The Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine welcomed its newest class led by a new dean, Dr. Juan C. Cendan, at this year’s White Coat Ceremony. At the annual event, incoming medical students receive their first short white coat symbolizes their entry into the medical profession. And the beginning of their journey around the long white coat worn by doctors.
Addressing the 120 incoming medical students, Cendan reminded them that bedstyle and book literacy go hand in hand with being a great doctor. And the doctor has to listen to directions that bring patients to the clinic.
“You will train in a culturally rich environment where every cue matters. You have to be ‘on’ all the time,” he said, adding in Spanish: ““A ponerte las pilas!” Literally it means “put your batteries in”. Colloquially it means “to get started”.
Class of 2026 profile
US News & World Report named the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine the second most diverse medical school in the country in 2022. And this last class reflects that. Students represent 10 countries, 85% are bilingual and a third are the first in their family to go to university.
Only 20, Daniel Boaretto is one of those first generation students. And one of the youngest in the class…the youngest is 18! Daniel’s mother, Carla, an immigrant from Venezuela, worked at Café Bustelo while attending FIU as a student.
“The American dream exists. I’m super happy to have a doctor in the family,” she beamed, standing next to her son. Daniel is a product of the College of Medicine’s Early Assurance program, which qualifies Honors College pre-med students for guaranteed admission.
Isa Sabir is the first student of another FIU program designed to recruit minorities least represented in medicine: the Albert E. Dotson, Sr. Premedical Pipeline Program. Sabir’s brother and sister looked proudly into the crowd as he put on his white coat – “It feels great. I feel like I’m ready,” said Sabir.
Following a growing national trend in medicine, more than half of the class (54%) are women, including Sofia and Julia Steger, the medical school’s first identical twins. Actually they are triplets – their brother chose a different career. But the sisters, who often finish each other’s sentences, wanted to stay together.
Sofia: “It’s unbelievable.”
Julia: “It’s great.”
Sofia: “We worked so hard to do it together.”
Julia: “She is the best study partner I could wish for.”
Prevention is the best medicine.
The new class received a special videotaped message from Dr. Herbert Wertheim, the college’s founder and namesake. Wertheim congratulated the students, noted that they had been chosen from over 6,700 candidates, and offered advice in the form of what he considers three of the most important words in medicine: “Prevention. Prevention. Prevention.”
“I solemnly swear…”
As part of the ceremony, the new students take an oath, modeled on the Hippocratic Oath, in which they swear to be “loyal to the profession of medicine and just and generous to all”. They will take the oath again when they graduate.