Medical school graduates ready to fight COVID-19 on the front lines

"It's now the time to act," one new doctor says.

June 11, 2020, 9:31 PM

As the country continues to see new cases of the novel coronavirus, recent medical school graduates are stepping up to fight the pandemic in the front lines.

Graduates from the University of California at Irvine's School of Medicine shared scenes from their drive-through commencement and told ABC News what that moment meant to them.

"Graduating medical school during COVID is different than I ever expected, but it's exactly why I went into medicine in the first place," Oscar Hernandez said. "To help people when they most need it, and especially now when most communities and disproportionately being effected by COVID, it's now the time to act."

After making it through the final moments in med school, Megan Garcia-Curran said she's committed to the work ahead.

"I will do the best that I can going forward as a physician to listen and to know that I hear you and I stand with you -- and I will fight for you," she said.

PHOTO: Medical students in class in an undated stock photo.
STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images

For Thalia Nguyen, this moment in our nation's history has "really encouraged me and inspired me to work harder as I start residency next week," she told ABC News.

As faculty waved and cheered while the procession of cars drove by, filled with the country's newest doctors, like Richelle Roelandt Lu Homo, the dean of students shared a powerful message before the graduates took their oaths.

"Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, and these are certainly unprecedented times," Dr. Michael J. Stamos said.

"As a physician I will promote the integrity of the practice of medicine," Hernandez recited along with his peers.

"I will use my skills to care for all in need without bias, and with openness of spirt," Garcia-Curran continued.

Homo -- a U.S. Army captain who began her residence on base at Madigan Army Medical Center outside Tacoma, Washington -- explained that the pandemic has only reinforced her ambitions.

"I know that I am on the right path, and COVID-19 has just further strengthened that belief in myself that I hope to heal and serve my communities," she said.

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