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White Coat Ceremony Welcomes the Class of 2020

POSTED ON August 12, 2016

The first class of students to spend all four years of medical school with the Lewis Katz School of Medicine (LKSOM) patch on their shoulders was officially welcomed at the Class of 2020 White Coat Ceremony, held August 5.

A total of 206 students and their families gathered in the Temple Performing Arts Center on the university’s main campus for the event, held at the start of every school year to ceremonially welcome the new class to Temple and to the field of medicine. The students come from 106 undergraduate colleges and universities and were chosen out of 10,722 applicants. They are a diverse group that hails from 29 states and numerous countries around the world.  

During the ceremony, Larry Kaiser, MD, FACS, Dean of LKSOM and President and CEO of Temple University Health System, described the “great personal meaning” the name Lewis Katz has to him and Temple University.

“Lewis loved Temple and gave back to Temple in so many ways,” he said. “His entire life was about giving back. If it weren’t for an opportunity to attend Temple, I seriously doubt he would have been able to obtain higher education. I celebrate the fact that his name is attached to our school.”

Dr. Kaiser later described the importance of teamwork in value-based care: “You will come to appreciate care models that not only enhance our ability to care for the sick but that strive to promote wellness, a concept that should and must be learned in medical school,” he said. “New doctors require adaptability, empathy, creativity and leadership, which determines the culture of healthcare organizations.”

In special remarks delivered by Drew Katz, JD, a Temple University trustee and the son of the late Lewis Katz, he shared his father’s profound respect and affection for physicians – particularly Temple-educated physicians – which remained with him all of his life.

Drew stressed, as did Dr. Kaiser and keynote speaker R. Michael Scott, MD ’66, how essential it is to be kind to patients and families. “Credentials cannot compensate for any deficit in character,” Drew said.

Echoing those sentiments, Dr. Scott reminded students to always put themselves in the shoes of their patients and families. “Your patient is a person, not a case,” he said. “Your white coats send an instant signal to patients that you’re there to help and heal, that you’re dedicated to every patient’s wellbeing. Live up to that.”

Following these remarks, students were cloaked by members of LKSOM’s faculty in white coats that, for the first time, bear a patch designating the wearer as a student of the Lewis Katz School of Medicine. Douglas Reifler, MD, Associate Dean for Student Affairs, led the students in the Oath of Geneva, the declaration affirming physicians’ dedication to the humanitarian goals of medicine.

Dr. Kaiser presented the students with stethoscopes donated by faculty, alumni, friends, and members of the Board of Visitors. The ceremony also featured an induction of 38 upper-year medical students into the Arnold P. Gold Humanism in Medicine Society led by Alisa Peet, MD, Associate Dean of Clinical Education.

Learn more about the White Coat experience.