“America’s Future as a Healthy Nation Depends on You”
TouroCOM Harlem Class of 2020 Dons White Coats
OMS II Maliha Rahman said she chose to become a doctor after her uncle was diagnosed with cancer. Thanks to proper medical care, he survived and years later, he was able to join his niece as she donned her white coat as part of TouroCOM Harlem’s class of 2020.
The ceremony, which took place on May 10 at the Roone Arledge Auditorium, marked the end of the didactic period of medical education for the students as they begin their third-year rotations at affiliate hospitals.
“It both feels amazing and bittersweet,” said Rahman about donning her white coat. “We’ll be starting our rounds and won’t be sitting at our desks anymore.”
Her feelings were shared by fellow student Elizabeth Fierro who noted how the best parts of the last two years were the friends she made in medical school. “We all care about one another,” said Fierro.
Though the feeling of accomplishment was undeniable.
“It feels like all of our hard work has paid off,” emphasized Maxwell Horowitz.
Dr. Kenneth Steier, executive dean of TouroCOM, delivered the opening remarks at the ceremony.
“You will become an essential part of your hospital team,” said Dr. Steier. “You are ready and Touro will be here to support you.”
“You are halfway home,” TouroCOM-Harlem Dean Dr. David Forstein told the crowd. “The white coat ceremony marks the official matriculation from pre-clinical to clinical, a significant milestone in your career... Now is the time when you can create your own footprints.”
Touro College Provost Patricia Salkin discussed the significance of the white coats.
“The white coat represents privilege,” she said. “It is a privilege to serve others… Your patients will look to you to keep them safe—safe from harm, safe from pain, safe from disease and safe to enjoy their lives. This is a tremendous purpose and one you must strive to work at constantly.”
Keynote speaker Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, president and CEO of State Medical Boards of the United States, congratulated the students but also offered them practical advice to keep themselves mentally and physically healthy.
“When you get home after a long day, study yes, but also call your mom and dad and your grandparents… Go to a Yankee game, or even a Mets game if you have to,” he said to laughter. “Relish the opportunity that has been provided to you to contribute to someone’s health and wellness and to heal with your hands, but don’t forget your own health.”
“Congratulations on the first day of the rest of your lives,” Dr. Chaudhry concluded. “America’s future as a healthy nation depends on you.”