July 29, 2016

Many paths, one destination: Medical School welcomes its 170th class of medical students

Diverse class of 172 will experience many aspects of the new curriculum throughout four years

University of Michigan Medical School white coat

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — They’ve taken many paths to get to this point, from 28 states, 60 undergraduate colleges. They’ve pursued educations in a wide range of fields, from biology and physics to political science, engineering and the arts.

But tomorrow, their paths will merge, as they become the 170thclass of medical students to enter the University of Michigan Medical School.

In a ceremony at Hill Auditorium, the 172 aspiring physicians will receive their first white coats bearing the U-M logo, and their first stethoscopes, from the faculty who will lead their classes beginning next week.

As they step from the stage, they’ll start down the path laid by the school’s new curriculum — the first class to be fully immersed in it across all 4 years.

Not only will they learn the science and skills they need to become doctors, but they’ll gain immersive experience  working together with professionals from other health fields, and training in how to lead in a time of great change in health care.

They’ll also choose a path within a path, as the first class to have eight of the school’s new Paths of Excellence open to them. Each gives students a chance to immerse themselves in an area where they can have an impact while they are in medical school, in fields such as health policy, entrepreneurship, scientific discovery and bioethics.

The diverse class is 56 percent female and 16.3 percent from backgrounds traditionally underrepresented in medicine. The majority come to medical school after gaining experiences beyond college.

“This is an exceptional group, and we’re going to offer them an exceptional experience that takes full advantage of the changes we’ve made in recent years, all within our vibrant and supportive community,” says Rajesh Mangrulkar, M.D., associate dean for medical student education.

The community is brought together in the M-Home, a central part of the new curriculum. On the first day of medical school, students will take part in a “sorting ceremony” that may make them think they’ve been temporarily transported to the mythical Hogwarts School. Each student will find out which of four “houses” they’ll spend their medical school careers with, as a way of creating community, support, small-group learning, wellness, service and mentoring opportunities within the school.

The inaugural class of the M-Home named the houses last year, after legendary physicians with links to U-M:

  • Dr. William Henry Fitzbutler, U-M’s first African-American medical school graduate, who after receiving his degree in 1872 went on to found one of the first medical colleges that did not permit discrimination based on race.
  • Dr. Jonas Edward Salk, the virologist who pioneered one of the first influenza vaccines and co-developed the first successful polio vaccine, which was tested in field trials led by a U-M team.
  • Dr. Alice Hamilton, an 1893 U-M medical graduate who went on to pioneer the field of industrial and occupational health, and was heavily engaged in social reform and improving the lives of the working poor.
  • Dr. Amanda Sanford, the Medical School’s first female graduate, whose 1871 graduation thesis on complications of childbirth laid the foundation for a career dedicated to advancing obstetrical care and women's health.

The new incoming class will be immersed in the clinical care world of the U-M Health System from the beginning. They’ll develop an understanding of the immense importance of teamwork in the clinical setting while they engage in inter-professional education with students enrolled in U-M’s other health professions schools, including Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Public Health, Kinesiology and Social Work.

For more about the new curriculum, visit http://curriculum.med.umich.edu.

More facts about this year’s incoming class:

  • 6,111 people applied for a spot in this year’s class. Only 529 made it to the interview stage – which was an even more selective round than last year.
  • 89 of the 172 students starting medical school at U-M this month come from Michigan, with the rest coming from 27 other states.
  • 60 of them attended U-M as undergraduates, with the rest graduating from 11 other Michigan institutions and 48 out-of-state institutions.
  • 12 students will pursue both an M.D. and Ph.D. degree through the Medical Scientist Training Program. Additionally, three students who already hold dental degrees will train in oral & maxillofacial surgery. Many others may choose to pursue a second degree at other U-M schools, through any one of the eight dual-degree programs open to medical students.
  • The students range in age from 20 to 36, with the average at 24.2 years.