The White Coat Ceremony tradition began in 1993 at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. This solemn yet celebratory event, currently practiced by 99 percent of AAMC-accredited medical schools, received widespread adoption throughout the United States. Beginning in 2007, the College of Medicine – Phoenix began holding the ceremony at the conclusion of the first academic block, Introduction to Medicine, as a rite of passage for all incoming medical students. In this ceremony, students receive their first white coat from the deans of the College of Medicine – Phoenix and together recite a personalized version of the Hippocratic Oath, reminding all who hear that their journey in serving patients begins immediately.
Prior to crossing the stage, students and their guests are addressed by a prominent member of the medical community, who is selected for their demonstration of humanism and compassion in patient care. Past speakers have included Arnold P. Gold, MD, and his wife, Sandra, founders of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and the first formal White Coat Ceremony. The College of Medicine – Phoenix looks forward to welcoming Joan Y. Reede, MD, dean for Diversity and Community Partnership at Harvard Medical School, as the honored speaker at the 2019 White Coat Ceremony.
Similar to a graduation, the White Coat ceremony marks a new beginning. Yet unlike a graduation, this ceremony does not symbolize the end of an academic journey, but rather the beginning of a lifelong commitment to the pursuit of excellence in medicine. As students receive their white coats and recite their class oath, they commit to demonstrate and maintain the core values of the College of Medicine – Phoenix, including collaboration, community, diversity, excellence, innovation, integrity and servant leadership. In addition, each is given a stethoscope and a textbook; the stethoscope symbolizes the human touch involved in medicine, and the textbook recognizes the lifelong journey of acquiring knowledge.