Kansas City University welcomed 162 students into the third class of the Joplin campus with a white coat ceremony, a tradition designed to underscore the important role of the white coat in the physician-patient relationship.
“Today the white coat you receive is both a literal and symbolic mantle, representing the skill and professionalism of a select group of individuals who commit themselves to the practice of osteopathic medicine and service to humankind,” said Darrin D’Agostino, DO, executive dean for the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Vice President for Health Affairs.
Dr. Adam Fahrenholtz, who graduated from KCU in 2010 and is currently the hospitalist medical director at Freeman Health System in Joplin, delivered the keynote address. He reminded the student doctors that medical school goes beyond studies and board scores.
“Our patients need us to develop listening skills,” Fahrenholtz said. “This is a separate skill set from taking tests or understanding complex physiological concepts but requires the same attention and practice as any other skill. It requires you to put the computer screen aside when you connect with the human being in front of you.”
KCU was honored to welcome Dr. Steven Brushwood, president of the Missouri Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons and Dr. James DiRenna, Jr., president of the Missouri State Medical Association who helped present the students with their white coats.
“The white coat ceremony is really special, not just for us students, but for our families most importantly,” said Holly Tarvin, a first-year medical student. “Throughout this hard and trying process they’ve been the ones behind the scenes so I think for them, and us students, to see all of our hard work finally coming to fruition makes everyone see it was all worth it.”
At the conclusion of the ceremony, student doctors made a pledge to exhibit ethical and honorable behavior and maintain the trust expected of a physician by taking the osteopathic oath. The white coat ceremony is an experience that is inspirational to the students and to those who will educate them over the next four years as well.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see the energy, excitement and enthusiasm in the faces of new students who are committed to medicine,” said Laura Rosch, DO, campus dean. “One cannot help but be inspired by seeing a young person have the dream of becoming a physician, and then to stand in service of their journey that made this dream a reality. How privileged are we to see this? It’s humbling.”