NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Class of 2018 Receive White Coats
July 22, 2016
The 314 members of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (NYITCOM) class of 2018 received white coats, hugs, and practical advice in a July 20 ceremony marking their transition from classroom to clinic.
The student-doctors will spend the next two years in clerkships, or rotations, in various specialties at more than 30 hospitals on Long Island and in upstate New York, Brooklyn, Queens, and New Jersey. Many will work under NYITCOM alumni who serve as program directors or who oversee medical education at the institutions.
“I can’t wait to get some patient contact,” said Sally Shukry, who will begin her first rotation in surgery on August 1 at Nassau University Medical Center. “That’s the best part—I can’t wait to get out there and feel like I’m making the difference. Even if it’s a little difference, it’s still a difference.”
Several NYITCOM alumni, including current faculty members or relatives of class members, helped “coat” the students, each of whom walked across a stage at nearby Crest Hollow Country Club as parents and friends snapped photos and shot video from the audience.
This year, there are three NYITCOM white coat ceremonies. The college has decided to phase out the second-year ceremony and will formally issue white coats at ceremonies for first-year students at the new Jonesboro, Ark. location on August 5 and in Old Westbury on August 23.
For Shukry, the journey to the white coat ceremony took an early and unexpected turn when she discovered she was pregnant during her first year of medical school. Her husband, Aiden Khalifa, had entered NYITCOM’s special program for émigré physicians the year before. Together, between studying, classes, boards, and clubs, they’ve raised Logan, now 17 months.
“We’re helping each other,” said Shukry. She also noted how her colleagues and teachers also supported her during her pregnancy and in the classroom. Reem Abu-Sbaigh (D.O. ’01) and former NYITCOM faculty member Sarah Curtis, D.O., offered office space so she could pump breast milk for Logan near her classes, and Bennett Futterman, Ph.D., made sure she had a special mask to limit vapors from formaldehyde during anatomy labs.
“We all have special faculty members we trust with career advice and life advice,” said Shukry. “They’ve been very supportive. I don’t think I would have been able to be where I am today without our supportive faculty and staff.”
At the ceremony, NYIT President Edward Guiliano, Ph.D., spoke to the class about transformations in medicine, including how emerging technologies and an emphasis on connectivity on numerous levels will affect patient-doctor communication.
“Your NYIT education will prepare you well as you integrate multitudes of new advances, new technology, new delivery methods, and more into your practice,” said President Guiliano, adding that empathy and “clinical mindfulness” are also key skills to develop.
Keynote Speaker and Alumnus of the Year Jason Golbin (D.O. ’00), chief medical officer and vice president of medical affairs at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center, urged the soon-to-be interns to work hard and commit themselves to success.
“Our job, our calling, is to serve our patients,” he said. “You serve them best by giving your best every day, even at 3 a.m. on the 19th hour of your shift after you’ve answered your 42nd page of the night.”
Golbin, who interspersed his own advice with excerpts from Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go, said new interns need to “go above and beyond” what is expected of them in learning more, helping their colleagues, and delivering patient care.
”The business of medicine is important, but it is never primary,” he added. “You will make a good living but remember, our bottom line is not one of financial statements and balance sheets. It’s whether we have served our fellow humans well in the most important way imaginable—that is, by helping them stay alive and healthy.”
Following Golbin’s remarks, NYITCOM Dean Wolfgang Gilliar, D.O. administered the pledge of commitment to the class, whose members promised to their allegiance to lifelong learning, the osteopathic profession, and the delivery of quality healthcare.
“Your future is limitless,” Gilliar said. “You are the ones who decide in which direction medicine will move. You will be the future of medicine—and that is no easy task.”