White Coat Ceremony
The white coat is a traditional symbol of the medical clinician and scientist. It has come to represent the knowledge, skill, and integrity of the medical professional and the highest standards of professional work, whether in the classroom, laboratory or clinic. Held in November or December, the White Coat Ceremony officially welcomes freshmen students into the professional community. In mid-fall students are asked to provide a list of two or three people whom they would like to invite to this ceremony, generally parents or partners.
Following a continental breakfast, those attending hear a number of short presentations, with each speaker addressing the issue of professionalism in medicine from his or her own perspective. Speakers include representatives of the medical school administration, the pre-clinical and clinical faculty and the student body. Freshmen students are then called individually to the stage to receive their white coats from members of the faculty, as well as a copy of the school's Code of Professional Conduct. Acceptance of the white coat is an affirmation that, along with acquiring the requisite knowledge, the student will accept responsibility for developing and maintaining professional attitudes and behaviors in work and in relationships with classmates, teachers, patients and the community-at-large.