Medical students celebrate their commitment to medicine
The U-M Medical School class of 2013 gathered Aug. 2 at the Power Center to receive crisp new monogrammed white coats that make it official: this fall, they've started their four years of training to become doctors.
The 170 new recruits, about half women and half men, come from places as close as Bloomfield Hills and as far as Puerto Rico, Bulgaria and Hong Kong.
Govind Rangrass, 22, was one student to walk across the Power Center stage to have Dean James O. Woolliscroft, M.D., slip a white coat over his arms and shoulders. Rangrass, who’s from Kalamazoo, is a Yale University graduate who spent last year on a Fulbright fellowship, working in a public health project in India for HIV-affected families.
"Getting white coated” is a festive celebration and ritual of commitment that started at Columbia University and now happens at several medical schools across the country. The U-M Medical Center Alumni Society and the Medical School host this yearly event, held since 1993.
"Medicine is not an individual endeavor. Rather, it is like a symphony orchestra,” Dean Woolliscroft told the class.
Keynote speaker Valerie Castle, M.D., professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases, said putting on a white coat will become a daily routine. “I ask you each day to look at the words “Medical School” as a reminder you have accepted a unique set of responsibilities to your peers, your patients and the practice of medicine.”
Sarah Tochman’s friends and her U-M undergraduate advisor, Joyce Sutton, were on hand to see Tochman get her white coat. Tochman, who is from Northville, graduated from U-M this spring.
"I think she always had the passion to help others – and the drive,” Sutton says. She advised Sarah in the Health Sciences Scholars Program, a living-learning community at Alice Lloyd dormitory for students interested in health careers.
Each U-M medical student receives a white coat with his or her name embroidered on the pocket, either from Dean Woolliscroft or, in some cases, from a parent or relative who is a U-M-trained physician. Last stop before stepping down from the stage: a table filled with new stethoscopes, a gift from clinical faculty and donors Brian and Mary Campbell.
Outside afterwards, the students gathered for a group portrait, then came back in the lobby to munch special white-coat-shaped cookies, frosted with maize or blue block Ms on the pockets.
Written by Anne Rueter
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