CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine this week welcomes 179 first-year medical students in a class with women accounting for 57 percent of enrollees representing their largest presence ever within a class in the college’s history.
The College of Medicine will host its 23rd annual White Coat Ceremony Friday, Aug. 10, at 10 a.m. at Cincinnati Music Hall, 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati. One hundred and two women and 77 men, who represent 43 percent of the incoming medical class, will be presented with a white coat symbolizing entry into the medical profession.
The UC Alumni Association provides the coats as a gift to members of the Class of 2022. 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.
"Our representation of women in medical school is consistent with national data trends provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges, which show that even though there are more males applying to medical schools, more females are matriculating,” says Abbigail Tissot, PhD, assistant dean for admissions in the college. "Our students, female and male, are highly qualified, incredibly well-rounded and we are excited to welcome each and every one of them to our bicentennial year at UC.”
Total numbers of underrepresented minority students dipped slightly from 34 in 2017 to 30 students, accounting for 17 percent of this year’s incoming class. But admissions and diversity affairs staff remained excited because of the presence of 10 African-American males, who comprise 5 percent of the incoming class and embody the group’s largest representation ever in UC’s medical school.
Mia Mallory, MD, associate dean of diversity and inclusion in the College of Medicine, says the increase in the number of African-American men entering medical school at UC is encouraging. She cited a report from the Association of American Medical Colleges
showing enrollment of African-American males in medical schools across the country dropping from 574 students matriculating in 1978 to 515 in 2014.
"The College of Medicine is part of a national effort to enhance the number of black men matriculating in medical schools and eventually entering the medical profession,” explains Mallory. "As our society becomes even more diverse, cultural competency in medicine and the presence of historically underrepresented groups in the profession becomes more important.”
For the incoming class of medical students, the average cumulative undergraduate grade point average is 3.74. The average Medical College Admission Test, or MCAT, score is 515, placing the incoming class in the 94th percentile of students taking the entrance exam for medical school in the United States.
This year isn’t the first time women have made up a majority of an incoming medical school class—it also occurred in 2015 and 2016 at UC—but this year represents the largest female presence to date.
Forty-nine percent (87 students) of this year’s class is from Ohio. The remaining 51 percent of the class hails from across the country with the largest contingents (not including students from nearby Kentucky and Indiana) coming from California, Illinois and Michigan.
At Friday’s White Coat Ceremony, Andrew Filak Jr., MD, interim senior vice president for health affairs and dean, will preside over the occasion while welcoming remarks also will be offered by UC President Neville Pinto, PhD. The keynote address will be presented by Ndidi Unaka, MD, assistant professor in the UC Department of Pediatrics and physician at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.
Unaka is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School. She completed pediatric residency and chief residency at Cincinnati Children’s and in 2011 joined the section of Hospital Medicine. She has held a number of leadership positions at Cincinnati Children’s serving as the associate program director of the Pediatric Residency Program since 2011.
She was also the medical director of Continuing Medical Education during the 2016-17 academic year and currently holds the role of medical director of A6NS, a 48-bed unit that serves as the primary inpatient home for patients admitted to the Hospital Medicine service. As unit director, Unaka partners with nursing leadership and works towards building strong professional relationships among all members of the care team to foster improved communication, bidirectional empathy, enhanced care delivery and optimal family experience.
Unaka, is the 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.
Mallory, and Philip Diller, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for educational affairs, will present each student with a white coat as Aurora Bennett, MD, associate dean for student affairs and admissions, reads the student's name. The new class will then 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.
The White Coat Ceremony will be the culmination of Orientation Week for the Class of 2022, which started Monday, Aug. 6. Classes for medical students start Monday, Aug. 13.