Twenty-nine students in the spring 2014 class of St. George’s University’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program (KBTGSP) took their first step toward becoming doctors by taking their professional oath at the prestigious White Coat Ceremony, held January 16 at Drill Hall on the campus of Northumbria University in Newcastle, United Kingdom. The Global Scholars are among 555 students who are part of SGU School of Medicine’s incoming class this semester. The Global Scholars will study in the UK for one year before joining their classmates in Grenada for the completion of the basic sciences curriculum.
Elizabeth Louie, MD SGU ’90 was the evening’s master of ceremonies and offered words of encouragement peppered with experiences culled from her own journey from SGU student to the creation of The Center for Precious Minds, a center for autistic children in South Florida. She credits the globally focused education she received at SGU for her ability to work effectively with the many patient populations she comes across in her practice.
“I wouldn’t have traded my experience at SGU for anything else,” Dr. Louie said. “The global focus of my education has made me the doctor I am today.”
Dr. David Schapira, Consultant General Pediatrician and Specialty Director in Pediatrics at Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester, UK, delivered the keynote address, sharing valuable lessons learned through observing the life and work of his greatest role model, his father, who had been a family practitioner in south London. The great compassion and empathy shown by the late Dr. Schapira to his patients exemplified the qualities of a great doctor.
“He merged science with his humanitarian qualities and wisdom and that, together with his intimate knowledge of each individual patient, enabled him to provide outstanding care,” Dr. Schapira said.
While the White Coat Ceremony marks the beginning of a journey, Dr. Schapira urged the entering class to practice the qualities that will make them outstanding doctors: to listen, have empathy, show tolerance, enjoy and respect diversity, and embody their code of ethics.
“The white coat you will don today is symbolic of the medical profession, its caring nature, and the respect and trust with which patients and the public at large regard doctors,” he said. “While science changes, the fundamental principles of the white coat ceremony do not. “ Citing Maimonides, Dr. Schapira left the class with a parting thought, “Cure sometimes, treat often, care always. May you recognize and be fired with the same enthusiasm and drive to work with colleagues to make a difference.”