Medical students don white coat of compassion

September 13, 2013

PIKEVILLE — The newest class of the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine got its beginning Saturday, with a traditional white coat ceremony held at the school.

“Being a physician, becoming an osteopathic physician, starts here,” said Boyd R. Buser, D.O., FACOFP, vice president for health affairs and dean of KYCOM. “You are no longer just students. You must accept and embrace the mantle of professionalism bestowed upon you symbolically here today.”

White coat ceremonies are rites of passage for beginning medical students. The ritual encourages a psychological contract that emphasizes professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine and focuses on the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for the patient.

Robert S. Juhasz, D.O., president-elect of the American Osteopathic Association, delivered the keynote address.

“Allow me to welcome all of you and your families as members of our osteopathic family,” said Juhasz. “The white coat is a symbol of professionalism, trust, humility, and for many of you, perseverance. The white coat will become an extension of who you are. If you put the patient first, everything else will fall into place,” he said.