Newest Medical Students Welcomed at Annual White Coat Ceremony
University Public Affairs
The Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine welcomed 202 students at its annual White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 10.
The ceremony is momentous for first-year medical students, as it is the first time they don the white coat worn by doctors. Senior faculty members had the honor of cloaking their students, who also recited the Hippocratic Oath articulating a doctor’s empathy and responsibility to patients.
“Miracles of medicine need a heart, not just a head,” said keynote speaker Dr. Richard Wenzel, professor and former chair of internal medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. “The doctor-patient relationship is the foundation of medicine.”
This year’s ceremony featured a dozen legacy students — students whose parents or grandparents also graduated from the medical school.
“I've had an interest in medicine ever since I was 5 years old," said David Goldberg, who cites his father, Dr. Marty Goldberg, as an inspiration for pursuing a career in medicine. "I really looked up to my father because I saw how much people trusted him and respected him when it came to their care.” Marty Goldberg graduated from the School of Medicine in 1978 and finished his residency in internal medicine and cardiology in 1983. David's interests include neurology, pediatrics and family medicine.
“I'm excited to have all of my classmates in the same place at the same time receiving our white coats," Goldberg said. "It's going to be a lot of hard work ahead, but I hope to remember this day and keep things in perspective when things get tough in medical school. I really look forward to sharing this day with my family as I take my first steps towards becoming a physician.”
Katie Waybill's father, Dr. Peter N. Waybill, earned his medical degree from the School of Medicine in 1985, and stayed on campus to complete his residency training in internal medicine in 1988. Her mother, Dr. Mary M. Waybill, is a housestaff alumna who completed an internal medicine residency in 1987 and a nephrology fellowship in 1989.
“I haven't decided which field I want to pursue," the younger Waybill said. "They always tell us that whatever field you come into medical school planning to pursue, you will end up as something else. So my hope is to come into medical school 'undecided' and find a field that I'm passionate about.”
Following in her parents’ footsteps made the white coat milestone even more meaningful for Waybill.
“Taking the oath was definitely the best part of the ceremony, and knowing that I was taking my oath for the first time at the same time my parents were renewing theirs was something I will never forget,” she said.
Unique to the incoming class is the opportunity for students to be a part of a specialized Family Medicine track, The Family Medicine Scholars Training and Admissions Track. The fmSTAT offers first-year medical students who are likely to go into Family Medicine a chance to be part of a track of study that offers them special opportunities in the field. Up to 10 students will be enrolled this fall as the inaugural class.