The Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine welcomed its newest class of students with the annual White Coat Ceremony Friday, Aug. 3, at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center on Marshall University’s Huntington campus.
The Class of 2022 includes student-athletes, student government representatives, passionate researchers, first-generation college students, and those who have traveled abroad for educational and/or mission work. The class includes alumni from Georgetown University, Wake Forest University, The Ohio State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and many others, as well as five legacy students, meaning one or both parents are Marshall School of Medicine alumni. Other interesting statistics include the following:
- 80 percent are West Virginia residents
- 37 are males; 43 are females
- 88 percent were science majors
- The average age is 23 years old
Among this year’s class of 79 incoming medical students are the school’s first cohort of students from its
Accelerated B.S./M.D. program, which allows students to complete the requirements for both the Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Medicine program in a seven-year format. This group of 13 West Virginia students started their undergraduate degrees at Marshall University in 2015.
“We are exceptionally proud of this inaugural B.S./M.D. class,” said Jennifer Plymale, associate dean for admissions and director of the Center for Rural Health at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine. “These students represent some of the best and brightest young minds in our state.”
The White Coat Ceremony, during which incoming students receive their first white coats, stethoscopes and medical instruments, was first introduced at Marshall in 1996. It is considered a rite of passage for first-year students and is designed to instill the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care.
The ceremony’s guest speaker was Jay R. Lakhani, M.D., assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, a board-certified pediatrician with Marshall Health and member of the Class of 2007. Lakhani is also a 2018 recipient of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Leonard Tow Award, which recognizes faculty members who demonstrate clinical excellence and outstanding compassion in the delivery of medical care and who show respect for patients, their families and health care colleagues.
Other speakers included David Bartlett, president of the Class of 2021; Bobby L. Miller, M.D., vice dean for medical student education; and Angela Thorp, a fourth-year medical student.
Since 2006, the Touma family, including Joseph B. Touma, M.D., a retired ear, nose and throat specialist and former chair of the Marshall University Board of Governors, and his wife, Omayma T. Touma, M.D., retired medical director of the Cabell-Huntington Health Department, have generously donated funds to provide each student with a stethoscope. Their daughter, Mona Touma Elliot, J.D., presented the gifts during the ceremony. More than 110 School of Medicine alumni, family and friends sponsored the white coats and medical instruments for the Class of 2022.