Friday, August 9, 2013 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm


DATE/TIME: FRIDAY, AUG. 9, from 5 to 6:30 P.M.

LOCATION: Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., UA Main Campus, Tucson

MEDICAL WRITERS/ASSIGNMENT EDITORS NOTE Media are invited to cover this event, which is for family and friends of incoming medical students, but not the general public (the event will be broadcast live on the Internet at http://streaming.biocom.arizona.edu). Media are asked to remain in the audience area during the ceremony. Participants will be available for interviews prior to the ceremony and at a reception preceding the ceremony from 3 to 4 p.m.
Contact: Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, (520) 626-5633                                                        Aug. 7, 2013

TUCSON, Ariz. – An acupuncturist who is reinventing his career at age 48; a Tucson native who founded a club for Hispanics interested in careers in medicine; a young mom with a background in medical research; and a native of Germany who wants to be both a physician and a writer are among the 115 incoming students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson. They will be welcomed at the 19th annual White Coat Ceremony, Friday, Aug. 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m., in Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd., on the UA Main Campus.

The ceremony, which is for family and friends of incoming medical students, but not the general public, may be viewed live on the Internet at http://streaming.biocom.arizona.edu. At the 2012 White Coat Ceremony, medical student Eric Ohlson was coated by Dr. Daniel Beskind.

More than 4,000 students submitted applications and nearly 600 were interviewed to fill the 115 slots in the Class of 2017. The class includes 62 women and 53 men, ranging in age from 21 to 48. Ten students are Hispanic, five are African American, and one is Native American.

“This ceremony, held in the presence of family, friends, colleagues and teachers, marks the students’ entrance into a family of individuals who will teach, support and work beside them throughout their educational experience,” says Steve Goldschmid, MD, UA College of Medicine – Tucson dean. “The white coat symbolizes their responsibility as physicians to put their patients’ interests first. It represents personalized medicine not based on genetics but on compassion.”

Faculty members with the UA College of Medicine’s Societies Program will “coat” their students during the ceremony. Societies mentors serve as general career advisors and as the students’ first point of contact for many of their needs while in medical school.

James L. Scott, MD (UA College of Medicine Class of 1983), professor of emergency medicine and former dean of The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC, will deliver the keynote address, “Transitions.”

Dr. Scott is an inner-city emerDr. Scottgency physician widely known for his compassion for the underserved. After receiving his MD in 1983, he remained at the UA for his internship in internal medicine. He then completed his residency in emergency medicine at The George Washington University, where he served as dean of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences from 2003 to 2010. He established a student-run clinic that provides training for students and health care to the uninsured, who often cannot pay.

Dr. Scott has been active with the Peace Corps in Africa since receiving his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1977. He also is working with the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration to increase the quantity and quality of physicians in Africa, and Physicians for Peace, to reduce the shortage of physicians in Africa and other developing countries

Following Dr. Scott’s address, the students will recite their class Vision and Mission Statement, which they wrote to affirm their values as future physicians. Students will sign the statement as they come on stage to don white coats for the first time, marking their entrance into the medical profession and the bond they will have with patients, colleagues and teachers from the first day of medical school, which will be Monday, Aug. 5.

Each coat will have a “Humanism in Medicine” lapel pin, symbolizing a commitment to providing compassionate and competent patient care, provided by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation (http://humanism-in-medicine.org).

Class of 2017 medical students who will be available for interviews prior to the ceremony include:

Niana Carter, 26, is a Glendale native who holds two bachelor’s degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in biology and administration of justice. The mother of a 2-year-old, she has spent most of the last five years working in medical research labs near Baltimore and in Phoenix. As an undergraduate, she worked with children with developmental disabilities, which has inspired her interest in becoming a pediatric neurologist.

Tom Lotina, a Los Angeles native, earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md., and a master’s degree from the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, and studied acupuncture in China. He has worked as an acupuncturist, a yoga teacher, and a contractor specializing in home remodeling. Now 48, he is going to fulfill his dream since college of becoming a family doctor with a focus on integrative medicine, including acupuncture and other “alternative” treatments.

Hannes Prescher is a native of Hamburg, Germany, who moved to the United States with his parents at age 11. He holds a degree in molecular and cellular biology, and English literature, from the University of California, Berkeley. He sees medicine as a profession that embraces his interests in science and humanism. Prescher, 25, is leaning toward a career as a surgeon, “but I’m open to everything,” he says. He also wants to be a writer. As he sees it, both writing and medicine involve paying attention to and about learning people’s stories.

Alfonso Robles is a Tucson native who grew up in Nogales, Ariz. His pediatrician (who did his residency in pediatrics at what was then University Medical Center) first sparked his interest in becoming a doctor. Robles, 24, has a bachelor’s degree in physiology from the UA and has worked as a research assistant at the National Institutes of Health and the University of California, San Diego. He also has extensive volunteer experience at clinics that serve the uninsured. He wants to be a pediatrician, and stay in Tucson.