After a full day of introductions, information sessions, instructions and refreshments, 221 students entering Ohio State’s College of Medicine assembled in the grand ballroom of the newly-built Ohio Union to receive their “white coats.”
Seated among a maxed-out audience of 1,100 family, friends, peers and supporters, the initiates heard inspirational words from college officials on the exciting, but challenging, venture ahead and the professional responsibilities required of them in their roles as future physicians.
Established by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993, the White Coat Ceremony welcomes entering medical students and helps establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The event emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as scientific proficiency.
Yesterday’s event included a recitation of the Hippocratic Oath, cloaking of students in their first white coats, addresses by faculty and alumni leaders, and a post-event reception for students, families and friends. This year, for the first time, medical students were paired with sponsors who had contributed to a White Coat Scholarship Program, many of whom were in attendance.
The White Coat Ceremony was initiated on August 20, 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. Grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 1996 and 1997 made future and widespread advocacy of this celebratory and solemn event possible. Currently, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at more than 90% of schools of medicine and osteopathy in the United States, as well as at all four medical schools in Israel.