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July 29, 2016

​University of Missouri School of Medicine Class of 2020 Demographics

White Coat Ceremony Marks Start of Professional Journey for 104 Medical Students

MU School of Medicine celebrates increase in applications, minority enrollment

Students from the University of Missouri School of Medicine class of 2020 took their first steps toward becoming physicians during a White Coat Ceremony this afternoon at Jesse Hall on the University of Missouri campus.

“Now, more than ever, is an exciting time to be part of the MU School of Medicine,” said Patrick Delafontaine, M.D., the Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of MU School of Medicine. “With 27 percent of our new students representing various minority groups, diversity is perhaps one of the greatest strengths of the class. These are differences to celebrate, because — like their future patients — our students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences.”

The class of 2020 consists of 104 students. Of this class, 27 percent of students self-identified as an ethnic minority. This includes students who are Asian, black, Latino, American Indian or Pacific Islander.

A goal of medical schools across the nation is to increase enrollment by traditionally underrepresented students, and 8 percent of students in the MU class of 2020 self-identified as underrepresented minorities.

The MU School of Medicine received 2,167 applications for the class of 2020, marking the highest number of applications ever received by the school. Class members are 49 percent male and 51 percent female and range from 21 to 48 years old. In addition, 26 percent of students are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, 18 percent are from rural areas and 86 percent are from Missouri.

At the ceremony, the students were presented with their first white coats, the most common symbol of the medical profession for more than a century, in front of hundreds of their family members and friends. The annual event encourages new medical students to begin their education by upholding the highest values and standards of their profession.

Eight to 12 students from the class will complete their third and fourth years of medical education at the clinical campus in Springfield, Missouri. The medical school plans to expand its class size each year to 128 students with the completion of the Patient-Centered Care Learning Center in 2017.

The first White Coat Ceremony was conducted in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The ceremony was created by Arnold Gold, M.D., a pediatric neurologist, who called the white coat his profession’s “cloak of compassion.” The Arnold P. Gold Foundation estimates that a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage is now held at more than 90 percent of schools of medicine and osteopathy in the United States, as well as at all four medical schools in Israel. The first White Coat Ceremony at MU occurred in 1997.


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