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The Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony

White Coat

The White Coat Ceremony is a celebrated experience as students enter medical school. In the presence of family, guests, and faculty members, students are welcomed into the medical community by leaders of the medical center and ceremonially "cloaked" with their white coat. Then, dressed in white, they stand to take the ancient Oath of Hippocrates, traditionally sworn at graduation.

By establishing this meaningful ritual at the beginning of medical school, we hope students will become aware of their responsibilities from the first day of training. The ceremony is intended to impress upon them the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship. It encourages them to enter into a psychological contract in which they accept the obligations inherent in the practice of medicine: to be excellent in science, to be compassionate, and to lead lives of "uprightness and honor." It is designed to clarify for students that a physician's responsibility is to take care of patients and also to care for patients. The message transmitted is that doctors should "care" as well as "cure."

Enthusiasm for the White Coat Ceremony continues to grow. In 1994, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation sponsored three ceremonies. In 1995, entering students at four additional medical schools including the University of Iowa participated in White Coat Ceremonies sponsored by The Gold Foundation. Currently, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at 97% of AAMC-accredited schools of medicine in the United States and Canada. The Foundation's goal is that medical schools will make the White Coat Ceremony the highlight of their student orientation programs.

The 2020 White Coat Ceremony will now be held on Friday, August 14, 2020 and is being delivered in a hybrid virtual/in-person format.  A recording of the event and live-streaming link will be posted in coming days.

  • Keynote Address 2019 Kimberly Leslie, M.D. (the ceremony is available for viewing here)
  • Keynote Address 2018 Janet Fairley, M.D. (the ceremony is available for viewing here)
  • Keynote Address 2017 Steven Craig, M.D. (the ceremony is available for viewing here)
  • Keynote Address 2016 Siroos Shirazi, M.D., (the ceremony is available for viewing here)
  • Keynote Address 2015 Jess Fiedorowicz, M.D., Ph.D. (the ceremony is available for viewing here)
  • Keynote Address 2014 Ann Broderick, M.D. (the ceremony is available for viewing here)
  • Keynote Address 2013 Peter Densen, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2012 Jody R. Murph, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2011 Michael B. Cohen, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2010 Jennifer R. Niebyl, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2009 Richard D. Williams, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2008 Rebecca Hegeman, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2007 Jane Engeldinger, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2006 Jeffrey S. Wilson, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2005 Paul A. James, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2004 John P. Lawrence, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2003 Susan R. Johnson, M.D., M.S.
  • Keynote Address 2002 Robert P. Kelch, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2001 Harold P. Adams, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 2000 Kimberly S. Ephgrave, M.D.
  • Keynote Address 1999 Francois M. Abboud, M.D.
  • Keynote Speaker 1998 Richard M. Caplan, M.D.
  • Keynote Speaker 1997 Richard P. Nelson, M.D.
  • Keynote Speaker 1996 Robert T. Soper, M.D.
  • Keynote Speaker 1995 James A. Clifton, M.D.