Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Welcomes Class of 2022 Medical Students Don White Coats for First Time at Grand Finale to Orientation Week

Jennifer Forbes
Communications & Public Affairs

August 3, 2018

New Brunswick, NJ – Sherine E. Gabriel, MD, MSc, dean of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, officially welcomed 179 new medical students as part of the Class of 2022 at the school’s annual White Coat Ceremony. The ceremony culminates a week-long orientation and signifies the students’ entrance into the medical profession.

Surrounded by family and friends, and assisted by a faculty member, each student was helped into his or her white coat, which will be worn throughout the four years of medical education. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the students recited the Hippocratic Oath, beginning their journey to becoming physicians.

“As you don your white coat for the very first time, please understand that the coat represents the respect that you have for yourself, for others, and for the profession of medicine,” said Dean Gabriel as she welcomed the class, the students’ families and friends to the ceremony. “I ask you to remember that each and every time you place it on your shoulders—5-10-or even 50 years from today.”

The Class of 2022 is the second largest class Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has welcomed since becoming part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, five years ago. Six of the students have been accepted into the school’s dual-degree program and will be pursuing either a PhD or a PharmD degree along with the medical degree, and 43 are joining the school having already earned a master’s or doctorate degree. More than half of the incoming class is female and the class includes two veterans – one served in the U.S. Air Force, the other in the U.S. Marine Corps – and two students, including one of the veterans, who are reservists.

“I’m most looking forward to Robert Wood Johnson Medical School training me to become a physician working with underserved communities, as I previously helped patients with hepatitis C and HIV while working in the Bronx,” said Jared Escobar of Budd Lake, N.J., who is a former Marine and graduate of Fordham University. “As a prior-service Marine, I would like to continue my service as a physician in the U.S. Navy and Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is able to facilitate and support me in obtaining that goal.”

Joyce Lu, an incoming student from Athens, Ga., who graduated from the University of Chicago, echoed Escobar’s sentiments. “I’m really interested in Robert Wood Johnson Medical School’s commitment to community service,” she said. “I chose this school because the medical students work within the local community and conduct public health research. I’m excited to learn about patient-centered medicine from physicians who work in underserved communities.”

The keynote address was given by Anil Nanda, MD, MPH, who was appointed chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Rutgers New Jersey Medical School on July 1. In addition to his academic and clinical roles at Rutgers, Dr. Nanda serves as the senior vice president for neurosurgical services at RWJBarnabas Health, effecting a transformational change in the provision of neurosurgical care throughout the health system and Rutgers Health. Dr. Nanda is an expert in several advanced neurosurgical techniques, with more than 17,000 surgeries, 2,000 of which were performed for skull base tumors and aneurysms, as well as vascular and spinal neurosurgery, including Gamma Knife radiosurgery. During his tenure at Louisiana State University, where he served as chair for 27 years, Dr. Nanda helped pass the Louisiana Youth Concussion Law, requiring all schools, clubs and other organizations that sponsor youth athletics to provide athletes and their parents with information about concussion and the potential long-term effects of playing after a head injury.

About Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

As one of the nation's leading comprehensive medical schools, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School is dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in education, research, health care delivery, and the promotion of community health. Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, the medical school's principal affiliate, comprise one of the nation's premier academic medical centers. In addition, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School has 34 other hospital affiliates and ambulatory care sites throughout the region.

Part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School encompasses 21 basic science and clinical departments, hosts centers and institutes including The Cardiovascular Institute, the Child Health Institute of New Jersey and the Women’s Health Institute. The medical school maintains educational programs at the undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate levels on its campuses in New Brunswick and Piscataway and provides continuing education courses for health care professionals and community education programs. To learn more about Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, visit Find us online at and