On Saturday, March 5, 149 students participated in a rite of passage known as the “White Coat Ceremony” which signifies their entrance into the medical profession. Students receive a short white coat symbolizing their journey to the long white coat they will wear once they are a physician. The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition established by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 at Columbia University as a way to highlight the importance of humanism in all care of patients, with the white coat serving as a tangible symbol of matriculation. Trained surgeons, soon followed by physicians, began wearing white lab coats in the late 1800s to distinguish themselves from those that did not practice evidence-based medicine.
After the white coat is placed on each student’s shoulders, the Hippocratic Oath is often recited, and students are welcomed warmly by academic leadership, faculty, and peers. Today 99% of AAMC-accredited schools of medicine in the United States hold a White Coat Ceremony, and many students consider it a milestone in the journey of their medical career.
The 2022 LSU Health Shreveport White Coat Ceremony was held at a packed Strand Theatre with Dr. Keith White, MD, FACS, Professor and the John C. McDonald MD Endowed Chair of Surgery serving as the keynote speaker.
“The annual White Coat Ceremony is a day I look forward to each year as it is one of the most memorable days in the lives of our medical students and their families. Moving into the next phase of medical training is a day for each student and their families to celebrate as these students have now taken a major step in accomplishing their goal of becoming physicians”, stated David Lewis, MD, MBA, Dean of the School of Medicine and Interim Chancellor at LSU Health Shreveport.
In addition to the presentation of white coats, new honorees were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). This international honor society was established in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation with the purpose of recognizing medical students, residents and faculty who practice patient-centered care by displaying qualities of excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy. Currently there are 175 chapters of GHHS of which three are international comprised of over 40,000 students, faculty, and other healthcare leaders.
Hear from the students in the video below: