CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine welcomes 173 newly admitted first-year medical students Friday, Aug. 11, during the college’s 22nd annual White Coat Ceremony, held at 10 a.m. at Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati.
Each member of the class of 2021 will be presented with a white coat symbolizing entry into the medical profession. The UC Alumni Association provides the coats as a gift. The white coat is also a symbol of the patients these students will treat and the compassion, honesty and caring to which the students should always aspire.
Just over half of the incoming class of medical students are Ohio residents, with men making up 53 percent (91 students) and women 47 percent (82 students). About 20 percent (34 students) of the incoming class are individuals from underrepresented minority groups, the highest percentage ever in the College of Medicine, says Abbigail Tissot, PhD, assistant dean for admissions in the college.
The average cumulative undergraduate grade point average for the class is 3.74.
"When I look at the Class of 2021, I see a group of people with broad ranging talents and points of view,” says Tissot. "They are going to be a very rich class in terms of experiences to share with one another; this sharing and learning from one another is going to make them phenomenal physicians. I am so excited about having more under-represented students, but that is just a single element of the diversity that characterizes the class. We have older students, ethnically diverse students, a wide range of academic majors and 24 states represented in this class.”
The White Coat Ceremony will include remarks from William Ball, MD, Christian R. Holmes Professor and Dean of the UC College of Medicine and senior vice president for health affairs and UC President Neville Pinto, PhD. The keynote address will be presented by Robert Neel IV, MD, associate professor in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine.
Upon completing the four-year program, the students will receive their medical degrees in the spring of 2021, the 200th anniversary of the first graduates from the medical school. The Medical College of Ohio, the forerunner of the UC College of Medicine and founded by Daniel Drake, MD, awarded seven medical degrees in 1821.
Neel, the keynote speaker, is a neurologist at UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, who specializes in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and autoimmune neuromuscular disorders. He is director of the ALS Clinic at UC Health and serves as vice chair of education for the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine and is also director of the adult neurology residency program.
Neel is a recipient of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Tow award recognizes individuals who emphasize humanism in the delivery of care to patients and their families. Neel completed medical school at UC, followed by a neurology residency and fellowship in Neuromuscular Medicine/Neurophysiology at UC Medical Center.
At the end of the White Coat ceremony, the new class will carry out another annual tradition at the College of Medicine by reading its own unique "Oath of Professionalism,” written by students during their orientation week. Andrew Filak, MD, senior associate dean for academic affairs at the UC College of Medicine, Aurora Bennett, MD, associate dean for student affairs and admissions, and Mia Mallory, MD, associate dean for diversity and inclusion, will then present each student with a white coat.
William Barrett, MD, president of the UC Medical Alumni Association and professor and chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology, will present each student a humanism pin as they depart the stage to wear on their new white coat.
The White Coat Ceremony will be the culmination of Orientation Week for the Class of 2021, which started Aug. 7. Classes for medical students officially start Monday, Aug. 14.