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College of Medicine Celebrates Incoming M1 Students at White Coat Ceremonies

White Coat Ceremony

More than 300 first-year University of Illinois College of Medicine medical students were celebrated Friday, Aug. 12, 2022, during White Coat ceremonies across three campuses.

The Chicago campus, with 175 first-year students, held its White Coat Ceremony at the Isadore and Sadie Dorin Forum.

“Today we’re here to share in one of the symbolic entries into the world of medicine, the White Coat Ceremony,” said University of Illinois College of Medicine Executive Dean Mark Rosenblatt, MD, PhD, MBA, MHA. “Allow me to tell you a little bit about this coat and its uses. It’ll be used to protect your clothes, of course. It may be used as a backpack or an umbrella during a torrential downpour. And quite possibly during those long hours in hospital or studying, you may use it as a sleeping back.

“It will accompany you from this day forward. The white coat garners respect from patients and their families. So, it’s important to justify their respect and earned trust.”

H. Steven Sims, MD, the Francis L Lederer Professor of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, provided the keynote address to students and their families at the Chicago ceremony.

“It’s an enormous privilege, and daunting at times, responsibility to take care of people,” Sims said. “I hope you will continue to develop the skills that will bring relief to your fellow human beings. I welcome you to this family, but I do want you to see everyone and see yourself in them.

“The message I want to resonate clearly with all of you is medicine belongs to all of us and all of us belong to medicine. Our shared humanity and our mutual respect for one another are critical for us to serve our patients and each other.”

At Peoria, 62 first-year medical students received their white coats.

“You are beginning the journey of a lifelong learner because the study of medicine never ends,” College of Medicine Peoria Dean Meenakshy Aiyer, MD, FACP, said. “We are proud to be on this journey with you and look froward to being with you every step of the way. In the months and years to come, you will be introduced to and master vast amounts of information. You will be able to do it. People before you have, and you will be able to as well.

“Your future patients are people who need and deserve your compassion and understanding as well as your expertise and clinical care. Never waver from that commitment and dedication. That is your calling and that is what you are here to do.”

At Rockford, 55 first-year medical students were honored with white coats.

“When I think about the White Coat Ceremony, the word that defines it best for me is transformative,” College of Medicine Rockford Dean Alex Stagnaro-Green, MD, MHPE, MHA, said. “For our students, today marks your transition into the medical profession. From this day on, you will be viewed differently by society, including patients, friends and even family. You’ll be seen as a member of a noble, altruistic and healing profession.”

Chicago ceremony:
Peoria ceremony:
Rockford ceremony: