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August 8, 2011

New SIU Medical Students Begin Training

Medical students in the Class of 2015 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine start their medical training this week in Carbondale.  The students will participate in a “White Coat ceremony” beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, August 12, in Shryock Auditorium.

During the ceremony, Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, dean and provost and a 1978 graduate of the School, will welcome the students.

The medical students will be presented by Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, associate professor of internal medicine and medical humanities, executive assistant to the dean for diversity and a 1986 graduate.  Students will receive their first white coat from the president of the School’s Alumni Society, Dr. Douglas Carlson, professor of pediatrics and director of the  Hospitalist Medicine division in the Department of Pediatrics at Washington University (WU) in St. Louis, a pediatrician at WU and St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and a 1984 graduate.  The School’s Alumni Society provides the coats.  The students also receive a pin made up of the words “Compassion, Respect and Integrity” from the SIU Foundation.

Dr. Careyana Brenham, associate professor of family and community medicine and a 2000 graduate, will give the keynote speech.  She received the School’s 2009 Humanism in Medicine Award.

Most of the students are from the southern two-thirds of the state, says Dr. Erik J. Constance, associate professor of internal medicine, associate dean of student affairs and a 1988 graduate.  Thirty-four men and 38 women make up the class.

The White Coat ceremony is designed to establish a “psychological contract for professionalism and empathy” in medicine and is held at most U.S. medical schools each fall.

Established in 1970, SIU School of Medicine is based in Springfield and Carbondale and focused on the health-care needs of downstate Illinois.  It educates physicians to practice in Illinois communities and has graduated 2,399 physicians since the first class in 1975.  Its website is

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