New SIU Medical Students Begin Training


August 11, 2014

New SIU Medical Students Begin Training

Medical students in the Class of 2018 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine begin their medical training this week at SIU in Carbondale. The students will participate in a “White Coat Ceremony” at 3 p.m. Friday, August 15, in McLeod Theater.

During the ceremony, J. Kevin Dorsey, M.D., Ph.D., dean and provost and a 1978 graduate of the School, and Dr. Paul Sarvela, interim chancellor of SIUC, will welcome the students.

Dr. Wesley Robinson-McNeese, associate professor of internal medicine and medical humanities, executive assistant to the dean for diversity and a 1986 graduate, will present the medical students. Dr. James Cunnar, a family medicine physician in Naperville and a 1994 graduate, will give students their first white coat. 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. John Mellinger, professor and chair of the Division of General Surgery, will give the keynote speech. He received the School’s 2013 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 for student affairs and admissions and a 1988 graduate. The class has 44 men and 28 women.

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 2,546 physicians since the first class in 1975.

Media Contacts

Karen Carlson,
SIU, 217-545-3854

Lauren Murphy,
SIU, 217-545-2819


Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine is to assist the people of central and southern Illinois in meeting their health care needs through education, patient care, research, and service to the community.


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