Emergency Information Take Over

The Class of 2016 Celebrates Their White Coat Ceremony

Friday, November 02, 2012

 Faculty bestow the coats onto the students.

The White Coat Ceremony was held on November 1, 2012 at the Hilton at Camden Yards. This special day for first-year medical students, which was sponsored by the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company, gives family members a glimpse into what medical school is really like for these new students and is capped off by a ceremony welcoming the students to the field of medicine. "Today you will be presented with the time-honored badge of the profession, the white coat," said E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland; the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. "It is a symbol of the confidence and professionalism to which I hope you will all aspire."


Before the coats were given out, families were educated a bit about the medical school experience. David Mallott, MD, associate dean of Medical Education, presented "What to Expect the First Year of Medical School," in which he frankly told the families they would not be seeing much of their students in the next few months (unless, of course, there is a meal involved). The families also had the chance to ask questions of a panel of medical school experts -- Donna Parker, MD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs; Sandra Dolan, PhD, Director of Academic Development in the Office of Medical Education; Steven Gross, MD, a class of 1973 graduate, parent of a med student and chair of the Medical Family Annual Fund;  student Hersch Bhatia; George Fantry, MD, Assistant Dean for Student Research & Education; and Neda Frayha, MD, an associate professor of Medicine and assistant dean for Student Affairs. Dr. Gross also spoke to families about the Medical Family Annual Fund, which helps students take advantage of educational opportunities, and funded recent renovations to student lounges on campus. Dr. Joseph Martinez, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine and assistant dean for Student Affairs, was chosen by the students to give the faculty presentation.


Hersch Bhatia, MS-IV, president of the Class of 2013, spoke about the history of the white coat and what the ceremony means to students. "This is a symbol of initiation, not one of graduation or completion," he said. "The ceremony helps students cross over from where they were before -- undergraduate school, other careers -- into a community of life-long learners and healers. We receive white coats as a symbol that we are being accepted to train in the field of medicine. This ceremony is where we start to realize that being a part of this community is a privilege and that there is great responsibility that goes along with that."


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


After they received 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.

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 Signing the honor registry.

 Dr. Gross, Dr. Parker and Dean Reece

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