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Chancellor Collins welcomes SOM Class of 2025 to ‘an exciting time to be coming into medicine’

UMass Medical School welcomes 162 new medical students

The Albert Sherman Center Auditorium was filled with new students on Monday, Aug. 9, as the 162-member School of Medicine Class of 2025 gathered to hear a welcome address from Chancellor Michael F. Collins.

In addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, Chancellor Collins spoke about the impact war, lack of clean water and adequate health insurance has on children's health globally.

“In the United States, we recognize that if you’re not insured, a child has only 70 percent chance of being properly immunized, never mind against coronavirus—all diseases,” Collins said. “Think of the opportunity that you will have with your commitment to actually do something about that: What an exciting time to be coming into medicine.”

Collins said each encounter the future MDs have with their patients will be unique and profound.

“In each instance, we as physicians accept an awesome responsibility to ensure patients’ human dignity. And as such, we enter into an inevitable covenant with the patient. We agree to do what we can to care for them and about them,” Collins said. “Study with intensity, always take care of your patients and always hold the hand of a patient.”

Terence R. Flotte, MD, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor, executive deputy chancellor, provost and dean of the School of Medicine said 10 students in this class are first-generation college students, 17 are from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds, and 27 are from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine. Students come from across the country: 108 of the MD and MD/PhD students are from Massachusetts and 11 call California home.

Many of the new students have a connection to UMass—16 percent earned their undergraduate degrees at UMass system schools. Eleven students are training to be physician-scientists through the MD/PhD program and 25 are in the Population-based Urban and Rural Community Health (PURCH) Track.

The chancellor’s remarks resonated with Shridhar Singh, SOM ’25, of Sharon. In studying to become a physician, Singh is combining his interests in science, biology and people.

“I'm looking forward to the experience. [The chancellor talked] about how to work with patients. I’m looking forward to making those connections,” Singh said.

Emily Meara, SOM ’25, of Wellesley, said she looked forward to getting information about the Global Health Pathway.

“I’m really excited to be here at UMass Medical School,” Meara said. “I really think the community seems so strong, really trying to build each other up in a way that seems so unique. The professors and the people involved in the program just seem so incredible and the opportunities with the different tracks and pathways are really unprecedented.”

The new SOM class is 69 percent women, which reflects a national trend. In his remarks, Dean Flotte cited the increased number of women in medicine as one of the reasons to be optimistic about the field. The number one reason to be optimistic, Flotte said, is the students themselves.

“You are chosen to be here for a reason,” Flotte said. “You will match, you will find a good spot to do your residency and you will have jobs.”

Students in the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences who are beginning their PhD work in biomedical sciences will be on campus starting Aug. 16. Students in the Graduate School of Nursing’s Graduate Entry Pathway begin classes on Aug. 23. All other GSN students start on Sept. 1.

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