The School of Medicine welcomed first-year students with a weeklong orientation July 29-Aug. 2. Various speakers from across the school introduced the 2019 incoming class to the basics of medical school, shared keys to academic success, and facilitated activities to help them build relationships with their future classmates and colleagues throughout the week.
After being welcomed Monday morning by Christina Grabowski, Ph.D., associate dean for Admissions and Enrollment Management, and Craig Hoesley, M.D., senior associate dean for Medical Education, the students were sorted into their Learning Communities (LC). The Grammy Awards-themed LC sorting ceremony featured second-year students of each LC welcoming the new members with confetti, fog machines, dinosaur costumes and music videos.
“Naturally, you’re going to have some nerves coming into medical school. But everyone was very welcoming, and I felt calm the whole time,” said Omar Hamki, MS1. “If everything was strictly professional, I’d be a lot more nervous than I am, but thankfully it was really welcoming.”
The students broke out into smaller sessions with their LCs before eating lunch.
“I was definitely nervous, but meeting new people and getting to know other students makes it more comfortable,” said Adriana Reyes Moon, MS1. “It gets a little intimidating in the main lecture hall because you can’t really have a conversation with anyone, but getting into a room with your smaller group and getting to know other people makes it more comfortable.”
Monday afternoon included the students being fitted for their white coats that are generously provided by the Medical Alumni Association, being fitted for their masks, and receiving their iPads.
The second day of orientation included a general overview of the curriculum from Kevin Leon, M.D., associate dean for Undergraduate Medical Education. The incoming class also learned about research opportunities at UAB from Randy Seay, M.A., MPA, MPH, program manager of the Medical Scientist Training Program. Tuesday ended with a student organization fair in the Hill Student Center, where the students were introduced to the several different organizations they can get involved with during their medical education.
Wednesday began with a message from Nicholas Van Wagoner, M.D., Ph.D., associate dean for students, about what it is like to become a member of the medical community. He also gave them some pointers on how to stay on track in medical school. Selwyn Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, also stopped by on Wednesday to welcome the class.
Thursday was “Campus Day,” where the Birmingham students broke out into orientation groups and spent their days doing service events.
The final day of orientation opened with Caroline Harada, M.D., assistant dean for Community Engaged Scholarship, informing the students about what they will need to start their classes. It also included a message on understanding and engaging with diversity from Carlton Young, M.D., assistant dean for Diversity and Inclusion.
“As a student affairs office, we feel orientation is less about delivering content and more about building relationships,” said Jason P. Noah, M.Ed., program director for Student Success. “We get to be some of the first ones to say, ‘Welcome! You’re here. You’re supposed to be here, and this is a chance to meet the people you’ll share this journey with.’”
To view photos from orientation, click here.