KCU welcomes first-year students with white coating ceremonies

By Haley Reardon Jul 24, 2023
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“Class of 2027, there is great meaning resting in the white coat you now hold. The white coat is a universal symbol of integrity, selflessness, compassion, honesty and dedication to service—the principals on which our osteopathic profession was founded.” Josh Cox, DO, KCU executive dean for the College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM) and vice provost for medical affairs, spoke these words during white coating ceremonies that took place July 15 for COM students attending KCU’s Joplin campus and July 17 for those attending the Kansas City campus.

The first white coating ceremony, led by the Gold Foundation, took place in 1993 at what was then known as Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, where Dr. Arnold Gold served as a professor. He noted that the existing practice of having students take the Hippocratic Oath at the end of their medical training occurred four years too late. The Gold Foundation instituted the ceremony to emphasize humanism at the very start of medical education. Learn more here.

The 162 student doctors of the KCU-Joplin class of 2027 celebrated their entry into medical school at the Joplin High School Performing Arts Center. Student Doctor Troy Henley, a member of the KCU-Joplin Class of 2026 and Student Government Association president, delivered remarks focused on encouraging first-year student doctors to remember their individual strength and be willing to learn and stay humble.

KCU-Kansas City commemorated its white coating ceremony for the 273 members of the class of 2027 at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Student Doctor Justin Mitchell, KCU-Kansas City 2026 class member and Student Government Association president, urged the new osteopathic medical students to find their council from whom they can seek guidance, support and wisdom as they journey through the next four years of their education.

Benjamin Grin, MD, MPH, KCU assistant professor of Primary Care and chief medical officer of the Kansas City, Missouri, Health Department served as keynote speaker for both ceremonies. During his address, Grin reminded students that even though they will face difficult challenges along the way—both professional and personal—they belong at KCU and they will overcome those challenges. “And to those who represent groups historically underrepresented in medicine—LGBTQ students, first generation in medicine, students who belong to racial or ethnic minority groups, I want you to know that you are especially needed. We need physicians to reflect the diversity of American society. That’s not just opinion—evidence shows that improving representation in medicine actually improves patient care,” said Grin. “And when the going gets hard, know that we as KCU faculty are here to support you.”

In front of an audience of several hundred family members and friends, the new student doctors each appeared on stage to introduce themselves and receive the white coats they will wear over the next four years. The ceremony concluded with the Osteopathic Oath, pledging loyalty to the profession. Video highlights of both ceremonies are available for viewing here. Congratulations to the COM class of 2027!

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