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White Coat Ceremony Marks Start of Professional Journey for 96 Students

New students receive 'cloak of compassion' and pledge to uphold medicine's highest values

University of Missouri School of Medicine Class of 2016 members took their first steps toward becoming physicians during a White Coat Ceremony held Friday, Aug. 3, in Jesse Auditorium. The annual event encourages new medical students to begin their education by upholding the highest values and standards of their profession.

The students were formally presented with their first white coat, the most common symbol of the medical profession for more than century, in front of hundreds of their family members and friends. They also recited the Declaration of Geneva, an oath used by millions of physicians worldwide who have sworn to put their patients' interests first, and to strive for the best possible health care for all.

Bert Bachrach, MD, director of the diabetes and endocrinology division in MU's Department of Child Health, delivered the keynote address.

The first White Coat Ceremony was conducted in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The ceremony was created by Arnold Gold, MD, a pediatric neurologist, who called the white coat his profession's "cloak of compassion." The Arnold P. Gold Foundation estimates that a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage is now held at more than 90 percent of schools of medicine and osteopathy in the United States, as well as at all four medical schools in Israel. The first White Coat Ceremony at MU occurred in 1997.

The 96 members of the MU School of Medicine Class of 2016 have an average cumulative grade point average of 3.77 and an average Medical College Admission Test score of 30. Eighty-five percent of the students are from Missouri, 60 percent are male and 40 percent are female. MU received more than 1,700 applications for its entering medical school class this year.

MU Health Magazine


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