White Coat Ceremony Marks Rite of Passage


The first official rite of passage for Ross students entering the class of 2016, the White Coat ceremony, took place on a warm and beautiful day in Dominica on Jan. 11, 2013. The 269 men and women arrived at the event in ordinary garments, and when it concluded, they left as physicians-in-training, wearing the profession’s signature white coat, which faculty members had helped them to don.

“What a great day!” exclaimed Dr. Joseph A. Flaherty, Ross’s dean and chancellor, as he addressed the students, faculty, staff, and guests, including dignitaries Dr. Dorian Shillingford, chair of the Dominica Medical Board, and the Honorable Ian Douglas, minister of tourism and legal affairs and member of Parliament representing the Portsmouth area, where the campus is located.

White Coat speaker Dr. Salil Gitesh Shah, valedictorian of the class of 2004, did a six-year general surgery residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Medical School, and went on to a fellowship in cardiothoracic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, the world-renowned teaching hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School. He practices cardiothoracic surgery at the Einstein Health Network and is an assistant professor of surgery at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia.

Dr. Shah, a transplant surgeon, reminisced about the time, more than a decade ago, when he sat where the new medical students were sitting now. “I never thought, then, that someone would trust me to take their heart out and put a new one in,” he said. “I get to do what I want to do every day.”