Students from the University of Missouri School of Medicine class of 2022 took their first steps toward becoming physicians during a White Coat Ceremony this afternoon at Jesse Hall on the University of Missouri campus.
“Today’s event is a momentous occasion in the career of a physician,” said Patrick Delafontaine, MD, the Hugh E. and Sarah D. Stephenson Dean of MU School of Medicine. “This is our 22nd annual ceremony to mark the day students begin the transformation into a doctor of medicine.”
The class of 2022 consists of 112 students. Of this class, 34 percent of students self-identified as an ethnic minority. This includes students who are Asian, black, Latino, American Indian or Pacific Islander.
A goal of medical schools across the nation is to increase enrollment of traditionally underrepresented students, and nearly 19 percent of students in the MU class of 2022 self-identified as underrepresented minorities.
The MU School of Medicine received 2,671 applications for the class of 2022, marking the highest number of applications ever received by the school. Class members are 47 percent male and 53 percent female. In addition, 23 percent of students are from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, 10 percent are from rural areas and 85 percent are from Missouri.
At the ceremony, the students were presented with their first white coats, the most common symbol of the medical profession for more than a century, in front of hundreds of their family members and friends. The annual event encourages new medical students to begin their education by upholding the highest values and standards of their profession.
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.