Alec Contag, an incoming first-year medical student at OHSU, crossed the stage wearing the crisp, white symbol of doctors worldwide — a white coat. Contag was one of the school’s 153 students who were “cloaked” in white coats during the annual White Coat ceremony held Aug. 6, 2016, a rite-of passage event where students are officially welcomed to the health care profession.
Donning the white coat is a memorable moment for many physicians, a visible sign of their intention to practice medicine and of their commitment to others. Perhaps it is the memory of this milestone moment that inspires many physicians to sponsor and support students who are about to experience this milestone in their medical career.
When Contag and his classmates picked up their white coat days before the event, they found cards tucked into the pockets stating the cost of each white coat is sponsored through contributions from alumni and friends of the OHSU School of Medicine. Many of the cards included a personal message of encouragement from doctors and medical professionals who know well the challenges that lie ahead during medical school.
Receiving the white coat was like an official welcome to the physician community, said Contag, “something that makes you feel part of something larger.”
Contag sat down just before the ceremony to write a note of thanks to his sponsor, saying: “This is a great way to really get connected, not only to the community of physicians but also the history of doctor hood.”
Student Taylor Buuck also was touched by the support from her White Coat donor: “I just really appreciated it. It shows how much support we have coming into medical school. I think that a lot of use are so flustered, so anxious but also so excited. This really helps reinforce the fact that we are welcome and that they want us to join this community. It’s just really cool.”
Read more about the August 12 White Coat Ceremony and the OHSU School of Medicine M.D. Class of 2020, here. To see more photos from the event, go here.