A Solidarity of Purpose

The Class of 2019 embarks on a new curriculum

On August 4, members of the Class of 2019 at HMS and Harvard School of Dental Medicine received their white coats, symbols of the medical and dental professions.

The day celebrated a medical school tradition while also posing a challenge to the students: You have become part of a community. Savor it and support one another.

In remarks that welcomed students to their calling as healers, Ed Hundert ’84, HMS dean for medical education, referenced the Greek god of medicine, Aesculapius. Hundert urged the 165 students gathered in the Armenise Amphitheater to remember the power that touch brings to the healing arts.

The students’ backgrounds are varied—eighty-two men and eighty-three women ranging in age from nineteen to thirty-six from thirty-three U.S. states, six other countries and sixty-one undergraduate institutions. Some graduated from college just this year, others a decade or more ago.

The class roster includes fifty-seven students of Asian origin, including Asian Indian, Burmese, Chinese, Korean, Singaporean, Sri Lankan, Taiwanese, Thai, Vietnamese, and Asian other. Another twenty-seven students identified themselves as minorities underrepresented in medicine, a category that includes students who self-identify as Black or African American, Hispanic other, Mexican American, Native American, and Puerto Rican.

This class of students is the first to experience Pathways, a new curriculum that brings students into the clinic nearly a half year earlier than previous classes and also encourages them to become lifelong learners, Jeffrey S. Flier, HMS dean, said.

“You will find yourselves in clinical settings soon, but you will also have more time to think deeply” about which specialty to pursue, Flier said. “With this transformative new curriculum, you have the opportunity to be pioneers as well.”

Photo: Steven Lipofsky