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Class Day Marks New Chapter for Class of 2016

By Derik Hertel

At the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth's annual Class Day ceremony on June 4, faculty, staff, students, and families celebrated the accomplishments of 85 new graduates of the school's MD program.

The customary celebration, held a week before Dartmouth College's commencement, took place in Spaulding Auditorium at the Hopkins Center. In addition to receiving the hoods denoting their degrees, the graduating students also received sage advice from Dartmouth faculty, alumni, their peers, and special guest speakers.

In his Class Day address, Warren S. Browner, MD, MPH, chief executive officer of California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, CA, encouraged students to be mindful and give patients their full attention.

Real patients have beating hearts and minds filled with doubts and concerns.

"Pay more attention to your patient's eyes than to the 'i-patient.' You know, the one that lives in the electronic medical records and now receives all too much of our consideration," said Browner. "Real patients have beating hearts and minds filled with doubts and concerns."

Duane Compton, PhD, interim dean at Geisel, spoke to the students about the challenges they will face in a rapidly changing health care environment and encouraged them to use the skills and knowledge they learned here to be agents of change and improve outcomes for their patients.

This is the second year that Geisel's Class Day has been held a week earlier than Dartmouth College's Commencement in order to accommodate the earlier start dates of many of the residency programs the graduates will be entering as they continue their training at top teaching hospitals around the country.

Class of 2020 Receives White Coats

On Oct. 1, 2016, the Geisel School of Medicine's Class of 2020 joined faculty, friends, and family for the school's annual White Coat ceremony at Dartmouth's Rollins Chapel, where they received encouragement and advice in addition to their new white coats.

Geisel's Interim Dean Duane Compton spoke of the important symbolism of the white coat but told the students the power of the white coat lies in how they act and behave while wearing it. "So, as you don this white coat today, and as you wear it each day after today, be aware of your surroundings and be mindful of how your actions will impact on those around you. You have immense power to make a positive impact on the lives of other people. So act carefully, act thoughtfully, act responsibly, and act selflessly. In doing so, you will make an immense impact on those around you."

Alumni speaker Bonnie Henderson, MD, (DC'89, Med'93), also noted the students were joining an important community. "You do not wear this coat alone," said Henderson. "You actually share similar challenges with colleagues all over the world. This white coat doesn't know any religious, ethnic, or cultural boundaries. And by wearing it, you instantly enter into this fraternity bonded by a shared mission of healing humanity."

The Class of 2020 is Geisel's 220th MD class since its founding in 1797. The 92 students in the class, including 90 MD and two MD-PhD students, represent a small percentage of the nearly 6,700 who applied to Geisel via the American Medical College Application Service. The new class hails from 24 states and 53 undergraduate institutions, with representatives of every Ivy League school, including 14 Dartmouth alumni.

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