PCOM's osteopathic medicine students received white coats which symbolize compassion and professionalism for their patients.
On Sunday, September 30, proud friends and family gathered at the Hilton Philadelphia City Avenue to see their loved ones in the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) class of 2022 receive their first white coats, signifying their first step toward becoming competent, caring physicians.
Roughly 270 students participated in this year’s White Coat Ceremony, which is a rite of passage in the medical field, 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.
During the ceremony, students and alumni shared their reflections on their white coats with the class of 2022. Many stressed its significance to the patients that students will one day serve.
“You should be proud to wear your white coat, but I hope you remember that once you put it on, you take on all of the responsibility that goes along with it,” said Stephen DePaul (DO ’21), president of the DO Council.
“The white coat helps me keep in mind what brought me to medical school in the first place,” said Evan Gooberman (DO ’19) president of the DO class of 2019. “The white coat isn’t just significant to us, it’s significant to the members of the community we’re taking care of.”
Kenneth Veit, DO ’78, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean, asked the friends and family of the class of 2022 to consider their roles in the future physicians’ careers.
“Your role is simply to be there,” he said. “Listen to their cries, and listen to their successes.”
The white coats for the class of 2022 were provided by a donation from the Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA). Joan Grzybowski, DO ’87, assistant professor of family medicine and president of POMA, described the white coat as a symbol of the path students’ careers will take.
“Your growth will accelerate from here on out,” she said. “Your white coat will become a coat of many colors, dotted with the colors of life.”
Each coat was adorned with the College patch, donated by the PCOM Alumni Association.
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 thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctorate degrees in educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology, and graduate degrees in aging and long-term care administration, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies and school psychology. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner-city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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