White Coat Ceremony 2022

The most diverse class in VP&S history was welcomed to Columbia in August at this year’s Arnold P. Gold White Coat Ceremony. The 140 members of the class include 31% of students who are under­represented in medicine; nearly 8% of the incoming students are the first generation in their families to attend college.

The importance of the tradition of cloaking new medical students and affirming their commitment to humanistic practice was emphasized by Katrina Armstrong, MD, when she participated in her first White Coat Ceremony as dean of VP&S. “As you put on your white coat today, I want you to remember that the coat itself symbolizes the deepest tension that exists in medicine, the tension between truth, based in science and limited by our current understanding, and hope, based in humanity and inspired by what could be.”

Members of the Class of 2026 continued a tradition begun last year by reciting their own Class Oath. Their words were carefully crafted to update the Hippocratic Oath to better reflect the values they wish to uphold as they enter their medical training.


About The Class of 2026

140 students

• 112 MD students

• 14 MD-PhD students

• 10 Columbia-Bassett students 

• 2 PhD-to-MD students

• 2 oral and maxillofacial surgery students

74 women/66 men

43 underrepresented minorities (31%)

11 first-generation college students (8%)

7,009 total applications

870 applicants interviewed

49 colleges represented

27 states represented

13 foreign countries represented


Class of 2026 Oath

“We recognize that the privilege of receiving medical training and expertise comes with great responsibilities. 

I make this pledge to myself, my classmates and future colleagues, and the individuals and communities I will serve.

I vow to accept my duties humbly but to advocate, advance, and serve boldly. 

We acknowledge that long-standing power dynamics, paired with unjust treatment, have created systemic barriers that stratify and marginalize vulnerable populations even today. 

I vow to translate this awareness into action by combatting discrimination in medical education and practice. 

I promise to question the present and reflect on lessons from history to push the medical field forward and build a more inclusive and uplifting environment for all. 

We acknowledge that health is inseparable from intersecting identities and social factors. 

I vow to utilize diversity as a powerful asset in medicine by tailoring my care to honor each patient’s unique lived experiences.

I will embrace the diversity of my fellow providers and stand with and advocate for my colleagues in order to safeguard and ensure their continued health and well-being.

We affirm that all patients deserve compassionate, equitable care that places their needs, values, and personhood at the center. We further acknowledge that compassion is an action that requires a daily commitment.

I vow to actively listen to my patients, respect the privacy of the physician-patient relationship, and empower patients and their support systems to be equal, informed participants in their care.

I pledge to challenge those around me, regardless of rank or tradition, in pursuit of the highest standard of excellence in patient care.

We commit to promoting agency by listening to and amplifying voices within Washington Heights and beyond.

I vow to champion interprofessional collaboration and bolster infrastructures that support the comprehensive well-being of communities beyond the walls of the hospital.

I vow to honor my role as a health advocate by disseminating accurate information and leveraging my medical expertise to help guide the communities I serve.

We recognize that while the socio-political contexts in which we operate may change, our duty to our patients and their communities remains constant. 

I vow to embrace my role as a lifelong learner, looking with open eyes and listening with open ears to meet the demands of medicine’s dynamic nature. I promise to practice socially relevant, evidence-based medicine that affirms my patients’ autonomy in the face of these changing landscapes. 

Let us bow our heads in recognition of the gravity of this oath; we swear to faithfully engage with these ideals and obligations for the ongoing betterment of medicine and humanity.”