January 16, 2015
American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC) welcomed the January 2015 class of future physicians on January 9th during the White Coat Ceremony. This rite of passage marked their entry into the medical profession as “physicians-in-training.
The ceremony was organized by the Student Government Organization and attended by members of the AUC community including Heidi Chumley, M.D., executive dean and chief academic officer, and Ronald Testa, Ph.D., medical sciences dean. Family and friends of the 106 new physicians-in-training also filled the auditorium of the new academic building on campus.
“The White Coat Ceremony is a milestone moment for any medical student. By donning the white coat and reciting an oath, you are taking your first steps in joining the noble profession of medicine,” said alumni speaker Lesley Reid, M.D. (’07). Dr. Reid also drew on her own experience navigating medical school and residency, urging students to work collaboratively and to “fill your white coat pockets with the most important items of all: knowledge and compassion, based on a foundation of hard work and dedication.”
Carol P. Herbert, M.D., vice chair, AUC board of Trustees, gave the keynote address. Dr. Herbert is internationally recognized for her leadership in primary care research, and for her work in clinical health promotion, patient-physician decision-making, and participatory action research with aboriginal communities, focused on diabetes and on environmental effects on human health.
During the ceremony, the Karl Stockhausen Student of the Semester Award and the Faculty Appreciation Award were presented. Chad Stennett, fifth semester student, received the Student of the Semester Award in recognition of his compassion, humility and inspiration to fellow students. As part of this award, he was presented with a $5,000 grant to be used for community service projects that directly impact the health and well-being of Sint Maarten residents. Susan DeMesquita, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology, received the Faculty Appreciation Award.
Fifth semester students who have a demonstrated commitment to the study of medicine through academic excellence and service to the campus and St. Maarten communities were inducted into the Alpha Omega Phi Honor & Service Society.