New SIU Medical Students Begin Training


August 8, 2013                                                          

New SIU Medical Students Begin Training

Medical students in the Class of 2017 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine start their medical training next week in Carbondale. The students will participate in a “White Coat ceremony” beginning at 4 p.m. Friday, August 16, in McLeod Theater.

During the ceremony, Dr. J. Kevin Dorsey, dean and provost and a 1978 graduate of the School, and Rita Cheng, Ph.D., chancellor of SIUC, 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. James Cunnar, a family medicine physician in Naperville and a 1994 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. Christine Todd, chair of the Department of Medical Humanities, associate professor of internal medicine, and a 1993 graduate, will give the keynote speech.  She received the School’s 2012 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-nine men and 32 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 2,550 physicians since the first class in 1975. Its website is

Media Contacts

Karen Carlson,
SIU, 217-545-3854

Cindy Davidsmeyer,
SCI, 217-545-3837


Phone 217-545-8000
P.O. Box 19620
Springfield, IL 62794-9620
The mission of SIU School of Medicine is to assist the citizens 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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