White Coat Ceremony marks next step for UMKC med students

Medical students at the UMKC School of Medicine’s campuses in Kansas City and St. Joseph participated in the annual White Coat Ceremony on August 6 and 7, an annual rite of passage as they begin a more intensive part of their clinical training.

The physician’s white coat, one of the most recognizable symbols of the medical profession, signifies a growing set of responsibilities such as the development of a formal relationship between physicians and their patients. It is also a reminder of the physician’s obligation to practice medicine with clinical competence and compassion.

“I encourage you to wear your coat with pride and integrity,” Jill Moormeier, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine, said during the ceremony for students on the Health Sciences Campus in Kansas City.

During the ceremony, students entering their third-year of the School of Medicine curriculum were coated by their new Year 3-6 docents.

Sharing how medicine has evolved over the years, Mary Anne Jackson, M.D., School of Medicine dean, called this a remarkable time in medical history for students to receive their white coats and continue their quest to become a physician.

“There is a constant over time, and that is, you affirm your commitment to medicine and embrace your coat as a symbol of compassion, of your professionalism and the honor and privilege of caring for patients,” she said.

At Mosaic Life Care, home of the School of Medicine’s St. Joseph campus, Jackson shared her message as family and dignitaries looked on while 21 students received their white coats. The students were coated by individuals they had identified as a supportive mentor or loved one in their pursuit of a medical career.

In addition to Jackson, the class received encouragement from Mosaic Life Care Chief Executive Officer Mike Poore and Edward Kammerer, Chief Medical Officer and Clinic President at Mosaic Life Care.

James Shackelford, manager the school’s admissions office, presented a special School of Medicine St. Joseph Campus award for Outstanding Community Engagement to the Missouri Northwest Area Health Education Center. The award is given to an outstanding individual or entity that has dedicated efforts to the betterment of the future academic medical community in Missouri and to the medical school in St. Joseph.

On the Kansas City Campus, the school recognized Valerie Rader, M.D., ’05, as this year’s Outstanding Years 1 and 2 Docent. A cardiologist at Saint Luke’s Hospital of Kansas City, Rader has served as a docent for first and second-year students for 11 years, is a lecturer for the School of Medicine’s physician assistant program and in 2020 received a teaching award from the Department of Internal Medicine.

School of Medicine alumni Michele Kilo, M.D., ’84, and Barry Gubin, M.D., ’84, also presented the Marilyn McGuyre scholarship to third-year student Krish Sardesai. The scholarship honors McGuyre, who served as long-time director of student affairs and career counselor.

Students at both campus ceremonies were read a compilation of their class reflections on the Philosophy of Medicine as well as the UMKC version of the Hippocratic Oath that they will recite when they graduate.

The School of Medicine conducted its first White Coat Ceremony for third-year students in 2003. The program is sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to emphasize the importance of compassionate care for patients and proficiency in the art and science of medicine.