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First-Year University of Maryland School of Medicine Medical Students Celebrate White Coat Ceremony

November 06, 2019

E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA

Members of the Class of 2023 Receive Their First White Coats

The University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) held its annual White Coat Ceremony on November 1 at the Hippodrome Theatre in downtown Baltimore.

Today marks a major milestone in what will surely be a momentous and lifelong journey,” said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, UM Baltimore, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor, and Dean of the School of Medicine. One hundred and fifty of you sit here today. Each one of you has earned your place in this class, and indeed in today’s ceremony.”

The White Coat Ceremony has been an annual tradition at the School of Medicine since 1997. During this event, first-year medical students are presented their first white coats, which have long been the symbol of physicians’ and scientists’ induction into the medical profession. The event, which was sponsored by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, is also intended to serve as an opportunity for families of first-year medical students to gain a glimpse of what medical school is really like.

During the ceremony, coats were put on first-year medical students by School of Medicine house leadership faculty to welcome their junior colleagues to the profession of medicine. After being "coated," students recited a Code of Honor acknowledging their acceptance of the obligations of the medical profession.

Margo HuffmanAmong the students receiving their white coats was Margo Huffman.

“My future in medicine was sparked around the age of 13 when I began volunteering for a non-profit in Baltimore,” said Margo, who as a young adult spent many summers assisting critically ill children and their families. “Although I loved supporting patients and helping them cope with treatment, I wondered how I could play a direct role in their journey to recovery.” Margo’s desire to become a physician was later solidified after shadowing a psychiatrist. “I started noticing all of the complex and interconnected social and biological factors involved in the delivery of patient care.”

A first-generation college graduate, Margo received her Bachelor of Science degree in Physiology & Neurobiology at the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP). Although she is currently unsure of what specialty she would like to pursue, Margo looks forward to the exposure medical school will offer. “The future is still very up in the air for me!” she said. “While this path will be challenging, I'm excited to be entering into a profession in which I will constantly learn and grow into a better person and better physician.”

CameranFrank Henn, MDLike Margo, Cameran Burt’s interest in medicine began at a very young age. Around that time, I discovered my passion for service and scientific problem solving, and how medicine would allow me to combine the two,” he said. Also, a graduate from UMCP, Cameran spent a year conducting research in the lab of Frank Henn, MD, Associate Professor of Orthopaedics, after completing his degree in Neurobiology and Physiology. He looks forward to a career in academic medicine and hopes to inspire future physicians of color. “One of my passions is increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine so that physicians reflect the diverse patient population we serve,” he said. “I look forward to being involved in these efforts not only as a medical student, but throughout my career.”

Suneet WaghmaraeA New-York native, Suneet Waghmarae discovered his passion in medicine as an undergraduate student at the University of Rochester. “Medicine was intriguing at the time because I saw how it incorporated the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities,” he said. Prior to arriving at UMSOM, Suneet spent two years working as a medical assistant at a private dermatology practice in Massachusetts. “Those years were instrumental in my decision to apply to medical school,” he explained. It taught me the skills sets physicians needed to have in order to deliver effective and compassionate care.” Suneet also looks forward to career in academic medicine and hopes to share his knowledge and experiences with the next generation of physicians.

Kimberly M. Lumpkins, MDAt the ceremony, Kimberly Lumpkins, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, encouraged the class to realize their promise. “By becoming a physician, you have been given an incredible gift,” she said. “You all have been given a gift of purpose. Never lose sight of that.”

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and more than $540 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact more than $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit

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