Washington Heights Teens Take Their First Medical Oath

Lang Youth Medical Program Hosts Annual White Coat Ceremony

Jan 18, 2007


Thirteen of Washington Heights' smartest seventh-graders will celebrate the completion of their first semester of training for careers in medicine and science by receiving the traditional white coat of physicians and scientists tomorrow. The Lang Youth Medical Program, a selective six-year program directed by Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian, provides the students with experiences and an environment to support and improve them socially, personally and academically while at the same time creating new connections between the Hospital and the community.

As part of the fourth annual ceremony taking place tomorrow at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital (165th Street and Broadway, 4 p.m.-6 p.m.), the Lang Scholars will recite their first medical oaths, the credo and Invictus, as they receive white lab coats and celebrate their first steps in a long journey toward becoming health-care professionals. Additionally, six 10th-graders will receive long coats to mark the accomplishment of entering their fourth year in the program.

"The Lang Youth Program provides youth in our community with incredible opportunities for learning important skills that they will carry with them and use throughout college and as they launch their careers," says Dr. Herbert Pardes, president and CEO of NewYork-Presbyterian, who will present the Lang Scholars with their new coats.

As they continue with the program, the new Lang Scholars will wear their white coats every time they come into the Hospital. "The coats transform these youngsters in their own eyes and others' – including parents, peers and teachers," says Dr. Mary McCord, Lang Youth program director and co-director of community pediatrics at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian.

Founded by philanthropist Eugene M. Lang to address the lack of representation by underserved populations in medicine and the sciences, the program is offered throughout the summer and on weekends during the school year – and boasts a 95 percent student attendance rate. Classes are led by a combination of health professionals, educators, medical students and college students and are held in classrooms, labs and various clinical settings in the Hospital. The program, which began in 2003, also offers mentoring, internships and tuition assistance for college.

Lang Scholars pledge to keep their grades above an 85 average, stay in school, come to the program every Saturday and for four to six weeks every summer, and work as hard as they can. They attend lectures and operating-room observations, perform experiments like the dissection of a sheep's brain, volunteer in the Hospital, and discuss topics such as the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 and the mind-body connection.

The Lang Youth Scholars reflect the racial, ethnic and demographic diversity of the Washington Heights community and are more than 80 percent Hispanic. All are first-generation immigrants.

According to the National Center of Education Statistics, African-American and Hispanic students are the most likely to drop out of high school and the least likely to pursue advanced degrees, especially in the sciences. They represent less than 3 percent of doctorate degrees in science and engineering (National Science Foundation).

"Our mission is to be part of the solution to this problem," adds Dr. McCord.

For more information about the program, individuals may call 866-NYP-NEWS.

Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian

Ranked by U.S.News & World Report as one of the top six children's hospitals in the country, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics – including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties – in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is affiliated with Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is New York City's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and the largest provider of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide.

Media Contact:

T.J. Crawford