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White coats for the Class of 2017

The White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of the sudents' professional careers.
Francisco Chanes
The 104 members of the Class of 2017 received white coats and tablet computers.

Inaugural ceremony for new medical students marks first step in lifelong journey as doctors

If a journey of a lifetime starts with a single step, for UC Irvine medical students, that first stride took place on the Irvine Barclay Theater stage before friends, family and fellow classmates to receive their first physician’s white coat.

On the evening of Aug. 2, the 104 students constituting the Class of 2017 formed for the first time to participate in the White Coat Ceremony before an estimated 650 well-wishers. The event is a both a celebratory and solemn rite of passage, where these future physicians recited the “Oath for the Doctors of Medicine” and received a pin from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to seal their commitment to provide compassionate and excellent care.

“The White Coat Ceremony is unique in that it celebrates both the end of a long admissions process and the beginning of their professional career,” said Dr. Ellena Peterson, the UC Irvine Health School of Medicine’s associate dean of admissions. “Having family and friends present to celebrate this transition makes this ceremony even more special. In a sense, it is a reverse graduation, one filled with pride, anticipation and hope for the future.”

Additionally, Dean Emeritus Dr. Thomas Cesario highlighted the proceedings with his keynote address, which stressed the importance of the profession these future physicians are preparing to enter.

The ceremony is only part of an orientation process ending with the start of classes on Aug. 7. But more than that, it’s a time when a diverse and driven group of men and women learn about each other and begin to forge lifelong relationships and help lead the transformation of healthcare in the U.S.

New UC Irvine medical student Brianna Miner chats with Dr. Manuel Porto, who delivered her and her three siblings at UC Irvine Medical Center two decades ago.
New UC Irvine medical student Brianna Miner talks with Dr. Manuel Porto. Credit: John D. Murray

“I love the combination of the iMedEd curriculum, the location and the people I’ve met here,” says incoming medical student Brianna Miner, who in 1990 was delivered by Dr. Manuel Porto, the E.J. Quilligan Endowed Chair of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UC Irvine Health, as one of the first quadruplets to be born at the UC Irvine Medical Center. “I also like that there is such a strong focus at UC Irvine on research. That was a huge draw. It’s also very emotionally connecting that I was born here.”

As part of the vision, each student received with their white coats a tablet computer fully loaded with the first-year’s coursework, textbooks, notes and lectures. This is the fourth class to be given a tablet computer – for the first time at any U.S. medical school, all four years of academic and clinical training are now digitized. It’s part of the innovative iMedEd Initiative, the first program of its kind to employ a completely digital medical education format while integrating tomorrow’s healthcare technology – such as portable bedside ultrasound – into their clinical training.

-- Tom Vasich

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