Address to University of Maryland School of Medicine's 208th Graduating Class

Gina Kolata, MS

Award-Winning Author Will Provide a ‘Reporters Notebook’ on current issues in Medicine

University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, along with students, parents, families, faculty and other members of the UM SOM community, will welcome award-winning science journalist and University of Maryland alumna, Gina Kolata, MS, as the graduation speaker for this year’s graduating class. The UM SOM graduation ceremony will take place at 10am on May 18, 2017 at the Hippodrome Theater. As this year’s speaker, Ms. Kolata will receive an honorary Dean’s Medal from the UM SOM.

Kolata is a senior writer at the New York Times, where she reports on science and medicine. She is also the author of a new book, “Mercies in Disguise,” a medical mystery about a family afflicted with a disease that baffled doctors, how they figured out what the disease was, and how they dealt with the consequences. Before joining the Times in 1987, she was a senior writer for Science magazine. Ms. Kolata graduated from the University of Maryland and studied molecular biology on the graduate level at M.I.T. for a year and a half. Then she returned to the University of Maryland and obtained a master’s degree in applied mathematics.

“Gina Kolata is a preeminent science and medical journalist who is particularly insightful and thoughtful in her writing,” said Dean Reece, who is also Vice President of Medical Affairs for the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko Bowers Distinguished Professor. “Her ability to report on a broad range of topics covering both scientific discovery and patient care is truly unique. We look forward to her perspectives, and to her advice for our newest MD graduates, who represent the future of discovery-based medicine and patient-centered care.”

The UM SOM graduating class of 2016 has 161 members. Forty-five percent of the class will specialize in either pediatrics, internal medicine and family medicine—fields that have some of the highest needs for new practitioners.

Her most recent book, “Mercies in Disguise: A Story of Hope, a Family’s Genetic Destiny, and the Science that Rescued Them,” was published in March of 2017. Her previous books include “Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss and the Myths and Realities of Dieting,” and “Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus that Caused It.”

She has been a Pulitzer finalist twice – for investigative reporting in 2000 and for explanatory journalism in 2010. Her writing awards include two Front Page Award from the Newswomens Club of New York for medical writing, one in 2010 from the Silurian Society, for a series on the war on cancer and from the Associated Press Sports Editors for writing about the Caster Semenya intersex controversy at the world track championships. In previous years she has won awards from a variety of organizations, including the American Mathematics Society, The American Statistical Society, the American Association of Health Care Journalists, and from the University of Maryland, which gave her a Distinguished Alumnus Award.

She has lectured at various universities and medical schools, and was, for example, a Knight lecturer at the University of Akron, an Alfred and Julia Hill lecturer at the University of Tennessee, and was a speaker at the Wilson School at Princeton University, at the Program for Humanities in Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, and at the Millennium conference at New York Medical College. She was a faculty member at Medicine and the Media symposia at the National Institutes of Health and was a visiting professor at Princeton University where she taught a seminar on science writing.

Previous graduation speakers at UM SOM include Baltimore City Health Commissioner Leana Wen, former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, former Institute of Medicine President Harvey Fineberg and Neil Baer, executive producer of the television show ER.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Commemorating its 210th anniversary, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as an innovative leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland and is an integral part of the 12-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 45 academic departments, centers, programs and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists, along with more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S. with top-tier faculty and programs in cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, vaccine development and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the nation, but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.


Learn More

• Gina Kolata, MS, New York Times

• UMSOM Graduation


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655 West Baltimore Street
Bressler Research Building 14-002
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1559

Contact Media Relations
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