Students Receive First Doctor’s White Coats at Ceremony

By gisele galoustian | 8/4/2017

The 64 members of the incoming class of 2017 in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University each received their first doctor’s white coat today during the White Coat Ceremony. The seventh annual White Coat Ceremony formally marked their entry into the profession of medicine and took place in the Barry and Florence Friedberg Lifelong Learning Auditorium on the Boca Raton campus.

“The power of the symbolic white coat resides in how you conduct yourself while wearing it as a medical student and later as a physician,” said Phillip Boiselle, M.D., dean of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, as he delivered his remarks to the entering class of 2017. “It is a constant reminder of your professional and ethical obligations as a physician. Always remember that providing health care is a sacred trust and your white coat symbolizes your commitment to upholding that trust.”

Stuart L. Markowitz, M.D., senior associate dean for student affairs and admissions in FAU’s Charles E. College of Medicine, served as the master of ceremonies and FAU President John Kelly  provided remarks prior to the white coat cloaking.

“You have chosen a very noble profession and we wish you every success in your education, your training and your life as a physician,” said Markowitz. “This is the first step on a journey that will be exciting, frustrating, but will be the most remarkable journey you will encounter. On behalf of all us in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and at Florida Atlantic University we welcome you on this journey.”

The event program included a keynote delivered by Darin P. Trelka, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of integrated medical science and director of anatomical programs in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, and the 2017 recipient of FAU’s highest award, the “Distinguished Teacher of the Year.” Trelka is board-certified in anatomic and forensic pathology and has been a medical examiner and coroner in Virginia, Ohio and Florida. He is the former deputy chief and interim chief medical examiner of Broward County.

The students were cloaked with their white coats by Markowitz and Jennifer W. Caceres, M.D., assistant dean for student affairs in FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. Each student was pinned with a “Humanism in Medicine” lapel pin by a member of the class of 2020 during the ceremony. At the conclusion of the event, the students recited in unison an “oath” they collectively wrote, which will serve as a code of conduct they are committed to following throughout their education and as physicians after medical school. 

The 64 members of the incoming class of 2017 were selected among 3,667 applicants who desired to attend FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine. Class members range in age from 19 to 30. The class of 2017 is the most diverse in the school's history and will contribute to the College’s mission to enhance diversity among the physician workforce. Fifteen percent of the class received their bachelor’s degree or master’s degree from FAU. Although most of the class members majored in traditional pre-med subjects, the class also is made up of students who have non-science majors. Approximately 87 percent of the incoming class are Florida residents.   

Most of the major colleges in Florida are represented including students from FAU, the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Central Florida, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, and Florida Gulf Coast University.

Other students in the class attended undergraduate institutions such as Boston University, Cornell University, Dartmouth University, Duke University, Emory University, Georgetown University, The University of Hawaii, and the University of Southern California among others.

Each student’s white coat was sponsored by members of the community as well as local businesses during White Coats-4-Care, a special fundraising event co-chaired by Bonnie and Jon Kaye, Kaye Communications, Inc. The event also provided vital medical school scholarships.

Following the White Coat Ceremony, students and guests enjoyed a special reception generously  underwritten by Michael T.B. Dennis, M.D., member of FAU’s Board of Trustees and chair of the advisory board of FAU’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine.

The White Coat Ceremony was founded in 1993 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. The Foundation concluded that the beginning of a student’s journey into medicine is the best time to influence standards of professionalism, humanistic values and behavior.