The 120 members of the MD Program Class of 2013 received their first physician’s white coat at an August 21 ceremony that mixed joyful exuberance and celebration with a solemn recognition of the trust vested by the public in those who wear the white coat. Included in the class were 88 Oregonians – the largest number of Oregon students for nearly two decades.
“Your enthusiasm, your energy, your ideas remind me why I chose a career in academic medicine,” said OHSU President Joe Robertson, M.D., M.B.A. Referring to an inscription on the 13th floor of the Kohler Pavilion – Hope Sees the Invisible, Feels the Intangible, and Achieves the Impossible – he added “Standing here today, that is exactly how I feel when I look at you. You are our hope for the future.”
Drew Ross, M.D., ’09, House Officer and winner of the Gold Headed Cane, described a moment at the bedside of a dying patient, and the family’s acceptance of him as a physician even though he was at that time a student. “You are not on the sidelines when you wear the white coat,” he said. “You now get to share the hardships as well as the joy.”
James Chesnutt, M.D., ’89, Assistant Professor, Department of Orthopedics and Rehabilitation, delivered the J.S. Reinschmidt, M.D. Memorial Lecture. He included comments from his own class contemporaries, whom he had contacted specifically for advice to the incoming class. “Don’t lose sight of the joy of medicine,” said one alumnus. “Your patients won’t remember what you said or what you did, but how you made them feel.” Concluding his remarks, Dr. Chesnutt said, “Medical school prepares you inside for a life of service outside. Wear the white coat from the inside out.”
The incoming students were introduced by Tana A. Grady-Weliky, M.D., Associate Dean for Medical Education, and cloaked by Molly Osborne, M.D., Associate Dean for Student Affairs. Don Girard, M.D., Reinschmidt Professor of Medical Education, introduced Dr. Chesnutt.