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UCSD Medical School greets 40th class

Students hail from 45 undergrad institutions

More than 130 new medical students received the symbolic attire of their profession last Friday as faculty and families cheered them on at the UCSD School of Medicine’s 40th annual White Coat Ceremony.

The event came as the students completed their first week of a four-year medical training program. They’ll have two years of classroom education followed by two years “on the wards” in which they will accompany physicians in seeing patients.

The class comes from 45 different undergraduate institutions, with 65 of them from UC schools. Eight of the students have already earned master’s degrees and two have earned Ph.D.s.

The day’s faculty speaker was Dr. William Nyhan, chairman of the UCSD Pediatrics Department and one of the founders of the School of Medicine. Before addressing the new medical students, he received the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

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Nyhan told the students that he was reminded of receiving his own white coat 64 years before at Columbia University.

“For me, it’s a real privilege to continue seeing patients,” Nyhan told the students, “and I hope you have as much enjoyment from it as I do.”

North County anesthesiologist Danielle Reicher, who graduated from the UCSD School of Medicine in 1981 and now represents the UCSD Medical Alumni Association on the Medical Alumni National Board, also welcomed the new students.

She told them that many of the procedures and medicines she now uses were not even in existence when she studied at UCSD. She encouraged them to “learn as much as you can” at UCSD, and then “prepare to learn more for the rest of your years.”

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Vice Chancellor David A. Brenner, M.D., presented the students with their white coats.

A few looked nervous as they made the trek to the podium to receive the garb of their profession. Holden Groves, who came to UCSD from Pomona College, seemed to speak for most, however, saying he found the ceremony ‘really motivating.”

“I was more nervous drawing blood yesterday,” he said, pointing to another student who had been his practice patient.

“We drew blood from each other,” he added with a look that suggested the experience had been anything but smooth.