The White Coat Ceremony at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai 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 2023
On Tuesday, September 12, Icahn Mount Sinai welcomed 120 first-year medical students to the Class of 2027 during the School’s twenty-sixth annual White Coat Ceremony. Held at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, the ceremony celebrated the great promise of Icahn Mount Sinai’s new class of aspiring physicians and scientists.
Dennis S. Charney, MD, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Dean, Icahn Mount Sinai, and President for Academic Affairs, Mount Sinai Health System, reflected on advancements in medicine since he was a first year medical student 50 years ago.
“The next decades should bring even more impactful achievements thanks to research that is harnessing the power of artificial intelligence, such as the Mount Sinai Million Health Discoveries Program. Our plan to complete the genetic sequencing of one million Mount Sinai patients and analyze this vast, diverse treasure trove of genetic information will usher in the era of completely personalized medicine—where treatment is based upon a patient’s genetic makeup and that will become the norm,” said Dean Charney. Citing predictions of how Mount Sinai faculty members expect medicine’s power to heal will vastly improve in 50 years, Dean Charney told the class, “Today, these visions are dreams. But they are not unrealistic. Great researchers and clinicians, some of whom will be your teachers, are working to transform these dreams into reality. And during your careers I am confident you will have the opportunity to make dreams come true.” Dean Charney reminded the new students to always demonstrate their humanity, even as medicine becomes more dependent upon technology. “You will need to be a compassionate and caring physician. You must build a bond with your patients because that bond itself can be healing,” he said.
The importance of empathy in practicing medicine was also highlighted by Valerie Parkas, MD, Senior Associate Dean of Admissions, who told the students that “treating people as people, not as a diagnosis” is a core tenet for any physician. “Don’t forget what you know as a person as you become a doctor,” she said.
James S. Tisch, Co-Chair of the Mount Sinai Health System, congratulated the students on pursuing a noble career in medicine and urged them to “work collaboratively, to care for each other as you study and learn together over the next four years.”