The members of the West Virginia University School of Medicine Class of 2019 donned the most significant symbol of their chosen profession – the white coat – for the first time.

On March 18, the School of Medicine held its annual John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony, during which 100 students in the class were presented with their white coats.

At WVU, the first White Coat Ceremony was held Jan. 26, 1996. Its tradition differs from the conventional concept in that it honors second-year students and marks the transition from basic sciences to clinical sciences, from reading about illness and disease to diagnosing it, and from learning about treatments to prescribing them. The ceremony stresses the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the relevance of the white coat as a cloak of compassion.

This year, the class boasts nine legacy students, with parents who are also graduates of WVU’s program in medicine: Robert Halbritter is the son of Kevin A. Halbritter, M.D. (Class of 1985); Camille Leon is the daughter of John A. Leon, M.D. (Class of 1984); Kylie Fuller is the daughter of Mark G. Fuller, M.D. (Class of 1981); Garret Jones is the son of E. Bruce Jones, M.D. (Class of 1984); Melissa Wolz is the daughter of Dean E. Wolz, M.D. (Class of 1988); Tiffany Shirkey is the stepdaughter of Eric D. Shouldis, M.D. (Class of 2000); Ian Thislethwaite is the son of Dan Thisthlewaite, M.D. (Class of 1987); Mark Kenamond is the son of Mark Kenamond, M.D. (Class of 1984); Jonathan Goad is the son of John L. Goad, M.D. (Class of 1987.)

“This ceremony is an important milestone in the professional development of a physician,” said Norman Ferrari, M.D., vice dean for education and academic affairs and professor in the WVU Department of Medical Education. “It is the first time they will publically recite the Oath of Hippocrates on their journey to becoming a physician and establishing a sacred trust with their patients to provide excellent care in a compassionate manner.”

Featured speaker was School of Medicine alumnus Lisa M. Costello, M.D., M.P.H. Dr. Costello is assistant professor of internal medicine and pediatrics at WVU, director of the Adult Mountain State Cystic Fibrosis Program and a pediatric hospitalist at WVU Medicine Children’s Hospital. She serves on School of Medicine Committee on Admissions and leads a healthcare literacy and patient advocacy curriculum thread for the medicine program. Dr. Costello is a graduate of the Class of 2011 and a current member of the School of Medicine Alumni Association Executive Council.

WVU president E. Gordon Gee and WVU’s Gold Humanism Honor Society chapter president Adam Younis also gave remarks.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation designed the White Coat Ceremony in 1993 to welcome entering medical students and help them to establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The event emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as scientific proficiency. It has since been established at medical schools across the country.

WVU’s ceremony was named for John W. Traubert, M.D., former associate dean for student and curricular affairs at the WVU School of Medicine, who practiced family medicine in Wellsburg before joining the WVU faculty as founding chair of the Department of Family Practice, now the Department of Family Medicine. A reception follows the ceremony.

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Photo captions: (1) The WVU School of Medicine class of 2019 legacy students with their alumni parents at the medical school’s White Coat ceremony on Saturday, March 19 (left to right, front row): Mark Kenamond, Missy Wolz, Ian Thistlewaite, Kylie Fuller, Camille Leon, Garrett Jones, Tiffany Sharkey; (left to right, back row): Mark Kenamond, M.D., Dean E. Wolz, M.D., Dan Thistlewaite, M.D., Mark G. Fuller, M.D., John A. Leon, M.D., E. Bruce Jones, M.D., Eric D. Shouldis, M.D. (2) A group of WVU medical students read hand-written notes inscribed to them by the donor of their white coat. (3) Class of 2019 medical student Brooke Bertus is coated by WVU School of Medicine’s Eastern Campus associate dean of Student Services, Rosemarie Cannarella Lorenzetti , M.D., M.P.H.


Tara Scatterday
Director, Communications & Marketing
WVU School of Medicine
304-293-0630 |