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The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine recently welcomed its newest class of 167 students with a White Coat ceremony at the Venetian in Garfield.

The future physicians donned their distinctive coats during the ceremony, starting their journey toward acquisition of a Medical Degree (M.D.), which will be completed in three or four years, depending on their selected academic track.

“We are thrilled to welcome a new class of future physicians who will help us transform healthcare,” said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “We believe that the best way to improve healthcare is to start at the beginning and change the way we educate physicians so that they focus as much on maintaining health as they do curing disease.”

“The school has reached new heights, with full accreditation in February, and this promising new group of students,” said Jeffrey Boscamp, M.D., president and dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.

About 6,000 students applied to join this year’s class.

More than half (51.3%) of the new students are from New Jersey. They speak 22 languages other than English, about 10% are first-generation citizens of the United States, and greater than 10% are Hispanic or Latino.

The medical school admitted its first class in 2018 with 60 students. Later years brought more students, leading to this sixth year of admissions.

Students can take a three-year path to residency, or an optional fourth year offering combined master’s degree or graduate certificate programs, intense clinical immersion, or focused research. Defining features of the curriculum include the Human Dimension, a longitudinal course which pairs students with people out in the community to foster real-world clinical skills outside a hospital or doctor’s office.