Wertheim College of Medicine welcomes largest class to date

Zaimat Beiro has been pursuing her dream to become a physician for the better part of a decade. On Friday she will take a definitive step toward realizing that dream during her class’ White Coat Ceremony at FIU’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.

“I can’t believe this is actually happening,” said Beiro, 30, who traded four years of medical school in Cuba for her freedom in 2006. “I’m scared; I’m nervous and ready to work hard.”

The first FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s White Coat Ceremony in 2009.

The first FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s White Coat Ceremony in 2009.

Upon arriving in Miami, Beiro studied English, took odd jobs and eventually entered FIU, where she earned a bachelor’s in biology in 2012.

“The English has been the hardest part,” said Beiro, who was one of the top students in her class back in Havana. “Every day I learn something new, I incorporate it and I move forward.”

Beiro and her 121 colleagues who comprise the class of 2017 were chosen from 3,946 applicants. The youngest member is 21, the oldest is 35. One of the students is already a doctor (Ph.D.) and 16 have master’s degrees. The 74 men and 54 women represent 21 countries, and graduated from universities nationwide including Cornell, Duke, Johns Hopkins, Wellesley – and FIU. Eighty percent are Floridians.

“This is our fifth and largest class. And like those who came before them, they are very bright young men and women,” said Dr. John A. Rock, founding dean and senior vice president for health affairs at FIU. “They are passionate about medicine. And they are committed to making this a better community while learning to be great physicians.”

The class will receive their first white medical coats at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, August 9, 2013. The White Coat Ceremony will take place at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center at the Modesto A. Maidique Campus, 11200 SW 8th Street in West Miami-Dade. During the ceremony students will take the medical student oath and receive their first stethoscopes, a gift from Leon Medical Centers, one of the college’s clinical partners.

The ceremony is a rite of passage where new medical students receive a short white coat officially welcoming them into the profession. Upon graduation, they will receive the long coat worn by physicians.