For the first time in almost 50 years, every member of the class of 2019 was welcomed into the medical world with a gift of a stethoscope and white coat from our generous COM alumni. These important gifts send our new students a powerful message: The UA College of Medicine alumni will support them, have confidence in them, and wish them well on their road to becoming the doctors of tomorrow.
The Stethoscope and White Coat Campaign began in 2012 and has blossomed each year with more donations to support our incoming medical students. From 2014 to 2015, the number of donors increased 79 percent and the total amount for scholarships grew 62 percent.
Shaunak Pandya, Class of 2019, said, “I am profoundly humbled and honored to have such support from alumni. As a young Indian kid who came to America a little more than a decade ago with no knowledge of English, I feel incredibly blessed to be in this position and I am constantly reminded of how each person plays such a vital role in one’s journey in life. Thank you for reminding me of the value of positively influencing others’ lives and teaching me my role as a future alumnus to create a meaningful impact in students’ medical careers.”
Each medical student took time to write a thank you letter to their donor and many sent photos or stethoscope selfies to further personalize their gratitude. Connecting students with alumni has proven to be a win-win strategy. Alumni love seeing and hearing from new medical students and students feel included as a part of the MedCat family.
For Abigail Ahyong, Class of 2019, the gifts are both symbolic and practical. “I want to be an advocate for underrepresented minorities in medicine and help give back. Every time I wear my stethoscope and don my white coat, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be in medical school and to have the support of family, friends, and alumni like you.”
The gifts are especially important to Arthur Stepp, Class of 2019. “I am a brain cancer survivor and I have struggled in order to reach this point in my life. I had to re-learn how to talk and read during my therapy. Please know that I am grateful and that I endeavor to be a compassionate and skilled physician. I know what it’s like to be a patient. Thank you for these gifts.”
Thanks to our COM alumni, our future caregivers have the symbolic essentials needed to start their journey with passion and determination. Our goal for the future is to provide a white coat, stethoscope, and $1,000 scholarship to every incoming student, every year. To make a gift for a student in the incoming Class of 2020: Give Now.
By Suzanne Jameson
Photo: Angela Wu, MD/MPH Candidate: Class of 2019, listening to the heart of her roommate's dog, Ozy, short for Ozymandias!