Gasps of excitement filled the lecture hall as the 135 first-year students filed in to find dark blue, rectangular boxes on the tables in front of each of their seats. Upon unwrapping their mystery packages, the new Gator doctors-in-training found a tool to mark the beginning of their medical education journey.
One by one the students draped the shiny 3M Littmann Cardiology III stethoscopes around their necks and flashed grins as they eagerly snapped photos to capture the moment.
“The English language doesn’t allow me to articulate,” said 25-year-old Adam Koby, who earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Central Florida before deciding to attend medical school. “It’s a symbol that this is real.”
The stethoscopes, made possible through a gift from the Maun family, were given to the UF College of Medicine class of 2018 during freshman orientation.
“As part of The Gator Nation, you have a lot of support behind you,” said UF Medical Alumni Association president Gina Sevigny, M.D. ’94, as she presented the stethoscopes on behalf of oncologist Noel Maun, M.D., Ph.D. ’95, and his wife and fellow Gator, Erica.
The orientation, which ran from July 29 to Aug. 5, kicked off with an informal meet-and-greet at The Swamp Restaurant and also included tours of the medical center, a live patient interview, a CPR training session, a barbecue at Lake Wauburg and an introduction to the college’s curriculum.
“There actually are many, many roads a physician can travel,” said College of Medicine Dean Michael L. Good, M.D., as he welcomed students. “Our medical education program is going to prepare you no matter which road you take.”
For Deina Bossa, her decision to stay in Gainesville for medical school is solidified when she sees how much the faculty cares about student education — and it doesn’t hurt that she considers UF to be the best medical school in the state and even country.
“It feels like home to me,” said Bossa, who is one of 17 students from the class of 2018 to attend the College of Medicine as part of the Junior Honors Medical Program.
The latest group of first-years also includes 10 students with graduate degrees; two students from the Rural and Urban Underserved Medicine program; 70 students who attended UF for undergraduate studies; and seven students who are pursuing combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees.
The class of 2018 is made up of Peace Corps volunteers, military members, musicians, athletes, writers, researchers and satirists. One student received a presidential service award while another served a stint as a circus performer. One student acted as a jail chaplain while another worked as a radio talk show host and DJ.
The diversity in age, experience, hometown and ethnicity displayed by the class will not only help these future doctors understand and communicate with their future patients but will also help them become better health care professionals, said Donna Parker, M.D. ’90, associate dean for diversity and health equity.
“My goal is to make each of you feel like you belong here,” she told students, “because you do.”For more photos from orientation, visit Facebook.com/ufdrgator.