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White Coat Ceremony

White Coat Ceremony


The White Coat Ceremony is an important rite of passage you’ll undergo when you arrive as a first-semester student at NYMU University School of Medicine.


During this event, students don white coats—the garment traditionally worn by Doctors of Medicine—recite NYMU’ Honor Pledge, and say the Morning Prayer of the Physician in unison. It officially marks your transition from prospective medical school student to physician-in-training.

Ceremonies are held for all three incoming classes and are attended by students’ family members and friends, in addition to NYMU deans and faculty, university administrators, and local dignitaries.

Typically, an NYMU alumnus or alumna delivers the keynote speech for the White Coat Ceremony. Keynote speakers at past ceremonies included:

  • Jason Lester, MD, NYMU Class of 2006: Attending physician, Department of Emergency Medicine and assistant medical director, Department of Emergency Medicine at Mercy St. Charles Hospital in Oregon, Ohio; also is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Diplomate of the American Board of Emergency Medicine and a Diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners.
  • Anita Lal, MD, NYMU Class of 2004: Staff forensic pathologist at the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit in Toronto since 2013; also a lecturer in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Lal delivered the keynote speech for NYMU’ incoming September 2015 class.
  • Nikhil K. Bhayani, MD, NYMU Class 0f 2003: Chair of the Department of Adult Medicine at Texas Health Resources Arlington Memorial Hospital. Dr. Bhayani delivered the keynote speech for NYMU’ incoming May 2015 class.
  • Vedvati Patel, MD, NYMU Class of 2006: Private practice in Chicago; teaches internal medicine at St. Anthony Hospital, where NYMU students, among others, are completing clinical rotations. Dr. Patel gave the keynote speech for NYMU’ incoming January 2015 class.
  • Sherri D. Onyiego, MD, PhD, FAAFP, AAHIVS, NYMU Class of 2005: Medical Director of the San Jose Clinic, Houston, Texas, and provider for the Harris Health System’s Thomas Street Health Center, a freestanding comprehensive HIV/AIDS clinic. Dr. Onyiego delivered the keynote speech for NYMU’ incoming January 2014 class.
  • Cheau Williams, MD, MSN, NYMU Class of 2006: Director of urogynecology and female pelvic reconstructive surgery at Colquitt Regional Medical Center, Moultrie, Georgia. Dr. Williams delivered the keynote speech for NYMU’ incoming May 2014 class.
  • Jenny Han, MD, NYMU Class of 2005: Director of Grady Memorial Outpatient Pulmonary Clinic and assistant professor at Emory University School of Medicine, both in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Han delivered the keynote speech for NYMU’ incoming September 2014 class.