White coats mark transition for second-year medical students

MORGANTOWN — For 109 members of the WVU School of Medicine Class of 2021, Saturday’s white coat ceremony marked a milestone in each individual’s transition from classroom scholar to care provider.

It will forever be the first time each second-year medical student donned the symbolic white coat and recited the Oath of Hippocrates.

“We welcome our second-year students into the transition point from where they study the sciences and learn the foundations of medicine, to where they start to practice the art of medicine,” WVU Vice President and Executive Dean for Health Sciences Clay Marsh said.

Beginning in 1996, Saturday marked the 24th such ceremony, which was named for former WVU School of Medicine Dean of Students John W. Traubert following his retirement, in 1999.

Three-time WVU graduate Cynthia Clarkson offered the keynote address, noting the white coat is a “cloak of compassion” that signifies the “the unique contract between physicians and their patients — emphasizing humanism, professionalism, compassion, honesty and empathy.”

Clarkson also encouraged the students to take the time to  care for  themselves as well as their patients.

For, as fourth-year medical student and Gold Humanism Honor Society President Jeffrey Cannon summed it up, “The days are long, but the years are short.”

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