MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- NYU Long Island School of Medicine held its 2020 White Coat Ceremony Friday to welcome the incoming class of medical students in an unprecedented era on the heels of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The medical school is introducing a new "hybrid" curriculum, a combination of in-person and tele-education that may serve as a microcosm for how many colleges will model curriculums for the upcoming school year.
"You arrive at a unique moment of time," said Dr. Joseph Grecco, senior vice president of NYU Winthrop Hospitals. "The class of 2023 will be part of the first medical students that become future physicians in the world changed by the global pandemic."
Zoom speakers included Dr. Robert Grossman, Dean of NYU Grossman School of Medicine and CEO of NYU Langone Health; and Dr. Andrew Hamilton, president of New York University, among others.
"Time flies, and before you blink, you will have finished your three year training," Dr. Grossman told them.
NYU Long Island School of Medicine, now in its second year, is NYU's flagship medical school on Long Island, situated on the campus of NYU Winthrop Hospital.
"I realize now that now is the time for me to pursue," med student Nabilah Nishat said. "I actually feel stronger to pursue medicine."
The school offers full-tuition scholarships with an accelerated three-year curriculum exclusively devoted to training primary care physicians, internal medicine, pediatrics, OB/GYN, and general surgery.
"We are all pleased here that you can be safe, distanced and masked in order to enjoy the excitement and anticipation of what this day really means for all of you," Chief Academic Officer Dr. Steven Shelov said.
Incoming students come from all over the country, with 17 from the Tri-State area, including three from Long Island.
"You try to make the population more healthier and with the hope that issues like this pandemic happen their bodies are more prepared to fight the disease," med student Mustapha Touray said.
They hail from top universities such as Brown, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, and NYU, and the CUNY/SUNY system such as City College of New York, Brooklyn College, and Stony Brook.
"I was combining my love for teaching and medicine together," med student Santiago Luis said. "I think teaching is a big component of medicine. Not just teaching fellow physicians but also teaching the patients."
Ten students are male and 14 female.
Eight are the first in their families to graduate from college, and one shared how a dearth of medical care in his rural West Africa home region inspired him to become a primary care physician to help keep patients healthy.
Another from Queens shared how seeing healthcare disparities in her immigrant community inspired her to want to help close the healthcare gap.
abc7NY Phase Tracker:
7 On Your Side Investigates: Up to 4,000 coronavirus cases prevented by NYC contact tracers