September 4, 2002


Two "Firsts" Among UCSD School of Medicine Incoming Students

More Women Than Men; UCSD Undergrads Outnumber All Others

As Orientation Week unfolds for students entering the UCSD School of Medicine, admissions officials are announcing two demographic "firsts." For the first time, women outnumber men in the incoming class, 62 to 60. Also for the first time, UCSD is the undergraduate school most heavily represented among the students, with a total of 26 entrants.

Robert Resnik, M.D., associate dean for admissions, said that while this year's male/female split is interesting -- and he is personally proud that so many UCSD undergraduates are represented -- the most impressive characteristic about the group is its accomplishments. The 122 students in the School of Medicine's Class of 2006 were selected from a pool of more than 4,000 applicants.

"This group is extraordinarily distinguished academically," Resnik said. "The average science GPA of the entering class is 3.75 and overall GPA almost 3.8. Their MCAT (medical school entrance exam) scores in the physical and biological sciences average in the 85th to 90th percentile of all applicants to medical school nationally."

In addition to their academic accomplishments, Resnik said, the entering students have a broad range of backgrounds, interests and activities. As a group, they are fluent in more than 20 languages. Most have done extensive scientific research prior to embarking on medical school. They have been awarded fellowships from a variety of foundations, including the National Science Foundation, to support their research efforts. And they have published in a number of scientific journals, including Nature, Journal of Physiology, and Blood.

The Class of 2006 also has been extensively involved in humanitarian activities, according to Resnik. Students have worked in children's hospitals, venues for the homeless, Upward Bound, Outward Bound, HIV clinics, hospices, and camps for inner city, autistic and diabetic children. They have volunteered in countries in Central and South America, Croatia, Spain, China, the Philippines and India, and served in the Peace Corp, Americorp and in the Teach for America program.

The class includes campus leaders, all-conference athletes (including academic All Americans), journalists, poets, accomplished performance musicians, and numerous Emergency Medical Technicians. There are also two ex-military personnel -- a former Air Force F-16 pilot, and a former Marine helicopter pilot.

The new medical students are involved in a full schedule of orientation activities this week, capped off by the annual White Coat Ceremony  (see below) on Friday, September 6 at 3 p.m. on the East Lawn. During that event, each student will be ceremoniously "cloaked" with a short white coat by Edward W. Holmes, M.D., dean of the UCSD School of Medicine.

The cloaking ceremony is a rite of passage into medical school. The students wear the short coats throughout their medical school years, differentiating them in clinical settings from UCSD faculty physicians who wear knee-length white coats.

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UCSD Class of 2006 White Coat Ceremony

On Friday, September 6, the last day of orientation for the new students, a rare September downpour added another "first" to the Class of 2006's status: the first new class to be ceremoniously cloaked indoors. The annual White Coat ceremony, which until this year had always been held on the East Lawn, was moved into Liebow Auditorium due to rain.

Students recite the Hippocratic Oath. (Dr. Bailey is in the foreground.)

"Despite the wet weather, we had the largest crowd in memory for a White Coat ceremony," said Maria Savoia, M.D., associate dean for curriculum and student affairs. "It was great to see the support from more than 200 family members, partners, and friends." Savoia joined David Bailey, M.D., deputy dean of the School of Medicine, in presenting each of the students with their short white coats, a rite of passage into medical school. (Dean Edward Holmes, M.D., was away on jury duty.)

Patrick Danaher (left)  with classmate Max Wu (right).  Danaher, an Air Force Academy graduate, used to fly F-16s. Following the white coat ceremony, new medical student Jennifer Aron  poses for a photo with her sisters, Marisol (left) and Katarina (right). Newly-cloaked Dzovag Minassian and her classmate Bahareh Ebrahimzadeh (right). 


Professor Emeritus Helen M. Ranney, M.D.

Professor Emeritus Helen M. Ranney, M.D., department of medicine, was a fitting speaker for the ceremony's keynote address. A trail-blazer for female doctors, Ranney made history in 1973 when she was appointed chair of the UCSD School of Medicine's department of medicine, becoming the first woman in the U.S. to attain such a rank.


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