Donning of a new era

First-year medical students donned a white medical coat and recited the Hippocratic Oath for the first time Friday to symbolize the beginning of their medical training.

The incoming freshman class of 2008 gathered in Kingsbury Hall on to participate in the symbolic White Coat Ceremony.

Noel Gardner, a past president of the Utah Psychiatric Association, provided the keynote address to an audience consisting of incoming medical students and their friends and families.

He stressed the importance of students remembering and maintaining their humanistic ideals, and emphasized that empathy for the patients was still the best medicine.

Jeremy Kendrick, a third-year medical student at the U and a student body co-president remarked that Gardner’s speech was “inspirational” and applauded his “emphasis to remember the humanistic aspect of being a doctor.”

The White Coat ceremony began in 1993 by Arnold God, M.D., of the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and it nearly immediately spread to other medical schools around the country.

Students, families and faculty alike voiced appreciation for the ceremony.

Eric Glissmeyer, one of the 102 medical students in the class of 2008, said, “The White Coat ceremony acts as a springboard for the beginning of your medical career.”

Many students and families discussed the symbolic aspect of the ceremony, where the students are individually presented their white coats, much like a diploma during graduation.

Larry Reimer, assistant dean of curriculum and graduation medical education, said, “So far, the symbolism in the ceremony has been very well-received, both by students and families.”

Tom Swenson, whose daughter participated in the U’s first White Coat ceremony held about 10 years ago, agrees. “The ceremony was great for the family, and made my daughter feel like more of a professional.”

The 102 students of the class of 2008 were chosen out of 930 applicants, and includes 36 women and 17 minority students.

Glissmeyer said he was “impressed by my fellow students and proud to be here with them.”

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