By: Kim Keblish

On Thursday, the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine commemorated its third-year B.S./MD, class of 2023, cohort into medical school with the White Coat Ceremony. Parents, friends, and family members cheered, and even brought air horns to celebrate their students’ accomplishments in the Great Hall.

This moment was particularly special to Rachel Wong, 20, because she was coated by her aunt, a physician herself, who served as Wong’s inspiration to pursue medical school. Wong recalled, “I was four when I was going to the Bronx Zoo with my aunt and someone passed out on the train. My aunt was able to provide medical attention to help get him back on his feet. She shaped this image of what a physician should be.”

The B.S./MD 7-year program is an integrated fast-track of B.S. baccalaureate studies for three-years followed by a four-year MD curriculum. From this point on, the studies become more accelerated and rigorous as the students gear up to take a United States Medical Licensing Examination Step 1 medical exam in December and notorious “weed-out” classes like Anatomy and Fundamentals next semester. “Now there is more significance on things I do to train to become a doctor, it feels more real,” said Hannah Contreras, 20, “I’m not just studying to get good grades anymore. Now everything I do is for my career. Every time I take in information, I interpret it as, ‘ok, so how is this going to help me to serve my patients.’”

While Sophie Davis students already tackle a full course schedule, with a minimum of 21-credit at times, and at least 20-30 hours of studying per week, students assured they would be able to keep up with the intensifying course load. The school’s mentor-mentee relationships help assimilate underclassmen into the program and students are always willing to provide advice, notes, and study guides to fellow classmates. As Rachel Wong put it, “Close Sophie friends are the shoulders that you rely on to help pull you through late-night studying. Sophie pulls the people you love right into your family.”

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