The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) welcomed 70 new first-year medical students by presenting them with their first white coats at a ceremony held on Aug. 12, 2022, at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno.
"We are exceptionally proud to welcome the Class of 2026 students to the UNR Med family," said Cherie Singer, Ph.D., UNR Med Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs. “As new members of our medical school family, these students are beginning an incredibly challenging and rewarding journey on their path to becoming a physician when the world needs them now, more than ever.”
With the class of 2026, UNR Med continues its tradition of training students with strong Nevada ties, some of whom follow in the footsteps of UNR Med alumni, faculty, or current students. The school also welcomes six students from Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, and Utah. UNR Med’s commitment to increasing the number of rural and underrepresented students in medicine is reflected in this year’s class.
The class of 2026 has degrees in subjects ranging from biochemistry to nursing, public health, business, and anthropology. They were chosen from a pool of 1,558 applicants from all over the country. The UNR Med team conducted more than 350 interviews to select these students. Other unique statistics about the incoming class include:
- 63 of the 70 students are Nevada natives, hailing from Reno, Sparks, Las Vegas, and rural Nevada communities such as Churchill, Lander, and Lyon counties.
- The incoming class has the highest percentage of students with ties to rural communities—25%—in UNR Med's history.
- Students' ages range from 21 to 46.
By training more medical students, residents, fellows, physician assistants, speech pathologists, audiologists, and researchers, UNR Med has significantly expanded the number of health care professionals in Nevada. Since its founding in 1969, UNR Med has trained more than 3,900 doctors, nearly 31% of whom are currently working in Nevada.
The White Coat Ceremony concluded the two-week MedFIT program, which introduced first-year medical students to UNR Med and laid the groundwork for their success through discussions with leadership, lectures, labs, and team-building activities.
A rite of passage for first-year medical students, The White Coat Ceremony instills the values of professionalism, humanism, and compassionate care.
“Wearing the white coat is an expression of our dedication to helping patients,” said Melissa Piasecki, M.D., UNR Med’s Acting Dean and Chief Academic Officer at Renown Health. “As we work to address all the complex issues that currently face our communities, we need the passion, intellect, and heart of each of our students. Together, as a community of physicians, with our partners, and other health professionals, we can build a healthier Nevada.”
View the live-streamed virtual ceremony on UNR Med’s YouTube channel.