LUCOM honors Class of 2020 with annual White Coat Ceremony
Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) officially welcomed its newest class, the Class of 2020, Saturday, July 30, during LUCOM’s third White Coat Ceremony.
“Today is purely a celebration of the positive impact on patient lives these Student Doctors will have the opportunity to make during their careers,” said Ronnie B. Martin, D.O., Dean, as he addressed families and guests of the Class of 2020 before the ceremony. “These are truly outstanding young men and women, each of whom we believe will distinguish themselves as future osteopathic physicians and our colleagues,” Dr. Martin said.
The White Coat Ceremony is structured to commemorate the humanistic spirit upon which the practice of osteopathic medicine was founded and designed to impress upon students and their guests the important symbolic role of the white coat in physician-patient interactions. “Today marks a ‘rite of passage’ from individual to professional,” said Dr. Martin. “These students are now held to a higher standard and while they will be extended a cloak of privilege and respect earned by generations of physicians before them, this cloak is one that they themselves must continuously demonstrate that they deserve.”
Dr. Martin also mentioned that the white coat signifies the commitment to excellence, scientific rigor and seriousness of intent. “To reach your goals, you will need to not only acquire scientific, psychological and biological knowledge, but expand your personal capacities in empathy, compassion, ethics and professionalism as well.
Following Dr. Martin’s remarks, students individually introduced themselves and where they are from on stage before officially being coated from a LUCOM faculty member. Students then received three symbolic pins: one bearing the official seal of LUCOM, the second marking their membership entry as students in the Virginia Osteopathic Medical Association (VOMA), and the third celebrating the goals of ethical practices and patient-centered, humanistic medical care as advocated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the sponsoring organization of the White Coat Ceremony.
T. Scott Garrett, M.D., Virginia’s 23rd House District Delegate, delivered the keynote address at Saturday’s White Coat Ceremony. “Challenges are what makes life interesting,” said Delegate Garrett. “Overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Delegate Garrett used overcoming challenges as the foundation for the keynote address. He spoke on difficult challenges that he faced as a general surgeon, life lessons of humility, and the power of nurses. “People won’t always remember what you did,” said Delegate Garrett. “But they will remember how you made them feel.” Delegate Garrett strongly urged student-doctors to not be helicopter doctors and simply hover from one patient to the next, but to be a bedside doctor and care for the people. “There are five professions that have servant hearts; doctors, nurses, law enforcement, pastors, and teachers” said Delegate Garrett. “Each one of you has a servant’s heart.”
The White Coat Ceremony came to a close with the students reciting the Osteopathic Oath, led by Ray L. Morrison, D.O., Chair of Surgery at LUCOM, pledging to uphold the principles of the profession with integrity.
The Class of 2020 containing 156 students contains members from 31 states and Canada, with the most represented states include Virginia (24 students), California (16), Pennsylvania (11), and Texas (10).