Scene on Campus


New med students get their white coats—carefully.

Anthony Decarlo

Anthony Decarlo

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“It was definitely different,” said Amber Acquaye ’24MD, with a laugh; “it was virtual, but the organizers did their best to give us as close to the real thing as possible.” Acquaye (foreground, right), a first-year medical student from St. Louis, was describing this year’s White Coat Ceremony—the symbolic beginning of a medical education. The donning of the coats usually takes place with an audience of family and friends. This fall, it was livestreamed. “My mom was texting me the entire time with updates,” says Acquaye. “My grandma was watching, my younger cousins were watching, and we sent the video to my family in Ghana.”

The tradition of deans helping future doctors into their coats had to be scrapped this year; the students did it themselves. They also stayed socially distanced and wore masks. Michael L. Schwartz, associate dean for curriculum, says he was happy they had a ceremony: “It's an important transition into the profession for them. There was a lot of positive feeling.” And for the finale, each student got their socially distanced picture taken with Dean Nancy Brown ’81, with a wooden replica of Yale’s current Handsome Dan propped up between them.

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