Eighteen students from the UMKC School of Medicine’s master’s program for Physician Assistants took the spotlight at the UMKC Student Union on April 15.
The class read aloud the Physician Assistant Professional Oath as part of the program’s White Coat Ceremony, marking a milestone in the journey toward completing the Master of Medical Science Physician Assistant degree.
At the School of Medicine, the annual rite takes place at the beginning of the students’ fifth semester of the seven-semester program. It signifies the time of students transitioning from the classroom to the clinical phase of their training.
This was the third year of the White Coat Ceremony for the school’s PA program, which celebrated its first graduating class last May.
Following a brief welcome and introductions from program director Kathy Ervie, M.P.A.S., PA-C, Jim Wooten, Pharm. D., and associate professor of medicine for the departments of Basic Medical Sciences and Internal Medicine, offered brief remarks of encouragement.
Members of the PA program faculty then placed the white coats on their students’ shoulders. The white coat is considered a mantle of the medical profession and the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care and expertise in the science of medicine.
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation initiated the White Coat Ceremony to welcome students into the medical profession and set expectations for their role as health care providers by having them read their professional oath. Today, nearly 97 percent of the AAMC-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, and many osteopathic schools of medicine conduct a White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation partnered with the Physician Assistant Education Association to provide funding to establish the first White Coat Ceremonies for PA programs at the end of 2013.
The White Coat Ceremony at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine also prominently includes the colors blue, green, red, gold and purple.
This rite of passage for Year 3 students in UMKC’s innovative six-year B.A./M.D. program recognizes the transition from an emphasis on classroom work to bedside care. Faculty physician mentors — docents — gave white coats to 109 students at a ceremony Saturday at Swinney Recreation Center.
The newly white-coated students will spend the next four years in small docent-led learning groups. Five blue, green, red, gold and purple banners at the ceremony represented the five docent units.
The white coat is one of the most recognizable symbols of the medical profession. In the late 1800s, physicians wore short-sleeved white coats in the operating room to prevent contamination to both the physician and the patients. The color white also culturally represents values such as purity, cleanliness and life.
“Today, the white coat signifies the formal relationship that exists between physicians and patients,” said Brenda Rogers, M.D., associate dean for student affairs at the School of Medicine. “It serves as a reminder of the obligation we have to practice medicine with clinical competence and compassion.”
The students who were cloaked in white coats at the ceremony — the class of 2019 — wrote a philosophy of medicine statement that will hang in the school lobby. Joseph Bennettt, 2014 Richard T. Garcia Award recipient and Year 3 student, read it:
“Medicine is a noble profession that serves to better mankind, and getting a chance to be a part of this profession is a dream come true. As aspiring physicians, we have chosen potentially one of the more difficult paths to assisting others. We have chosen to master the human body and all that ails it. Simply stated, medicine is about helping people…”
Fourteen physician assistant students who are preparing to begin their clinical rotations participated in the School of Medicine’s first Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant White Coat Ceremony on April 11 at the UMKC Student Union Theater.
The ceremony takes place at the beginning of the students’ fifth semester of the seven-semester program to signify their transition from the classroom to the clinical phase of training. After hearing welcoming and encouraging remarks from Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., program director, Beverly Graves, M.D., program medical director, and Irv Stickney, P.A.-C., a member of the advisory board, students recited the Physician Assistant Professional Oath as a pledge to the health and safety of their patients and to maintain a professional code of ethics.
The white coat is a mantle of the medical profession, and the White Coat Ceremony occurs with students having the coat placed on their shoulders by individuals who believe in their ability to contribute to the traditions of the medical profession. The ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care and expertise in the science of medicine.
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation initiated the White Coat Ceremony to welcome students into the medical profession and set expectations for their role as health care providers by having them read their professional oath. Today, 97 percent of the AAMC-accredited medical schools in the United States and Canada, and osteopathic schools of medicine conduct a White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation partnered with the Physician Assistant Education Association to provide funding to establish White Coat Ceremonies for PA programs at the end of 2013.
The School of Medicine first began a White Coat Ceremony for students entering the B.A./M.D. program. In 2003, the School transitioned the ceremony to a program for Year 3 students as they advanced to Hospital Hill and joined their Years 3-6 docent units for the beginning of their clinical rotations.
Ervie said the White Coat Ceremony for PA students was modeled after the school’s ceremony for medical students.
The white coat is one of the preeminent symbols of a physician and with it comes respect and the expectation of contributing to the traditions of the medical profession. That significance wasn’t lost on the nearly 120 members of the School of Medicine’s entering Year 3 class as the group beamed with pride on Aug. 16 during the annual White Coat Ceremony at Swinney Recreation Center on the UMKC Volker Campus.
The ceremony marks the official beginning of Year 3 of training at the School of Medicine, when the medical students join their docent units on Hospital Hill and at Saint Luke’s Hospital for their final four years of medical school. It has been a tradition for students entering their third year at the School of Medicine since 2003. Sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the White Coat Ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for patients as well as proficiency in the art and science of medicine.
Rahuyl Maheshwari, MS 3, read the Class of 2018 philosophy of medicine statement before School of Medicine Alumni Association President Raymond Cattaneo, M.D., ’03, introduced the class and the School’s docents placed the physician’s white coat on the shoulders of each new member of their unit.
Another notable moment came earlier in the program when Allison Scholes, M.D., assistant professor of emergency medicine, was presented with the Outstanding Year 1-2 Docent Award. Students select the award recipient in voting each year.
Anne Kobberman, M.D., ’03, a member of the School of Medicine’s Alumni Association, and School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., F.A.C.P., each spoke to the class, offering encouragement for the task that lies ahead during the group’s next four years of medical education.