University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine welcomes class of 2024 with first virtual White Coat Ceremony

First medical school milestone goes digital with virtual ceremony

UNR Med welcomed incoming medical students with a virtual White Coat Ceremony. New medical students are seen donning their first white coats, with required face coverings. Photo by Brin Reynolds, UNR Med. 

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) today welcomed 70 new first-year medical students with a virtual white coat ceremony.

Traditionally, medical students receive their first white coats during an in-person ceremony to mark their educational journeys toward becoming physicians. This year, UNR Med's Class of 2024 separated into three groups to don their coats in a socially distanced setting with appropriate PPE. They were then able to celebrate the pre-recorded milestone at home with their loved ones.UNR Med took its White Coat Ceremony virtual in compliance with the latest federal and state coronavirus recommendations.

Hosting a digital White Coat Ceremony is the first medical school milestone for these students who began orientation Monday, July 27 and will begin classes Monday, Aug. 10. The live-streamed virtual ceremony is now available for on-demand viewing on UNR Med's YouTube channel.

"We are exceptionally proud to welcome the Class of 2024 Med students to the family," said UNR Med Associate Dean for Admissions and Student Affairs, Cherie Singer, Ph.D. "None of us could have imagined how unusual this first day of medical school would become, but these students are taking the first step as a future physician at a time when the world needs them now, more than ever."

"The white coat has come to symbolize the caring, commitment, trust and respect associated with the profession of medicine. The ceremony marks the beginning of our students' intensive journey to becoming physicians," said UNR Med's Dean Thomas L. Schwenk, M.D. "Our faculty, staff and our community partners are committed to supporting the success of these students.
It is our hope that today's ceremony will be remembered by our students each and every time they see a patient, five, 10 or even 50 years from today and with every act of care to the patients who trust them."

The medical students were chosen from 1,500 applicants and over 350 interviews.

UNR Med is continuing several traditions, such as training students with strong ties to Nevada, welcoming students from the surrounding western states, and sustaining trends in matriculating greater numbers of women in medicine.

The class of 2024 represents a variety of college majors from across the country - from sciences such as biochemistry, biology, molecular biology, neuroscience to other majors including economics engineering, English, French, and theater production. There are several legacy students who are following in the footsteps of one of their parents, brothers, brother-in-law, or cousins, who are UNR Med alumni. Other unique statistics about the incoming class include:

  • 61 out of 70 are Nevada residents
  • 30% are first-generation college students
  • 19% come from a rural background
  • Age range of 20 to 32 years old, with the average age being 24 years old

The white coat ceremony is considered a rite of passage for first-year medical students and is designed to instill the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care with students reciting the Honor Pledge.

The Doctor of Medicine White Coat Ceremony is the last day of a two-week MedFIT program, which introduces first-year medical students to the UNR Med campus and curricula. This year, UNR Med adapted a hybrid MedFIT orientation program to accommodate the University's Return of the Pack - Phase 2 guidelines for COVID-19. Students met both virtually, and in socially distanced in-person sessions for lectures, labs and team building exercises - all to set a solid foundation for student success.

The School of Medicine has undergone significant growth to increase the number of health care professionals in Nevada in the past 51 years by educating more medical students, residents, fellows, physician assistants, speech pathologists, audiologists and researchers. UNR Med has trained more than 3,900 physicians with nearly 31% practicing in Nevada, since the school was established in 1969.

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The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Nevada's first public medical school, is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision for a healthy Nevada. Established in 1969, UNR Med is improving the health and well-being of all Nevadans and their communities through excellence in student education, postgraduate training and clinical care, research with local, national and global impact and a culture of diversity and inclusion.

Released: Friday August 7, 2020 @ 1:30 PM