The Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University held a White Coat Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 16, to officially welcome its first class of medical students and to begin preparing them for what they will encounter in the profession.
At the historic event, each member of the Class of 2017 was cloaked with a physician’s white coat and given a stethoscope–symbols of the connection between the physician and patient. The ceremony emphasized the importance of compassionate care for patients as well as achieving the scientific proficiency in medicine.
Dr. Bruce Koeppen, founding dean of the medical school and vice president for health affairs, said that even though students are not yet doctors, he advised them to consider themselves members of the medical profession and accept the responsibilities and expectations of the field.
“While our faculty can help you learn and master the skills of being a physician, the task of becoming a professional falls squarely on your shoulders,” he said. “No better time to begin that work than today when you receive your white coat and stethoscope.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Jessica Israel, chief of geriatrics and palliative medicine and medical director of the Inpatient Hospice Unit at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J. shared with the future doctors the lessons she has learned over the years, many she learned from her patients.
“Life isn’t all perfect and pretty; sometimes it’s messy and beautiful all at the same time,” she said. “This is the biggest gift in medicine. You are going to learn a lot about disease and cures, but you’re going to learn a lot about yourself. Today you are going to put on your white coat, and in many ways, you are never going to take it off.”
She only wore her white coat for two weeks, but explained that her experiences in the field have created a “virtual coat” she wears everyday. “Take what they teach you about medicine and about yourself and weave it into the fabric of your coat,” Israel said. “The coat you’re getting today will be with you the rest of your life.”
Quinnipiac President John L. Lahey congratulated students, but described the challenges they will face in the field of health care. “In not too many years you will be asked to not only practice medicine but also be leaders in delivering our health care services to people throughout this country,” he said. Physicians will be expected to ensure health care accessibility, affordability and quality.
“I have every confidence that you will achieve those goals and even more,” said Lahey, who spearheaded the development of the School of Medicine and its new home, the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences.
He also pledged the University’s support for the school. “You might be the newest medical school in the country, but this is going to be one of the finest medical schools, I can assure you, in the years ahead,” he said.
Dr. David Hill, director of the Global Public Health Institute in the School of Medicine, led the students in the Hippocratic Oath before Koeppen closed the ceremony by officially presenting the Class of 2017.
“It represents a starting line,” said Edward Kobayashi, a medical school student and San Francisco native. As he and his classmates begin a four-year journey that will transition them from medical courses to medical practice, he added, “It’s incredibly exciting and humbling at the same time.”
Students were excited to participate in the ceremony and have their families present for the festivities. In addition to his parents flying in from the West Coast, Kobayashi’s grandmother and aunt traveled from Japan to be present. He said he appreciates the work and vision that went into developing the school. “So many people came together to make this possible.”
In addition the school has 298 clinical faculty, including physicians from St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Bridgeport, the medical school’s primary clinical partner, Middlesex Hospital of Middletown, MidState Medical Center of Meriden, Waterbury Hospital, Jewish Senior Services, The Jewish Home of Fairfield. Hartford Hospital is a research partner of the medical school.
The medical school is located in the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences on Quinnipiac’s North Haven Campus with the School of Nursing and School of Health Sciences. The three schools will be united not only in the same state-of-the-art complex but by the same mission: to graduate medical and health care practitioners who will be the driving force for a more collaborative, economical and efficient health care system. With the addition of a medical school, Quinnipiac will be educating the triad responsible for primary care-the physician assistant, nurse practitioner and physician.
Students in the first class come from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas. The list of schools where they received their undergraduate educations includes: Yale University, Stanford University, University of California, Los Angeles, Johns Hopkins University, George Washington University New York University and Providence College.
The full-time faculty is made up of 22 professors. Many of them left positions at other institutions, including Yale University, Harvard University, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of Texas, University of California-San Diego and University of Indiana, to teach at Quinnipiac.
Orientation week included a full schedule of events. View photo galleries and media coverage of the week:
- View more photos of Orientation on our Facebook page
- View photos from basic life support training
- View photos from breakfast with QU community members
- View photos from Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy’s visit
- Read an article about the school on Forbes.com
- Listen to a WQUN radio interview featuring Dr. Bruce Koeppen
- See photos from the white coat ceremony on Instagram and on our Facebook page
- View the white coat ceremony program (Adobe PDF)