Northeast Georgia Medical Center Holds Inaugural White Coat Ceremony for Resident Physicians

Published: Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Dr. Sameena Salcin, an Internal Medicine resident physician, smiled ear to ear when she received her long white coat Monday night at Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) Gainesville.

“To begin the next step in my medical journey back home in Georgia – where it all started for me – is very special,” said Dr. Salcin. “Not only do I have the opportunity to develop myself along with this amazing new program, I have the chance to make a real impact in my home state. I’m just so excited to get started.”

Salcin is one of 20 Internal Medicine residents who, along with six General Surgery residents, form the inaugural class of NGMC’s Graduate Medical Education (GME) program.  All the residents celebrated a rite of passage Monday night, during a “white coat ceremony” held in Walters Auditorium.

“The traditional white coat ceremony marks the transition from student to resident, where the residents’ short coats are discarded and long coats are given as a symbol of their graduation from medical student to becoming a physician,” explained John E. Delzell, Jr., MD, MSPH, vice president of Medical Education for Northeast Georgia Health System and Designated Institutional Official for NGMC. “Seeing our inaugural class of 26 resident physicians being welcomed with open arms into our health system was a very fulfilling moment for our GME program and our local health system. The future of health care for our community is very bright indeed.”

A University of Georgia (UGA) alumna, Dr. Salcin’s path to medicine started at a young age. After graduating from UGA, she traveled to Washington, D.C. and interned with the U.S Department of State with a focus on global health policy and infectious disease. Dr. Salcin’s work in D.C. led her to medical school at American University of the Caribbean, which included a year spent rotating at a National Health Service hospital in London. Her experience in London inspired her to work towards finding a better way to address healthcare disparities among underserved communities.

“I’m very interested in learning more about healthcare access in rural and underserved communities, infectious disease, cardiovascular health and healthcare policy,” said Dr. Salcin. “During residency, I hope to start working with community leaders to find creative solutions to bridge the gaps in healthcare access and delivery to underserved communities in Georgia.”

After the ceremony, attendees enjoyed a reception sponsored by the Northeast Georgia Health System (NGHS) Foundation. In attendance were members of the James H. Downey Society – a part of the NGHS Foundation made up of active and retired physicians, who are dedicated to improving health locally through philanthropic efforts.

“The members of the Downey Society are passionate about healthcare excellence and making a difference in the lives of others,” said Chris Bray, president and chief development officer for the NGHS Foundation. “These physicians are leading by example and are anxious to share their vision with the future physician leaders of tomorrow. I’m happy to say our residents are as passionate about making their new community a better place as we are.” 

Peach State Bank has agreed to enhance residents’ experience by sponsoring their first year of membership in the James H. Downey Society.

“By providing this opportunity to new residents, they will learn how the philanthropic efforts of the NGHS Foundation help meet community needs and the needs of the health system,” said Bray. “Residents will also gain greater community understanding, forge valuable peer relationships and discover social benefits that will develop deeper ties to Gainesville and the region.”

Resident physicians will begin seeing patients – with the guidance of faculty physicians –  at NGMC Gainesville, NGMC Braselton and several local physician practices on July 1. To learn more about NGMC’s GME program, visit



Since 1951, Northeast Georgia Medical Center (NGMC) has been on a mission of improving the health of our community in all we do. With hospitals located in Gainesville, Braselton and Barrow – the three NGMC campuses have a total of 713 beds and more than 800 medical staff members representing more than 50 specialties. NGMC is part of Northeast Georgia Health System, a non-profit that cares for more than 1 million people across more than 18 counties. Learn more at