White Coat Ceremony marks start of medical school journeyJul. 28, 2022, 9:56 AM
by Kathy Whitney
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine welcomed 96 first-year students on Friday, July 22, during its annual White Coat Ceremony, marking the students’ journeys to becoming physicians and physician-scientists.
“The White Coat Ceremony is an important milestone in your medical journey, and I call it a journey because as I suspect your intuition tells you, a medical career is more than an occupation; it’s truly a journey,” said Jeff Balser, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center and Dean of the School of Medicine. “What you will become as a physician is a product of all that you’ve seen, so, today, that not only includes your undergraduate education, but for many of you, a host of other educational and work experiences and, of course, life events, both the fulfilling ones and the tragic ones.
“The kind of physician you will become is deeply impacted by these experiences and those you will have here at Vanderbilt over the next several years, and I say several years because one-third of you will stay more than four years doing dual degrees and taking additional time for research fellowships and additional growth opportunities.”
Twenty-six percent of the class is underrepresented in medicine, and 6% is international. The MCAT score range is 70th to 100th percentile. The 96 members of the class include 78 MD, 15 Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP), two Medical Innovators Development Program (MIDP) and one oral and maxillofacial surgery student.
The first-year class was selected from a pool of more than 7,200 applicants. The students who successfully matriculated to VUSM come from 25 states, eight foreign countries and 53 undergraduate schools with 31 majors.
Members of the class include researchers, fellowship award winners, advocates for the underserved, teaching assistants, missionaries, crisis line counselors, dancers, leaders in extracurricular activities and musicians — to name a few of their pre-medical school activities and jobs.
“People often ask me what kind of applicant we admit at Vanderbilt. Our students have diverse backgrounds that bring them together to Vanderbilt. All of our students belong here and bring their unique life journeys to the class and clinics, and each other’s lives,” said Jennifer Steffen Kimble, M.Ed., director of Admissions.
Donald Brady, MD, senior associate dean of Health Sciences Education, welcomed the class and thanked the white coat donors who paid for the crisp, white lab coats provided to the new students.
The donors, who financially support a number of medical student activities, come from 500 households across 41 states, Brady said. The oldest donor this year is 99 and from the VUSM class of 1945.
“This white coat symbolizes the honor and privilege you are being given to connect with people with an intimacy that no one else is afforded: to be with patients in their most vulnerable times, to be invited into very private discussions, and to deliver treatment and provide professional advice simply because you have an MD,” Brady said.
“You are entering into an amazing profession and have an incredible future ahead, but you always must maintain the humility, the integrity and humanity you’ve already demonstrated to us this week.”