Doctor of Medicine Class of 2020 begins studies at the SMHS

Document Type

News Article

Publication Date


Campus Unit

School of Medicine & Health Sciences


GRAND FORKS, N.D.—Seventy-eight first-year medical students, members of the Doctor of Medicine (MD) Class of 2020, begin their journey next week to become physicians at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Students are formally inducted at the school’s White Coat Ceremony. The students, 39 men and 39 women, range in age from 19 to 36 years, with the average age of 24.

They come to medical school with work experience in an array of fields and academic degrees in biochemistry; biology; biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience; chemical engineering; chemistry; economics; exercise science; forensic science; genetics; honors; human biology; integrative physiology; interdisciplinary studies; kinesiology; mathematics; medical technology; microbiology/bacteriology; nursing, physics; physiology; psychology; public health; and zoology. Some of the students already hold advanced degrees, including master’s degrees in biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, clinical psychology, and zoology. Two students hold doctoral degrees: one is a Doctor of Pharmacy and the other a Doctor of Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics.

William S. Mann, M.D., will deliver the David and Lola Monson Lectureship for the ceremony: “50 Years and Counting: A Physician's Perspective.” Mann is a clinical associate professor of family and community medicine at the UND SMHS and serves as medical director for the Department of Sports Medicine. He is also an assistant director of the Altru Family Medicine Residency Program. He was born and raised in Scotland and received his medical degree from the University of Glasgow, Scotland. He served as chair of the UND SMHS Department of Family Medicine from 1996 to 2003 and returned to the residency program as a faculty member in March 2002. He has a special interest in sports medicine.

Medical students’ first week is dedicated to orientation, including introduction to UND’s nationally recognized, four-year, patient-centered curriculum, where biomedical and clinical sciences are taught in the context of patient cases. Special emphasis is placed on the students’ new roles and expectations of them as healthcare professionals.

Orientation concludes with the White Coat Ceremony at 5 p.m., Aug. 5, in the Alerus Center Ballroom, 1200 S. 42nd St., in Grand Forks. Students receive their first white coats, physicians’ traditional garment, which have been donated by the North Dakota Medical Association, and they will recite the Oath of Hippocrates, an ancient vow to uphold basic professional principles. Each student will receive a lapel pin engraved with “Humanism in Medicine,” which was donated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

After the ceremony, the School will host an indoor picnic for students, family, and friends in the Alerus Center.