Noting that caring, character, curiosity and a sense of community are qualities that led them to the Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Interim Dean Linda Perkowski welcomed 104 incoming medical students Friday afternoon at a traditional ceremony where the future doctors receive their white coats.
“You are joining the large community of CMU and a community of physicians,” she said. “We hope you wear these white coats with pride and honor.”
The white-coat ceremony signals the commitment students make on their way to becoming primary-care physicians. At 104 students, the second class is larger than the inaugural class of 64, and it was selected from more than 3,000 applicants. Ninety percent of the incoming students have ties to the state of Michigan
Dr. Sarah Yonder, the assistant dean of student affairs for the College of Medicine and a physician with CMU’s University Health Services, gave the keynote address. She encouraged students to focus on patients, family, friends and themselves as they move through medical school.
“The connections with your fellow classmates are important to nourish, too,” she said. “Some of you will form friendships here that will span your lifetime. Please support each other and learn from one another.”
Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs Joel Lanphear spoke about what the white coat symbolizes not only to those who wear it, but to people they will meet and work with throughout their lives.
“The expectation of leadership will accompany you throughout your medical careers,” Lanphear said. “Wherever your medical journey takes you, patients and families — indeed, entire communities – will look to you not only for health care answers, but to serve as a strong, informed voice.”
The CMU College of Medicine is the nation’s 137th medical school, created to address an anticipated shortage of 4,000 to 6,000 physicians in Michigan by 2020.
Students spend their first two years of study on CMU’s main campus in a state-of-the-art 60,000 square-foot-facility. The third and fourth years will be spent in clinical training at a number of medical facilities across central and northern Michigan, including Covenant HealthCare and St. Mary’s of Michigan in Saginaw.
A $25 million, 46,000-square-foot College of Medicine educational facility is under construction on the Covenant HealthCare campus in Saginaw. Construction will be complete by May 2015, in time for the inaugural students’ third year of study.