59 first-year osteopathic medical students took an important step toward becoming physicians.
A rite of passage took place for the first time in Southwest Georgia as 59 medical students donned symbolic white coats on their journey to becoming physicians.
Family members, friends, faculty and staff looked on proudly as members of the Class of 2023 helped each other into their coats at the PCOM South Georgia White Coat Ceremony on October 18, 2019.
The ceremony, held in a large, sun-drenched classroom in the 75,000 square foot facility dedicated just two months ago by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, featured remarks by Jessica Brumfield Mitchum, DO ’15, a PCOM Georgia graduate.
Dr. Mitchum completed a residency at the Georgia South Family Medicine Residency Program at Colquitt Regional Medical Center and is now a practicing physician in Moultrie.
Having attended her own White Coat Ceremony just eight years ago, Dr. Mitchum spoke to the students about being part of a team.
“Your white coat is not only representative of your obligation to care for your patients; it is a garment of identification for your colleagues, a team jersey.”
Recalling a time when a team of healthcare providers shepherded one of her patients to good health, she said, “You cannot provide adequate health care for your patients without being part of a great team.” She urged the students to look at the students sitting next to them as part of their own teams.
“Learn to work together and support each other. Remember that you are on a winning team and that when things get tough, you are not alone.”
She also asked the student to remember their why. “Remember that you are here because you have made a choice to live a life of service. You are here because you realize that your life is bigger than you alone, and that you have so much to give to the world through the practice of medicine.”
Class Chair Matthew Powell (DO ’23) also addressed his fellow students about the symbolism of the white coat.
“These coats represent our acceptance into the community of physicians,” he said. “And, though our coats are short today, their length will grow with our knowledge and experience.”
Referring to their future graduation day, he said, “Let’s think back to today, when our coats were crisp, clean and white and at the end of four years, they will surely be anything but – covered in marks that represent the hours of dedication to the mastery of medicine.”
He noted the lore that each class of medical students has a certain “theme, reputation or vibe.”
“I’m proud to say that in the 68 days that this class has been together, we have our vibe. We are the grinders. We are the class that scratches and claws and hustles, that waits at the door of the Anatomy Lab on a Saturday morning for Security to let us in, that pushes one another, that peer tutors one another, that will spend the extra hour reviewing, instead of rolling over and admitting defeat.”
“Class of 2023, are you with me?” he said.
PCOM Georgia Chief Academic Officer Michael J. Sampson, DO, FAOASM, reminded the students that they were at the beginning of their journey. “Let’s do the real thing in four years,” he said.
The class joined together in repeating the mission statement they had penned committing to professionalism, teamwork, being open to criticism and utilizing osteopathic principles to treat the whole person: mind, body and spirit. They then joined together in singing the song “Unwritten” led by class member Sadie Daugereaux (DO ’23).
“The rest is still unwritten, unwritten, unwritten. The rest is still unwritten,” the Class of 2023 sang in unison as the audience looked on with pride.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia, which offers a full four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. In addition, a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences will be offered beginning in August 2020. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students on August 12, 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
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