July 26, 2019

Class of 2023 welcomed to WSU with White Coat Ceremony

Celebrations at the Detroit Opera House for White Coat Ceremony

No matter where they’re from or how they got here, the members of the Wayne State University School of Medicine freshman Class of 2023 know the school’s reputation for providing a high-quality medical education and are prepared to hit the ground running.

Mitchell Naveh and his fiance Holly Lustig.

“I am really excited about today and to be at Wayne State,” said Mitchell Naveh, a native of New Jersey who attended the ceremony with his fiancé, Holly Lustig. “One of the best things about being at Wayne State is the opportunity to go out in the community and help people. It’s something you can’t get anywhere else because they don’t have the Detroit community at their fingertips.”

Naveh completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, where he and Lustig met. They moved to Indiana so Lustig could complete her master’s degree, and then lived in Colorado. They are excited to return to Lustig’s home state of Michigan.

He and his 289 classmates officially became members of the newest class during the School of Medicine’s annual White Coat Ceremony, held July 26 at the Detroit Opera House following two weeks of orientation. During the ceremony, the new students receive their short white coats, which signal that they are physicians-in-training at WSU.

Denise Henry celebrates the White Coat Ceremony with her family.

“I am super excited about the White Coat Ceremony because it marks the beginning of an amazing journey to become a physician,” said Denise Henry, who is from Los Angeles and who completed her undergraduate education at Colorado College. “My first few weeks in Detroit have been really fun. It’s beautiful here. I love the history and the architecture and the food. Orientation has been really helpful these first few weeks.”

The ceremony is an international tradition started by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 to remind incoming medical students to practice humanistic patient-centered medical care. Students wear the coats during their four years of training, leading up to the traditional longer lab coats worn by physicians after graduation.

A family enjoys a few photo opportunities outside the Detroit Opera House.

School of Medicine Dean and Distinguished Professor Jack D. Sobel, M.D., welcomed the students and their families and friends, noting that nearly 10,000 students applied to be members of the incoming class.

“You are about to begin training to become members of a special breed,” Dean Sobel said. “Always remember that you are extremely fortunate to be engaged in the most honorable of professions -- that of healing your fellow human beings. … You are here because we see something in you that sets you apart. So wear your coat with pride.”

Renieh Nabaty, from suburban Detroit beamed with pride as she embarks upon her medical education at Wayne State University after earning

Renieh Nabaty and Mauli Patel, new incoming classmates, are ready to hit the ground running.

her undergraduate degree from WSU. “Today means that I am officially in the role of a physician-in-training and that I’m heading toward a great future.”

Classmate Mauli Patel, from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, said, “I’ve known that I want to be a physician since high school and today marks the beginning of that journey where the opportunities are endless. The first two weeks at Wayne State have been great. Everyone has been so friendly and I’ve really enjoyed meeting people who are like-minded and starting on a similar path to become physicians.”

Dean Sobel also noted the school’s longstanding mission and sense of community service. “Our foundational beliefs have not changed in more than 150 years. Those beliefs are based on a faithfulness to diversity, integration and community. While we are here to learn, we are also here to serve. That distinction is why many of you applied to our school.”

Keynote speaker Erin Miller, M.D. ’13, Res. ’17, who won the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award (Faculty) this year, encouraged members of the class to seek their passions during the next four years.

“My advice is this: Never do anything just because it will look good on your resume. Do things that you care about. Do things you enjoy,” she advised. “Chances are you don’t know all of the things you are passionate about yet. You might surprise yourself. Try new things.”

View photos from White Coat Ceremony