One hundred and four future physicians officially began their medical education during the Central Michigan University College of Medicine's White Coat Ceremony. The event creates a commitment to compassionate care at the very beginning of medical training.
"Your odyssey to becoming a physician formally begins the moment you slip on the white coat," Dr. George E. Kikano, CMU vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Medicine, told the new students. "More than any other item, the white coat denotes the medical profession – and the knowledge, compassion, and care required from the person who wears it."
Dr. Amy Kuechenmeister, '17 gave the keynote speech. Kuechenmeister is a member of the College of Medicine's inaugural class. She told the medical students that they would feel the weight of the white coat. "Medicine is not a job, it's a calling. It is our weight to bear, and through our training, our shoulders are made strong," said Kuechenmeister. "The weight of the coat represents…love, hope for the future, compassion, integrity, honesty, ethics; it represents a profession filled with honor, empathy, and servitude."
Future physicians celebrate together at the 2021 CMU College of Medicine White Coat Ceremony.
Chosen from more than 6,500 applicants, the class of 2025 is one of the college's most diverse, comprised of 15 percent underrepresented minorities in medicine. The students come from 17 states plus Canada and completed their undergraduate coursework at 45 different colleges and universities.
Dr. Arnold P. Gold at Columbia University initiated the White Coat Ceremony in 1993. Gold was a professor, pediatric neurologist, and passionate advocate for humanistic health care. He believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late. Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.
The CMU College of Medicine and nearly every medical school in the United States participate in this traditional ceremony. CMU's ceremony was broadcast via livestream and a recording of the ceremony remains available.