School of Medicine Whitecoat Ceremony. Welcome to UVA, Class of 2020!

On Friday, Aug. 12, the School of Medicine welcomed the 156 students of the Class of 2020 to the University of Virginia at the White Coat Ceremony and Convocation, sponsored by the Class of 1965, held in Old Cabell Hall. This is an annual event presented by the UVA Medical Alumni Association (MAA) and Medical School Foundation (MSF).

Barry Collins, Executive Director of the UVA Medical Alumni Association and Medical School Foundation and Associate Dean for Medical Alumni Affairs, welcomed the new students, families and attendees. UVA President Teresa Sullivan reminded the class of the importance of honor and that they would be graduating in the third century of the University’s existence, as 2017 marks UVA’s bicentennial, leaving them with a hearty “Wahoowa!” Student speakerJessica Lukacs, SMD ‘16, President, School of Medicine Mulholland Society, offered an “anatomy of the white coat” and provided useful advice on where to keep granola bars, reference books, stethoscopes, and extra pens (for attendings who will forget to return them). E. Thomas Newbill, MD, President, UVA Medical Alumni Association Board of Directors, explained the benefits of the association, scholarship funding, and events the association holds for students, from the white coat ceremony to matching students with host families while on residency interviews.

School of Medicine Dean David Wilkes, MD, James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science; Professor, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine, spoke of his own experiences as a young medical student (including the difficulties in taking a history on his first patient, a nun!), and the importance of providing comfort to all our patients. “Something so obvious in theory,” he says, “can be very difficult to do in practice.” He went on to say that comfort is the human element of medicine, something that often gets lost with the advancement of science and technology. He suggested the best ways to provide com
fort were to focus on three elements: see and be seen, listen, and touch. Good communication and the simple act of taking a patient’s hand can go a long way to ensuring that all-important human element of comfort.UVa_SOM_WhiteCoat_16_5724

As Randolph Canterbury, MD, MS DLFAPA, Senior Associate Dean for Education, Wilford W. Spradlin Professor, read out the 156 student names, college deans Meg Keeley, MD, (Dunglison); John Densmore, MD, PhD, (Hunter); Christine Peterson, MD, (Pinn); and Sean Reed, MD, (Reed) assisted the medical students into their crisp, white coats.

Welcome to the University of Virginia, Class of 2020!

Article Author:  Brian Murphy

Video:  Harry Moxley

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