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Largest class in OHSU School of Medicine history to celebrate annual White Coat Ceremony

A record 160 new students take first steps toward career in medicine




In celebration of its largest-ever incoming class of medical students, the OHSU School of Medicine will host a White Coat Ceremony symbolizing the beginning of each student’s journey to becoming a physician.

“The class of 2021 represents OHSU’s commitment to help expand Oregon’s health care workforce,” said Sharon Anderson, M.D., dean, OHSU School of Medicine. “We are excited to share this rite of passage with the medical school’s 130th class and to support these students as they gain the knowledge, skills and experience to provide excellent care and pursue biomedical breakthroughs serving communities across Oregon and beyond.” 

Fast facts:

  • Of the 160 students matriculating this fall, 85 percent are Oregonians.
  • Women comprise more than 54 percent of the class.
  • Nearly 38 percent of entering students report having come from a racial or ethnic background other than Caucasian.
  • Approximately 22 percent of students come from a rural background.
  • Three students have completed military service.

Media who attend will be able to:

  • Get photos, video and comments from members of the OHSU School of Medicine Class of 2021.
  • Interview OHSU School of Medicine associate deans George Mejicano, M.D., M.S., and Tracy Bumsted, M.D., M.P.H., about the significance of the White Coat Ceremony and what these new students will experience during their time at OHSU. 


Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 at 10 a.m.


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


Mejicano and Bumsted will give remarks. Rajesh S. Mangrulkar, M.D., Marguerite S. Roll Professor of Medical Education and associate dean for medical student education, University of Michigan Medical School, 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 2021

Miriam Hernandez-Zepeda, 24

Miriam Hernandez-Zepeda
Miriam Hernandez-Zepeda, 24. (OHSU)

Miriam Hernandez-Zepeda grew up in the small coastal town of Brookings, Oregon. With the nearest hospital more than 30 minutes away, her first exposure to a career in health care came in high school, when she attended the Med Stars camp at OHSU. This experience ignited her interest in medicine and drove her to obtain degrees in biology and Spanish from the University of Portland. To expand her medical prowess, Hernandez-Zepeda has worked as both a medical administration intern and an emergency room medical scribe.

“I remember my first patient emergency, the intensity of it, and the way the doctors worked together to bring back a life,” she recalled. “That moment solidified a goal to become a doctor myself.”

Drawn to OHSU for its customizable curriculum known as YOUR M.D., Hernandez-Zepeda is eager to create her own “nontraditional experience.” Influenced by her Hispanic background, she is interested in surgery and international medicine and holds a strong desire to cross cultures in order to bring healing to those in need.

Tajwar (Taj) Taher, 23

Taj Taher
Tajwar (Taj) Taher, 23. (OHSU)

When Taj Taher and his family moved to Pendleton, Oregon, their arrival made front-page news. Relocating from Philadelphia, Taher’s father took a position as an internal medicine physician with the hope of reducing a rural physician shortage in the area.

“We were the only Bangladeshi and Muslim people in town, and at first, it was a huge culture shock,” said Taher. “But within a year, we were wearing rodeo gear, and everyone was very open and friendly to us.”

Although Taher never envisioned himself a physician, after successfully overcoming his own battle with obesity, his perspective of health care changed. As he joins the OHSU School of Medicine class of 2021, Taher will carry on his family’s example of community service in rural Oregon. A Scholar for a Healthy Oregon, he hopes to return to Pendleton following his medical training to practice and work with Native American populations.

Profile: OHSU School of Medicine Class of 2021

Total number of first-year students = 160
Female = 87
            Male = 73

Highest degree at entry
Baccalaureate = 140
            Master’s = 17
            Doctorate = 3

Oregon residents or Oregon heritage = 136
            Degree programs:
M.D. = 130
            M.D./M.P.H. =   4
            M.D./Ph.D. = 2

Non-resident = 24
            Degree programs:

            M.D. = 15
            M.D./M.P.H. = 3
            M.D./Ph.D. = 3
            WICHE = 4

Age (mean) = 25

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