Ross University Blog

White Coats and First Steps: A New Class Begins at RUSM

September 29, 2014

RUSM Dean and Chancellor, Joseph A. Flaherty, MD (back row, third from right), and Dr. Wm. Lynn Weaver, RUSM Senior Associate Dean (back row, third from left), stand with a group of students. New first-semester RUSM students recently took part in the White Coat Ceremony on campus, a rite of passage marking students' entry into the study of medicine.

RUSM Dean and Chancellor, Joseph A. Flaherty, MD (back row, third from right), and Dr. Wm. Lynn Weaver, RUSM Senior Associate Dean (back row, third from left), stand with a group of students. New first-semester RUSM students recently took part in the White Coat Ceremony on campus, a rite of passage marking students' entry into the study of medicine.

On September 12—a Friday—hundreds of newly minted Ross University School of Medicine (RUSM) students donned white coats, recited RUSM's Honor Pledge, and said the Morning Prayer of the Physician in unison.  It’s all part of the White Coat Ceremony: a rite of passage that first-semester RUSM students undergo when they arrive at campus, one that signifies their entry into the study of medicine.

Perhaps Dr. Wm. Lynn Weaver, RUSM Senior Associate Dean, said it best. “There are three very special days in a medical student’s life,” he said. “One is when you get that letter of acceptance. And of course there is graduation.

Then there’s White Coat. “That means you’ve started on the road, and you’re no longer students,” he told the crowd of more than 300. “I refer to you as doctors—and I expect you to act professionally and be doctors.”

The keynote address was delivered by 2005 RUSM alumna Dr. Jenny Han,  currently the director at Grady Memorial Outpatient Pulmonary Clinic and an assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, both in Atlanta, GA. Dr. Han and her husband, Dr. Nazario Villasenor, an anesthesiologist who is also an RUSM graduate, are the parents of triplet toddlers.

“The calling of medicine requires that you invest and become a part of your community,” she told gathered students. “All of you went into medicine to help people. You have to remember to help those around you. It is also important to engage with the Dominican community, to assist with medical clinics on the island and do outreach programs. You will gain so much richness out of life when you invest and serve.”

In attendance at the ceremony were the Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica; the President of Dominica, His Excellency the Hon. Charles Savarin; and other Dominican dignitaries.

RUSM Dean and Chancellor Joseph A. Flaherty, MD, stressed that students can lean on faculty and staff—and each other—for support.

“The faculty and staff members are your friends. This is your new family,” said Dr. Flaherty in his address. “We can help you get through this. Thank you for being here. And welcome.”

…And Then They Were Doctors
In the post above, Dr. Weaver speaks to three special events in a med school student’s life—one of which is graduating. Check out this video on our YouTube channel to watch selected segments of RUSM’s 2014 Graduation Banquet, held for the Class of ’14 at the Patricia and Philip Frost Museum of Science in Miami, Florida on June 12, 2014.

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