Medical students flourish with family support

Classes have begun for the Brody Class of 2016. Eighty new students have entered the Brody School of Medicine to fulfill their dream of becoming a physician. New medical students experience a wide range of emotions in the first weeks of their medical education: excitement, fear, trepidation, etc. The experience is unique for each student. However, one commonality amongst all students is their need for a strong and effective support system. The rigorous schedule and volumes of information to be mastered by first year medical students can be more easily traversed if they have a network of family members and close friends that understand the demands and expectations they face and offer some life-balance opportunities and a listening ear in times of need.

To prepare families for this life-changing transition, BSOM holds a family orientation at the conclusion of the first week of the academic year. This special orientation is designed to inform family members of the many facets of Brody life. The school’s educational leaders, including the Dean of the BSOM, begin the orientation by explaining the curriculum: the schedule, the course topics, dates for block testing, etc., in which each student will participate. By visualizing the challenges that lie ahead for the student, family members and others in the student’s support network are better equipped to provide an understanding and nurturing environment outside of the classroom. Parents, spouses and friends also learn about the broad array of student support services offered at BSOM, including individual academic counseling, student organizations, health care services, and recreational opportunities. Brody’s Better Half, made up of the spouses of current students, offers sessions for students and their spouses to extend additional family support and networking. Together, BSOM strives to balance academic achievement with fulfilling and meaningful lives outside of the classroom.

The culmination of the orientation week is the White Coat Ceremony. At this ceremony, new students are welcomed to the BSOM family. Senior educators don the students with their very first white coat, a long-standing symbol worn by medical professionals that creates a psychological contract for both the compassionate care and scientific proficiency that will be expected of them from this moment forward. For this event, the Brody Auditorium was full – of upper-class students, family members, faculty and staff – all of whom will now create the web that surrounds our 80 new students and supports their growth and development to become tomorrow’s physicians.

We celebrate all of our students, families and spouses as the Class of 2016 embarks upon this journey. The BSOM family will be with you every step of the way.

Elizabeth (Libby) G. Baxley, MD
Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs