On Saturday, Oct. 3, 283 first-year osteopathic medical students took their first step toward becoming physicians during PCOM’s White Coat Ceremony.
A significant rite of passage, the White Coat Ceremony is a tradition at most medical schools. The ceremony is designed to establish a psychological contract for beginning medical students that stresses the importance of compassionate care for the patient and professionalism as well as scientific proficiency.
Students heard from Jay S. Feldstein, DO '81, president and CEO; Ken Veit, DO ’76, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean; and Harry Morris, DO ’78, MPH, chair of family medicine. Michael J. Zawisza, DO ’86, president of the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association, congratulated the students after they had received their white coats.
Students representing years two, three and four also shared their perspectives on
what the white coat meant to them. "My white coat marks me as someone given the opportunity
to care for others, said Kelly Mowatt, class of 2017.
The ceremony concluded with the class of 2019 reciting the vision statement they had crafted during orientation. The students pledged to “dedicate ourselves to the evolution of our medical training and emotional intelligence,” and “to be cognizant that a patient is more than their diagnosis, and acknowledge the person behind their disease.”
The physician’s white coat has been a part of the profession since the 19th century. The concept originated from the operating room’s white coat, and has served as a visual symbol of the profession that stands for the need to balance excellence in science with compassionate caring for the patient.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained more than 15,000 highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach, treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers the doctor of osteopathic medicine, doctor of pharmacy and doctor of psychology degrees and graduate programs in mental health counseling, school psychology, physician assistant studies, forensic medicine, organizational development and leadership, and biomedical sciences. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, education and service to the community and, through PCOM’s Healthcare Centers, provide care to the medically underserved populations in inner city and rural locations.
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