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SUNY Downstate Medical Center

White Coat Ceremony 2017


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White Coat Ceremony 2017

We are honored to share the memories from our annual White Coat Ceremony, this year celebrating the College of Medicine Class of 2021.

A relatively recent innovation, the White Coat Ceremony was started by Dr. Arnold Gold, a neurologist on the faculty of Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, in 1994. Dr. Gold thought that the Hippocratic Oath should be taken on the first day of medical school as well as the last. He was concerned that physicians were becoming more enamored with the technological aspects of medicine rather than listening to and caring for patients. He felt that the Hippocratic Oath should be taken by entering medical students to publicly commit at the outset of their careers to the kind of physician they will become. In 1995, which was the second year of the program, the Gold Foundation expanded their sponsorship of the White Coat Ceremony to seven medical schools, including SUNY Downstate. The Gold Foundation reports that the White Coat Ceremony now takes place at 97% of AAMC-accredited schools of medicine in the United States and Canada, as well as at osteopathic schools of medicine and at schools in 13 other countries.

At SUNY Downstate, we have a long tradition of training physicians who are skilled in treating not just the diseases of the body, but also the humanity of the person. For this reason, we celebrate the start of of every medical student's education and career by giving them a white coat – one of the symbols of a physician's compassionate care. It is a profound truism that the best patient care is caring about the patient. The white coat is also a way for us to welcome our students as junior members of the profession of medicine.

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