The College of Arts and Sciences at Suffolk University is pleased to announce that Karen B. DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSC, will be the commencement speaker for the 2010 Graduate Commencement on Saturday, May 22, at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. The 1 p.m. ceremony will feature remarks by DeSalvo, a 1988 graduate of Suffolk who has become a leader in the public health sector.

DeSalvo is a professor of medicine at Tulane School of Medicine and holds the C. Thorpe Ray Endowed Chair in Internal Medicine. She serves as vice dean for Community Affairs and Health Policy, and has been responsible for implementing the medical school’s community engagement programs aimed at building healthier communities. DeSalvo’s research and policy experience focuses on improving access to quality community health care, particularly for vulnerable populations.

DeSalvo has been a standout voice in the health sector recovery and health care reform efforts in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina. Part of this work included the creation of nationally award-winning models of neighborhood-based care for low income, uninsured, and other vulnerable populations in a city that previously had none. She was selected as a founding member of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum Board and is the current president-elect. She is a member of the Louisiana Medical Care Advisory Committee and vice chair of the Louisiana Health Care Commission. Currently, DeSalvo is also serving as the co-chair for the New Orleans Mayor Elect Mitch Landrieu’s Health Care Transition Team.

DeSalvo was recognized as a Woman of Excellence in Health Care by the Louisiana Legislative Women’s Caucus for her health care reform efforts in 2008. Under her leadership, the Tulane School of Medicine was recognized as one of the top medical schools in the US by the American Association of Medical Colleges for community service in 2009.

She received her Bachelor of Arts from Suffolk University in Boston, Mass., in biology and political science. She then matriculated to Tulane University Health Sciences Center where she simultaneously received her Medical Doctorate and Masters of Public Health degrees. DeSalvo remained at Tulane as a resident, chief resident, and fellow in Internal Medicine, and completed her National Health Service Corps obligation at Charity Hospital in New Orleans. She participated as a fellow in the Program of Clinical Effectiveness at Harvard University and completed a Masters in Clinical Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health in May of 2002.