The journey begins: White Coat Ceremony welcomes first-year students

White Coat Ceremony 2017

The Carver College of Medicine held its 23th annual White Coat Ceremony Aug. 11 at Hancher Auditorium for first-year students beginning their medical education at Iowa. 

Carver College of Medicine Executive Dean Patricia Winokur, MD, welcomed the 152 students of the class of 2021, as well as their friends and family in attendance, before introducing UI President Bruce Harreld, who offered his own words of encouragement.

“This is a major step in your own individual lives, and I would suggest that you think about this as a journey,” Harreld said. “It’s a lifelong journey—a journey of caring, learning, discovery, and helping our society.”

Keynote speaker Steven Craig, MD, assistant dean for student affairs and curriculum and director of the college’s branch campus in Des Moines, noted that the value of humanism as the core of the medical profession has not diminished since he was a medical student at Iowa.

“Forty-two years ago, I was sitting where you are,” Craig said. “There was no official White Coat Ceremony, but we were nonetheless reminded from the beginning of our classes that we were entering a sacred profession and that the proper care of the patient must be the goal of all of our educational efforts.”

Craig also provided the students a “top 10” list of lessons he’s learned over the course of his career. These included not being afraid to ask for help when needed, recognizing the value of the entire health care team, learning from one’s mistakes, and remembering life priorities.

“Take care of yourself, and leave time for your family and friends,” Craig said. “Stop for a moment and think of all the people who have helped you reach this goal.”

Prior to the start of classes, each first-year student at the Carver College of Medicine is assigned to one of four learning communities for their entire four years of medical school. Each learning community is comprised of approximately equal numbers of first-, second-, third-, and fourth-year students. The communities are designed to foster more peer-to-peer interactions, provide opportunities for leadership and service, and strengthen students’ relationships with faculty, collegiate staff, and others across campus.

Faculty representatives for each of the college's learning communities—David Asprey, PhD, PA-C (Bean Community), Katie Iverson, MPAS (Boulware Community), David Swanson, MD (Flocks Community), and Teri Thomsen, MD, (McCowen Community)—introduced the students.

Each student was ceremonially cloaked with their white coat by Winokur and Christopher Cooper, MD, senior associate dean for medical education. Congratulations were offered by President Harreld; Interim Provost Sue Curry, PhD; Joyce Vista Wayne, MD, president of the Iowa Medical Society; and keynote speaker Craig.

The students then recited the Oath of Hippocrates, calling attention to the importance of the doctor-patient relationship:

I do solemnly swear by that which I hold most sacred;

That I will be loyal to the profession of medicine and just and generous to all;

That I will lead my life and practice my art in uprightness and honor;

That into whatsoever house I shall enter, it shall be for the good of the sick to the utmost of my power, I, holding myself aloof from wrong, from corruption, and from the temptation of others to vice;

That I will exercise my art solely for the cure of my patients, and will give no drug, perform no operation for a criminal purpose, even if solicited, and far less suggest such a thing.

That whatsoever I shall see or hear of the lives of others which is not fitting to be spoken, I will keep inviolably secret.

These things I do promise, and in proportion as I am faithful to this, my oath, may happiness and good repute be ever mine--the opposite if I shall be foresworn.

Learn more about the 2017 entering class.


The Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine is part of  University of Iowa Health Care, the state’s only comprehensive academic medical center. Based in Iowa City and dedicated to providing world-class health care and health-related outreach services to all Iowans, UI Health Care also includes University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and University of Iowa Physicians, the state’s largest multi-specialty physician group practice. 

Date: 
Monday, August 14, 2017