The making of a new Medical School tradition

The first-ever Stepping Up Celebration recognizes a major milestone for students: leaving the classroom and entering into patient care.

Stepping Up


The new event recognizes a major milestone for students at The Warren Alpert Medical School: the transition from the classroom to the clinic.

For Brown medical students, their educational journey is punctuated by a white coat ceremony when they begin and a red envelope at Match Day a few weeks before they graduate. Now, The Warren Alpert Medical School is recognizing another worthy milestone: the transition from classroom to clinic.

“As we celebrate 50 Years of Medicine at Brown, it is a perfect time to establish a new tradition,” says Star Hampton, senior associate dean for medical education. “Students have worked hard to get to this point in their academic journey, so it is worthwhile to take a moment to reflect on all they have achieved.”

On April 22, the MD Class of 2025 gathered with family and friends for the inaugural Stepping Up Celebration. The new event heralds the transition between the second to third year of medical school when students leave the classroom and begin their clinical rotations. They’ll spend the next one to two years in hospitals and other health care settings gaining firsthand experience in specialties like pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, and general surgery.

“This year is about being there. Locking yourself in your room, heading to a coffee shop, taking over one of the rooms at 222 Richmond [Street] to study from a book is not why you are here anymore,” Hampton advised the rising third-year students at the event. “You’re being given the immense privilege to enter into the most private moments of people’s lives so that you can take outstanding care of your patients in the future.”

Rising fourth-year student Elliot Rebello MD’24 told students that he remembered very clearly his first patient visit with a 56-year-old woman diagnosed with end-stage gastric cancer. On his first day of clinical rotations, Rebello recalled that he couldn’t give the woman her chemotherapy medication or diagnose her comorbid depression, but what he could do was change her ostomy bag, get her a glass of water, pray with her, and recognize and honor her humanity.

The celebration also included the presentation of the John Evrard Prize, which recognizes academic achievement by a second-year student. Associate Dean for Student Affairs Roxanne Vrees presented the award to Maine native Benjamin Stone ScM’20 MD’25. Vrees read a note from Stone’s mentor Julie Roth, relaying, “Ben has a wonderful personality. He has kindness, humility, and compassion. He will make a great doctor.”

The crowd also heard words of wisdom from Steven Rougas (director of the Doctoring program), David Anthony (director of medical student education), and Mukesh Jain (senior vice president for health affairs and dean of medicine and biological sciences), who took to the podium last to congratulate students and usher them into their next phase of learning.

“After all, medicine is—at its core—a humanistic endeavor," said Jain. “We are so proud of you and are very much looking forward to you stepping up to ease suffering and advance human health.”

Watch the full event recording.