The newest class of student-doctors at the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine (ICOM) took their first steps toward becoming physicians during the second annual White Coat Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 20, at Boise Centre East.
In the presence of family, friends and faculty members, each of the 162 student-physicians were welcomed into the medical community and “cloaked” with their first white coats.
“The White Coat Ceremony is a tradition that signifies the osteopathic medical student’s entrance into the medical profession and their commitment to patient care,” said Dr. Kevin Wilson, Interim Dean of ICOM. “Along with the Osteopathic Oath, this rite of passage emphasizes the dedication and solemn responsibility of osteopathic physicians to the health of their patients and communities.”
Before leading the Class of 2023 in reciting the Osteopathic Oath, which is again sworn during the traditional doctoral hooding ceremony four years hence, ICOM’s Incoming Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Thomas Mohr, MS, DO, FACOI, FAOGME, reminded the students that they are not alone on their journey to becoming physicians.
“When you wear your white coat, know it’s a symbol not only of your responsibility to your patients, but the fact that you’re not alone on this journey,” Dr. Mohr said. “You’re not alone because you’re part of something larger than yourself now. You’re part of the osteopathic profession and that will remain with you as an osteopathic medical student, and every time you write ‘DO’ after your name. This is an official welcome to the profession.”
The physician’s white coat has been part of the profession since the 19th century. The concept originated from the operating room’s white coat, and has served as a visual symbol of the profession that stands for the need to balance excellence in science with compassionate caring for the patient.
ICOM launched in August of 2018, with a mission to train osteopathic physicians in an effort to offset the chronic physician shortage seen in the Mountain West region.