Read the full story by Susan Green, published by the Geisel School of Medicine.
Early on an October morning drive-through, Alison Holmes, associate dean for student affairs, and John Dick III, MED ’03, interim senior associate dean of medical education, distributed white coats to first-year students at the Geisel School of Medicine, marking an important symbolic step in their medical careers. Shifting from its usual on-campus celebration with friends and family because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, students were coated later that morning during their “on doctoring” small group sessions.
Representing the Class of 2023, second-year medical student Irene Vargas reminded everyone they were at the beginning of their journey, and the white coat they received meant something different to each of them. “For me, this white coat is a symbol of the privilege I have to care for others,” she said. “My white coat reminds me that I must advocate for my patients, ensure equitable care, and work to erase the injustice of healthcare disparities. Every time I wear this white coat, I am reminded that I wouldn’t be here without the unconditional support of my parents who immigrated to this country and sacrificed their dreams so I could live mine.”
Congratulating the Class of 2024 ,alumni guest speaker Lisa Adams, MED ’90, Geisel’s associate dean for global health and an associate professor of medicine, acknowledged their momentous day in the midst of a momentous year. “But I don’t want to dwell on what the current pandemic has taken away,” she said. “I want us to rewrite that narrative right now to bring us back to the symbolic significance behind today’s ceremony in your professional lives—your white coat. A physician’s white coat is a powerful symbol that represents responsibility and privilege.”
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