In their official welcome to the medical profession, 782 incoming students took part in the St. George’s University School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony, taking their first step toward becoming doctors. The True Blue Campus in Grenada welcomed 696 students while 86 Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars took part in the White Coat Ceremony at Northumbria, UK.
Dr. Fred Jacobs, St. George’s University’s executive vice president and chair of its Department of Medicine, as keynote speaker at the Grenada ceremony, shared some experiences from his early years in the profession which had taught him significant lessons. “Always, the inspiration that comes from your patients will be the greatest lesson,” he said. “They will guide you in your path towards realizing your dream of becoming a doctor in the greatest sense.“
Dr. Jacobs recalled the ”magical moment” when he first knew he was a doctor, going from being scared and uncertain about facing his first patient to realizing he had the necessary training and knowledge. He also recalled learning that all patients had a right to the truth about their diagnosis and a right to share in decision making, and learning the importance of the relationship between a patient and doctor.
“The doctor-patient relationship is not based on knowledge or authority,” he said. “It is based on trust and human connection. It is the expression of humanism in medicine.”
Kara Schnarr, MD SGU ’11, master of ceremonies for the evening, told of her hopes and fears as a student, her love for Grenada, the UK and the US and her development into a global doctor because of her experiences at SGU. She encouraged the students to truly experience Grenada and its culture, to make friends and build a medical school family, and to persevere in their studies.
“The main difference between those who are successful and those who aren’t is the ability to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get back out there,” she said. “The road ahead of you is a challenging yet exciting one.”
The students were also welcomed and congratulated by Dr. Charles R. Modica, Chancellor of St. George’s University and Dr. the Right Honorable Keith C. Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada.
This year, the School of Medicine introduced its Alumni Mentor Scholarship Program recipients, who are nominated by graduates of the School of Medicine based on their academic excellence and commitment to the medical profession. Also, of the parents on hand to watch the ceremony, seven had participated in this very ceremony at SGU as first-year students some years before.
The alumni whose children are continuing their legacy at SGU had the unique opportunity to robe them in their white coats.
The Fall 2013 White Coat Ceremony in Grenada marked the 20-year anniversary, to the day, of the first-ever White Coat Ceremony, held on August 20, 1993, at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, as arranged by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. SGU held its first White Coat Ceremony, which emphasizes the importance of compassionate medical care, in 1996.