The Class of 2016 gathered in Robbins Auditorium on Monday, August 20, to mark the beginning of their journey toward becoming physicians. As part of the College of Medicine's annual On Becoming a Physician ceremony, they pledged to never lose sight of patients' needs.
Each year, this special evening denotes the first milestone in medical students' academic careers. At the same time, it highlights an unwavering loyalty to patients that is instilled in them throughout their time at Einstein. While the white coats they are "cloaked in" by alumni represent their newfound identities as physicians-in-training, they also walk away from the ceremony with a healthy respect for the caregiver role they are adopting.
As Stephen G. Baum, M.D., senior associate dean of students, stated, "Over the next four years, each member of the class will need to acquire an enormous knowledge base, develop expertise in clinical and ethical reasoning, and become proficient at a variety of technical skills." Once mastered, the knowledge and skills will aid them in providing care that is both compassionate and highly competent.
To receive their white coats, the students were called to the stage where alumni members congratulated them and helped them don the jacket-length garment for the first time. Each class member quickly discovered they were gaining more than mere apparel: An attached note provided the name of an alumni member whose generous contribution had provided the coat.
Dr. Sten Vermund, MSTP '77 and member of the Einstein Alumni Association's board of governors, who is the Amos Christie Chair and professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, offered the evening's keynote address. After welcoming the students into the Einstein family, he introduced them to the world of global health, sharing his experiences and perspective as director of the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health -- and as an alumnus who has benefitted from Einstein's long-standing leadership role in the global health arena.
At the conclusion of the event, the Class of 2016 recited both the Hippocratic oath and an oath of their own creation, reinforcing their respect for the doctor-patient relationship by pledging "never to lose sight of the human-being standing before us" and "that we are responsible for our actions and strive to earn the trust of all those in our care."
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