Traditional White Coat Ceremony Inaugurates Class of 2026 as Physicians-in-Training – News from the School of Medicine

Wayne State University Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics Eric Ayers, MD, 1989, coats incoming medical student Juwan Taylor during the white coat ceremony held July 29 at the Detroit Opera House.

The 309 Wayne State University School of Medicine graduates who make up the Class of 2026 were duly celebrated at the School of Medicine’s White Coat Ceremony, held July 29 at the Detroit Opera House. . During the ceremony, the new students received their short white coats, signifying that they are doctors in training.

The event was the first in-person white coat ceremony since 2019. The ceremony is an international tradition started by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the Gold Humanism Honor Society in 1993 to remind new medical students to practice humanistic medical care patient-centered. At least 97% of medical schools accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges now hold white coat ceremonies for first-year medical students. Students wear the gowns during their four years of training, leading to the longer traditional lab coats worn by doctors after graduation.

“We are so proud of our students, the fantastic Class of 2026,” said Margit Chadwell, MD, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Career Development, moderator of the event.

Dr. Chadwell provided details on the components of the coat and their symbolism, starting with the small left pocket strategically placed over the heart.

“When you look into it, I hope you remember this: our human connection is at the heart of every doctor-patient relationship. Medical science is certainly meaningless if disconnected from the living human mind. residing inside the amazing human body. Keep this in the pocket above your heart,” she said.

Patty Darwish attended the ceremony supporting her daughter, new medical student Munna Hazime.

The students began their medical school journey on July 5 with four days of orientation. Classes started the following Monday. They had their first exam on July 27, which new student Munna Hazime took while battling food poisoning. She was thrilled to feel well enough to attend the ceremony two days later.

“It was definitely a rollercoaster this week,” Hazime said.

The Dearborn native knew as a young girl that she wanted to be a doctor.

“Even when I was in the worst mood, helping people always made me feel good,” she said. “I wanted a community and a school that invests in its students.”

Hazime was raised by Patty Darwish, who attended the event with her. Hazime’s sister is also in the health field and attends dental school. “I’m so proud of them both. They followed their dreams,” Darwish said.

Dean of the Wael Sakr School of Medicine, MD, greeted the students and nearly 2,000 beaming family members and friends, who cheered and shouted words of love and encouragement throughout the game. event coating.

“I would like to congratulate your families, who have always supported you to get here. Welcome to Wayne State Medical School,” Dr. Sakr said.

Before the ceremony, classmates Tiffany McKenney and Diana McMahon agreed that Detroit was where they were meant to be. McMahon grew up in Norton Shores, Michigan, near Muskegon, and earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Detroit Mercy.

Diana McMahon, left, and Tiffany McKenney are both members of the Class of 2026.

“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor since I was 12,” McMahon said. She is considering a career in obstetrics and gynecology to advocate for women and social justice.

“I’m super excited. I’m grateful to be in Wayne,” she said.

McKenney grew up in Detroit, graduated from Detroit Public Schools, and earned her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University. Medicine is not his first career change. The non-traditional student — those with two or more gap years between graduation and starting medical school — has spent 10 years in supply chain management.

“Wayne State is my home. I love everything about it, being in the heart of the city. Medicine has always been in my heart. I’m so glad to be here,” McKenney said.

The national trend of people entering medical school after a first career has been attributed to the effects of two years of COVID-19, during which some wanted more time for volunteering and clinical experience before applying. Others have felt a call to medicine because of the pandemic itself.

Isaac Anderson, left, was smeared on stage by his partner Steven Bartek, MD

Issac Anderson is among the non-traditional students who make up 40% of the class of 2026. He earned a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from the University of Michigan, where he found himself pondering the consequences of space on the human body. He spent several years working as a project manager for a public health and safety organization before obtaining his master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology. Like many incoming students, Anderson was joined on stage by a doctor he chose to coat him – his partner, Steven Bartek, fellow MD Fellow classmates selected partners, siblings, parents , grandparents, mentors and more to dress them up with the coat.

Each coat donated to students was sponsored either by an individual donor or by the Medical School Alumni Association. The association started the buddy program to ease the financial burden of incoming students. After being coated, each student received commemorative pins and a card from Medical Alumni Association President Steven Daveluy, MD, with student sponsorship details.

Keynote speaker Ijeoma Nnodim Opara, MD, ’08, FAAP delivered an energetic, humorous and meaningful message of celebration, pride, solemnity and gratitude to attendees.

“You are worthy. Your place is here at Wayne State University School of Medicine. You belong to medicine itself, and medicine belongs to you,” she said. tell the world about you. What you stand for and how you will use your genius, your gifts and your talents to advocate for a more just, equitable and therefore healthier planet, starting right here, in the greatest and most powerful city of these United States, the city of Detroit.”

Dr. Opara is a Board Certified Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Associate Director of the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Residency Program, and attending physician at Wayne Health. The Nigerian native is the recipient of the 2022 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which recognizes the faculty member who demonstrates both clinical excellence and exceptional passion in delivery of care, and who demonstrates respect for patients, their families and fellow caregivers.

The ceremony ended with Associate Dean of Medical Education Richard Baker, MD, leading the Class of 2026 in the recitation of the Declaration of Commitment.

The 309 members of the Class of 2026 recite the Declaration of Commitment following the White Coat Ceremony.

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