White Coat Ceremony Marks Students’ Entry Into Med School

Published August 21, 2015 This content is archived.

story by alexandra edelblute

University at Buffalo medical students in the Class of 2019 celebrated their entry into medical school with the traditional white coat ceremony, a rite of passage symbolizing their commitment to professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine. 


All 144 medical students took the oath of medicine during the Aug. 14 event. During the ceremony’s “calling of the class,” school officials called students individually to the stage and presented them with white coats — a symbol of their future profession.

Michael E. Cain, MD, vice president for health sciences and dean of the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, gave the welcome and Charles M. Severin, MD, PhD, associate dean for medical education and admissions, announced students’ hometowns and undergraduate institutions.

Students Have a Variety of Honors, Interests

The students have a wide range of honors and awards. Many have conducted biomedical research on topics including the relationship between circadian rhythms and cancer; echocardiograms and high altitudes; and neurotrauma.

A number of students in the class completed double majors and concentrations. One student majored in pharmacology and theater and another has an automotive service degree and a major in microbiology and bacteriology. One student completed a triple major in biology, chemistry and music.

Their community service ranges from working for Journey’s End Refugee Services Inc., developing theatrical productions with prison inmates, volunteering with Meals on Wheels and working with a group that provides emotional support for families of slain police officers.

Class Selected From 4,362 Applications

The class was selected from a total of 4,362 applications received, 3.8 percent higher than last year’s application total of 4,201 and higher still than the 4,090 received in 2013.

Eighty-eight percent of the class of 2019 — 127 students — out of the total are from New York with 61 students from Western New York and 66 from other parts of the state. Thirty-five students earned their undergraduate degrees from UB. 

Lesse Presents Keynote

Alan J. Lesse, MD, senior associate dean for medical curriculum, gave the keynote address.

He told the class about the many changes and challenges that lie ahead for them. He gave several anecdotes from his career and told them a story that underscored the importance of the role they will play in other people’s lives. 

Lesse mentors students and trainees at all levels, from first-year medical students to senior fellows in UB’s infectious disease fellowship.

Lesse’s research interests center on the clinical and molecular epidemiology of blood stream isolates, including whole genomic sequencing and the bioinformatic approach to analyzing virulence factors.

His clinical interests involve blood stream infections and community-associated methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections.

Mishra Receives Humanism Award

During the ceremony, Archana Mishra, MD, associate professor of medicine, was presented with the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.

Mishra trains and mentors medical students and teaches residents as well as trainees in the pulmonary disease and critical care fellowship and the sleep medicine fellowship. She is involved in designing humanistic curriculum, and she facilitates sessions with second- and third-year medical students to support and foster humanism.

Her clinical research interests include asthma in the elderly and the impact of passive smoke on respiratory health. 

Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, this annual award recognizes a faculty member who demonstrates outstanding compassion in the delivery of care; respect for patients, their families and health-care colleagues; and demonstrated clinical excellence. 

Medical students nominate outstanding role models for the award.