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‘White Coat of Compassion’

September 10, 2016 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) formally welcomed the Class of 2020 during a traditional White Coat Ceremony Sept. 10.

White coat ceremonies are rites of passage for beginning medical students. The ritual encourages a psychological contract that emphasizes professionalism and empathy in the practice of medicine and focuses on the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for the patient.

“In my view, this is the second most important ceremony conducted by the Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine, second only to graduation,” said Boyd R. Buser, D.O., FACOFP dist., vice president for health affairs, dean of KYCOM and president of the American Osteopathic Association. “It is necessary because being a physician, an osteopathic physician, starts now. You must accept and embrace the mantle of professionalism bestowed upon you symbolically here today.”

The keynote address was delivered by Ray E. Stowers, D.O., FACOFP dist., an osteopathic family physician who served as the 2012-2013 president of the American Osteopathic Association.

“Dr. Stowers’ experience as an osteopathic primary care physician who serves the needs of rural populations fits well with the mission of KYCOM and that alone would make him an excellent choice to address you here today as you begin your careers in osteopathic medicine,” said Buser.

Stowers’ message focused on the simplicity and the significance of the white coat.

“The power of the coat comes from the respect of those who see the coat,” he said, acknowledging that it also brings great responsibility. “You’re not here just to learn and become more educated,” said Stowers.

“You’re here to look at the patient as a whole: mind, body and spirit. The white coat you receive today is a symbol of your journey through medicine. Wear it proudly and be humble.”

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