TouroCOM-Harlem Celebrates White Coat Ceremony

Second year students don white coats before beginning rotations

June 15, 2016

On Monday, May 16th, the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine (TouroCOM)-Harlem Class of 2018 celebrated their White Coat Ceremony, marking the students’ transition from their preclinical to clinical medical training at the end of their second year of study. The event drew parents, Touro faculty and deans, community members and friends, to the New York Academy of Medicine.

Preceding the processional of students, a brief introductory address was given by Dean of Student Affairs, Dr. Nadege Dady. The ceremony included the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance by Hardeep Hunjan, OMS II, and the singing of the National Anthem by Jackie Rowe-Adams, co-founder of Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.; an invocation by Senior Member of the Department of College Affairs, Rabbi Baruch Fogel; opening remarks by Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Robert Goldberg; and an address by Clinical Dean of the Harlem campus Dr. Kenneth J. Steier, welcoming the class of 2018 to clinical life.

Following Dr. Robert Goldberg’s introduction of guests, keynote speaker Dr. Martin Levine, Past President of the American Osteopathic Association, addressed the class by sharing three insights about clinical practice and marking the formal “cloaking” as “the transition between what you've been comfortable with, and the unknown.”

Gabrielle Jasmin, OMS II, SGA president and Clark Johnsen, OMS II, SAAO president, delivered remarks to their fellow students. “The first day we step on the grounds of the hospital, we begin our journey,” said Jasmin, “and as we put on our white coats, let it symbolize all we have done to this point and all we aspire to in the future.” Johnsen thanked the TouroCOM faculty and deans for their “impact on our minds and hearts” and highlighted this event as an opportunity to “reflect on our trajectory, and not only assess where we are going, but how we are going to get there.”

Prior to presenting student awards, preclinical dean, Dr. Arthur Prancan presented the Teacher of the Year Award to Dr. David Colbourne, a medical simulation specialist in the primary care department, who was honored with a standing ovation and acknowledged the “dream team” sitting before him.

The 133 students then marched across the stage to don their white coats, formally robed by faculty or parents before handshakes, hugs, and high-fives.

The ceremony concluded with the recital of the Osteopathic Pledge, led by Dr. Steier, and the OMS Oath of Commitment, led by Dr. Susan Milani, who requested that the audience “stand as students leave in preparation of beginning their clinical rotations.”

After the formal ceremony, students walked and danced down the auditorium aisles to a celebratory reception held across the hall, as calls of “doctor” and “physician” were exchanged among students and staff.

Samir Rahman, OMS II, commented on how great it feels to be wearing his white coat. “We’ve wanted this for so long,” he said. Rahman will begin his rotations in family medicine, while others begin with placements in emergency medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics, and psychiatry. Maria North, OMS II, will begin her third-year rotations in surgery and is most looking forward to “interacting with patients, instead of my computer” and “to focus on building human relationships.”

To quote student speaker Clark Johnsen: although the class of 2018 may feel as if they’re “livin’ on a prayer” before their upcoming board examinations, “whoa, we’re halfway there.”