Doctors Without Borders president to speak at medical school Commencement

Matthew C. Spitzer, MD, president of the board of directors for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders USA, will be the keynote speaker at Washington University School of Medicine’s 2011 Commencement.

The ceremony will be held at 3 p.m. May 20 in the Ferrara Theater at the America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, Mo.

Doctors Without Borders sends medical personnel to some of the world’s most dangerous and impoverished regions to save lives and to speak against the injustices they witness. The organization’s more than 22,000 volunteers work in more than 60 countries to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect or catastrophe.

The organization was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1999.


Spitzer, a noted family physician and humanitarian, joined the humanitarian organization in 1999 and was elected president of the board in 2008. Most recently he has worked in war-torn Afghanistan.

During his work with the organization, he has provided medical care in southwestern China, Sierra Leone, Cambodia and in New York City, where he worked with asylum-seekers in detention.

Spitzer earned a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a medical degree from Cornell University Medical College. He completed a residency in family medicine at the University of California-San Francisco, which included continuity practice in the Refugee Medical Clinic.

Below is information about other Commencement ceremonies and receptions within the School of Medicine:

Thursday, May 19
5 p.m. School of Medicine reception. Farrell Learning and Teaching Center Atrium.

Friday, May 20
Immediately following All-University Commencement:
Program in Occupational Therapy reception in Holmes Lounge. Diploma Ceremony in Graham Chapel at 1 p.m. Speaker: Charles H. Christiansen, EdD, executive director of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation.

Program in Physical Therapy reception in Sheldon Concert Hall. Diploma Distribution and Hooding Ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Speaker: Marilyn Moffat, PhD, professor of physical therapy, New York University.

1 p.m. Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences. Connor Auditorium, Farrell Learning and Teaching Center. Reception immediately following.

3 p.m. School of Medicine Commencement Recognition Ceremony: Ferrara Theater, America’s Center. Reception immediately following: Atrium, America’s Center, 701 Convention Plaza, St. Louis, MO 63101.