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Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell

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Adrienne Stoller
Office of Communications
Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
Phone: 516-463-7585
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Date: Oct 17, 2016

Med Students at Hofstra Northwell Celebrate a Traditional Rite of Passage During Sixth White Coat Ceremony


The Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine presented nearly 100 new medical students with white coats at a special ceremony held at the John Cranford Adams Playhouse at Hofstra University on Friday, October 14. This year marks the School of Medicine's sixth class to embark on a traditional rite of passage commemorated by medical schools throughout the country.

The White Coat Ceremony represents the beginning of a medical student’s transformation from a pupil to a professional. In the presence of family, friends, and mentors, including representatives of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, Hofstra Northwell students were individually "cloaked" in their first white coat by School of Medicine administration and faculty. Together, the Class of 2020 also recited a modern adaptation of the Hippocratic Oath emphasizing the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and compassion in medicine.

"Today is a symbolic message to everyone that you have started a journey that will take a lot of work but will be filled with gratification every day that you have the privilege of caring for a patient," said Lawrence Smith, MD, MACP, founding dean of the School of Medicine. "We know that you will reach the other side of this journey and be spectacular doctors."

Comprised of 54 men and 45 women, the Hofstra Northwell Class of 2020 is a highly diverse mix of socio-economic backgrounds, academic/career experiences, and walks of life. Among this dynamic group is a graduate of Hofstra Northwell's successful Medical Scholars Pipeline Program (MSPP) for high-achieving, underserved high school students who has returned to the school as a new physician-in-training, as well as a former Major League Baseball player now medical student who was a regular season member of the 2011 World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

"I knew that I wanted to be a doctor more than I wanted to continue playing professional baseball," said Mark Hamilton, reflecting on the close of the 2014 MLB season. "Hofstra Northwell has a winning approach; [the school] demands teamwork and excellence from its students and faculty. I can honestly say there is no place I would rather be."

Classmate Britney Nathan, among the first alum of the Hofstra Northwell MSPP, is also grateful to be home.

"I appreciate the opportunity to come back to this great institution as a medical student,” said Miss Nathan, a resident of Hempstead, New York and and a Hofstra alumna. "It's such a blessing to have my family with me to celebrate this moment, in addition to Hofstra Northwell mentors that have followed me throughout my journey from high school to medical school."

The tradition of the White Coat Ceremony began in 1993 at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. Dr. Gold, a teacher and pediatric neurologist for more than 40 years at Columbia, noted at the 1991 commencement ceremony that students were reciting the Hippocratic Oath four years too late. Dr. Gold believed that it was much more apropos for students to receive their white coats and take the Oath when they begin their medical training, particularly given that the initial years of training includes their first contact with patients.

Watch Video of the Event