Growing up in Brentwood, NY, Leslie Peralta saw that her community had many health and wellness needs. This thought, combined with her interest in science pushed her to study health sciences. She attended Johns Hopkins University and majored in biology, then followed that with a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences at Rutgers University and a stint teaching science to high schoolers in New Jersey. Her goals grew and she pursued medical school. Now Leslie is among the 136 students at Stony Brook University School of Medicine making up the 2018 incoming class.
The students, their families and Stony Brook faculty celebrated and officially launched the students’ medical school journey at Stony Brook University’s traditional White Coat Ceremony. The 21s t annual event was held on August 12 at the Student Activities Center.
Leslie and all of her classmates are on a transformative journey. In a profession built on saving lives, the journey begins with rigorous training about the human body, training in clinical skills and understanding how to think and communicate like a physician, and learning how to implement new technologies into patient care.
“Your futures will be filled with many firsts – your first patient, your first diagnosis, your first clinical success, your first patient death,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President for the Health Sciences and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Medicine is a challenging, rewarding profession that will transform your life and the lives of your patients. Your white coat is a symbol of professionalism, scientific excellence and compassionate care. Wear it well while at Stony Brook and in your future lives as physicians.”
The class is a diverse and talented group with many interests in medicine. Sixty percent are residents of New York State and 40 percent hail from 16 other states or from around the world. They represent 70 undergraduate schools, have a collective grade point average of 3.80 and an average national MCAT score in the 90th percentile. Only 9 percent of the total 2018 applicants were accepted into Stony Brook.
Among some of the other students are: Alex Baez, a native of Colorado who came to Stony Brook as an undergraduate and was inspired to choose medicine as he took part in the Stony Brook ambulance volunteer corps on campus. He has an interest in the neurosciences and patient care. Alex is among the students enrolled in Stony Brook’s MD/PhD program. Lara Ambrosi, who has been an international citizen as her father works for the United Nations, hopes to become an oncologist but is open to other areas of medicine. She has a goal to be a physician-scientist within some specialty. Simon Nin Riccardi Zhu studied philosophy and economics as an undergraduate. Inspired by his mother, a physician, Simon is considering psychiatry but also has interest in the expanding arena of global health.
Leslie Peralta is not sure what specialty she will choose, thought she favors OB/GYN. She is thrilled to be back in her home zone and has a goal after graduation to be a physician focusing on the many health and preventive medicine needs of her Brentwood community, or a similar community somewhere in the country.
Jack Fuhrer, MD, Associate Dean for Admissions, and Latha Chandran, MD, MPH, Vice Dean, Academic and Faculty Affairs, jointly announced and presented each student with a physician-in-training white coat. Dean Kaushansky administered the Hippocratic Oath, which the students recited for the first time – another symbolic entry into medicine.
Ramon Parsons, MD/PhD, Class of 1992, was presented with the 2018 Distinguished Alumnus Award and honored for his distinguished career as a cancer researcher. He is the Director of the Tisch Cancer Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Lauren Ferrante, MD, Class of 2007 was presented with the Outstanding Recent Graduate Award. Dr. Ferrante, Assistant Professor of Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, is a recognized leader in clinical outcomes research at the interface of critical care medicine and geriatrics.