In early August, members of the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine Class of 2020 slipped on new white coats, welcome gifts from the Aesculapian Society.
Speakers at the white coat ceremony reminded the new students of the importance of learning to listen—to both their patients and to their own inner voices.
Fidencio Saldaña ’01, HMS dean for students, asked the students who assembled in the Carl Walter Amphitheater to close their eyes and picture a moment that symbolized their reasons for becoming doctors.
“Ingrain that picture in your mind’s eye and don’t ever forget it,” Saldaña said. “In good times and in bad times, you can celebrate that picture and find the strength to go on.”
HMS Acting Dean Barbara McNeil ’66 added encouraging words, saying, “Within this community that you are joining, there is an unmatched depth and breadth of work being done to meet the challenge of improving human health.
“No matter what aspects of this mission call to you most deeply, you will find partners and a home here.”
This year’s incoming class of HMS students includes eighty-four women and eighty-one men selected from a pool of more than 7,000 applicants. They represent thirty-five U.S. states and eight foreign countries and come from sixty-five different undergraduate institutions.
Students who identified themselves as being from groups underrepresented in medicine (Black, Hispanic, Mexican American, Native American, and Puerto Rican) account for 16 percent of the incoming HMS class.
Image: Tony Rinaldo