John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony
The White Coat Ceremony was created by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation of New York, and the first ceremony was held for the entering class of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University on August 20, 1993. The original concept was to clarify for new medical students that a physician's responsibility is twofold; to take care of patients and to care for patients. This ceremony has since been established at nearly all the nation's medical schools, with various adaptations.
At WVU, our first ceremony, held on January 26, 1996, deferred from the original concept. It honored students in their second year and marked the "transition" from the basic sciences to clinical sciences, from reading about illness and disease to diagnosing it; from learning about treatments to prescribing them.
With changes in medical education, that "transition" point is becoming less defined. Patient contact coming early on in training, meshing with the obvious importance and relevance of the basic sciences, broadens the concept of WVU's ceremony and more clearly defines its purpose.
In 1999, the ceremony was named to honor Dr. John W. Traubert, who retired as Associate Dean for Student Affairs.
WVU's White Coat Ceremony, strategically positioned in the second year of training, is designed to help students reaffirm their reasons for choosing medicine as their lives' work. The ceremony provides a formal way for them to express their commitment to becoming technically excellent and professionally compassionate with patients. It stresses the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the relevance of the white coat as a "cloak of compassion."
"... wearing the white coat symbolizes all of those aspects of what the profession of medicine really means. The white coat doesn't separate you. It doesn't make you better. It does serve as a reminder of your responsibilities to your patients ..." said Dr. D'Alessandri at the 1998 ceremony.