Photos by Kurt Wehde
Now that many coronavirus restrictions have been lifted, 92 first-year medical students at Geisel School of Medicine marked the beginning of a new academic year by spending time with each other in person before immersing themselves in their medical education.
During his opening remarks, Duane Compton, PhD, dean of the Geisel School of Medicine warmly welcomed the new students to three days of activities designed to build interpersonal relationships and familiarize them with the Geisel community.
“This is where it begins,” Compton said, referring to their journey through medical education, which can be daunting. An avid hiker, he used his hiking poles as a metaphor for the support Geisel gives students throughout their medical education and emphasized the importance of teamwork to both medical education and the practice of medicine. “As you take your first steps today and move forward on your path … you will encounter times when you need extra support. That’s why we are here—to support and guide you.
“Take every opportunity you have during medical school to make something positive happen. Be active. Be engaged. Ask questions. Don’t be a spectator. Make the most of the next four years,” he said. “We are right here by your side to support you.”
Roshini Pinto-Powell MD, associate dean and chair of admissions, professor of medicine and medical education, said each class has always formed a tightly knit, supportive bond that begins now. Addressing imposter syndrome, a subject she has written about that is common among first-year medical students, Pinto-Powell remined them they belong at Geisel. “Each of you has the potential to be a leader—I am not speaking of titles here, I am speaking of a way of being—leadership from within, someone who chooses to see the good, the positive, and the potential in yourselves and others. We are confident that each one of you will contribute to medicine: as a clinician, an educator, researcher, manager or a combination of those in any field you choose.
“We want to partner with you to help you be the best you can be so that together we can make the field of medicine and healthcare better for all people.”
On Thursday, the class participated in a team building exercise at Storrs Pond. Teams were given rudimentary materials to build rafts which they used to race across a section of the pond and back.
This year in addition to the Storrs Pond outdoor team building activities, Compton unveiled a mural by artist and Dartmouth graduate Sam Modder D '17 Thayer '18, in Kellogg Hall’s mezzanine. Commissioned by Geisel’s 2020-2021 inductees to the Gold Humanism Honor Society, the mural launched Project HEAL: Reaffirming Black Health, Education, Art, and Lives. The intention of the artwork is to inspire a call to action by inviting viewers to reflect on and carry the tenets of Project HEAL forward.