With approximately 150 eager and anxious first-year medical students in front of him, Dean Henri R. Ford, M.D., MHA, wasted no time in making the physicians-to-be smile during their first day as students at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
“You know, I am also a freshman here,” said Dr. Ford, referring to the recent start of his own tenure at the medical school. “I only beat you by eight weeks. We are really in this together!”
The enthusiastic welcome from Dr. Ford was greeted by laughter from the students in the Miller School’s M.D. Class of 2022, whom Dr. Ford assured were all in the right place.
“I am here to tell you to relax; it’s not a mistake that you are here,” said Dr. Ford, who is also chief academic officer of the medical school. “You represent the very finest students that the best universities on earth have to offer.”
Dr. Ford and the medical education deans spoke to the incoming class in the auditorium of the Rosenstiel Medical Sciences Building in August. He said ensuring an optimal learning experience is a crucial priority for the school, and he promised that the faculty would do everything they could to keep the students on a path to becoming outstanding physicians.
“We are here for you,” he said. “There is nothing more important to us than your success.”
He emphasized to the students the importance of asking for help when they need it, explaining that a strong support system exists to help solve a wide range of challenges during the fast-paced journey of medical school.
But he also challenged the students to demonstrate determination, a strong commitment to hard work, and an uncompromising pursuit of excellence. He motivated them to fulfill their highest potential on a path to greatness.
“We are certain you will become future leaders who will transform the practice of medicine through your contributions as superb physicians, who will alleviate the suffering of patients, and as physician-scientists who will come up with discoveries and therapies for vexing problems that, so far, we haven’t been able to solve,” said Dr. Ford.
“The medical profession is perhaps the noblest, the most exciting, the most exhilarating and the most fulfilling discipline anyone can pursue,” Dr. Ford added. “Very few professions, if any, can boast the impact you can have on human life.
Medical school is a transformative experience, said Alex J. Mechaber, M.D., senior associate dean for undergraduate medical education. “But you’re also going to have the opportunity to transform medicine as we know it. In fact, we’re counting on it.”
Mechaber reinforced the message that the faculty and staff are here to help with the “winding roads and twists and turns and curve balls thrown your way” on the journey through medical school.
“The Miller School is a family,” Dr. Mechaber said. “It’s the culture of our institution, and that’s something I’m proud of.
During the orientation, the students also received one of the most recognized symbols of the medical profession as a gift from the School’s Medical Alumni Association as they presented each student a stethoscope, as part of its “Stethoscopes for Students” initiative.
“It is our hope you will use this gift throughout your career knowing you are always a part of the Miller School family,” said Robin Straus Furlong, M.D. ’82, president of the Medical Alumni Association.
The program is designed to provide incoming medical students with their first stethoscope as a way of welcoming them to the Miller School. Each stethoscope had the Miller School name inscribed on it.
“It makes me feel a little closer to my goal,” said student Emily Mejia. “It makes me feel included and proud to be a part of such a good school.”