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First-Year Students Celebrate White Coat Ceremony and Medical Family Day

 David Blanken and wife Barbara Friedman present a $10,000 check to Dean Reece to benefit the Medical Family Annual Fund.

The third annual Medical Family Day on November 1, 2007, welcomed the families of first-year students to the University of Maryland School of Medicine. This special event also gave family members a glimpse into what medical school is really like for their loved one. Answering questions about the school and careers in medicine was a panel comprised of fourth-year medical student Yvonne Pierpont; Dr. Gina Perez-Madrinan, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry; Dr. Joseph Martinez, assistant dean for Student Affairs and an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine; and Barbara Friedman, mother of a fourth-year med student and co-chair of the Medical Family Annual Fund.


Friedman encouraged families to support the Medical Family Annual Fund, which is used to enhance the academic experiences of medical students in a variety of ways, from helping them pay for research trips and conferences, to creating a student lounge on campus where they can gather in comfort. To inspire families to give, Friedman and her husband David Blanken presented School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA a check for $10,000 for the fund.


Following Medical Family Day was the event first-year students have long been waiting for – the White Coat Ceremony. This tradition, which started at the School of Medicine in 1997, involves the presentation of traditional white coats, long the symbol of physicians and scientists, to students. The coats are put on the students by School of Medicine faculty, to welcome their new colleagues to the profession of medicine. After being "coated," students recited an oath acknowledging their acceptance of the obligations of the medical profession. They also added their signatures to the school's honor book, a leather-bound volume signed by all med students in their first year and their final year, in which they pledge to maintain integrity throughout their years in medicine.


"I'm so excited," admitted Lorraine Beraho. "I had no idea I'd be this excited. S&D (the nine-week Structure & Development course) is over, we have our white coats, so now it's becoming real. We're really going to be doctors, it's really going to happen. And it feels great."

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 Larry Pitrof, executive director of the Medical Alumni Association, looks on as students sign the honor book

 Faculty members present students with their coats and welcome them to the medical profession.

 Students who have already been "coated" watch their classmates receive the same honor.

 Barbara Friedman and Yvonne Pierpont answer questions from audience members during the panel discussion.

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