New Jersey Medical School Students Celebrate Their Future at White Coat Ceremony

New Jersey Medical School Students Holding their White Coats
Rutgers New Jersey Medical School students donned their white coats for the first time as they embraced a lifelong journey of learning, compassion and healing
Keith Bratcher

Rutgers New Jersey Medical School welcomed 174 future physicians who put on their white coats for the first time at the annual Barbara and Norman Seiden White Coat Ceremony – signifying their commitment to the medical profession.

“Congratulations to our exceptional first-year medical students on your White Coat Ceremony. Now that you have officially donned your white coats, remember that you are not only receiving a symbol of your commitment to medicine, but also embracing a lifelong journey of learning, compassion and healing,” said Robert L. Johnson, the Sharon and Joseph L. Muscarelle Endowed Dean of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School (NJMS) and a 1972 NJMS graduate, at the August 10 ceremony. “Your passion and dedication will make a profound impact.”

Receiving the white coat represents a rite of passage for medical students, signaling their unwavering commitment to the medical field and patient care. It stands as a milestone for the Class of 2027 on its journey to becoming knowledge seekers, medical practitioners, researchers and devoted stewards of the community.

Kwame Amonu, first-year medical student, said, “Having received life-saving care during my emergency birth, I’ve always felt destined to choose medicine. This, along with my fascination with the sciences and my desire to be a positive light to others, is what guided me to this career path. This White Coat Ceremony is a culmination of all the hard work I’ve done to get to this point and a testament to all the support I’ve received along the way.” 

The White Coat Ceremony not only marks a pivotal moment for these aspiring physicians, but it also amplifies the solid foundation laid by the university’s faculty and staff. “The White Coat Ceremony is a profound way to start medical school and the lifelong professional journey of dedication to excellence of patient care. It recognizes our entering class who will have the opportunity to serve our patients and our community. NJMS selects students who have the passion and commitment to make a difference in the world. As a graduate myself, it is a very special privilege to work with our students and alumni,” said George F. Heinrich, associate dean for admissions.

Reciting the Hippocratic Oath, which was led by Joseph Apuzzio, professor and a 1973 NJMS graduate, these future medical practitioners pledged to uphold the duties and principles of their medical profession - solemnly and ethically.

Reciting the Hippocratic Oath has given me a newfound sense of duty to my future patients. I resonate with its principle of altruism and aim to practice medicine with intention and humility. In prioritizing the needs of my patients, I can better understand how to best serve them. I vow to uphold these ideals throughout my career as a physician,” said Alexis Fisher, first-year medical student.

Dean Johson with NJMS student
Dean Robert L. Johnson told students they were receiving a symbol of their commitment to medicine as they donned their white coats for the first time.
Keith Bratcher

Beaming with immense pride and joy, attendees enthusiastically cheered on the future leaders of medicine.

“It feels completely surreal to have received my white coat. I have long awaited this moment, and I truly cannot believe that it has finally arrived. I remember, as a child, proudly proclaiming to my parents, that I would become a doctor.  I’m happy to have the privilege of sharing this special moment with them, along with my friends and peers. This is a day that I will forever remember and cherish,” said Fisher.

As the Class of 2027 starts their educational journey at NJMS, they carry with them the support of family, friends, peers, mentors and the NJMS community. Their shared commitment to excellence and compassion for patient care will not only shape the future of medicine, but also leave an indelible imprint on the medical profession. 

“I want you to wear your white coat with pride and embark on this transformative path with courage and enthusiasm,” said Johnson, as he sent well wishes to the Class of 2027.