When the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine held their White Coat Ceremony last month nearly a dozen of the entering class of 165 students were recent graduates of the University of Memphis. The third largest provider of students to UTHSC College of Medicine this year (behind only the University of Tennessee—Knoxville and Vanderbilt), U of M graduates once again demonstrated the strength of their academic preparedness and their continuing importance to professional schools such as UT College of Medicine. “In general, we are definitely a large feeder for UT and our students continue to be successful once in medical school,” reports Jessica Kelso, Pre-Professional Advisor to U of M students.
The white coat ceremony was one of the first established in U.S. and is the culmination of the orientation to medical school. UTHSC held its annual solemn ceremony for the Class of 2018 on August 15, 2014. It has been said that the white coat is a symbolic, nonverbal communication used to express and/or affirm a fundamental belief in a system that the society observes. The authority of dress is a guide to patient, and doctor, on how to react and to relate to one another.
“The life of a med student can be challenging, of course,” says U of M alumnus Omar Tamula, one of eleven in this year’s entering class. “Regardless of what one was doing before medical school, be it undergraduate studies, graduate studies, or work, nothing can quite prepare one for the pace of medical school. Though the pace is much faster than it had been during my undergraduate career, I will say that the courses that I took at the University of Memphis shaped me into a more analytical thinker, which has been critical to assimilating the information taught in medical school.”
Former Chair of Chemistry, now Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Abby Parrill-Baker notes one way in which U of M has worked with the UT College of Medicine to better prepare our students for success, “The innovative curriculum restructuring that Chemistry placed into practice in 2009 was certainly warmly received by the UT College of Medicine. We replaced the traditional two-semester sequence of organic chemistry courses with one-semester courses in organic and bioorganic chemistry. That was seen as much more relevant preparation for the health sciences in my meetings with the UTHSC health professional program admissions directors.”
The significant number of our own students who regularly feed the incoming Med School class at UT reflects the strength of their preparation. Omar Tamula summed it up best when he said, “My journey in becoming a doctor is just starting, but I know that I only got to this point through the opportunities offered to me at the University of Memphis. I am indebted to the U of M and am proud to represent it at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.”
We celebrate the success of our graduates and the contribution they are making to the incoming class of future doctors at UTHSC.
M. David Rudd, President