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CINCINNATI—The University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine welcomes 185 newly admitted first-year students Friday, Aug. 9, during the college’s 24th annual White Coat Ceremony, held at 10 a.m. at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St.
“This is a large class filled with exceptional people,” says Abbigail Tissot, PhD, assistant dean for admissions in the college. “They are the most ethnically diverse class we have ever matriculated. We also have more first-generation college students in this class than any other. These students are also slightly older, and many are coming into medical school after gap years rather than directly following undergraduate studies.”
Each member of the class of 2023 will be presented with a white lab coat symbolizing entry into the medical profession. UC College of Medicine alumni, faculty and staff provide the coats as a gift through the College of Medicine White Coat Sponsorship program. The white coat is also a symbol of the patients the students will treat and the compassion, honesty and caring to which the students should always aspire.
Twenty-three percent (or 43 students) of this year’s class are from ethnic backgrounds that are underrepresented in medicine—the highest percentage ever in the college’s history, says Tissot. There is a near-even split between men and women enrollees. Men account for 50.3% (93 students) of the incoming class while women are 49.7% (92 students).
First-generation college students account for 14% (26 students) in the incoming class. Ohio residents account for 52% (96 students) while non-Ohio residents account for the remaining 48%. The average cumulative undergraduate grade point average for the class is 3.75 with an average medical college admission test (MCAT) score is 515.
This is also the first year UC has asked medical students if they identify as LGBTQ+ during an admissions survey and 7% identified as such. Diversity, equity and inclusion are important elements of UC's strategic direction Next Lives Here.
“Because this class is such a large class and they represent so many diverse features, they are just beautifully varied,” says Tissot. “We always choose students who are equal parts brilliant and kind. It is especially the case with this class that having such richly varied backgrounds will position them to have a hugely positive impact on one another as a class, our College of Medicine and the field of medicine at large.”
Building a more diverse physician population for the Tristate and beyond has been an important goal of the College of Medicine, says Mia Mallory, MD, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. She says this year’s enrollment results have been gratifying.
“We know ultimately that patient outcomes improve with a diverse physician population,” says Mallory. “Our hope is to grow talented physicians who are well-trained and culturally competent and who will serve diverse populations in our community and across the nation.”
Adam Butler, 22, of Warren, Ohio, is among the medical students who were attracted to UC because of its recruitment efforts and supportive environment. Butler, a graduate of the biology program at Baldwin Wallace University in Berea, Ohio, visited UC as part of an undergraduate summer research internship and early assurance program into medical school during his sophomore and junior years of college.
“Once I got here I just loved it,” says Butler who is also recipient of the Marilyn Hughes Gaston Scholarship. “I loved the resources that the College of Medicine offered along with the research opportunities I was getting. The more I stayed, the more I realized the thing I loved most about UC was the people: the admissions personnel, the doctors I was working with as part of their research and the scientific staff. The doctors I got to shadow were incredible, and the medical students I encountered were so kind.”
“Everyone genuinely cares about you and they sincerely want you to succeed,” says Butler. “I see that with the Gaston Scholarship, and it is truly an honor because I know medical school scholarships are hard to come by.”
The Gaston Scholars Program was established in 1999 in honor of Marilyn Hughes Gaston, a distinguished alumnus of the UC College of Medicine. The program offers scholarship for students from groups that traditionally have been underrepresented in the community of physicians and who have expressed an interest in practicing in a location that traditionally has been medically underserved.
Friday’s White Coat ceremony will include remarks from Andrew Filak Jr., MD, interim senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, and UC President Neville Pinto. The keynote address will be presented by Tiffiny Diers, MD, associate professor of internal medicine and pediatrics and associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program.
Diers is also the recipient of the 2019 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Tow award recognizes individuals who emphasize humanism in the delivery of care to patients and their families. Diers’ academic interests include interprofessional education, population health and use of improvement science in delivery system design and to promote health equity.
At the end of the ceremony, the new class will carry out another annual tradition at the College of Medicine by reading its own unique “Oath of Professionalism,” written by students during their orientation week. Filak, Mallory, Aurora Bennett, MD, associate dean for student affairs, and Philip Diller, MD, PhD, senior associate dean for educational affairs, will then present each student with a white coat.
Christopher Peltier, MD, president of the Executive Council of the Medical Alumni Association, will present each student with a humanism pin as they depart the stage with their new white coat. The White Coat Ceremony will be the culmination of Orientation Week for the Class of 2023, which started Aug. 5. Classes for medical students officially start Monday, Aug. 12.
Photos are by Ravenna Rutledge/UC Creative Services.
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Medical students and faculty at the University of Cincinnati work in innovative and impactful ways. As part of the university's strategic direction Next Lives Here, UC medical students achieve academic excellence, maintain an innovation agenda and make an impact in urban areas and around the globe. Apply to the UC College of Medicine to become the next MedCat and make a difference in the world.