White Coat Ceremony

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.”

In a keynote address that highlighted Mount Sinai’s heritage as a humanistic organization that cares for every person, irrespective of background, Carol R. Horowitz, MD, MPH, proclaimed, “I am alive because of Mount Sinai.” Dr. Horowitz, Professor of Population Health Science and Policy, founding Director of Mount Sinai’s Institute for Health Equity Research, and founding Dean for Gender Equity in Science and Medicine, shared how her grandparents in 1928 brought her two-year old father—suffering from a severe lung infection—to Mount Sinai because it was “the only hospital they knew would absolutely care for a poor Jewish kid.”

“Welcome all to the place that saved his life, a place that continues to value all people, regardless of who they are or where they come from,” Dr. Horowitz said. “Human connection is the key to understanding what our patients want and need,” she said, urging the new students to connect with each patient they treat. “Remember, your bad day as a doctor will pale in comparison to what most of your patients are going through.”

Icahn Mount Sinai’s White Coat keynote address is dedicated to the late Hans Popper, MD, PhD, a world-renowned physician and academic leader who served as the School’s first Dean for Academic Affairs.

Days prior to the ceremony, the Class of 2027 drafted its own oath, which reflects the School’s core mission of advocacy, humanism, and excellence in patient care. Led by Michael Herscher, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine, the students recited their oath during the ceremony, pledging to “treat patients with diligence, respect, and empathy as we practice medicine with grace.” The Class also promised to “continually challenge our implicit biases and remain cognizant of our shared humanity” and “address deep-rooted injustices and inequities of medicine while respecting the agency and lived experiences of our patients.”

The School selected the Class of 2027 from a pool of 6,730 applicants, from which the Admissions team interviewed more than 630. The new students, ranging in age from 20 to 34, represent a breadth of diversity and experiences: 28 percent identify as being from backgrounds historically underrepresented in medicine and 53 percent are women. The students are alumni of 55 undergraduate institutions, with majors in science, humanities, and the arts.

Ceremony Program

The 2023 White Coat Ceremony program is available to view and download.

We the entering class of 2023 at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai are humbled and grateful to embark on this journey. In acknowledgement of our privilege in entering the field of medicine and in appreciation for all those who are supporting us on our paths, we pledge to:

  • Treat patients with diligence, respect, and empathy as we practice medicine with grace. 
  • Promote the wellbeing of our patients through evidence-based medicine.
  • Empower the voices of our patients, especially those who cannot speak for themselves.
  • Demonstrate cultural awareness; provide empathetic, holistic, and individualized care.
  • Continually challenge our implicit biases and remain cognizant of our shared humanity.
  • Address deep-rooted injustices and inequities of medicine while respecting the agency and lived experiences of our patients.
  • Recognize the limitations of the field in order to push for discrete change.
  • Be honest when we don’t know and embrace feedback from patients and colleagues.
  • Cultivate an authentic, collaborative, and trusting community among our peers.
  • Prioritize our own health and wellness in order to best serve our patients.

Together, we will approach medicine with the desire to learn from our patients, absent of judgment, and evolve alongside the field of medicine and the world without losing the core values that brought us here.

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.