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Changing of the guard

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2019 - Autumn


From a diversity perspective, the future is now when it comes to the student body of the School of Medicine. At Yale’s White Coat Ceremony on August 12, it was impossible not to witness progress in a class that is anything but homogeneous as members of the Class of 2023 pulled on their symbolic white coats.

Beyond the superficial differences among students, the class included 32 future physicians born in 15 countries outside the United States, and from disparate economic and academic backgrounds (including 29 students from groups underrepresented in medicine, or URiM, over a quarter of the class). Fifteen students were the first in their family to attend college.

Emily Wang, MD, associate professor of medicine (general medicine) and director of the Health Justice Lab, delivered the keynote address. She instructed her audience to think about the roles they can play in their patients’ lives. “Starting today, your white coat gives you the privilege to bear witness to your patients’ sufferings and their strengths; to share that burden, and then to safeguard their human civil rights.”