Thursday, August 10, 2017

White Coat Ceremony

Last Friday I attended a White Coat Ceremony at the Duke University School of Medicine.
Almost all medical schools in the USA have a White Coat Ceremony for their first year students. I do not know if other countries have a ceremony like this. It is a ritual that marks one’s entrance into medical school.
(On a side note: It is very difficult to get admission to any medical school in the USA. The admission standards are very high and extremely competitive. First, you must have a four year bachelor’s (undergraduate) degree. Then you need to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) Exam. The MCAT score will be sent directly to the medical school to which an individual has applied. In addition to academic excellence, these schools are looking for leadership, service, compassion, and team work. Once you’re admitted to medical school, then you have to study for four more years to obtain an MD degree. After you have obtained the MD degree, you have to be Board certified.)
Now back to the White Coat Ceremony. Just one word – IMPRESSIVE!
I was so impressed with this ceremony at Duke, that I thought I should blog about it.
116 students were admitted to Duke’s medical school this year. All were in attendance, and they attended the ceremony with their family and friends. The university arranged a reception for all of the incoming students, as well as their family and friends. Plenty of hors d'oeuvres and soft drinks were provided.
While everyone was seated in the auditorium, senior doctors and deans were up on stage. The new 116 students arrived in procession and took their seats.
The Vice Dean, Medical Education, gave the welcome address. The Dean and Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs spoke about “Becoming a Duke Doctor in 2017”. An Associate Dean explained the “Symbolism of White Coat”.
Then each student’s name was called so they can come up on stage. Once on the stage, each student was assisted by a senior faculty member into his/her white coat for the very first time. Then all the students took the “Class Oath”.
Closing remarks were provided by the Vice Dean, Medical Education.
Afterwards all of the students, as well as their family and friends socialized for a while. There was clear happiness in everyone’s face.
Here are some photos from the occasion.
Duke University
Senior Faculty on Stage
Assisting a Student into her White Coat
Taking Class Oath

Monday, July 31, 2017

Role Model Athlete

There are many athletes who never passed high school or dropped out of college to become professionals in their sport. These include cricket, soccer, basketball, and tennis (among other sports).
In the USA, if someone wants to become a professional American football player or basketball player, he has to have four years of college attendance. In recent years, this rule has become less enforced.
Now how about a new twist to the story of the modern athlete.
Do you know of any professional athlete who has quit his/her athletic career to pursue their “other” interests? I know some athletes have done this at the tail end of their career. However, I’m talking about someone who is giving it all up and going in a completely different direction at the height of their career.
(Courtesy Yahoo: John Urschel)
John Urschel is a 26 year old professional American football player. He played for the Baltimore Ravens. After graduating from college, he was recruited by the Baltimore Ravens three years ago. His football salary is more than $600,000 per year.
John Urschel just announced his retirement from professional football a few days ago to pursue his “passion”. What is the passion for this “meathead” aka “dumb jock”?
Well it’s Mathematics of course.
OOOOPS! Sorry I meant to say braniac aka scholar athlete.
John has Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Mathematics. He is currently working on his Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) studying spectral graph theory.
Getting the opportunity to play professional football in America is extremely difficult as the competition is so fierce. On the flip side, getting admitted to MIT to complete a Ph.D program is also highly prestigious.
John is an inspirational individual. Young people should look up to him as a role model instead of looking up to some other professional athletes. John uses his brain power to the fullest as well as his athletic abilities.
Just now, it comes to my mind what Arthur Ashe (winner of Wimbledon, Australian, and US Open tennis tournaments) once said about young black people.
Arthur Ashe, a black man himself, said (paraphrased):
It pains me to see many black kids want to become professional basketball players. That’s their ultimate goal. That’s the highest they can dream of. But no one ever thinks or dreams of wanting to own a team. You see if you own the team, then you have enough money to pay these professional basketball players…and then they work for you.

Sunday, July 23, 2017


We are asked to produce an identification document in so many places in our daily lives as proof of identity. These include, among others, airports, department stores, doctors office, hospitals, liquor stores, etc. etc.
In USA and most other countries, a driving license is accepted as a de facto proof of identity. Some people, especially while traveling in a foreign country, show their passports for identification purpose.
Sample California Driver's License
Something interesting happened about 2 years ago when we were traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, to attend a marriage. At the San Francisco Airport, we were asked to produce our identification card by the airport security. My wife showed her driver’s license. The security guy returned that and said “this is an expired license and I cannot accept it”. (My wife renewed her license a few weeks ago and kept both the old and new licenses in her purse. She should have discarded the old expired license. But did not.)
She said she is sorry and showed her renewed new license. The airport security accepted that and we were on our way to Puerto Vallarta.
I was pissed off at the airport security. But did not say anything or argue. There are some places it is better to keep quiet and grin f**k them and not invite any trouble. Airport security is one of them.
My point is why they would not accept an expired driving license as proof of identification. The valid authorization to drive a car may have expired but the information on that license (Name, Date of Birth, Address, Height, Weight, Color of Eyes, Color of Hair) do not expire, unless you were a Clark Kent then and now a Spiderman.
The airport security is supposed to verify your identity for the purpose of matching it to the ticket, i.e. name match. Where does it say it has to be a non expired license?
I am thinking of writing a letter to my Senator to change the law if there is such a law. Most of the times these “authorities” will not accept an expired license for identification purpose.