It was a week of firsts for the University of Florida College of Medicine class of 2019.
When the 135 physicians-in-training filed into the circular learning studio in the George T. Harrell, M.D., Medical Education Building for their first day of orientation, they caught their first glimpse of the facility that would serve as their home for the next four years.
The students, who will be the first class to learn in the Harrell Medical Education Building for the entirety of their medical school careers, also got the chance to help make UF College of Medicine history by attending the building’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony.
“For years we’ve been dreaming about this facility,” said UF College of Medicine dean Michael L. Good, M.D. “We have really what I believe is a national model for what a medical education building should look like.”
As Good stood in the center of the room, surrounded by a sea of students at round tables, he discussed the college’s history of innovation, from the invention of Gatorade to the use of proton therapy.
“Hopefully you will catch the innovative spirit, because it does permeate our medical school,” he said.
The orientation, which ran from July 28 to Aug. 6, included an introduction to the curriculum, CPR training, tours of the UF Health campus, the dean’s welcome reception and a special presentation by the UF Medical Alumni Association, where the students received their first stethoscopes.
“It’s such an exciting time to be here,” UF Medical Alumni Association president Gina Sevigny, M.D. ’94, said to the crowd. “Many wonderful people are here to support you throughout your years of medical school.”
A flurry of orange tissue paper then filled the room as students lifted the lids off of the white, rectangular boxes perched in front of them and carefully unwrapped their new 3M Littmann Cardiology III stethoscopes.
The gifts, which were funded by alumni and friends of the College of Medicine, served not only as a symbol of the relationship between patient and physician but also of the beginning of a long and rewarding journey.
“It marks that we’re officially trusted to be doctors,” said medical student Kirollos Roman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from UF.
The class of 2019 includes 18 students with graduate or professional degrees; 16 students from the Junior Honors Medical Program; 70 students who attended UF for undergraduate studies; and seven students who are pursuing combined M.D./Ph.D. degrees.
Despite their diverse backgrounds and aspirations, the students share something in common: They chose to dedicate their lives to medicine, and they chose to train at UF, where the Harrell Medical Education Building will help them learn the complicated, high-risk skills they will need to serve their future patients.
“You’re going to change the course of somebody’s life,” Good said. “Keep relating everything you learn back to the patient.”
For more photos from orientation, visit Facebook.com/ufdrgator.