On October 3, 2012, Einstein's first-year medical students gathered for the seventh annual Scrubs Day Celebration. The event was introduced by Dr. Harris Goldstein, a member of the class of 1980, as a way to prepare students for their anatomy course. It also serves as a platform for ceremoniously distributing the scrubs they will wear during class, which are donated by alumni and include contact information to connect students with their respective alumni donor. Finally, the event offers a poignant reminder that, whatever they wear, wherever they are and whomever they treat, it will be their humility and humanity that makes them successful.
Dr. Goldstein, associate dean for scientific resources and the Charles Michael Chair in Autoimmune Diseases, called scrubs "the combat gear of the physician." He brought a hush over the room when he told students: "You will be the beneficiaries of a purely altruistic act performed by a deceased individual who has chosen to donate their body."
Then, referencing both the humility and importance that wearing scrubs signifies to others, he added, "When a patient sees a doctor in scrubs, he or she does not see any signs of rank or artificial, educational or socioeconomic barriers separating them. Rather, they see a doc who is willing to do anything it takes to get them better."
Einstein is one of the few institutions that reveal the name of each cadaver to its students. "By knowing their cadavers' names, students are reminded that each body tells the story of a lifetime," explained Dr. Todd R. Olson, professor of anatomy and structural biology and course director, who served as master of ceremonies.
The evening's invited speaker, Dr. Raja Flores, a 1992 Einstein alumnus who is chief of thoracic surgery and Ames Professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center, echoed the need to view each patient as a person, noting, "Treat the person and not just the disease."
At the conclusion of the evening, before introducing the students to their respective anatomy lab partners, peer advisors, clinical advisors and cadaver names, Dr. Olson offered a final reiteration of the night's resounding message: "Your feelings and your ability to be human as well as a scientist are what's going to make you great."
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