MY WHITE COAT MEANS EMPOWERING PATIENTS TO IMPROVE THEIR HEALTH AND THEIR COMMUNITIES
I feel uncomfortable in my white coat. Starched, stiff, and overlarge (with a proclivity for carrying traces of organisms I’d rather not find or spread), it engulfs me in an awkward embrace that signifies a history not only of care for the sick but also of men in coats declaring the antidote to another’s ailment with an authority that denies the patient’s agency. At the same time, it reminds me of my responsibility in donning the white coat, in representing a voice often unheard in medicine as a queer woman, and in advocating for communities similarly silenced. By acknowledging the complex relationship I have with my white coat, I agree to remember the grace and missteps inherent within its cloth, the discomfort and tinge of pride arising from accepting its mantle, and I promise to do my utmost to empower patients to help themselves and their communities, to fight for their rights, their voice, to render my role merely a tool in an arsenal aimed at improving their lives, as well as that of their communities and the world.
-Marilee Goad, MD Candidate, Class of 2019