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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

First-year medical students received "cloaks of compassion" and pledged to uphold their profession's highest values at the MU School of Medicine 2013 White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 2 in Jesse Auditorium.

Initiated in 1993 by Arnold Gold, MD, at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the ceremony has become a rite of passage for first-year students at more than 100 medical schools nationwide.

"We want you to remember this as the first time you put on the white coat, a universal symbol of the medical profession, and what Dr. Gold called the profession's cloak of compassion," said Les Hall, MD, interim dean of the MU School of Medicine.

"We want you to remember standing with your classmates as you pledge to uphold our profession's honor and carry forward its values of care and compassion," Hall said. "We want you and your loved ones to cherish this as the day that you began the transition from whatever it was you were before to what you will become — a doctor of medicine."

As their names were called, students in the 96-member class stepped onto stage and donned a white coat, embroidered with the school's logo. The coats were sponsored by MU physician alumni, who provided words of advice to the new students via a card in the pocket of each coat.

Once outfitted in their white coats, the students recited the Declaration of Geneva, an oath to uphold the humanitarian goals of medicine.

Timothy Fete, MD, MU Children's Miracle Network Professor in Pediatrics and chair of the Department of Child Health, spoke about the qualities physicians should possess, the privilege of wearing a white coat, and caring for patients and their families.

"It was 40 years ago this month that I started medical school," Fete said. "I can honestly say that I get up every day single day excited to have the opportunity to take care of kids and families. I hope that you, 40 years from now, will feel the same way."

In addition to Hall and Fete, speakers at the ceremony included Rachel Brown, MD, associate dean for student programs; Linda Headrick, MD, senior associate dean for education; and Mariah Dreisinger, a fourth-year medical student at MU.

For more information about the Class of 2017, click here .

MU Health Magazine


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