White Coat Ceremony

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 2021

On Tuesday, September 14, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai welcomed 120 first-year medical students to the Class of 2025, during the School’s 24th annual White Coat Ceremony. Held at Lincoln Center’s outdoor venue, Damrosch Park, the ceremony celebrated the Class of 2025’s courage and resilience as they brave a new journey in the face of an ongoing public health crisis.

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, acknowledged this fact and reassured the class of Mount Sinai’s commitment to providing the best educational experience to them. Despite the uncertainty of the world, Dean Charney intimated his confidence that the training provided at the School and the demands of the pandemic will enhance the incoming class’s educational experience and facilitate their personal growth to becoming the next generation of outstanding physicians and scientists. Dean Charney followed his sentiments with examples of Mount Sinai’s own heroes, who relentlessly found a way to overcome some of this past year’s toughest challenges, and reminded the new class that ‘this is their Mount Sinai.’ Encouraging the class to remember what drew them to medicine, Dean Charney concluded with a final charge to the new students: “You will have many medical facts to memorize and learn, but do not forget to let your imagination run wild, to lead, and to seek solutions to the most difficult problems we face as people.”

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 Azalea Kim, MD, MBA, MPA ISMMS ’14, Chief Care Innovation and Design Officer of Cityblock Health and Adjunct Assistant Professor, Division of General Internal Medicine of Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Kim addressed the Class of 2025 with an imperative theme of ‘keeping healthcare human,’ recognizing the current climate of vulnerabilities, inequities, and shared grief physicians across the nation are experiencing. “I think the most human thing I can say about health care is to say, ‘It’s not OK. And that it’s OK to not be OK,’ she opens. Dr. Kim acknowledges that the Class of 2025 is beginning their new careers in medicine at a time of awakening and urgency to rethink systems, methods of care, and the meaning of the white coat.  She concludes by giving the new medical students the courage to challenge, dismantle, and rebuild health systems to create ones that value health outcomes and deliver equitable care to all. Of this work, she reminds the class: “You belong here. You are not alone. We are in this together.”

Days prior to the ceremony, the Class of 2025 created their own Student Oath during an introductory session led by Craig Katz, MD, Clinical Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Jacob Appel, MD, MS, MPH, Associate Professor of Psychology. As in previous years, the Class of 2025’s oath reflects the School’s core mission of advocacy, humanism, and excellence in patient care, and responds to the global pandemic and the rising surge of social and health inequities. Throughout their medical careers, the Class of 2025 promises to: commit to dynamic learning, teaching, and research and courageously rethink traditions; humbly advocate for and collaborate with their patients, team, and community; provide equitable care to people of all identities; and more. Yvette Calderon, MD, Professor and Site Chair, Department of Emergency Medicine led the class in a recitation of their oath during the ceremony.

The School selected the Class of 2025 from a pool of 6,990 applicants, from which nearly 600 were interviewed. The new students, whose ages range from 20 to 34, represent diverse backgrounds and experiences: 28 percent identify as underrepresented in medicine (URM), and 51 percent are women. They are alumni of 50 college institutions, with majors in science, the humanities, and the arts. In addition, 18 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.

Ceremony Programs

The 2021 White Coat Ceremony programs are available to view and download in English, Spanish, and Simplified Chinese.

We, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Class of 2025, stand here today, in person, to embark on our medical education. Donning the white coat, we embrace the privilege and responsibility of learning medicine during an ongoing pandemic. With grace and unrelenting hope, we pledge:

  • To be dynamic in our learning, teaching, and research by honoring the best practices of current medicine and courageously rethinking traditions.
  • To humbly advocate for and collaborate with our patients, our team, our community, and one another.
  • To meet patients where they are and celebrate their values, backgrounds, and experiences.
  • To recognize the limitations of ourselves and our profession, while honoring the strengths of our patients.
  • To abandon ego and listen to our patients with compassion and respect.
  • To foster a compassionate learning and healing environment.
  • To challenge the status quo and disrupt the systems that perpetuate inequities arising from segregated care and biases, known and unknown.
  • To provide equitable care to people of all identities including: ability, age, class, education, ethnicity, gender, language, legal status, nationality, race, religion, and sexuality.
  • To bring our authentic selves to every interaction with patients and colleagues, while honoring our unique lived experiences and shared humanity.

Altogether, we promise to ourselves, our colleagues, and our future patients to do all in our power to turn these words into action.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
Medical Education Oath
April 2019

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.