One-hundred-thirty-two first-year students received their first white coats this week – and, for the first time ever, complimentary stethoscopes – as the Stony Brook University School of Medicine welcomed its largest-ever incoming class.
The Class of 2019 received physician-in-training coats and stethoscopes, courtesy of the school’s alumni association, during Stony Brook Medicine’s annual White Coat Ceremony, held this week. The incoming class also took the Hippocratic Oath for the first time.
The highly competitive class – only about 7 percent of 5,255 applicants were accepted for the Fall 2015 semester – includes several students already possessing advanced degrees, including 18 master’s degrees, a doctor of pharmacy and one PhD. New medical students range between the ages of 20 and 34, represent nine different states and are split nearly equally between men and women (OK, 51 percent are male), according to the school.
Dr. Kenneth Kaushansky, SBU’s senior vice president for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, noted a “celebratory and symbolic day” for the Class of 2019, and urged the first-years to “enjoy the honor and responsibility that comes with wearing the white coat.”
Among the notable members of the Class of 2019: Tony Wan, the son of Chinese immigrants and a former U.S. Marine who served two tours in Iraq; Persis Puello, a 34-year-old mother of two who holds master’s degrees from Columbia University (Applied Physiology and Nutrition) and SBU (separate master of science degrees in Physiology and Biophysics); and Nicholas Tsouris, a Stony Brook native, Yale graduate and former professional lacrosse player credited by Popular Mechanics magazine as being part of a team of Yale students that invented a spoke-less bicycle.
The largest-ever incoming class reflects the “significant shortage of physicians nationally, as cited by the Association of American Medical Colleges,” according to SBU.
During the White Coat Ceremony, Kaushansky promised students they will be “struck by many firsts” during their education and subsequent healthcare careers.
“Your first newborn delivery, your first sharing of a diagnosis of cancer, the first patient you will see cured, your first patient death,” the dean told students. “Never forget that your journey will require lifelong learning.”