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The Class of 2015 Celebrates Their White Coat Ceremony During Medical Family Day

Thursday, November 03, 2011

 A bunch of happy coatees.

Medical Family Day was held on November 3, 2011 at the Hilton at Camden Yards. This special event, which was sponsored by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, gives family members of first-year students a glimpse into what medical school is really like for the students. It is capped off by the White Coat Ceremony.

Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, Executive Vice Dean of the School of Medicine, welcomed the families and spoke with them about the importance of the Medical Family Fund, which helps students take advantage of educational opportunities such as conferences. David Mallott, MD, associate dean of Medical Education, presented "What to Expect the First Year of Medical School" (Hint: you won't be seeing much of your student for the next year). Steven Gambert, MD, AGSF, MACP, spoke about the history of the white coat and its meaning in the medical profession. The families also had the chance to ask questions of a panel of medical school experts -- Mickey Foxwell, MD, Associate Dean of Admissions; Sandra Dolan, PhD, Director of Academic Development at OME; Jennie Dunleavy Bloom, MSW, the parent of a medical student; fourth-year medical student Andrew Riggin; and Neda Frayha, MD, an associate professor of Medicine, who also works in the Office of Student Affairs.

John Bergquist, president of the Class of 2012, shared what medical school is like from a student's perspective and what the white coat presented to him his first year has meant to him. "It has been my constant companion during my years of medical school, and I've not only acquired great knowledge while wearing it, I've formed many memories of patients treated, surgeries performed, babies delivered and families comforted," he said. "It's been quite a journey for me. It's a journey that your students are just beginning, and it will be a long journey, but the rewards will be great. Because no other profession allows you to practice both humanism and science the way that medicine does."

The White Coat Ceremony

Next came the event every first-year had been waiting for – the White Coat Ceremony. This tradition, which started at the School of Medicine in 1997, formally presents first-year students with their white coats, long the symbol of physicians and scientists, after they have completed their first course in medical school -- Sturcture and Development (aka Anatomy). The coats are put on by School of Medicine faculty, to welcome their junior colleagues to the profession of medicine.

"Today you will be presented with the time-honored badge of the profession, the white coat," said Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA. "It is a symbol of the confidence and professionalism to which I hope you will all aspire."

After receiving their coats, students recited an oath acknowledging their acceptance of the obligations of the medical profession. They also added their signatures to the school's honor registry, a leather-bound book signed by all our medical students in their first year, in which they pledge to maintain integrity throughout their years in medicine.

"It's kind of cold outside, so I'm glad to get a coat," joked Brianne Teaboldt. "No, I think it's really special that we have this ceremony after Anatomy, because we know each other, we have friendships established, so it's more like we're doing it as a class than just a group of random people thrown together at the very beginning of the year, which is how the White Coat ceremony is at some other medical schools."

Added Cameron Gilliard, "It signifies everything I've worked for, for such a long time, even before medical school started," he said of his coat. "It's a symbol of medicine and everything I'll be doing in the future."

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 Cameron Gilliard

 Brianne Teaboldt

 Nick Phelps and his classmates brought family members both young and old to share their special day.

 The panelists answered questions from the audience.

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