HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Medical students from the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine Class of 2024 received their white coats during a make-up white coat ceremony Sunday, April 24, 2022, at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center.
At the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, the white coat ceremony is traditionally used to officially welcome incoming students into the medical profession. However, the Class of 2024 entered medical school in July 2020; therefore, its initial white coat ceremony was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions. Instead, Sunday’s ceremony marked another milestone for the medical students—the start of clinical rotations.
“This white coat ceremony is a tangible milestone that represents all of the hard work and dedication we have poured into our education over the last two years,” said medical student Justin C. Merritt of Huntington. “It reminds me what a privilege it is to serve my community and what a privilege it will be to advocate for my future patients.”
Adam H. Schindzielorz, M.D., assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral medicine at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine and a board-certified psychiatrist for Marshall Health, delivered the keynote address and served as the honorary cloaker. Schindzielorz was the recipient of the 2020 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Faculty Award.
“This year, the white coat ceremony is not just a belated welcome into the medical community; it symbolizes what has been rightfully earned through dedication and mastery,” Schindzielorz told the class. “Your actions and efforts during this challenging time have already demonstrated the traits expected of you as clinicians. For this reason, you are not just being inducted into a life of medicine but instead are being recognized for the caregivers you already are and will continue to be.”
Other speakers included Ava K. Tennant (Class of 2022), president of the Gold Humanism in Medicine Honor Society and Bobby L. Miller, M.D., vice dean for medical student education.
The white coat ceremony was first introduced at Marshall in 1996. It is considered a rite of passage for first-year students and is designed to instill the values of professionalism, humanism and compassionate care. In addition to their white coats, medical instruments and stethoscopes are traditionally gifted to the students during the ceremony; these students received their instruments and stethoscopes during their “drive-through” orientation in 2020.
Since 2006, the Touma family, including Drs. Joseph B. and Omayma T. Touma, have generously donated funds to provide each student with a stethoscope. Additionally, more than 130 School of Medicine alumni, family and friends sponsored the white coats and medical instruments for the Class of 2024.
Media Contact: Sheanna Spence, Director of External Affairs, School of Medicine, 304-691-1639
Date Posted: Monday, April 25, 2022