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White Coat Ceremony Goes On for Class of 2024 Medicine Students

Continuing a beloved tradition – remotely – throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the Northeast Ohio Medical University College of Medicine recognized its 162 members of the Class of 2024 with its annual White Coat ceremony held July 24. Attending virtually, from points across the United States, first-year medicine students and their loved ones joined with the NEOMED community to mark the beginning of their journey to professional status as a physician.

The White Coat ceremony takes place annually at schools across the U.S. NEOMED’s College of Pharmacy will hold its own ceremony Friday, Aug. 21, for first-year pharmacy students.

President John T. Langell, M.D., Ph.D., greeted students and other viewers watching a livestream.

“We are so happy to welcome you to the NEOMED community,” said Dr. Langell. “The road will be difficult at times, but you will have an entire community at your back, led by a tremendous faculty and staff who are dedicated to providing you with an exceptional student experience.”

College of Medicine Dean Elisabeth H. Young, M.D. (’85), praised the faculty and staff who will be working closely with the incoming class, and who recently created an updated curriculum. She then announced that the Dean’s Leadership Award would be shared this year by the entire College of Medicine’s faculty, staff and students to recognize a year of teamwork and resolve that was unprecedented and much needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To reflect this, four keynote address speakers – Joann Hayes representing staff; June Yun, Ph.D., representing faculty; fourth-year medicine student Carmen Javier representing students; and Douglas Moses, M.D. (’95), representing administrators – each addressed the audience.

Then, one by one, each student appeared on screen, announced their name and hometown and put on the white coat, sometimes with the help of a loved one. Faces onscreen lit up with pride, and excited cheers could often be heard coming from off-screen.

Another NEOMED tradition is for second-year College of Medicine students to serve as “coaters” who help the new students don their jackets. Though that wasn’t possible this year, due to the pandemic, selected second-year students — Rachel Krevh, Sanjay Jinka, Matt Kubina, Ali Syed, Ali Arif and Negin Khosravi – participated by reading the Oath of Professional Commitment, led by Eugene Mowad, M.D., vice dean of the College of Medicine.

Dr. Mowad shared some final words of wisdom: “Listen well, understand your patient as a person, not a disease, and be mindful of each patient’s dignity and privacy while acknowledging their fears and their aspirations.”