The Three Ingredients of Medicine: Dr. Myron Cohen, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School

Dr. Myron Cohen, MD


This week, Dr. Myron  Cohen’s 2015 Commencement Speech at the UNC School of Medicine entitled, “Becoming a Citizen of the World” debuts via the Medical Student Press. 

Dr. Myron Cohen is known for his invaluable contributions to the construction of the HIV Prevention Trials Network 052, which established that treating an HIV patient with antivirals makes them less contagious to their sexual partners. 


Dr. Cohen earned his medical degree from Rush Medical College, completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan, and did his infectious disease fellowship at Yale University. 


Dr. Cohen is the Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Health, the Yeargan-Bate Distinguished Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology and Epidemiology, Chief of Division of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases. 


Dr. Cohen’s research work focuses on the transmission and prevention of transmission of STD pathogens. Dr. Cohen and his coworkers have identified the concentration of HIV in genital secretions required for transmission of HIV, and the effects of genital tract inflammation on HIV.


Dr. Cohen structured his speech based on three “ingredients” of medicine that are essential to identify: change, being a citizen of the world and humanity. 


“Diseases do not respect borders… Tomorrow -wherever you go- you might well be asked to deal with a patient from West Africa at risk for Ebola, or to make recommendations about measles vaccination.”


He continues by advising graduates to remain compulsive and balanced or the pleasure and significance of medicine may be harder to appreciate. He then concludes with reminding graduates of the privilege they now have of being physicians: 


“And with this privilege and recognition comes responsibility: the responsibility to do your very best for your patients; the responsibility to contribute to the health of people in your community; and the opportunity for leadership for the graduates of UNC who will move to communities all over this great state.”


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