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Students Begin Training at SIU School of Medicine

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Medical students in the Class of 2020 at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine began their medical training this week at SIU in Carbondale. The students will participate in a “White Coat Ceremony” at 3 p.m. Friday, August 12, in Shryock Auditorium.

During the ceremony, Debra Klamen, MD, MHPE, associate dean for education and curriculum and chair of the Department of Medical Education, will welcome the students and read the Hippocratic Oath.

Wesley McNeese, MD, associate dean for diversity and inclusion, will present the medical students. Elizabeth Cavanaugh, MD, an anesthesiologist in St. Louis and a member of the Class of 1998, will give studeStudents Begin Training at SIU School of Medicinents their first white coat, which is provided by the School’s Alumni Society. The students also receive a pin containing the words “Compassion, Respect and Integrity” from the SIU Foundation.

Martha Hlafka, MD, assistant professor of internal medicine, will give the keynote speech. She received the School’s 2015 Humanism in Medicine Award.

Most of the students are from the southern two-thirds of the state, says Erik J. Constance, MD, associate professor of internal medicine, associate dean for student affairs and admissions and a 1988 graduate. The class has 41 men and 30 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 more than 2,754 physicians since the first class in 1975.



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