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Class of 2020 largest, most diverse in School of Medicine history

53 doctors-in-the-making begin medical journey at White Coat Ceremony Friday, Aug. 12



OHSU School of Medicine will celebrate its 129th entering class with a White Coat Ceremony symbolizing the beginning of each M.D. student’s journey to becoming a physician.
“The annual White Coat Ceremony is special as it reminds me of my own first steps toward a health care career,” said George Mejicano, M.D., M.S., senior associate dean for education, OHSU School of Medicine. “Over the next four years, these students will arm themselves with a breadth of skills to allow them to provide excellent care and pursue discovery across Oregon and beyond. Enjoy this moment, class of 2020. Welcome to OHSU.” 
Fast facts:

  • Of the 153 students matriculating this fall, 84 percent are Oregonians.
  • Women comprise more than 61 percent of the class.
  • Nearly 30 percent of entering students report having come from a racial or ethnic background other than Caucasian.
  • Approximately 24 percent of students come from a rural background.
  • Five students have completed military service.

Media who attend can:

  • Get photos, video and comments from members of the OHSU School of Medicine Class of 2020.
  • Interview Mejicano and Tracy Bumsted, M.D., associate dean for undergraduate medical education, OHSU School of Medicine, about the significance of the White Coat Ceremony and what these new students will experience during their time at OHSU.


Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, at 10 a.m.


Oregon Convention Center, Portland Ballroom
777 N.E. Martin Luther King Blvd., Portland, Ore. 97232


Mejicano and Bumsted will give remarks. Meg O’Reilly, M.D., M.P.H.,clinical associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology, OHSU School of Medicine, will deliver the annual J.S. Reinschmidt, M.D., Lecture – a special message to the students presented by a guest speaker.

Meet the Class of 2020

Tanya Saito
Originally drawn to a career in physical therapy, Tanya Saito shifted her focus to becoming a physician while working as an aide in a clinic near Eugene, Oregon. As the 26-year-old built relationships and heard the life stories of patients, she realized she wanted to oversee their care and practice in a broader scope. Although born in Hawai'i, Saito grew up in Oregon and has a strong interest in continuing practice in her hometown state. “I was inspired and excited by the opportunities OHSU provides for its students to gain experience working with underserved populations in both rural and urban areas. This is one of my greatest motivations for becoming a physician,” Saito said. Her interest in emergency medicine is influenced by research experience in that field and by her father’s many years working as a paramedic and firefighter.

Monique Hedmann, M.P.H.
If hip-hop and physical activity for seniors seem like opposing interests, you haven’t met Monique Hedmann, M.P.H. The daughter of two physicians, Hedmann, 33, is interested in geriatrics, neurology, infectious disease and preventive medicine. After receiving her master’s in public health in 2009, she began pre-medical classes while maintaining a full-time career in public health. She founded the Walk It Out! program at Harlem Hospital Center, a senior fitness program that focused on outdoor physical activity. For the past five years, she has worked alongside her mentors at the Neurological Institute of Columbia University Medical Center and artist Doug E. Fresh to create Hip Hop Public Health, a nonprofit organization that uses hip hop-based multimedia curricula to educate children and families in high-risk communities and improve health literacy and outcomes. Hedmann was “drawn to OHSU’s efforts to revamp the medical school curriculum in order to produce physicians that are better equipped to address the health needs of their patients.” She said living in Portland prior to graduate school had a big influence on her public health career, and she expects the same to be true for her medical training.

Dennis Shi
Dennis Shi, 24, knows firsthand the influence of the “built environment” on human health. During annual trips to visit family in China, Shi was struck as a child at the smog-filled air of Beijing compared with the pristine air of the Pacific Northwest. Decades later, Shi was drawn to chemistry and biology courses at Washington University in St. Louis. He also mentored a fourth-grader who lived in a food desert – an area where access to nutritious food was scarce. “I knew that becoming a physician would allow me to intertwine my desire to improve the health of others with my passion for science,” Shi said. Shi was drawn to OHSU for its strong primary care program and nationally recognized family medicine student interest group. “Family medicine appeals to me because you get to care for families over time and treat diseases at early stages of development,” he said.

Profile: OHSU School of Medicine Class of 2020

Total number of first-year students = 153

Female = 94 
Male = 59

Highest degree at entry

Baccalaureate = 135
Master’s = 13
Doctorate = 5

Oregon residents or Oregon heritage = 128

Degree programs:
 M.D. = 125
 M.D./M.P.H. = 2
 M.D./Ph.D. = 1

Non-resident = 25

Degree programs: 
 M.D. = 13
 M.D./M.P.H. = 5
 M.D./Ph.D. = 4
 WICHE = 3

Age (mean) = 26

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