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White Coat Ceremony Is Highlight of Medical Family Day

Thursday, November 02, 2006


The second annual Medical Family Day on November 2nd kicked off with a breakfast for families of first-year students. The more than 200 attendees were then welcomed by School of Medicine dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA.


"Each of you is a very important part of the continuing history and legacy of one of America’s oldest and leading medical schools, and we welcome you to our expanding community," the dean told the families. "During these next four years, the members of the Class of 2010 will experience the excitement and challenges of medical school. Your support will be critical to their success."


All of the morning's speakers talked of the importance of offering varying means of support – financial, emotional, social – to medical school students. By far, the most popular presentation was a peek into what the first year is like, with Dr. David Mallott giving the faculty point of view; fourth-year student Sara Faber sharing her first-year experiences; and Barbara Friedman, mother of a third-year medical student, participating in a panel discussion with Faber and Dr. Joseph Martinez from the Office of Student Affairs about what help family and friends can offer during this challenging time.


Few lingered over lunch, as the afternoon brought the event for which the first-year students have long been waiting – the White Coat Ceremony. This tradition, which started at the School of Medicine in 1997, involves the presentation of traditional white coats, long the symbol of physicians and scientists, to students. The coats are put on the students by School of Medicine faculty, to welcome their new colleagues to the profession of medicine. After being "coated," students recited an oath acknowledging their acceptance of the obligations of the medical profession.


"It's exciting," said Dr. Mark Jaffe, class of '81, who was proudly snapping photos of son David in his new white coat. "We never had anything like this. It's a nice tradition."

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