Major Clinical Year Begins for VP&S Class of 2021

January 4, 2019
Medical students in the Class of 2021 gather for a group photo at the Student Clinician's Ceremony at the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Members of the Class of 2021 at the Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician's Ceremony 

On Jan. 4, 153 members of the Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons (VP&S) Class of 2021 started their major clinical year with the Steven Z. Miller Student Clinician’s Ceremony.

Pin designed by the Class of 2021
Pin designed by the Class of 2021

The ceremony has been part of VP&S medical education since 1998 to mark the transition of second-year students from the classroom to patient-centered training in hospital and ambulatory settings, including NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital (NYP). 

Students wore their white coats, each adorned with a custom-made pin designed by five classmates to represent their class. This year’s pin is shaped like the Vagelos Education Center. 

"As you go through each rotation, see each one as a possible future career," said Saundra Curry, MD, professor of anesthesiology at CUMC, who delivered remarks from the clinical faculty. "What you want is what I have: the ability to wake up every morning with a sense of possibility and the joy of going to work."

Students in the Class of 2021 received awards at the ceremony. Gregory Whittemore received the Greg Grove Award, and several students earned Karl H. Perzin Excellence in Pathology Awards:

  • Alexander Agopyan-Miu 
  • Marco Barber Grossi
  • Casidhe-Nicole Bethancourt
  • Ayanna Jacobs
  • Anastasia Kahan
  • Barbara Magid
  • Benjamin Meyer
  • Trevor Nash
  • Latoya Stewart
  • Lauren Suarez

At the ceremony, members of the Class of 2021 honored teachers with awards.

Wendy Chung, MD, PhD, the Kennedy Family Professor of Pediatrics (in Medicine), received the Fundamentals Outstanding Teaching Award.

Elizabeth A. Scharle, MD, assistant professor of medicine at CUMC, received the Major Clinical Year Outstanding Teacher Award.

Resident Teaching Awards were presented to Dustin Carpenter, MD (Surgery, NYP); Jessica Li, MD (Obstetrics & Gynecology, Stamford Hospital); Alana Mendelsohn, MD (Psychiatry, NYP); Bianca Nguyen, MD (Psychiatry, NYP); Aaron Praiss, MD (Obstetrics & Gynecology, NYP); and Ethan Talbot, MD (Surgery, Bassett Health Care).

Clinician Awards, for non-physician members of the health care team who are instrumental to the medical student experience, were presented to Dana Bernbach (nurse, NYP); Darwin Cruz (substance abuse counselor, Allen Hospital, NYP), Julie Geiser (nurse practitioner, Stamford Hospital); and Glenna O’Keefe (social worker, New York State Psychiatric Institute).

The ceremony is named for the late Steven Z. Miller’1984, the Arnold P. Gold Associate Professor of Pediatrics at VP&S, who founded the first transition ceremony. Dr. Miller was a national leader in humanism in medicine; he died in a plane crash in 2004.