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Their future as doctors has begun for the 74 newest medical students at University of Hawaiʻi. The 39 women and 35 men were officially welcomed into the MD Class of 2021 at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) during a White Coat ceremony on July 14. The 74 students were selected from 2,231 applicants, and thirteen of the new aspiring physicians are of Native Hawaiian ancestry.

JABSOM MD Class of 2021

JABSOM MD Class of 2021

The first-year medical students were “cloaked” with white, waist-length lab coats at the President William McKinley High School Auditorium. The garments are what give the “White Coat Ceremony” its name. Wearing their cloaks, the future physicians become instantly recognizable on campus at JABSOM and later at hospitals around Oʻahu, where they will undergo their clinical training. This year, former Hawaiʻi First Lady Vicky Cayetano and United Laundry Services provided the coats as a gift to the class.

Inaugural James S. Burns Community Awards

The ceremony also honored two JABSOM faculty members with the new James S. Burns Community Awards presented by the Friends of the Medical School (FOMS).

The awards went to Satoru Izutsu, a Kauaʻi native and UH Mānoa alumnus, for his extraordinary impact on health care in his 25 years as JABSOM MD admissions director. Jason Fleming, FOMS president said, “Quite possibly every patient in Hawaiʻi, and therefore every family in Hawaiʻi, has been indirectly influenced by him; because every physician in Hawaiʻi in the past 30 years has been personally influenced by him in some way.”

The second James S. Burns Community Award went to William Haning, psychiatry professor, addictions specialist and captain in the U.S. Navy Retired Reserve. “He has served with distinction as the director of the Office of Undergraduate Medical Education at JABSOM,” said Fleming.

Read more about the White Coat ceremony and the James S. Burns Community Awards at the JABSOM website.