The 135 members of the UF College of Medicine’s class of 2016 arrived Thursday to begin their four-year quest to become physicians.
“We’re really excited to have you here at UF,” Joseph Fantone, M.D., the college’s senior associate dean for educational affairs, told students. “We see this really as a partnership of the faculty, staff and you, the student, throughout this process.”
The college’s orientation activities for the new students, which include training sessions, faculty lectures and social events, started Aug. 2 and continue throughout the week. The final event is the dean’s reception on Wednesday, Aug. 8 at Emerson Hall.
“Welcome to our family,” Ross Zeitlin, a class of 2015 medical student, told members of the college’s newest class. “Congratulations, you guys made it.”
The class of 2016 will have the unique distinction of being the first class to fully experience the college’s new curriculum changes this fall. The revised curriculum involves increased small-group and active learning, early exposure to patients and integrating clinical skills throughout training.
This integration is why the new students will receive their white coats at a ceremony in December, versus at the end of the second year, which signified a clean break between the end of basic science studies and the beginning of clinical rotations.
“We want this to be a patient-centered, holistic process from the beginning,” said Jay Lynch, M.D., assistant dean for admissions.
The class of 2016 has 13 out-of-state students and 35 students who are over the age of 25. Last year’s class had half the number of out-of-state and older students.
The number of older students is particularly significant, said Lynch, since over the years, UF has typically tended to have one of the youngest medical school classes in the country.
Sheila McThenia, 45, a cancer survivor and mother of four, said she is thrilled to finally be able to pursue her dream of becoming a physician and knows UF was the right choice.
“I think what really stood out to me was the commitment to patient-centered care,” she said. “That’s my passion. That’s the kind of doctor I want to be.”
Isaac Luria is already familiar with the simulation training opportunities available to UF medical students. He worked as a simulation lab engineer at the college’s Center for Safety, Simulation and Advanced Learning Technologies, before deciding to return to school this fall to become a physician.
“I just wanted to work more with people,” said Luria, 30. “My wife is going to veterinary school at the same time. Her orientation is next week.”
Many of the new medical students chose UF after meeting the faculty and current students.
“Dr. Lynch I think is the doctor we all want to be,” said Rachel Pierce, a member of the class of 2016.
Samuel Lipten, whose girlfriend is attending medical school at the University of Central Florida, said he chose UF for its wealth of offerings, from research to international health outreach trips.
“It has lots of opportunities, anything you want to do,” he said.