UNR Med welcomes incoming class with White Coat Ceremony

New medical students begin classes Monday, August 19

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine welcomed incoming medical students with a White Coat Ceremony during which the class of 2023 received their first white coats. UNR Med photo by Brin Reynolds.

UNR Med White Coat Ceremony 2019

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine welcomed incoming medical students with a white coat ceremony today at the Joe Crowley Student Union Milt Glick Ballroom on the University campus, during which students received their first white coats on their journeys to becoming physicians.

"We are exceptionally proud to welcome the Class of 2023 Med students to the family," said UNR Med Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, Cherie Singer, Ph.D.

"The white coat has come to symbolize the caring, commitment, trust and respect associated with the profession of medicine. Donning the white coat marks the beginning of our students' journey to becoming physicians," said UNR Med's Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D.. "It is our hope that today's ceremony will be remembered by our students each and every time they see a patient, five, 10 or even 50 years from today and with every act of care to the patients who trust them."

The medical students were chosen from 1,484 applicants and represent 24 college majors from 17 colleges and universities across the country and 24 occupations. They speak a collective 18 languages and have lived in or traveled to 50 countries. About one-quarter of the class are first generation medical students, and nearly 40% of the students speak two or more languages. The class of 2023 has two legacy students who are following in the footsteps of one of their parents and four other legacy students with siblings that are UNR Med alumni. Other unique statistics about the incoming class include:

  • 62 are Nevada residents
  • 49% are female; 51% are male
  • 64 are STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) majors
  • Age range of 20 to 35 years old, with the average age being 28 years old

The white coat ceremony is considered a rite of passage for first-year medical students and is designed to instill the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care with students reciting the Honor Pledge.

"The white coat ceremony represents the beginning of an intensive journey for these students as they train to become physicians," said Schwenk, "Our faculty, staff and our community partners are committed to supporting the success of these students who represent some of the best and brightest young minds in our state."

The 2019 UNR Med Doctor of Medicine White Coat Ceremony is the last day of the two-week MedFIT program, which introduces first-year medical students to the UNR Med campus and curricula. Today's events also included Family Day which opened with a pancake breakfast and welcome from Dean Schwenk and UNR Med leadership for incoming students and their families. Other MedFIT activities include labs, lectures, team building exercises designed to set a solid foundation for student success.

UNR Med has trained 3,500 physicians as either medical students and/or residents, with approximately 40 percent practicing in Nevada, since the school was established in 1969.

The School of Medicine has undergone significant growth to increase the number of health care professionals in Nevada in the past 50 years by educating more physician assistants, medical students, residents, fellows, speech pathologists, audiologists and researchers. In 2018 alone, UNR Med launched several new departments in Reno, including departments of surgery and obstetrics/gynecology and a Physician Assistant Studies Program. In 2019, UNR Med opened a clinical research center and is forging ahead with plans to open a multi-specialty primary care clinic at 745 West Moana Lane in Reno.

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