Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine Welcomes Largest Class Ever with White Coat Ceremony

July 22, 2021

The cohort welcomed in 2021 continues tradition of diversity

The 161 students donned their distinctive coats for the first time, starting their journey toward acquisition of a Medical Degree (M.D.), which will be completed in three or four years, depending on their selected academic track.

“Hackensack Meridian Health’s mission to transform healthcare starts at the School of Medicine, as we transform medical education.  The School was our vision to help lead progressive and transformative change in New Jersey health care,’’ said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, the CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “It has surpassed expectations in every way.”

“We are fulfilling our vision with each new group of promising students by introducing them to the complexities of the medical world which must include the social and economic determinants of health in addition to those components traditionally regarded as constituting the field of medicine” said Bonita Stanton, M.D., the Founding Dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine. “As each new class matriculates, we are positively impacting the way in which medicine is taught.”

More than 6,000 students applied to join this year’s class. The cohort includes one nurse and one pharmacist, and four students with advanced degrees.

The makeup of the class continues the School’s tradition of diversity. Thirty of its members are from groups categorized as under-represented in medicine (URIM).  The students speak a total of 36 different languages, and come from 20 different states.

The School admitted its first class in 2018 with 60 students. Each year has brought an increasing number of students, leading to this fourth year of admissions.

Students have the opportunity for a three-year path to residency, or an optional fourth year which offers combined master’s degree or graduate certificate programs, intense clinical immersion, or focused research. Defining features of the curriculum include the Human Dimension, a longitudinal course which pairs students with people out in the community to foster real-world clinical skills outside a hospital or doctor’s office.

“The School features the traditional aspects of medical education, but also the unique aspects of what we think should be in a 21st century medical education,” said Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., vice dean of the medical school and a professor of pediatrics. “This is the way we train the best doctors for the future.”