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Donning Their White Coats

Matthew Duncan MED '01 helps Syed Rakin Ahmed '22 don his white coat.

In September, 92 members of the Geisel Class of 2022 gathered with family and friends for the school's annual White Coat ceremony where they received the symbol of their new profession. Tucked into the pockets of their white coats were notes from Geisel alumni welcoming the students to medicine.

Dean Duane Compton, PhD, an avid hiker, used hiking as a metaphor for the journey through medical school—a great deal of preparation is required prior to beginning a hike, but once on the path the thrill of what lies ahead is intoxicating. "You are now on the path... but you are not alone," he said. "We are walking that path with you." He also reiterated Geisel's dedication to providing the best medical education in the nation.

In a ceremonial tradition welcoming the incoming class, a second-year student, Arunsrinivasan Ponshumugam '21, shared his thoughts about wearing the white coat. He related a story about visiting a home-bound patient with multiple heath issues. When the patient leaned in as if sharing a secret, he whispered that his television remote was broken—it was stuck on the Weather Channel. Living alone, the television was this patient's only companion. Though he may not have been able to fix the patient's health issues, Ponshumugam fixed the remote because he recognized its importance to the patient. "Love the patient in front of you—show compassion when responding to the depth of the human condition," he said. But also, he said, have compassion for yourself.

This is Geisel's 222nd MD class, its 92 students include 90 MD and two MD-PhD candidates.

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