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OHSU resumes annual white coat ceremony for new medical students

The OHSU School of Medicine MD class of 2024 celebrates its belated white coat ceremony at the Robertson Life Sciences Building on Feb. 11, 2022. (OHSU/Ben Schneider)

After a three-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, OHSU’s School of Medicine is renewing its tradition of welcoming its newest group of medical students on Friday with a ceremony where they symbolically don their white coats for the first time.

David Jacoby, MD stands by the trees.

David Jacoby, MD (OSHU)

“This ceremony is a remarkable rite of passage”, David Jacoby, MD, acting dean of the OHSU School of Medicine. “It’s the moment when students go from the strenuous effort of getting into medical school to join an incredible group of peers and a team of faculty and staff who will now walk alongside them. For us at OHSU, this ceremony is a renewal of purpose, a reminder that we are not just here to advance health and care for our patients. We are honored to train the next generation of physicians.

Journalists must confirm their presence no later than 8 a.m. on Friday to attend this paid event.

The annual OHSU School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony was discontinued in 2020 for security reasons during the pandemic. Eighteen months after the MD Class of 2024 began medical school, their ceremony was held late in February 2022. The MD Class of 2025 ceremony was held in July 2022, and now the MD Class of 2026 will have theirs, as usual, at the end of their first week of medical school.

Of the 150 medical students starting this fall:

  • 88% are Oregonians or Oregon Heritage
  • 69% identify as female
  • 36% come from a disadvantaged areas
  • 33% comes from racial or ethnic origins other than white
  • 25% come from a rural
  • 23% come from a racial or ethnic group underrepresented in medicine
  • Of them completed military service

Event Information:

WHAT: OHSU School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

WHEN: 10 a.m. on Friday, August 12, 2022

WHERE: Oregon Convention Center

777 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland, OR

DETAILS: Allison Empey, MD., assistant professor of pediatrics at the OHSU School of Medicine, will deliver the annual JS Reinschmidt, MD lecture, which carries a special message to students.

The journalists present will be able to:

Interview members of the OHSU MD Class of 2026 (see profiles below) about their hopes and dreams for the future, and OHSU School of Medicine faculty about what these new students will experience while studying for medicine at OHSU.

Take photos and record a video of the white coat ceremony and students marking the start of their medical training, including ceremonially donning a white coat and reciting the doctor’s oath for the first time.

Journalists must confirm their presence no later than 8 a.m. on Friday to attend this paid event. To RSVP, contact Franny White at or 971-413-1992.

Meet the class of 2026

Catherine Ross

Katelin Ross smiles against a white wall.

Katelin Ross (Courtesy)

As a lifelong athlete, 36-year-old Katelin “Kate” Ross has always had an interest in health and wellness. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that she realized medicine was her calling.

Her path to medical school was a winding one. After growing up in the eastern Oregon town of La Grande, she earned a bachelor’s degree in radiological science from Boise State University. Ross became an ultrasound technologist at St. Luke’s Medical Center in Boise, where the images she captured helped diagnose and manage health issues.

“I love interacting with patients and being part of their joy, their grief, and their journey as they try to figure out what’s going on with their health,” Ross said of being an ultrasound technician. , who she described as a “catalyst” for recovery.

Later, she became a trainer for a medical device company, teaching ultrasound techniques to other healthcare workers. She also worked part-time as a Pilates instructor and used the anatomical knowledge she already had as an ultrasound professional to help her clients regain fitness and recover from injuries.

After Ross became pregnant, she relied on specialist obstetricians to help her through a difficult birthing process, as the baby remained head-up, or breech, in her womb. These specialists, along with the pediatrician who guided her family through their little girl’s early health issues, made Ross appreciate the impact doctors can have. After giving birth to a second child, Ross decided to go into medicine in 2019.

Ross, her husband, their 6-year-old daughter, and their 3-year-old son moved to Portland a few weeks ago before starting classes at OHSU.

“I’m lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband and wonderful, very resilient kids who are ready for this crazy ride,” Ross said. “I might be disappointed that it took me so long to get here. But the long road I’ve traveled has defined who I am today and prepared me for this moment.

Part of what drives her today is her desire to help rural Oregonians lead healthier lifestyles. Remembering the two-hour trips his family used to take for his mother’s appointments with specialists when she was young, Ross knows there is a need for more rural providers. As a medical student, she hopes to do clinical rotations at La Grande and wants to support outreach for OHSU to people in rural Oregon.

Jaime Contreras

Jaime Contreras sits next to a bear statue.

Jaime Contreras (Courtesy)

After his family struggles to access health care due to financial, cultural and language barriers, Jaime Contreras is determined to help underserved community members receive the quality, compassionate care that every being human deserves.

Contreras, now 29, and his two siblings were born in Los Angeles, after their parents came to the United States from Mexico as undocumented immigrants. Working as street food vendors and other jobs while receiving public support, Contreras’ determined parents did all they could so he and his siblings could seek better opportunities.

When he was 10 and his grandmother fell ill, he and his family moved back to Mexico so they could be with her during her final moments. Understanding the difficulties of their family, Contreras and his older brothers decided to work to support themselves and their parents.

Contreras and his siblings are US citizens, but lack of immigration papers prevented their parents from returning to the United States. At 20, Contreras decided to move back to California so he could pursue his dream of becoming a doctor and break down the barriers that held him back. and his returning family. Soon after, his brother followed and joined the United States Navy. Contreras and his brother eventually helped their parents get government approval to come to the United States as permanent residents. Her younger sister also came to the United States and is now an undergraduate student.

Contreras attended community college, then transferred to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he became the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. He stayed at UCLA after graduating to be a research associate in a series of labs, where he helped other scientists study enzymes, mitochondria, metabolism, and heart-brain interactions. , a field known as neurocardiology.

The last lab where Contreras worked was led by Olujimi Ajijola, MD, Ph.D., who simultaneously researches and treats patients with irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias as well as neurocardiology-related issues. Inspired, Contreras expanded his career aspirations to become a physician-researcher like Ajijola.

“Earning both a medical degree and a doctorate means that I will be able to treat patients while advancing medical science, so that patients can one day receive better treatments for their health problems,” said Contreras, who is registered with OHSU MD. /PhD. Training program.

As he looks to the future, Contreras also remembers the past. He recalls that health care was difficult to access in Mexico and the United States for family members with diabetes, cancer and mental health issues. Some could not afford treatment, while others received treatment, but language or cultural differences meant they did not always understand what health care workers were saying during appointments.

“I decided I had to do something,” he said. “I want to provide care to those in need, and my medical background and training will help me become the person who will ensure that patients seek, understand and receive cutting-edge medical treatment, regardless of financial barriers. , cultural or linguistic. I am confident that I can accomplish this at OHSU.

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