Their paths into medicine are varied and inspiring – this is the Stony Brook University School of Medicine Class of 2020. All 132 incoming students officially began their training with the School’s annual White Coat Ceremony on August 14. At the event the students received the physician-in-training white coat and took the Hippocratic Oath for the first time.
The students hail from New York State, seven other states, and from around the world. They represent 70 undergraduate schools, have a collective grade point average of 3.70 and an average MCAT score in the 86 percentile. Only 8.3 percent of the total applicants were accepted to Stony Brook.
“Today is day of celebration and inspiration, as you will all receive your first white coats, the symbol of our profession and its representation of scientific excellence and compassionate care,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine, as he welcomed the incoming class. “You will soon embark on a journey that will bring many challenges and difficulties, but also joys and exciting advances in medicine that will revolutionize the way you treat and cure patients.”
“I urge you to embrace a career that undoubtedly helps you to change many people’s lives forever,” said guest speaker Howard Zucker, MD, the Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health. “Work hard as you go forward into medical school, and in the future always remember why you wanted to become a physician in the first place,” he advised.
Among the many accomplished members of the Class of 2020 are: Rafael Hernandez, a boy whose family escaped Cuba by boat and along with them was rescued by a Marine Corps ship. Hernandez grew up in Florida, and with each year of life he became more and more fascinated by the heart and cardiology and began volunteering at hospitals. Ruchi Shah, a Long Islander who received national recognition by renowned scientists for inventing an all-natural mosquito repellent while attending Stony Brook University as an undergraduate student. Dorian Cohen, a Duke University fencer whose focus and precision with mechanics and experiences working as a prosthetist at VA hospitals inspired him to pursue medicine. And Sebanti Bhowmik from Queens. She earned a 6-year PharmD degree after high school only to be further driven to help patients, which sparked her interest in medical school.
In addition to the presentation of the white coats, School leadership presented the 2016 Distinguished Alumnus award to A. John Iafrate, MD, PhD, Class of 2000. Dr. Iafrate is Director of the Center for Integrated Diagnostics at Massachusetts General Hospital.