SOM Class of 2018
Above: The Class of 2018, School of Medicine. In front, interim dean of the School of Medicine, Marquetta L. Faulkner, M.D., M.B.A., F.A.C.P., F.A.S.N. and Millard Collins, M.D. ’01, associate professor in family and community medicine and associate dean for student affairs. At right: Dr. Collins congratulates the first group of students after receiving their white coats.


Born on the Caribbean Island of Antigua, and later moving with her family to Silver Spring, Maryland, Michelle Nurse readily points out that she considers herself to be a “non-traditional” first-year medical student.”

Nurse, who will be 31-years-old in September, graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012 with a degree in biological sciences that she knew would prepare her for medical school. But, after her high school graduation in 2000 and, before she even started college, Nurse married, became a mother and had a career as a criminal background researcher with Wieder Research in Maryland. She worked there until 2007 when she began college. After her college graduation, Nurse was employed as a therapist in an occupational therapy clinic as well as a physical therapy clinic.

Nurse and her daughtersNow that her daughters are 8 and 10, Nurse feels it is perfect timing for her to be at Meharry. “My ex-husband is caring for my daughters right now and they live in Stafford, Virginia,” she said. “Of course, I miss my daughters but, I knew it was better for them to be with their dad. It would have been selfish for me to bring them here as it would have turned their lives upside down.”

After her second year of medical school, Nurse plans to bring her daughters to Nashville. Her entire family supports her career and her decisions. “They are all behind me,” she said. Nurse would like to specialize in interventional radiology but, she is still very much open to other specialties. She said, “The more exposure I get, the more I will be able to make a definitive decision about what I want to do.”

Newton with WebsterBrandon Newton grew to love Meharry after he came to the campus for a research conference as an undergrad. "I fell in love with the mission,” Newton admits. “The mission at Meharry is a rarity. You won’t find one like [Meharry’s] at other schools, colleges or universities.”

Originally from Guyana, South America, Newton and his family moved to Jackson, Mississippi when he was three-years-old. He is a graduate of Jackson State University where he earned a degree in chemistry. Newton said he has wanted to be a doctor since he was in the fourth grade. “I think being a physician is one of the noblest professions,” he said. “I have seen what happens when people do not have quality health care. I want to challenge myself on a daily basis and help wherever I can and Meharry is a perfect fit.”

Although his mom was in attendance as he received his white coat, one of his best cheerleaders, his “grandma,” was in the hospital and could not be there. “It’s okay,” said Newton. “She will be fine. She is a retired teacher and between my grandma and my mom, they readied me for all of my education with the shining moment becoming a student at Meharry.”

Newton would like to become a neurosurgeon.

There were 105 first-year medical students who received their white coats at the White Coat Ceremony of the School of Medicine.