August 04, 2015

School of Medicine to welcome Class of 2019 with annual White Coat Ceremony

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White Coat 2014The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine will hold its White Coat Ceremony for first-year medical students at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 16, in the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, 1200 10th Ave. South.

Each of the 186 new members of the Class of 2019 will be presented with the traditional white coat in the presence of family, friends, faculty and staff. The white coat is a powerful symbol of both professional competence in medicine and human compassion. Live video of the ceremony will be broadcast online beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday at

Nicholas Van Wagoner, M.D., Ph.D., assistant dean for Students in the School of Medicine and faculty winner of the 2014 Leonard Tow Award for Humanism in Medicine, will deliver the keynote address. Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the School of Medicine, will welcome new students during the event.

The ceremony follows the completion of the new students’ first class, Patient, Doctor and Society, which focuses on the role physicians play in society and emphasizes professionalism, compassion, responsibility, ethics and the doctor/patient relationship. Students will take an oath of dedication at the ceremony written by the students themselves during the course of the first class.

The ceremonial presentation of white coats to medical students is a common practice at medical schools throughout the nation. The ceremony and oath of commitment to patient care remind incoming students of the dedication necessary to complete a medical education and underscore the responsibilities inherent in the practice of medicine.

The white coats are provided to the incoming students by the University of Alabama Medical Alumni Association. Each student also will receive a lapel pin that emphasizes humanism in medicine; it is a gift from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.