Published August 15, 2017
They volunteer at food pantries and suicide hotlines, work with the homeless and refugees, and assist at hospice and Meals on Wheels. They’ve done research on cancer, diabetes and geriatrics, and worked on medical missions all over the globe.
They are the 180 students of the Class of 2021 at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, who received their white coats at a ceremony on Friday in the Mainstage theater in the Center for the Arts.
The white coat ceremony is a symbolic rite of passage shared by medical students across the U.S. to establish a psychological contract for professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine.
“For each student who was coated, the ceremony was a personal milestone,” says Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.
“But this year’s white coat ceremony was also an institutional milestone,” Cain adds. “We officially welcome to UB its largest-ever medical school class, 180 students, up from 144.”
That expansion, which he calls a necessity to help fill the physician shortage in the region and in the nation, was only made possible by the construction of the medical school’s new home on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. Students will begin classes in the new building in January after spending their first semester on the South Campus.
Of the 180 students, 152 are from New York State, 78 are from Western New York and 40 earned their undergraduate degrees from UB.
At the ceremony, all 180 medical students took the Oath of Medicine. During the “calling of the class,” students were called to the stage individually and were presented with their coat while their undergraduate institution and hometown was identified by Charles M. Severin, associate dean for medical education and admissions.
The keynote address was given by Robert H. Ablove, clinical associate professor in the Department of Orthopaedics. The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine award was presented to Lynn Steinbrenner, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and chief of the Oncology Section at the Veterans Administration WNY Healthcare System.