UTRGV School of Medicine welcomes new cohort

July 29, 2018

HARLINGEN — The room quickly turned emotional as family, friends and possible new mentors watched 56 students get cloaked with their white coat as they prepare to begin the first year of medical school at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.

This is the third cohort to walk the stage to receive the ceremonial white coat for the UTRGV School of Medicine, which opened its doors in 2016. And this time, the event was held at the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District’s Performing Arts Center, a city in which the region-wide university has a campus and several clinics for these students to practice medicine.

“This is just an accumulation of so much hard work,” said student Stephanie Onyechi of Sugar Land after the ceremony. “Coming to the school and seeing how it’s been on the works for 70 years and all the community has been fighting for it, it’s kind of amazing that we are all a part of this experience. And just thinking about the future, I’m just so excited of what’s going to come next.”

The ceremony was led by Dr. Leonel Vela, senior associate dean for education and academic affairs at UTRGV School of Medicine, who introduced school officers as well as the keynote speaker, Dr. John Prescott, chief academic officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges.

Prescott had the opportunity to meet the students Friday, he said, and talked to them about some of the lessons he learned throughout his more than 30-year career in medicine which, above all, he said, reminded him to remain humble, interested in learning every day and focused on providing a service to the community.

“There is more to learn than there is time to learn it,” he told the wide-eyed students before they walked the stage. “Earn the title of doctor by always listening to the patients carefully, and demonstrating respect and being respectful … your golden standard should always be, ’Am I treating this patient the way that I want my family to be cared for as a physician?”

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com

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