White coats and welcomes for new medical students

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A big Boca welcome and their first official doctor white coats and stethoscopes for 67 students starting medical school here.

“You are joining the community of healthcare heroes,” said Dr. Sarah K. Wood, senior associate dean for medical education at the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University. “We need your …courage to embrace change, the ability to think about and do things in different ways.”

The class of 2024 watched with family and friends at the first virtual and combined 10th anniversary White Coats-4-Care ceremony, usually held on the FAU campus. Bonnie and Jon Kaye’s separate fundraiser for the coats and other needs generated 150 donors and $103.500 this year, $600,000 in the last decade.

“Black Man in a White Coat,” author Dr. Damon Tweedy shared life lessons with the students in his keynote address. “Embrace medicine’s potential as a force for good in society,” said Tweedy, associate professor of psychiatry at Duke University School of Medicine.

The medical school dean reinforced that message of racial disparity in health care. “The central value of health care is humanism, humility and real curiosity. Treat patients as you would want to be treated,” Dr. Phillip Boiselle added.

Each student had before-and-after photos in white coats posted against the Schmidt flag and logo. The students came from colleges from Johns Hopkins in Baltimore to University of California at Berkeley.

They took an oath virtually. And doing the honors with the coats were senior associate dean Dr. Stuart Markowitz and assistant dean Dr. Jennifer Caceres. “As you prepare to enter the profession,” have an important person put on the white coat and send in a photo, Caceres urged the class. “This is the coat of a healer, and remember how hard you worked to get here.”

By Marci Shatzman

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