MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The members of the West Virginia University School of Medicine Class of 2016 will soon don the most significant symbol of their chosen profession – the white coat – for the first time.

On March 22, the School of Medicine will hold its annual John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony, during which the 92 students in the class will be 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 ceremony is an important milestone in the professional development of a physician,” said Norman Ferrari, M.D., WVU School of Medicine vice dean for education and academic affairs and chair of 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.”

The featured speaker will be WVU School of Medicine alumnus Christopher R. Deskins, M.D., a pediatric physician with Kids Plus Pediatrics in Pittsburgh, Pa. He obtained his undergraduate degree at WVU in 2006 before graduating from the WVU School of Medicine in 2010. A native of Pineville, W.Va., Dr. Deskins was president of his medical school class and received the School of Medicine Alumni Association’s President’s Young Alumnus Award in 2010.

“The White Coat Ceremony is a time of reflection and anticipation for second-year medical students,” said Deskins.  “It’s a moment to celebrate their accomplishments as medical scholars before embarking on a journey to apply their knowledge to their relationships with patients and master the art of medicine. Moreover, this ceremony serves to rekindle the passion that drives all physicians to provide the best care possible for their patients.”

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. He 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.

The event, to be held on March 22 at 10 a.m. at the Morgantown Event Center at Waterfront Place, will be linked via MDTV on the Charleston and Eastern campuses. A reception follows the ceremony.
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
tds: 03-18-14