Columbia University Medical Center

First-Year Medical Students Don Cloaks Of Compassion At “White Coat” Ceremony

August 19, 1997, New York, NY — First-year medical students at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons will be ceremonially “cloaked” with their first white laboratory coat and recite the Hippocratic Oath during welcoming ceremonies on Aug. 22, 1997, at 1 p.m. in the Alumni Auditorium located at 622 W. 168th St.

The “White Coat Ceremony,” first established in 1993 at Columbia University, is an annual custom for Columbia’s incoming medical students who, like most of their peers, traditionally took the Hippocratic Oath upon completion of their medical education. By having first-year students pledge to uphold the Hippocratic Oath’s tenets at the start of their training, Columbia seeks to instill in them a sense of responsibility and professionalism for clinical excellence and compassionate care.

The ceremony is one of several projects at the university sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, which is dedicated to fostering humanism in medicine.

Following are some interesting student stories from the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons` Class of 2001:

Born in the Bronx, this 33-year-old male completed a degree in culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America. After eight years of work as a professional chef, he came to Columbia University for an undergraduate degree in preparation for a career in medicine.

A 1986 graduate of Brown, this 32-year-old male had a successful career and business in sound mixing. He also taught drawing and painting at the University of Iowa. He came to Columbia University as a volunteer in the Department of Psychiatry and assisted in a study of suicidal adolescents. In 1995, he started taking pre-med classes in preparation for a career in medicine.

*** Interview and photo opportunities are available with students and deans. ***

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