Dean Ross poses with students.

Welcome to the Washington University School of Medicine. In St. Louis. While the latter distinction was added to differentiate us from an array of high performing institutions that don’t provide as much free food, we’ve found our association with St. Louis to be one of mutual benefit. Where else can you attend a world-class art museum, zoo, and science center; get a frozen concrete (you’ll hear about that elsewhere in this book); eat flat pizza; get a ticket to Les Miserables; and hear jazz at the Bistro all for a total of 50 bucks?! The living is good for some, but, for distinct populations, the modern world has been less kind. True enough, several blocks from the medical center you will find neighborhoods grappling with generational poverty and escalating rates of sexually transmitted infections and chronic diseases. We accept our unique urban enclave for all its glory, including the good and the not-so-good. As an incoming student, you should immerse yourself in the fascinating world of scientific discovery and medical innovation but never forget that the true purpose of medicine is to uplift the human condition. During your years in medical school, connect to the greater community and experience the tremendous personal satisfaction of service, acknowledging the marked difference you can make on the lives of those less fortunate. Allow yourself to be trained, in essence, in a medical center without walls. Your overall experience as a medical school student will then be much more rewarding, at Washington University. In St. Louis.

Will Ross, MPH, MD
Associate Dean for Diversity
Director, Office of Diversity Programs
Professor of Medicine