The 184 members of the University of Colorado School of Medicine’s Class of 2025 were welcomed into the medical profession Friday at the traditional White Coat Ceremony on campus. The group of first-year medical students heard from several speakers before ascending the stage to receive the white coats and stethoscopes that mark the beginning of their new academic journey.
John J. Reilly Jr., MD, dean of the CU School of Medicine, noted that the school had a record number of applications for this year’s entering class — more than 14,000. Reilly spoke about how the white coat is a highly recognized symbol of medicine not only in medical school, but throughout the world. It’s a reminder, he said, of the importance of the human side of medicine.
Two members of the Class of 2025 pose in their white coats.
“There have been tremendous technical advances in the field of medicine in recent years, and it would be easy to lose sight of the human connections without reminding ourselves of that fact,” Reilly said, adding that the stethoscopes have symbolic meaning as well.
“People talk about the hands of a surgeon or the eyes of a radiologist, but it is important where the stethoscope goes, which is in your ear,” he said. “Listening to patients is one of the most important things we do as physicians. It is a great privilege in medicine to be able to talk to patients, to hear their stories.”
The Class of 2025 recites its honor code. Each new class creates its own honor code at the beginning of its first year.
Value of different perspectives
The ceremony’s keynote address came from Regina Richards, PhD, MSW, vice chancellor of diversity, equity, and inclusion for the Anschutz Medical Campus and assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine. She emphasized to the incoming students that they are stepping onto a campus that values diversity and encouraged them to be open to different perspectives.
“Your experiences may be different than someone else’s, but those are the things that help to shape your perspectives,” Richards said. “Always embrace who you are and who you are becoming throughout this process and journey.”
New inductees into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.
The White Coat Ceremony also included the induction of 25 CU School of Medicine students into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a national organization that champions the human connection in health care. Brian Dwinnell, MD, associate dean of student life, said he hoped the inductees will serve as role models for the incoming students. “Physicians today not only want to impact individual lives; they want to change the world,” he said.
Challenges and commitment
The morning ceremony concluded as the new students rose from their seats in the shade of Boettcher Commons and came to the stage one by one to accept their white coats and stethoscopes from School of Medicine faculty members.
“Welcome to the first day of your journey to achieving your goal of becoming a physician,” Richards told the students during her keynote. “And remember, the road to the goal line isn’t straight. It will challenge you while preparing you to be the type of physician who will be a leader, and one who is curious and committed to health equity, which will have a positive impact and influence systemically for better outcomes for the patients, families, and communities you serve."