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NYU School of Medicine Welcomes 162 Students to the Class of 2017

Orientation Week Culminates with 16th Annual White Coat Ceremony

A White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2017 was held on Friday, August 16, at NYU School of Medicine. The White Coat Ceremony signifies the end of Orientation Week for new medical students and the beginning of their career in medicine. This ceremony is intended to create a psychological, intellectual, and ethical contract for the profession and promote empathy in the practice of medicine from the very start of medical training.

During the ceremony, students were brought to the stage and, in the presence of family, friends, and colleagues, “cloaked” in their first white coat by one of six specially selected faculty members. Together as a class, they took an oath similar to the Hippocratic Oath, which stresses the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and a compassionate commitment to medicine.

Robert I. Grossman, MD, the Saul J. Farber Dean and CEO of NYU Langone Medical Center, welcomed the new students, and at the conclusion of the ceremony, administered the Student Oath and then the Parents, Family, Friends, and Teacher’s Oath. The Keynote Speech, “Ethical lessons taught by a ten year-old – giving lungs to Sarah Murnaghan,” was delivered by Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics, Department of Population Health, Division of Medical Ethics, NYU School of Medicine.

Faculty Presenting White Coats are: Steven B. Abramson, MD, senior vice president and vice dean for education, faculty and academic affairs and chair of the Department of Medicine; Rhonda G. Acholonu, MD, associate dean for diversity and academic affairs and director of medical education in clinical sciences; Lynn Buckvar-Keltz, MD, associate dean for student affairs; Arthur L. Caplan, PhD, the Drs. William F. and Virginia Connolly Mitty Professor of Bioethics and director for the Division of Medical Ethics; Katherine A. Henry, MD, associate professor of neurology and associate chair for faculty affairs; Mark R. Philips, MD, professor of medicine, cell biology and pharmacology and director of the NYU Langone Medical Scientist Training Program.

About The Class of 2017

The incoming class is comprised of 75 women and 87 men for a total of 162 students. They hail from 25 states plus Canada and represent 75 undergraduate schools. Sixteen students are participants of the new three-year medical degree program. The new students have a variety of academic achievements and volunteer experiences. Among the students with more unusual back grounds are a former investment banker; a freelance film maker and a corporate attorney; a certified disc jockey; a certified open water diver; a competitive figure skater; a paper airplane throwing competitor; an owner and operator of a lawn care business; an America’s Got Talent contestant; a U.S. Navy fighter jet pilot; a professional stage actor; a researcher of the mathematical structure of the universe and quantum phenomenon; and a body building contestant.

About Arthur L. Caplan, PhD

Dr. Arthur L. Caplan is the director of the Division of Medical Ethics in the Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Caplan completed his undergraduate work at Brandeis University, and received his PhD in the history and philosophy of science from Columbia University. He is the author or editor of thirty books and over 550 papers in peer reviewed journals. He holds seven honorary degrees and is a fellow of the Hastings Center, the NY Academy of Medicine, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the American College of Legal Medicine and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Caplan is the recipient of numerous awards and honors including the McGovern Medal of the American Medical Writers Association; the Franklin Award from the City of Philadelphia and the Patricia Price Browne Prize in Biomedical Ethics for 2011. He was a Person of the Year-2001 from USA Today and has been described as one of the ten most influential people in science by Discover magazine in 2008. He was honored as one of the fifty most influential people in American health care by Modern Health Care magazine, one of the ten most influential people in America in biotechnology by the National Journal, and one of the ten most influential people in the ethics of biotechnology by the editors of Nature Biotechnology.

This event is co-sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony welcomes entering medical students and helps establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The event 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 90% of schools of medicine and osteopathy in the United States, as well as at all four medical schools in Israel.

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