Hackensack Meridian med school welcomes large class with white-coat ceremony

NUTLEY, NJ — The newest class at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine launched their medical careers on July 22 with a white-coat ceremony at the school in Nutley.

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

“Hackensack Meridian Health’s mission to transform health care 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,’’ Hackensack Meridian Health CEO Robert C. Garrett said. “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 Dr. Bonita Stanton, the medical school’s founding dean. “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, as well as four students with advanced degrees. The class’ makeup is also diverse: Thirty of its members are from groups categorized as under-represented in medicine, and the students speak a total of 36 languages and come from 20 states.