University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School Hosts Virtual Ceremony
NEW ORLEANS – From Ochsner Health:
On Saturday, Jan. 8, The University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School hosted its 12th annual White Coat Ceremony, a rite of passage for medical students held to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care from the start of medical training. The event was celebrated virtually this year to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during a surge of cases.
During the event, 96 doctors-in-training received their white coats in a virtual ceremony and were honored with Humanism in Medicine pins – a visual symbol displayed on the lapel of each white coat to remind students to keep empathy at the center of clinical practice.
Elena V. Rios, president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association and President of the National Hispanic Health Foundation, served as the keynote speaker. The ceremony concluded with a recitation of the Ochsner Clinical School Oath, which serves as the official start to the second phase of the UQ Ochsner Medical Degree program focused on clinical experiences.
“Receiving a white coat is a physical reminder of the oath these students have taken to serve, to heal, to lead, to educate and to innovate for their patients – each and every day. It is a privilege for our exceptional faculty at UQ Ochsner Clinical School to play a role in shaping the next generation of physicians,” said Ronald Amedee, dean of medical education, director of the University of Queensland Ochsner Clinical School.
Medical students from UQ Ochsner Clinical School who received their white coats have opportunities to give back to communities, in New Orleans and abroad, through projects facilitated by the Ochsner Medical Student Association (OMSA). Programs include Walk with a Future Doc, a national non-profit that encourages healthy physical activity in people of all ages; Ochsner’s “Save-A-Voice” ALS Voice Banking team, made up of students who volunteer their time to help patients with newly diagnosed ALS record their voice; and The UQ STAR mentorship program, in which the UQ Ochsner Clinical School students mentor a select cohort of high school seniors by teaching clinical examination skills and other medical knowledge.
The modern-day White Coat Ceremony originated in 1989, and was revolutionized by Arnold P. Gold, MD, a teacher and pediatric neurologist at Columbia University for more than 40 years. Dr. Gold, a passionate advocate for keeping healthcare humanistic, believed the symbolic gesture of handing white coats and reciting the Hippocratic Oath after four years of medical school was happening too late. He advocated for well-defined guidelines for expectations and responsibilities appropriate for the medical profession prior to the first day of training. This belief inspired the creation of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, a nonprofit he began with his wife, Sandra Gold, EdD, and the expansion of what has become known as the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.
Established in 2009, the UQ Ochsner Clinical School is a unique four-year training, academic and clinical experience. It takes place across two continents, providing students with a global perspective as they train to become doctors. Students gain exposure to global health concepts by experiencing both the Australian and American healthcare systems.
The first two years of medical school curriculum take place in Brisbane, Australia at UQ, which is ranked 36th in the world for 2022 by U.S. News Best Global Universities Ranking. The final two years of clinical study are completed with the Ochsner Health – one of the largest independent academic medical centers in the United States – located in New Orleans, LA.
More than 750 medical students have completed their undergraduate medical education at UQ Ochsner Clinical School. Last year, UQ Ochsner Clinical School achieved a 97% match rate through the National Residency Match Program, comparable with the national match rate for U.S. medical schools. UQ Ochsner Clinical School students have moved on to train in every specialty at prestigious institutions across the country such as Johns Hopkins, Mayo Clinic, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Chicago.
“As Ochsner Health reflects on our past to understand demands for our future, we recognize that our medical school with a focus on global education is critically important,” said Leonardo Seoane, chief academic officer, Ochsner Health. “Training the next generation of physicians is one of the greatest responsibilities we have, especially as we face the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems and a projected physician shortage in our country. Educating the next generation of physicians is critically important to maintaining the wellbeing of our communities – here in Louisiana and beyond.”
For more information on the UQ Ochsner Clinical School, visit https://ochsner.uq.edu.au.