By Bill Bruton
Published August 15, 2023
The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences’ Class of 2027 — 184 strong — celebrated entry into medical school with a traditional White Coat Ceremony Aug. 4 at Shea’s Performing Arts Center.
“I want to welcome you on this absolutely beautiful Buffalo afternoon. We’re privileged to have it at Shea’s, which is such an amazing facility with so much history,” said David A. Milling, MD, executive director of the Office of Medical Education and senior associate dean for medical education, who was master of ceremonies for the event.
“I’m privileged to work with this amazing team that will shepherd these new medical students throughout the next four years of their education. We’re all looking forward to this,” Milling added.
Allison Brashear, MD, MBA, UB’s vice president for health sciences and dean of the medical school, welcomed the class and also later led the class in a recitation of the Oath of Medicine.
“On behalf of all of us at UB, welcome to the gathered alumni, faculty, friends, family and most especially, the Class of 2027, who will don their white coats for the first time today,” Brashear said. “Prior to medical school you may have excelled in other careers, served in the armed forces, or started families. Maybe you’re fresh from your undergraduate years. Wherever your past has taken you, I’m happy to see you here today joining our diverse Jacobs School family.’
She encouraged the class to wear their white coats with pride to hospitals, clinics and clinical rotations.
Brashear recalled her time in medical school when she was taking her first patient history. Her facilitator — and later mentor — told her she should think about wearing her white coat.
It made her seriously consider what a privilege it was to care for others.
“Take a moment right now to look around. Think about the important relationships you have and those you have yet to build,” Brashear said. “Your family and friends have provided the commitment and support needed to get you to this major milestone today. Be sure to thank them.”
The calling of the class was done by Dori R. Marshall, MD, associate dean and director of medical admissions. Marshall introduced students individually and identified their hometown and undergraduate affiliation as they were called to the stage as proud family members and friends in the audience applauded.
Some interesting facts about the Class of 2027:
“I am truly honored and humbled to have been asked by the orientation committee to speak here before you on such a special day. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome you all to the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences community,” Bordonaro said. “As the first physician in my family, I admit that I didn’t completely know what I was signing up for. I did know I was meant to take care of people. And I knew the journey would be hard.”
Bordonaro, who earned her medical degree from the University of Connecticut, recalled the speech the dean gave at her White Coat Ceremony, when he asked the medical students to look to their left and their right, and said one of them may be your future primary care physician, and the other one might be the surgeon who takes out your appendix.
“We all laughed, but it fostered in us that we are all in this together, and it empowered us to work to become the kind of physicians that our classmates, our faculty and our community would be proud to call their doctors,” Bordonaro said.
She talked about the anatomy of the white coat itself.
“It’s made out of tiny threads woven together. Over the course of your time here, you will have innumerable interactions with patients, families, faculty and staff, fellow students, and the greater Buffalo community. You will be part of a team interacting with patients on the happiest or most difficult days of their lives. You’ll see babies enter the world, and others depart. Each of these moments will also weave into the fabric of who you are,” Bordonaro said. “While the individual threads may be thin and delicate, this fabric can be strong and complex and beautiful.”
Also on the special garment, she pointed out, will be the UB and Jacobs School logo, and the student’s name.
“Wear it proudly. It represents innovation, growth, care and compassion. It’s a privilege to serve the Buffalo community, and we need to handle this privilege with great care. Your words and actions will not only impact how patients and families perceive you, but it will impact their impression of UB. You’re now part of an incredible community,” Bordonaro said. “Let it remind you that you belong here. You have worked so hard to get here, and each of you is worthy of it.”
She finished up by summoning up her inner (Buffalo Bills head coach) Sean McDermott.
“To wrap up for those Buffalo sports fans out there: ‘Trust the Process.’ We are here for you, and proud to welcome you to the Class of 2027,” Bordonaro said.
“Dr. Archer is a pediatrician and an active member of the Buffalo community. He has served as interim division chief of general pediatrics and has been an incredible role model for our students,” said Bordonaro, who presented the award to Archer.
Medical students or recent graduates nominate outstanding role models for the award and they were effusive in their praise of Archer.
“Dr. Archer is a one-of-a-kind physician. My personal experience with him was a large part of why I chose pediatrics. He spends time and knows deeply all of his patients and families in clinic. He advocates for them and their safety always. He goes out of his way to make medical students feel included as part of the team,” one nominator said.
Archer earned his medical degree from Howard University College of Medicine, his master’s degree in epidemiology from UB and his bachelor’s degree from Cornell University. He completed his internship and residency in pediatrics as well as a fellowship in behavioral medicine, all from the Jacobs School.
Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the Tow 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.
The White Coat Ceremony was sponsored by the John A. Wendel Endowment Fund, established by Mrs. Virginia Wendel; the Medical Alumni Association, and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.