BUIES CREEK — The motto for the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine’s Class of 2017 reads: “Here first. Healing together. Leaving a legacy.”
It was certainly a day of firsts on Oct. 20 when Campbell’s medical school held its inaugural White Coat Ceremony in the John W. Pope Jr. Convocation Center. One hundred and sixty students participated in the event, cheered on by hundreds of friends and family members who traveled to recognize the milestone day.
The White Coat Ceremony has been a rite of passage for beginning medical students at more than 100 medical schools nationwide and emphasizes the importance of both scientific excellence and compassionate care for patients.
Dr. Charlotte Paolini, chair of the Family Medicine at the medical school, relayed to students the history of the white coat. She noted that by the 1920s, the white coat had become a “powerful and iconic symbol of a physician as a medical scientist.” But she encouraged students to use other tools to ensure the trust of their patients— their knowledge and their heart to care for those in need of treatment.
Keynote speaker Dr. Martin S. Levine — an osteopathic physician from in Bayonne, N.J., working in the same practice established by his grandfather and father — told the students it’s a privilege to treat multiple generations of families who place their trust in a family physician. Currently an associate dean for educational development and professor of family medicine at the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, Levine encouraged the medical students to find their own legacy of responsible and qualified patient care.
“You need to practice as a DO,” said Levine. “Every patient deserves that treatment. It’s up to you to figure out what kind of treatment you can give them before they walk out of the office to make them feel better. That treatment is going to go towards making their physical, mental and spiritual life better.”
In addition to the white coat, students received a Humanism in Medicine pin donated by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and a stethoscope donated by Angier businessman Bobby Ransdell, a Campbell University trustee.
For members of the first class of the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine, the white coat not only marks the beginning of their medical career, but the culmination of weeks of hard work since classes began Aug. 5.
“We’ve all worked for it. We’ve got our white coat now. We’ve completed the first block. We’ve been in the anatomy lab, the simulation lab, and the OMM lab,” said Erica Eifelice of North Canton, Ohio. “I now deserve this. It’s nice to know that. I’ve worked hard.”
For student Gaurish Soni of Chicago waiting to hold the white coat ceremony made it more personal for everyone involved.
“As first class, we’ve gotten adjusted to school and now it’s more significant to us to have this white coat ceremony. It’s an elegant experience for all of us and signifies what we will be as doctors,” said Soni. “The white coat helps us realize, “This is why we came here.”
The Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine opened its doors in August as the first new school of medicine in North Carolina in over 35 years. The mission of the Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine is to educate and prepare community-based osteopathic physicians in a Christian environment to care for the rural and underserved populations in North Carolina, the Southeastern United States and the nation.
— story by Haven Hottel, Campbell University director for communications