PIKEVILLE – The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine will formally welcome members of the Class of 2020 during a traditional White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 10, at 2 p.m. at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.
White coat ceremonies are rites of passage for beginning medical students. White represents purity, healing and the professional ideals of the medical profession that focus on compassionate caregiving. The long white coat is the quintessential symbol of a physician and conveys to patients and the public the wearer’s identity as a physician. The short white coat indicates the wearer’s status as medical student or student doctor.
The white coat ceremony tradition was begun by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 to promote humanism in medicine. The Gold Foundation provides a gold pin to KYCOM student doctors to wear on their white coats to symbolize commitment to providing compassionate and competent patient care.
In the presence of family members, friends and the campus community, students from the Class of 2020 will be “coated” by the students from the Class of 2019.
The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Ray E. Stowers, D.O., past president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). An AOA board-certified family physician, Stowers served as the 2012-2013 president of the AOA.
Before retiring in 2015, Stowers helped groom future generations of osteopathic physicians as the vice president for health sciences and founding dean of the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) in Harrogate, Tenn., where he also served as professor of family medicine.
Prior to joining LMU-DCOM, Stowers was an associate professor of family medicine and director of the Division of Rural Health at the Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa. He then served as the founding director of the Oklahoma Rural Health Policy and Research Center.
A longstanding member of the AOA, Stowers served on its board of trustees from 2000-2015. Additionally, he has been involved with several osteopathic medical organizations. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Osteopathic Association, which honored him with the A.T. Still Award of Excellence in 2008. He also served as a board member of the Tennessee Osteopathic Medical Association and received the Paul Grayson Smith, Sr., Physician of the Year Award in 2011. In 2006, the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians named him Family Physician of the Year.
Advocating for the osteopathic medical profession at the national level, Stowers advised Congress on health care issues through his appointments to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, better known as MedPAC, and the Physician Payment Review Commission. He was also a board member of the National Rural Health Association and still serves as a member of the Rural Health Works National Advisory Council.
Upon graduating from what is now known as the Kansas City (Mo.) University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine, Stowers completed his postdoctoral medical training at Tulsa Regional Medical Center.
The community is cordially invited to attend the White Coat Ceremony. For more information, contact the University of Pikeville Public Affairs office at (606) 218-5270.