The competition to get into medical school is fierce. The acceptance rate at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM) is less than 3 percent. Of the nearly 5,000 verified applicants, only 122 were chosen for the Class of 2023.
Those chosen few received their first white coat in a traditional rite of passage known as the White Coat Ceremony held July 30 at the Herbert and Nicole Wertheim Performing Arts Center.
Dr. Robert Sackstein, the college’s new dean, presided over the ceremony for the first time. He reminded the new matriculants that “the moment you put on that coat, you make the transition to a healer.”
The Class of 2023 brings a wealth of cultural and diverse experiences to HWCOM. The students hail from 14 countries, and nearly two-thirds are bilingual. Nearly a quarter of the class is comprised of first-generation students—the first in their family to graduate from college. Forty-two percent of the new students belong to minorities underrepresented in medicine. This is also the year of the woman at HWCOM—57 percent of the new medical students are female.
President Mark B. Rosenberg welcomed the students into the FIU family, and read remarks from the college’s namesake and philanthropist Dr. Herbert Wertheim, who offered the students three words of advice: “Prevention. Prevention. Prevention.”
Dr. Wertheim believes that prevention is the best medicine and that physicians should strive to prevent; not just treat disease.