July 21, 2021

M1 journey begins July 24 when White Coat ceremony returns to Hill Auditorium

The incoming Class of 2021 will gather in-person to kick-off their M1 Launch — an orientation and official welcome to the school they will call home for at least the next four years

University of Michigan Medical School ceremonial white coat

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On July 24, when 170 first-year medical students take the first step on their journey to become doctors, it will mark the return of one of the medical school’s grandest traditions.

U-M was not able to host its annual White Coat ceremony in 2020 due to the pandemic. With COVID-19 and vaccination numbers improving in Michigan, the incoming Class of 2021 will gather in-person to kick-off their M1 Launch — an orientation and official welcome to the school they will call home for at least the next four years.

In alignment with Michigan Medicine guidelines for indoor, in-person events, this year’s ceremony will be a closed event only for participating students and the few faculty/staff needed to execute the event. The ceremony will be streamed live, starting at 2 p.m. EDT, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q04LsGe6nDw.

Per tradition, the ceremony’s “calling of the class” will include students walking onto the stage at Hill Auditorium to announce their name and hometown. After they cross the stage, they will be presented a white coat and stethoscope, which commemorate entry into their future profession, and emphasize the importance of honor, accountability and the trust patients will place in them as they embrace their new roles as aspiring doctors.

The students also will take the U-M Medical School White Coat Pledge, created by members of the school’s chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society. The society is named for Arnold P. Gold, M.D., a leader in ensuring that health care providers receive training in providing compassionate, patient-centered care. The White Coat Ceremony itself is a tradition started decades ago by Gold.

Daniel T. Cronin, M.D., an assistant professor of hospital medicine, will deliver the keynote address. In addition, Medical School Dean Marschall S. Runge, M.D., Ph.D., Interim Executive Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Brian J. Zink, M.D., Interim Associate Dean for Medical Student Education Steven E. Gay, M.D., M.S., and Interim Assistant Dean for Admissions Deborah R. Berman, M.D., will make remarks.

The incoming class was holistically selected from an astounding 10,624 applicants, of which 455 earned interviews. The class is diverse and exceptional, as 49 percent are non-traditional students (two or more years removed from their undergraduate experience), and 11 percent said they are the first in their family to earn a bachelor’s degree. Nearly 40 percent of the class hails from the state of Michigan.

The incoming first-year students will hit the ground running the following week. They immediately will be immersed in a curriculum that will prepare them to be leaders and change agents in health care. From day one, they will work to understand the science of human health and illness in the clinical setting, and they also will build their skills as critical thinkers and collaborative future leaders when they work with other students from the U-M’s various health professional schools.

“We are so pleased to be welcoming this class, who applied and will be matriculating to this medical school with the unprecedented challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Steven E. Gay, M.D., M.S., interim associate dean for medical student education and associate professor of internal medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. “They are a wonderful class, with their diversity of experiences and their resilience in light of the unpredictable changes they have been through.”

Some notable facts about this year’s incoming class:

  • Students hail from 29 U.S. states, with 65 of the 170 students from Michigan.
  • 47 attended U-M as undergraduates, 11 matriculated from other schools in Michigan, and 112 come from 54 out-of-state institutions.
  • Students come from many different fields, including the biological and non-biological sciences, social sciences, humanities, the arts and engineering.
  • 27 students entered the medical school with degrees in a double major.
  • 15 students will pursue a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree through the Medical Scientist Training Program. Additionally, three students who already hold dental degrees will train in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
  • The average student age this year is 25 years.

To see the full 2021 entering class profile, as well as additional statistics about the medical education program at Michigan, please visit: https://medicine.umich.edu/medschool/education/md-program/our-community/students-faculty/medical-student-demographics.