CINCINNATI—One hundred and seventy-one University of Cincinnati College of Medicine first-year students officially transitioned into the medical field Friday, Aug. 10, during the college’s 17th annual White Coat Ceremony, held at the Aronoff Center in downtown Cincinnati.
Each member of the class of 2016 was presented with a white coat symbolizing ascension into medical school. The UC Alumni Association provided the coats as a gift.
The college looks for not only outstanding academic performance when accepting students for each class but also individuals who will make strong physicians and community leaders. The class of 2016 was chosen from among 5,000 applicants and has an average cumulative GPA of 3.72
As a promise to excel in all facets of medical school, each class writes its own Oath of Professionalism. Thomas Boat, MD, dean of the College of Medicine and UC vice president for health affairs, presented this year’s oath.
One of the students who took that oath was Karen Chao, originally from San Francisco.
Chao has already been recognized for her passion for medicine, winning an Arnold P. Gold for Humanism in Medicine Award for her essay about medicine and humanism. Chao wrote about growing up with immigrant parents who could not afford health insurance and her time volunteering as a medical interpreter at a free clinic in Philadelphia.
"Deep down, I’ve known that I wanted to pursue medicine ever since I was 6 years old," she says. "Medicine is the perfect intersection of science and humanity – where I can build upon the scientific knowledge I already know and will come to know and use my skills to truly make a difference in people’s lives.
Dan Nisi, from Indianapolis, is the child of two UC College of Medicine graduates. Though he didn’t apply to UC because of it, he said he’s proud to attend his parents’ alma mater and "happy to continue my family's work into a new era of medicine.”
"I decided to attend medical school because I've always wanted to help make an impact on the lives of those people around me," he says.
The ceremony's keynote speaker was Philip Diller, MD, PhD, chair of the department of family and community medicine.
Diller presented on behalf of Susan Montauk, MD, who received posthumous recognition with the 2012 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The award emanates from the vision of Arnold P. Gold, MD, that people and relationships should circumscribe every health care interaction.
Montauk was a physician with UC’s department of family and community medicine who died in 2011 at the age of 61. She devoted much of her professional life to working with the underserved population in Cincinnati, including the homeless and those with AIDS.
In the early 1990s she was one of the few family doctors working with AIDS patients. In 2002, she started work on the Cincinnati Health Care for the Homeless Mobile Van, which visits shelters throughout the city.