The Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM) held its annual White Coat Ceremony for the class of 2020 Saturday, July 16. A total of 108 students attended the ceremony to receive their first white coats.
The White Coat Ceremony is a traditional rite of passage for entering medical students and signifies their acceptance into the field of medicine. Started in 1993 by Arnold P. Gold and his foundation, the ceremony is designed to remind students of the humanism inherent to their chosen field. In addition to being robed for the first time, students recite an oath acknowledging their roles as primary caregivers. The PLFSOM class of 2020 wrote and recited their own oath. Since its inception at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, the white coat tradition has expanded to 97 percent of medical schools throughout the United States and Canada.
Saturday’s event was hosted by Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A, president of TTUHSC El Paso. Dr. Lange, who also serves as dean of the PLFSOM, welcomed the school’s eighth class of students with a speech highlighting what the white coat symbolizes, not just for medical professionals but also for those they serve: “When you see someone dressed up in a police uniform, you expect to be protected. When you see someone in a fireman uniform, you expect to be rescued. When you see someone in a clerical outfit, like a priest, you expect comfort and healing. When you put on that white coat, you will do all those.”
The milestone event was held at the Plaza Theatre in downtown El Paso, and was attended by faculty, staff, fellow medical students and members of the El Paso community.
Photos by Jesse Ramirez and Raul de la Cruz.