|Liberty medical students are presented with their white coats at the ceremony.|
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) recognized its first class of student doctors at the inaugural White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 2. During the ceremony, students were each coated by a faculty member and given a pin bearing LUCOM’s seal. At the end of the ceremony, the students recited the Osteopathic Oath, pledging to uphold the principles of the profession.
The inaugural class includes 162 students, who began orientation on Wednesday, July 30, and are scheduled to earn their Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) degrees in Spring 2018.
Classes begin Monday, Aug. 4, in the stunning new Center for Medical & Health Sciences, which overlooks the university’s campus and much of Lynchburg from Liberty Mountain. The 144,000-square-foot facility is second to none with state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories where students will receive training from a world-class faculty. Though construction had been complete prior to students’ arrival, Dr. Jim Kribs, chair of the Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, told students during his welcome address that now the building “is complete because you are in it.”
Dr. Ronnie B. Martin, dean of LUCOM, shared the history of the White Coat Ceremony, explaining that it is designed to impress upon the students and the public the importance of the doctor-patient relationship. It was instituted in 1993 by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and is celebrated at almost all medical schools in the United States, as well as in 13 other countries.
“Today marks a rite of passage from individualism to professionalism,” Martin said. “These young men and women will never see themselves the same again … they will be held to a higher standard. And while they will be extended a cloak of privilege and respect worn by generations of physicians that come before them, it is one that they themselves must continuously demonstrate that they deserve.”
The keynote speaker, Dr. David Stevens, CEO of the Christian Medical & Dental Associations, echoed Martin’s charge that all students hold themselves to a higher standard.
Stevens said that patients deserve a physician that is both a professional and displays the upmost competence.
“(People) are going to entrust the most valuable thing they have, their lives and their futures, to you. … You study now because you care about the people you serve and you want to absorb every thing you can so you will be the kind of physician they deserve,” he said.
He challenged the students to follow the principles of Micah 6:8, to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly. Stevens said by doing this, students will learn that to be a physician is to be a servant.
“You have put a mantle on yourself today to say, ‘I am here to serve and to help and to sacrifice myself for your good and I do that because of the love of Jesus Christ that lives in me … and that flows out of me.’”