The White Coat Ceremony at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (ISMMS) is a rite of passage for beginning medical students that marks their official entry into professional training. During the Ceremony, the students receive their first white coats from distinguished members of the School’s faculty, a solemn confirmation of the students’ commitment to professionalism, excellence, and empathy as they embark on their medical careers.
White Coat Ceremony
White Coat Ceremony 2019
On Tuesday, September 17, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai welcomed 140 first-year students to the Class of 2023 during its twenty-second annual White Coat Ceremony. The incoming class created their own Student Oath, which reflects the School’s core mission of advocacy, humanism, and excellence in patient care. Among the commitments, the Class of 2023 promised: to innovate collaboratively; to push the bounds of medicine; to dismantle personal and systemic biases to improve communities and patient care; and to hold themselves accountable in their future practice.
Since 2018, the Icahn School of Medicine has dedicated the White Coat Ceremony’s Keynote Speaker presentation to the late Hans Popper, MD, PhD—a world-renowned physician and academic leader who was President and Dean Emeritus of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. This year, the School bestowed that honor to alumna Zara Cooper, MD, MSc, FACS, MSSM ’00, Kessler Director of the Center for Surgery and Public Health, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Dr. Cooper addressed the Class of 2023, discussing the importance of always acting in the best interest of their future patients and the inextricable link between the “costume” of the white coat and the person inside. Her words also had a resounding effect as she focused on the idea of belonging. She encouraged the class to ward off the “impostor syndrome” and stay the course in medicine. “Each and every one of you belongs here, and we need you,” she said. “We need you because we need people to give us new perspectives, new voices, to challenge us, to make us better, to hold us accountable to our patients and their communities and to the society that entrusts us with among the highest of callings: to heal, to alleviate suffering, and to teach.”
In similar vein, Kenneth L. Davis, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mount Sinai Health System, spoke candidly to the incoming class about today’s political and social climate, which threatens Mount Sinai’s core values of providing equitable health care for all, including immigrant and low-income families. In a clarion call for action, Dr. Davis gave the class a charge of responsibility: “Here is what I want you committed to when you leave this room,” he said. “We must defend our ability to be health care providers for all. We must be ready to effectively deliver care to all our patients, no matter what the obstacles may be, and encourage them to obtain care.”
In his opening remarks, Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and President for Academic Affairs, Mount Sinai Health System, inspired the class to dream big and “let their imagination run wild” when seeking solutions to challenging health care problems. “What we need is a group of dreamers to rise against the tide of history and believe it is possible to succeed where generations past have not,” he said. “You have the ability to achieve greatness and ease the suffering of our communities.”
The Class of 2023 was selected from a pool of 5,150 applicants, more than 760 of whom were interviewed. The incoming students, whose ages range from 20 to 39 represent diverse backgrounds and experiences: 20 percent identify as underrepresented in medicine (URM); 52 percent are women; and they are alumni of 58 college institutions, with majors in science, the humanities, and the arts. In addition, 34 percent of the class are beneficiaries of the School’s recently launched Enhanced Scholarship Initiative (ESI)—an institutional scholarship program that allows qualifying entering and current ISMMS students to graduate with a maximum debt of $75,000.
As lifelong students and aspiring physicians of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Class of 2023:
We commit to:
- Leverage our whole selves for the care of our whole patients;
- Provide care worthy of trust;
- Serve patients with competence and humility;
- Courageously advocate for our patients and their communities;
- And practice an ethics of generosity with ourselves and others.
We strive to:
- Remain intellectually curious;
- Drive the forefront of medicine through collaborative, impactful innovation;
- And disseminate what we know and learn.
We acknowledge our power and privilege, and we seek to:
- Identify and dismantle personal and systemic biases in the name of our patients and our communities;
- And use our collective power to be critical of the systems in which we live and work and strive for their betterment.
We hold ourselves accountable for acting on the intentions we set forth today.
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Medical Education Oath
The mission of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai is to produce physicians and scientists who are prepared to enter society as informed advocates and activists who are able to advance clinical care and science and promote change.
We, the faculty, seek to embody this mission and so pledge the following to you, our students, in our effort to help you to become the best possible physicians and your best possible selves:
- To serve as models for caring, competent, and unbiased care of our patients.
- To engage you in the joy and privilege of practicing the art and science of medicine and the rewards of learning for life.
- To uphold the highest standards in scientific and medical research.
- To inspire you to respect the art and science of medicine, but also to question the status quo.
- To recognize that our opportunity to teach is also our opportunity to learn.
- To not just teach, but also nurture.
- To share of both our craft and ourselves.
- To demonstrate that self-examination means as much as examinations.
- To be kind in evaluating you and ourselves.
- To never lose sight of our wellness and the wellness of all of those around us.
- To have the courage to stand up for the oppressed and vulnerable and against prejudice and racism in all that we do.
- To be aware of our own biases and those around us and strive to eliminate them.
- To meet you where you are and get you where you want to be.
- And, finally, to never forget as physicians, scientists, and educators what we know as human beings.