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Albany Med Today

White Coat Ceremony: A Destination, and a Beginning


In a ceremony deep in tradition and meaning, first-year Albany Medical College students received their white coats last month, signifying their ascent into the study
of medicine. The journey to get to where they are and the one to follow is both individual and shared.

An administrator and five first-year students offer their reflections on what the day represented:

Henry Pohl, MD
Vice dean for Academic Administration
“The White Coat Ceremony is a day where medical students commit themselves to the ethical concepts behind the practice of medicine. … This is the first day it becomes real.”
Gretchen Gunn
Bozeman, MT
“It’s a great responsibility that we are putting on today and to make sure we uphold the honor of the white coat. I think it was very moving and meaningful for all of us to be standing there together to say” the Hippocratic Oath.
Ernest Spiotto
Lockport, IL
“I am coming from a job working in a warehouse, working in a factory. I stopped working to complete a one-year post-baccalaureate program at SUNY Buffalo. And now I’m going to medical school. It signifies beginning my journey into serving the community and learning everything I can and being the best doctor I can be.”
John Li
St. Claire, MI
“The white coat ceremony represents the beginning of a really wonderful long journey, and it’s really something that we’ve been waiting for for so long as incoming students. It is a culmination of a lot of work.”
Minhal Makshood
Sri Lanka
“I came to America as a refugee. I never thought I would become a doctor, so to me this means freedom. If you had said to me six years ago I would be here I would probably have said, ‘You’re just kidding.’”
Youngwon Youn
Berkeley, CA
“It’s an honor to wear this. I am
going to treat it like the responsibility
I have to the community, the patients,
to myself to be the best I can be and
to serve the community with the
skills I learned here.”