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…”