School of Medicine Class of 2027 urged to put patients first during White Coat Ceremony

As Quinnipiac’s newest medical students settled white coats onto their shoulders during Friday’s White Coat Ceremony, they were reminded that they were putting on more than a uniform. They were donning the full responsibility of a physician to put patients first.

Following in the footsteps of countless medical students before them, the 96 members of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine Class of 2027 marked their official entry into the healthcare profession during the 11th annual ceremony on Friday, August 3 at the M&T Bank Arena on the York Hill Campus.

Amid enthusiastic applause from family and friends, each member of the incoming class announced their name and hometown. Faculty then assisted the students into their white coat and handed them a new stethoscope, marking an important symbolic step in their medical careers.

This year’s class, selected from 7,556 applicants, represents 50 undergraduate universities and 20 states, with 13 born outside of the U.S., 14 first-generation college students, six military veterans and 21 who speak languages other than English.

Quinnipiac President Judy Olian opened the ceremony by encouraging students to take advantage of all that the School of Medicine has to offer to become the expert, science-driven, compassionate and caring physicians the world needs. 

“Today is an unforgettable milestone that begins your journey to become a physician,” said Olian. “The White Coat Ceremony isn’t just a timeless tradition… it means that you have accepted the precious, bedrock values of medicine for those who practice it: your selfless devotion to the lives of others; your ethos of bringing the best scientific evidence into practice; your compassion and human touch to alleviate the fears and concerns of patients; and the poignant comfort needed when a family loses a loved one.”

Olian highlighted Quinnipiac’s commitment to comprehensive and compassionate care for all, demonstrated by the university’s recent partnership with Hartford HealthCare.

In 2022, Quinnipiac and Hartford HealthCare entered a transformative university-wide academic partnership to build the healthcare workforce of tomorrow and to grow student pipelines across a wide range of professions to address long-term talent needs for the state of Connecticut and beyond.

During his address, School of Medicine Dean Dr. Phillip Boiselle echoed Olian’s remarks about the school’s commitment to collaborative healthcare by noting that The Gold Foundation, which was instrumental in the development of the White Coat Ceremony in 1993, created the acronym CARES to describe the key attributes of a humanistic healthcare professional.

Katherine Trymbulak wears her white coat and speaks from the podium with green plants behind her
Nancy R. Angoff, MD MPH, MEd, Professor Emerita of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, delivered the keynote address.

“Moments such as today’s White Coat Ceremony, in which we elevate humanism as the core value of healthcare, remind us of why we are here, who we are, and who we aspire to be,” said Boiselle. “As you don your white coats today, and every day forward, I’d like to remind you to also cloak yourselves in those CARES attributes of Collaboration and Compassion, Altruism, Respect and Resilience, Empathy and Equity as well as Service — and to intentionally embody these humanistic attributes through your words and actions with your patients, your peers, and the communities in which you serve.”

Dr. Renu Boatright introduced the ceremony’s keynote speaker Dr. Nancy R. Angoff, professor emerita of internal medicine at Yale University School of Medicine, who urged the future physicians to never lose sight of their patients.

“I see the practice of medicine as a huge, unfinished tapestry. With millions of colorful threads of stories. Stories of patients, providers, scientists, discoveries, noble acts and sacrifices. This is a tapestry to which you are about to add your stories,” said Angoff. “What does it mean to enter the room and the life of a person who trusts you with their worries and fears and hopes? What does it mean in this moment when you consider how to go about earning that trust? You just start with one step at a time. One story at a time. And let’s begin with your story.”

Angoff asked each student to reach into their left white coat pocket to remove a small mirror and instructed them to look at themselves before continuing on with her address, noting that the white coat ceremony acts as a bridge between being a student and becoming a doctor. She spoke about the importance of remembering how it feels to be on the patient side of the bridge and to cherish the relationship and trust that exists between a patient and their physician. At the conclusion of her remarks, she urged each student to again look at their reflection in the mirror.

“Do not be afraid to walk into that patient’s room. See in your face, your story,” she said. “The one you bring with you and tell today, and more importantly, the one you want to be told about you as a physician in the future, when you get to the other side of that bridge. And mark today as the start of the first chapter of that story.”

Offering remarks on the subject of Humanism in Medicine, Katherine Trymbulak, School of Medicine Class of 2024, reflected on her personal experiences in medical school which included navigating a global pandemic and impactful moments that underscored the significance of humanism in medicine. As she offered her support and encouragement, Trymbulak reminded the students to cherish the connections in their lives throughout the next four years of their training.

“For me, humanism is respecting the personhood of those around you, be they family, friends, classmates, patients or strangers. It means acknowledging our differences and creating connections despite them, leading by example, and advocating for yourself, each other and your patients,” said Trymbulak. “Over the next four years, I urge you to create your own definition and try to live by it each day.”

With the assistance of Senior Associate Dean of Medical Education Dr. Lyuba Konopasek, the students slid their arms into their new white coats and received their stethoscopes before Assistant Dean for Clinical Curriculum Dr. Adam Weinstein led the students in reciting the Quinnipiac Netter Physician’s Pledge, a variation on the Hippocratic Oath.

“QU Netter Class of 2027, you made your decision to enter the medical profession during the midst of a pandemic. Your decision to don your white coat demonstrates tremendous courage and dedication,” said Konopasek. “And your white coat continues to be seen as a beacon to all in need.”

In his concluding remarks, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Admissions Dr. Steve Paik noted that as the school prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its founding, the Class of 2027 also marks the first class of the second decade of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine.

“How cool is that?” asked Paik to a round of applause. “As you heard today, you are writing a new chapter of your story. You’re also bringing your paint brushes here to the Netter School of Medicine, helping us to paint a picture for the future of healthcare. We are so honored to have you here. And as we look to Monday, which is your first day of classes, remember what Dean Boiselle said... ‘We are here rooting for you, and you got this.’ Congratulations to the Class of 2027.”


The School of Medicine Class of 2027 Represents:

20 States

50 Undergraduate Universities

21 Languages Spoken Besides English

13 Students Born Outside the U.S.

14 First-Generation College Students

6 Veterans

A new medical student has her white coat lifted onto her shoulders by a faculty member

Watch: White Coat Ceremony

Watch the recording of the School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony, which was held August 4, 2023 at 2 p.m. (ET).

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