WVU medical students earn white coats, transition to clinical care

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

View Highlights from the 2023 Ceremony

As they marked a symbolic day in their medical journey, more than 100 students in West Virginia University School of Medicine’s Class of 2025 received their white coats, marking their transition from foundational science in the pre-clerkship phase of the curriculum to clinical care.

The event took place on Saturday, March 11, at Morgantown’s Metropolitan Theatre.

Patrice Harris, M.D., the 174th President of the American Medical Association and the first African American woman elected to that position, served as the keynote speaker. Dr. Harris earned her M.D. degree from WVU in 1992.

Other speakers included Clay Marsh, M.D., WVU Health Sciences chancellor and executive dean; Mark Yester, M.D., vice-president of the School’s alumni association; and Kathryn Quillen, a fourth-year medical student and president of the WVU Gold Humanism Honor Society.

Norman Ferrari, M.D., chief academic officer for medical education, administered the Oath of Hippocrates.

For the School’s annual John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony, each coat is sponsored by an alumnus of the school, and a note of encouragement from the sponsor is placed in a pocket of the coat for the student.

At WVU, the first White Coat Ceremony was held Jan. 26, 1996. Its tradition differs from the conventional concept in that it honors second-year students and marks the transition from basic sciences to clinical sciences, from reading about illness and disease to diagnosing it, and from learning about treatments to prescribing them. The ceremony stresses the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the relevance of the white coat as a cloak of compassion.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation designed the White Coat Ceremony in 1993 to welcome entering medical students and help them to establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The event emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as scientific proficiency. It has since been established at medical schools across the country.

WVU’s ceremony was named for John W. Traubert, M.D., former associate dean for student and curricular affairs at the WVU School of Medicine, who practiced family medicine in Wellsburg before joining the WVU faculty as founding chair of the Department of Family Medicine.

For more information on the School of Medicine, visit medicine.wvu.edu.

CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU School of Medicine
304.293.3412; cassie.thomas@hsc.wvu.edu