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KYCOM’s Class of 2021 to receive symbolic ‘white coat of compassion’

September 11, 2017 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
The University of Pikeville-Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine (KYCOM) will formally welcome members of the Class of 2021 during a traditional White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 2 p.m. at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville.

White coat ceremonies are rites of passage for beginning medical students. White represents purity, healing and the professional ideals of the medical profession that focus on compassionate caregiving. The long white coat is the quintessential symbol of a physician and conveys to patients and the public the wearer’s identity as a physician. The short white coat indicates the wearer’s status as medical student or student doctor.

The white coat ceremony tradition was begun by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation in 1993 to promote humanism in medicine. The Gold Foundation provides a gold pin to KYCOM student doctors to wear on their white coats to symbolize commitment to providing compassionate and competent patient care.

In the presence of family members, friends and the campus community, students from the Class of 2021 will be “coated” by the students from the Class of 2020.

This year’s white coat ceremony marks a milestone for the university as the college of osteopathic medicine celebrates 20 years of bringing medicine to the mountains. Since its inception in 1997, KYCOM has played an important role in preparing physicians to serve the healthcare needs of underserved populations in Kentucky and other Appalachian regions.

The keynote speaker for the ceremony will be William G. Anderson, D.O., former president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and a founding member of the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Board of Directors. Anderson is a leader in the profession and has held leadership positions including the president of the American Osteopathic Foundation, president of the Michigan Osteopathic Association, president of the Wayne County Osteopathic Medical Association and is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Osteopathic Association and has served on AOA President’s Advisory Council for many years. Anderson is a professor of surgical services and senior advisor to the dean of Michigan State College of Osteopathic Medicine where he serves as a vice president in academic affairs.

Anderson is a role model for all osteopathic students in serving not only his patients but his community at large. He began his professional career in the practice of medicine and surgery in Albany, Ga., where he practiced for six years. During this time, Anderson was the founder and first president of the Albany Movement, which spearheaded the Civil Rights Movement in Southwest Georgia. As a leader in the Albany Movement and a community leader he worked closely with other leaders including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, to advance not only the health but the general well-being of all the residents of his Albany community.

Anderson completed his training in general surgery in Detroit, Mich., where he conducted a successful group surgical practice until 1984. He earned his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Des Moines University/College of Osteopathic Medicine. He is certified in general surgery and a fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons.

Anderson was married to the late Norma Dixon of Atlanta, also a civil rights leader. He and Norma published “Autobiographies of a Black Couple of the Greatest Generation,” published in 2004, and whose proceeds go to fund the American Osteopathic Foundation’s Minority Scholarships.

The proud father of five, three of Anderson’s children followed him into careers in osteopathic medicine. He has a daughter who is a librarian and a second daughter who is a project training leader in professional development for the state of Georgia. Two grandchildren are osteopathic physicians. One is a urologist resident/fellow in robotics and the other practices urological surgery. Anderson is a proud great-grandfather to four.

The community is cordially invited to attend the White Coat Ceremony. For more information, contact the University of Pikeville Public Affairs office at (606) 218-5270.

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