White Coats: From Students to Clinicians

The 65 students of the Class of 2013 officially and publicly marked their passage from student to clinician during the White Coat Ceremony held on October 15. The event recognizes second-year dental students as they transition from lectures and preclinical studies to dental clinical practice.

Students are individually presented white coats by members of the faculty. The class publicly pledges to uphold the highest ethical and professional standards in dentistry. The students also sign their names to a pledge document that will be on permanent display at the school.

“At the very core of our profession is the trust that exists between patient and dentist,” Dean Henry Gremillion told the large gathering that included family and friends. “White coats symbolize that trust and convey a serious mission to the ceremony."

Dr. Gremillion said that tradition of a public oath goes back 5,000 years to the Hippocratic Oath. More recently, doctors began wearing white coats as a way to protect them and their patients from cross-contamination. As the profession of medicine grew in knowledge and stature, white coats came to symbolize purity, life, authority and healing. “Every one of us must earn the trust of our patients by performing at the highest levels of ethics and professionalism.”

The four members of the faculty who gave the students their white coats have all been cited for outstanding performance as educators. They are Drs. Toby Cheramie, Janice Townsend, Thomas Lallier and Edward Ireland.

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Last Update 10/2010