The Class of 2016’s 202 members were welcomed to medical school with a week-long orientation, where they were briefed on professional and academic expectations, social opportunities and the school’s student services.

Some highlights of the week:


Six of the first-year medical students embarked on their academic careers with a specific focus. They were the first students to join the new four-year Family Medicine Scholars Training & Admissions Track, or fmSTAT.

These students, chosen from a pool of 107 applicants with family medicine career goals, will benefit from the new program’s mentors, seminars, weekend retreats and fellowship throughout their time in medical school. “We are hoping to augment their usual studies with a Family Medicine focus. They will be going to their mentors’ offices once a month to shadow starting in September,” said Carolyn Peel, M.D., the new program’s director. “It will be a meaningful way for the student and mentor to begin their mentoring relationship.”

High Flying Collaboration

The new classmates learned how to listen and collaborate in midair, as they participated in the school’s first-ever outing to Challenge Discovery, an outdoor teambuilding program that includes a high ropes course.

They climbed walls, managed to get their patient – a large rubber ball – through an obstacle climbing course and completed group jumps as they developed relationships with each other. Students spent the day with their Project H.E.A.R.T. groups and were guided in the ways they could apply the Challenge Discovery activities to medical school.

White Coat Ceremony

Following in the tradition of generations of physicians, students received their white coats and recited the Hippocratic Oath. It made a powerful statement when Dean Jerry Strauss, M.D., Ph.D., invited physicians in the audience – many who were family members of the incoming students – to join in reciting the oath.

At the White Coat Ceremony, prominent infectious disease expert and School of Medicine professor Richard Wenzel, M.D., explained how the white coats signify the promise between the doctor and patient. “To me, the doctor-patient relationship is the foundation of Medicine,” he said. “Even as new drugs emerge, as new diagnostic and therapeutic advances are introduced, there will always remain the fundamental need of patients for a committed physician.”

For more information, read the news coverage of the event: