To me, the white coat symbolizes the patient-physician relationship. As physicians, we have the privilege and responsibility to accompany patients and their families through some of their most difficult times. With empathy and compassion, I will listen and learn from my patients, prioritizing their overall health and quality of life. When donning my white coat, I am reminded of the community of caregivers I have the privilege to be a part of. Through collaboration and communication, I will learn to provide compassionate, integrated care to my patients.
When I put on my white coat, my patients trust me to act in their best interest, and that I have the knowledge and skills necessary to do so. It is my responsibility to be worthy of that trust, starting from the first day of my medical education throughout my entire career.
When my family emigrated from the Philippines to the US in 2004, the most important thing that I brought with me was my dream of becoming a physician. Not being an American citizen has made it difficult to achieve my goal, but it has made me even more determined to overcome any adversity. I want to use my career in medicine to help the underserved, especially immigrants regardless of their status because a person’s humanity is not contingent upon having legal documentation.
Though neither of my parents are in the field of healthcare, the way they carry themselves through life has inspired me to put on this white coat. My mother is a pastor and volunteers her time running a church that serves the impoverished foreign worker population in Kuwait. My father, the humblest man I have ever met, still goes to the office with a smile on his face every morning after 30 years in the same company because he loves his work. Growing up in this environment has taught me the profound effect that kindness, passion, hard work, and an unwavering will to stick by your beliefs can have an impact both on the lives of those around you as well as your own life. I will end with a quote that defines my outlook on why I put on this white coat: “Purpose is the place where your deep gladness meets the world's needs.” -Frederick Buechner. This is my purpose, this is my gladness.
So many times I feel physicians get so bogged down in trying to find a solution to a patient's problem that they forget to do the simplest thing to ease a patient's mind: listen. Oftentimes what we need most in life when we are vulnerable is to feel heard and understood before we can move forward in trusting someone else to help us.
This white coat represents my dedication to a path of learning, teaching, and healing. I wear this coat for those looking for a compassionate advocate, and I am grateful for the opportunity to serve others with empathy and patience.
Advocacy bridges patient care with efforts to mitigate disparities. It is important that physicians use the credibility of the white coat to advocate for and promote the rights of their patients.
To me, my white coat symbolizes the dedication I have to the career I'm undertaking. It's a dedication to my future patients and their wellbeing. As a physician I will also be held responsible for those patients and their lives, which is an incredible weight to bear and something my white coat will always remind me. Lastly, my white coat symbolizes a level of representation I will hold as a Latina in the field of medicine.
It's so important to treat each patient with respect, compassion, and empathy, especially in what can seem, at times, an unforgiving, judgmental world. In order to do so, it's crucial to be able to integrate all dimensions of each patient's life into his/her care, and I feel that this concept is the heart of 'Cura Peronalis.'
Jerome C. Murray
Diversity within the United States medical workforce is not an accurate representation of diversity in the general population. As a black man, and first generation medical student, I have experienced the challenges of defying the statistical norms. My white coat is a symbol of my responsibility — to my community, my family, and myself — to represent a different narrative.
As I embark on my medical school journey and reflect on the meaning of the white coat, I immediately thought of patients. A career in medicine is grounded in the act of doing for others…being completely selfless. As an aspiring physician, I will always put my patients first and keep their best interests at heart. The white coat has nothing to do me, but everything to do with those who I will serve. When wearing this white coat, a patient should feel assured that the person underneath promises to listen, to help, to advocate, to heal and to most importantly, act in a selfless manner.
Alberto E. Perez
From dengue outbreaks to food and water shortages, my birthplace has served as a reminder of the sacrifices that immigrant families have to make on daily basis. Venezuela's social disorder and economic decline prompted my family to come to the United States so we could have a better tomorrow. While this country has been the antithesis of Venezuela in many ways, attending medical school still seemed like a pipe dream at times. That all changed last year after receiving a call from Dean Taylor. Because of the GUSOM and GEMS program, I will now have the chance to advocate and give back to communities like the one I grew up in. I want to mentor future generations of physicians, particularly from minority and disadvantaged backgrounds, so they, too, can open more doors and break through glass ceilings. Now more than ever, we need to encourage little boys and girls from all walks of life to pursue their dreams, even if they aspire to be physicians in the United States of America. My white coat will serve as a reminder to never forget where I came from because, after all, it did take a village to raise this child.
Through commitment and hard work, I have gained the opportunity to don the white coat, which endows an enormous responsibility to not only my patients, but to the community as a physician, an educator, and a leader. With continued commitment to education and practice, I plan to meet the challenges that will result alongside that responsibility with continued passion, which has driven me thus far.
Having my white coat, and the knowledge and responsibility that comes with it, means that I will finally be able to make people’s lives better in regards to their health and happiness. This is something that I’ve been excited about for a long time, and I believe that my white coat will now enable me to achieve the potential that I know I have.
My white coat symbolizes my future social responsibility to advocate for my patients in order to ensure their human right to healthcare. This all begins with patients having access to the healthcare system and physicians they can consistently trust!
When we put on our white coats just a few short weeks ago, my fellow M1 classmates and I promised to serve others. Although many professions provide an opportunity for this noble endeavor, few offer the chance to be there alongside someone through both the best and worst times of their life. With this opportunity, though, also comes responsibility. One such duty we take on by donning our white coat is ensuring that all voices are heard and that we continue to strive for equity and social justice through serving others.
Every person deserves to receive high-quality, patient-centered care. My white coat means working to improve access to care, promoting health literacy, practicing cultural competency, and helping to provide top-notch patient care as a means to reduce health disparities and achieve health equity.
Being able to learn, and someday practice, the healing art of medicine is a privilege and a joy. My white coat is an opportunity to use my heart and mind to their fullest potential. It represents my commitment to the most intrinsic part of medicine - humanism. It also adds a wonderful new dimension to the information I am learning as it is no longer just for me, but for the well-being of others.
Patients will seek my treatment, comfort and guidance during some of their weakest and most vulnerable moments. And as a physician, it will also be my duty to equip, motivate and enable my patients to thrive and live their healthiest life possible.
My white coat means that I have gained the privilege of listening and that I am empowered to act as a leader for those who need help.
I aspire to be a voice of empathy and understanding for all. I want to live compassionately in all facets of my life and I hope to honor that as a future physician.
It is sobering to reflect on the tremendous responsibility that comes with my white coat. To me, the white coat symbolizes my serious devotion to four key values: leading with compassion, advocating for change, serving with dedication, and practicing humility. I use the coat as an opportunity to be the best version of myself.
Many people in my life have suffered from inadequate, unequal medical care. Their lives, their wonderful friendship, and their needs are the reason I am here. I am fully committed to becoming a physician that provides the care they deserve, while also working diligently to build a more accessible, equitable healthcare system.
I am committed to lifelong learning through medical education and experience that I can use to stand up for individuals' health and well-being. I want to be the voice for my patients--to respect their autonomy and provide care centered around their needs and values.
By swearing a sacred oath and committing oneself to the profession of medicine, we make a promise to always be a patient advocate. Putting on the white coat means that we not only attempt to treat a disease or injury, but we try to heal a person. The white coat means we study to push the boundaries of science and to hone our skill in the medical art. However, we would do well to remember the reason why we strive for such excellence - in the words of Dr. Knowlan: the patient, the patient, the patient.
The day I took the Hippocratic Oath, I vowed to make my medical education a tool to improve the lives of my community. With the existing healthcare disparities we currently face, I want to be a member of a generation of physicians that eliminate those disparities and that provides access to everyone. Healthcare is not a privilege. Healthcare is a human right. My white coat means I have made the commitment to use my skills to serve the underserved.
To me, my white coat symbolizes a series of challenges: a challenge to learn, a challenge to perform, and a challenge to provide. It challenges me to be the best version of myself, so that I may one day deliver to my patients the care they deserve.
A week before my white coat ceremony, I watched the parents of a high school colleague receive his white coat at his celebration of life. His tragic death made me realize how fragile life is and that I have to pursue my dreams with everything I have. Now I not only pursue my dreams for myself but also in memory and honor of Colt as well.
Access granted began with the privilege to study medicine. Georgetown gave me the access. Now I can serve as an access point for my community.
As a future physician, I want my patients to feel that they are in control of their health. I aspire to support my patients so that they do not feel helpless in the face of illness, but so instead they feel empowered to take charge of their wellbeing.
Whenever I put on my white coat, I am reminded that what matters most in medicine is the patient and their physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. I will strive to always see beyond the sickness and treat the person with kindness and respect. Having moved from El Salvador at the age of eight, I know the hardships Latinos and immigrants face, and thus welcome the privilege to act as an advocate for the Hispanic community. I hope to grow into a knowledgeable and compassionate physician and make a difference in the lives of my future patients.
While working at a free health clinic in Los Angeles, I realized the influence a physician has as an advocate. I was inspired by the physicians I worked with, who would fight tirelessly for the needs of our underserved patients. Someday, I hope to emulate them as I practice medicine myself.