MACON – More than 60 first-year students in Mercer University’s School of Medicine will receive their white coats and be welcomed into the medical profession Saturday at 10 a.m. in Willingham Auditorium on the Macon campus.
“The white coat ceremony is a tradition that marks the beginning of a course of transformative education leading to the title of physician. It implies the acceptance of great responsibility, trust, compassion and a call to service,” said Jean R. Sumner, M.D., dean of the School of Medicine.
W. Douglas Skelton, M.D., former dean of the School of Medicine, will be keynote speaker. Guy D. Foulkes, M.D., board certified orthopaedic surgeon at OrthoGeorgia and an alumnus of the School of Medicine, will cloak the participants.
“OrthoGeorgia is a proud, longtime sponsor of this ceremony that marks a very significant milestone in the lives of future physicians,” said Dr. Foulkes.
In addition to support received from OrthoGeorgia, SunTrust provided support for the School of Medicine’s white coat ceremonies in Macon and Savannah.
“The SunTrust Foundation has a long and proud history of supporting schools and educational programs that positively impact the lives of students and benefit our communities and, ultimately, the economic viability of our state,” said Jim Manley, president, SunTrust Bank, Macon/Columbus/Albany Region. “Our partnership with Mercer University’s School of Medicine continues that long tradition and helps these students take a step toward financial confidence. We could not be more pleased to grant this honor to this deserving and dedicated group of future healthcare professionals.”
The white coat ceremony was designed by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation as a way to welcome new medical students and set clear expectations regarding their primary role as physicians by professing an oath.
Today, the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care as well as scientific proficiency. The first white coat ceremony took place in 1993 at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Since then, more than half of the nation’s medical schools have had some form of white coat ceremony.
About the Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)
Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and Midtown Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences.