NORTH HAVEN — Before taking the Hippocratic oath, the first students of Quinnipiac University's new medical school received their stethoscopes and white coats Friday.
"Today you are going to put on your first white coat, and in many ways, you are never going to take it off," said Dr. Jessica Israel, keynote speaker for the school's white coat ceremony — a ritual common at medical schools to welcome the newest class of medical students. "The coat you're wearing today, it goes with you everywhere."
Chosen from about 2,000 applicants, the 60 students of the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine will begin classes Monday.
Quinnipiac's medical school is the third in the state. The UConn School of Medicine opened in 1968, and Yale's was founded in 1813. Made possible with a $100 million investment, much of which came from Edward and Barbara Netter, the school is named for Edward Netter's first cousin, Frank Netter, who was a renowned medical illustrator.
The 145,000-square-foot building, on Quinnipiac's North Haven campus, was completed earlier this year. Lahey said the school it plans to choose 90 students out of what officials estimate will be 3,500 applications for next year's class. Within four years, class size is expected to increase to 125.
Quinnipiac officials have designed the school's curriculum and recruited students with the idea of producing more than its share of primary care physicians. Quinnipiac's goal is to have 50 percent of its graduates choose primary care; nationally, about 20 percent of graduating medical students go into primary care.
The goal is a response to the medical community's call for more primary care doctors as a corrective to the current physician shortage, which is expected to get worse as the baby boomer generation gets older and as more people are able to get health care under the Affordable Care Act.
The Association of American Medical Colleges has predicted that by 2020, there will be a shortage of more than 90,000 doctors, about half of them primary care doctors.
Quinnipiac officials said that, when recruiting for the current class, they often leaned toward somewhat unconventional applicants who might be more inclined to go into primary medicine, including older people and applicants with non-science backgrounds.
Read more at William Weir's article online at the Hartford Courant.