White Coat Ceremony Celebrates New MD Class (with Slideshow)

Sixty-six new students received the short white coats that identify them as physicians in training on Friday, July 22, at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel Resort and Spa.

The 66 newest students represent an expansion of the MD class to address an ongoing physician shortage. Chosen from more than 1,600 applicants received by the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), the class includes nine neighbor island residents (six from Maui, two from Moloka’i and one from Hawai’i Island), and O’ahu residents whose hometowns include Kailua, Kane’ohe, Aiea, Wai’anae, Wahiawa and Honolulu. Eight of our students are nonresidents, including one each from Beijing, Japan and Canada. Men make up 52% of the class. The average student age is 23.

Dr. Alson Inaba, an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Emergency Department Physician at the Kapi’olani Medical Center for Women and Children, gave the keynote address. Dr. Inaba is known nationally for inspiring the use of the Bee Gee’s tune, “Stayin’ Alive” to help medical students learn the proper rhythm for chest compressions while performing CPR. The American Heart Association is sharing his technique worldwide in a current media campaign.

Dr. Inaba also is an accomplished magician, who as a youth performed with professional magician David Copperfield. He engaged the new MD class in a little magic during the evening, giving them letters on placards which spelled the word CURE, and helping them transform the word into the term CARE. He explained a physician’s highest calling is to care, because while not every person a doctor encounters can be cured, all benefit from a display of empathy and compassion–from caring. Dr. Inaba was invited to deliver the keynote by the last graduating class of JABSOM, who selected him as the recipient of the Leonard Tow in Humanism Award for the compassion he shows toward patients and families.

The John A. Burns School of Medicine, part of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM), trains a little over 250 students in its MD program annually, as well as another 250 post-MD trainees. The school also confers advanced degrees at UHM in Public Health, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Biomedical Science and a B.S. in Medical Technology.

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