Katherine Seibel, of Damariscotta, received her white coat in a ceremony marking her symbolic entrance into the medical field in a ceremony at the Merrill Auditorium in Portland on Sept. 22. It was the 22nd white coat ceremony at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, the largest provider of physicians for the state of Maine.
“This ceremony serves to welcome these students into the medical profession and to honor their commitment to serving the needs of their future patients,” said Jane Carriero, vice president for health affairs and dean of UNE College of Osteopathic Medicine. “As they wear their white coats for the first time, they join generations of physicians around the country committed to service through medicine.”
The white coat ceremony was an idea conceived by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to create a psychological contract for professionalism and empathy in medicine. The first White Coat Ceremony took place in 1993 at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons. Since then, 97 percent of medical schools in the U.S. and abroad have initiated a similar ceremony.
At the ceremony, physicians presented white coats to the first-year students as a symbolic mantle of the medical profession, underscoring their bonds as future professional colleagues. Stephen Shannon, president of the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, delivered the keynote address.