GRAND FORKS, N.D.-Sixty-five first-year medical students, members of the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Class of 2015, begin their journey next week to become physicians at the University of North Dakota (UND) School of Medicine and Health Sciences.
The students, 35 men and 30 women, range in age from 21 to 35 years, with the average age of 24. They come to medical school with work experience in an array of fields and academic degrees in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, microbiology, nursing, psychology, and zoology. Some of the students already hold advanced degrees, including master's degrees in medical sciences and physiology. One student has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Seventy-eight percent of the students are from North Dakota.
"The Class of 2015 come from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences in health care and service activities," said Nicholas H. Neumann, M.D., M.M.M., interim associate dean for student affairs and admissions. "The class is well prepared academically, reflecting the high standards of the UND SMHS."
Medical students' first week is dedicated to orientation, including introduction to UND's nationally recognized, four-year, patient-centered curriculum, where basic and clinical sciences are taught in the context of patient cases. Special emphasis is placed on the students' new roles and expectations of them as health care professionals.
Orientation concludes with the White Coat Ceremony at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 5 at the Alerus Center, when students receive their first white coats, physicians' traditional garment, which have been donated by the North Dakota Medical Association. They recite the Oath of Hippocrates, an ancient vow to uphold basic professional principles.
Keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges in Washington, D.C. Dr. Kirch's talk is titled "Becoming a Doctor, Remembering the Person."
Each student will receive a lapel pin engraved with "Humanism in Medicine," which was donated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. After the ceremony, the school will host an indoor picnic for students, family and friends in Ballroom 4.
"Celebrating the beginning of their new commitment to a life of service to people is an important purpose for the White Coat Ceremony," Neumann said. "The ceremony also provides a moment for each of the students to contemplate how they will dedicate their lives to practicing humanistic medicine."