The ceremony marks the beginning of a medical student’s journey to becoming a physician, and the start of their careers in medicine. The ceremony also serves as a symbolic reminder for students to ensure compassion in the practice of medicine from the very start of their medical training.
Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center, welcomed the new students, applauded their accomplishments to date, and encouraged them to maintain their aspirations through medical school and to never forget their compassion.
The keynote speech was delivered by David M. Oshinsky, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Medical Humanities. Dr. Oshinsky’s speech highlighted the vast 175-year history of NYU School of Medicine. During his speech Dr. Oshinsky highlighted several graduates and the contribution they made in the field of medicine. He ended his remarks saying although NYU School of Medicine is a different place today, the openness, diversity, principles of compassion, and excellence remain firmly in place throughout our history.
The students were brought on stage and “cloaked” in their first white coat by one of eight faculty members in front of those gathered.
About the Class of 2020
The Class of 2020 is comprised of 132 students—60 women and 72 men. They hail from 25 states and the District of Columbia, and represent 61 undergraduate schools. The median GPA for the class is 3.91 and MCAT score within the 98th percentile. Among the incoming students are a software developer, mountain climber, registered nurse, chef’s apprentice, magazine editor, film director, financial analyst, and figure skater.
The White Coat Ceremony, which is co-sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, helps to establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The ceremony, established in 1993 as a way to welcome new students into the most noble of professions, emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient, as well as scientific proficiency. Currently, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at more than 93 percent of medical schools in the United States.