USF Health welcomes new medical students during Class of 2023 White Coat Ceremony

The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine’s newest students donned their first white coats Aug. 29 during a ceremony at the Tampa Convention Center.  The college and other USF Health leaders officially welcomed the 182 students who will be among the first to occupy the college’s new building when it officially opens in late 2019.

The MCOM Class of 2023 is one of the most competitive in the college’s history.  With more than 5,500 applications, students had less than a 4 percent chance of getting in.  This class attained an average MCAT score of 515, putting them in the 93rd percentile nationally with an average GPA of 3.76.  Students have a variety of experiences and come from a wide array of backgrounds including the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, black belts in Tae Kwon Do, certified SCUBA divers, a folk and ballet dancer, and college athletes in rugby, tennis, lacrosse and volleyball.

Charles J. Lockwood, MD, MHCM, USF Health executive vice president and Morsani College of Medicine dean.

“We are beyond thrilled to have assembled such a distinguished group of brilliant future doctors,” said Charles Lockwood, MD, MHCM, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. “We are impressed by your academic achievements and look forward to seeing you leverage this talent for the betterment of humanity.”

Following his remarks, Dr. Lockwood introduced Sally Houston, MD, executive vice president and chief medical officer of Tampa General Hospital, who offered her welcome on behalf of hospital chief executive officer, John Couris.

Sally Houston, MD, Tampa General Hospital executive vice president and chief medical officer.

“This is such an exciting evening. There’s so much energy in this room and you all are starting the next leg of a journey that started a long time ago,” Dr. Houston said. “The work you do with your classmates, the time you spend with them, you’ll make life-long friends during this time.”

The ceremony featured remarks from the MCOM student council president and faculty speakers, and culminated with the class of 2023 reciting the Oath of Commitment, a promise they make as medical students to the health care profession and their patients.

The white coat represents four main ideas for those who wear them: Commitment to scientific inquiry, empirical research and the pursuit of the truth; a commitment to compassion and concern for every patient no matter how difficult or challenging they may be; a commitment to grit and lifelong learning; a commitment to community and giving back.

“You are going to be part of a transformational year. We are working hard to build you a first-class experience in our new Morsani College of Medicine on Water Street.”
– Bryan Bognar, MD, MPH, MCOM chief academic officer, vice dean of the Office of Educational Affairs.

“The next four years will be both exhilarating and exhausting. You will be challenged mentally, physically and emotionally in ways that you’ve never been challenged before. It is an honor and a privilege to care for people as a physician does.”
– Amy Weiss, MD, MPH, MCOM associate professor of pediatrics.

“Today, as you receive your white coat, I want you all to remember why you chose to pursue a career in medicine. Regardless of the reason, hold on them tight and be sure to reflect back on them during your time in medical school.”
– Amy Mickelson, fourth-year medical student, MCOM Student Council president.

 

Story and photos by Freddie Coleman.  Video by Allison Long