Welcome Class of 2019

On Friday, Aug. 14, The School of Medicine welcomed the 157 students of the Class of 2019 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).

John Densmore, MD, PhD, Dean of Hunter College, Associate Professor of Medicine, welcomed the new students, families and attendees. Student speaker Lauren Evers, SMD ’16, President, School of Medicine Mulholland Society, offered words of advice on service and care, and how the white coat will protect the student, both literally and figuratively. (“I can’t tell you how many times it’s insulated, polyester blend has kept me warm, shielded me from the rain, and was a barrier to the sun when I forgot sunblock. Metaphorically speaking, wearing this coat will give you the confidence needed to interview standardized patients and take care of sick patients in the hospital.”Elizabeth Carr, 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.

Dean Designate David Wilkes, MD

Dean Designate David Wilkes, MD

While his official first day is not until Sept. 15, Dean Designate David Wilkes, MD, James Carroll Flippin Professor of Medical Science; Professor, Division of Pulmonary Critical Care Medicine, wanted to personally welcome the Class of 2019. He 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 comfort 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. He then welcomed the Class of 2019, his first class as a new dean, to the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

As Randolph Canterbury, MD, MS DLFAPA, Interim Dean, Senior Associate Dean for Education, Wilford W. Spradlin Professor, read out the 157 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.

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