Amber Nielsen is one of the 69 first-year medical students, members of the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) Class of 2017, who recently began their journey to become physicians at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. The students, 37 men and 32 women, range in age from 20 to 32 years, with the average age of 24.
Published August 16, 2013
They come to medical school with work experience in an array of fields and academic degrees in animal science, anthropology, aviation, biochemistry, biology, biomedical science, business, chemistry, classics, computer science, French, honors, human biology, human nutrition, interdisciplinary studies, mathematics, medical laboratory science, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, neuroscience, pharmacy, philosophy, political science, psychology, public health, sociology, and zoology. Some of the students already hold advanced degrees, including master’s degrees in animal science, infectious diseases, physiological sciences, and public health. Two students hold doctoral degrees: one is a Doctor of Pharmacy and the other a Doctor of Physical Therapy.
John E. Prescott, M.D., chief academic officer for the Association of American Medical Colleges, Washington, D.C., will deliver the keynote address for the ceremony titled, “The White Coat – Symbol of the profession or of elitism?” As chief academic officer, Prescott oversees AAMC efforts to prepare and assist deans, faculty leaders, and future physicians for the challenges of 21st-century academic medicine. He leads a staff that addresses critical medical school data, administrative and operational issues, explores new models of successful mission alignment, focuses on key faculty issues and leadership development, and supports medical school accreditation activities. Prescott also leads activities supporting the Council of Deans, the Organization of Student Representatives, the Group on Student Affairs, the Group on Faculty Affairs, the Group on Women in Medicine and Science, the Group on Business Affairs, the Group on Institutional Planning, and the Liaison Council on Medical Education.
Before joining the AAMC in 2008, Prescott served as dean of the West Virginia University (WVU) School of Medicine for four years. He has also served as president and CEO of WVU’s integrated multi-specialty faculty practice plan, founding chair of WVU’s Department of Emergency Medicine, and as the first director of the WVU Center for Rural Emergency Medicine. Before WVU, he was a military physician in the Army for eight years. Prescott earned his medical and his bachelor’s degrees from Georgetown University.
Medical students’ first week is dedicated to orientation, including introduction to UND’s nationally recognized, four-year, patient-centered curriculum, where basic and clinical sciences are taught in the context of patient cases. Special emphasis is placed on the students’ new roles and expectations of them as health care professionals.
Orientation concludes with the White Coat Ceremony at 5 p.m., Aug. 9, in the Alerus Center Ballroom, 1200 S. 42nd St., in Grand Forks. Students receive their first white coats, physicians’ traditional garment, which have been donated by the North Dakota Medical Association, and they will recite the Oath of Hippocrates, an ancient vow to uphold basic professional principles.
Each student will receive a lapel pin engraved with “Humanism in Medicine,” which was donated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. After the ceremony, the school will host an indoor picnic for students, family and friends in the Alerus Center.
The students and their hometowns can be found at bit.ly/1ckl1eZ.