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Transitioning from basic science to clinical care, second-year WVU medical students earn white coats

WVU Today

Second-year WVU medical students earned their white coats on Saturday. Dr. Clay Marsh congratulates one of the students.
(WVU Today photo)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As they marked a symbolic day in their medical journey, 109 students in West Virginia UniversitySchool of Medicine’s Class of 2021 received their white coats Saturday (March 23), marking their transition from basic science to clinical care.

“There are many aspects of being a physician – few of which have to do with your wardrobe, but many of which encompass what this white coat represents – care, compassion and responsibility for yourself as a clinician and for your patients as their advocates,” Dr. Clay Marsh, vice president and executive dean of  WVU Health Sciences, said.

For the School’s annual John W. Traubert White Coat Ceremony, each coat is sponsored by an alumnus of the school, and a note of encouragement from the sponsor is placed in a pocket of the coat for the student.

“Being a student in our medical program means that you’re connected not only to your cohort but to a Mountaineer family of alumni who can offer both support and advice during your education and beyond,” Dr. Norman Ferarri, vice dean for education and academic affairs and chair of the WVUDepartment of Medical Education. “The words of wisdom are special not only to the students who read them but their mentors who once were in their very shoes.”

At WVU, the first White Coat Ceremony was held Jan. 26, 1996. Its tradition differs from the conventional concept in that it honors second-year students and marks the transition from basic sciences to clinical sciences, from reading about illness and disease to diagnosing it, and from learning about treatments to prescribing them. The ceremony stresses the importance of the doctor-patient relationship and the relevance of the white coat as a cloak of compassion.

Five students in the class are legacy students.

  • · Alexandar Battin, son of Dr. John Battin, residency Class of 1999
  • · Morgan Bush, daughter of Dr.Stephen Bush,  Class of 1982
  • · Timothy Ferrebee, son of Dr. Michael Ferrebee, Class of 1998
  • · Reena Razdan, daughter of Dr. Dolly Razdan, Class of 1988
  • · Samuel Umstot, son of Dr. Richard Umstot, Class of 1986

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation designed the White Coat Ceremony in 1993 to welcome entering medical students and help them to establish a psychological contract for the practice of medicine. The event emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient as well as scientific proficiency. It has since been established at medical schools across the country.

WVU’s ceremony was named for Dr. John W. Traubert, former associate dean for student and curricular affairs at the WVU School of Medicine, who practiced family medicine in Wellsburg before joining the WVU faculty as founding chair of the Department of Family Practice, now theDepartment of Family Medicine.

Editors: Profile stories of three students are available online

  • Jane Tuttle, a Paden City native with undergraduate degrees in professional writing and biology, will attend classes on the WVU Charleston Campus next year.
  • • Bridgeport native  Brooke Cottrill hopes to specialize in child and adolescent psychiatry.
  • Sundas Lateef of Morgantown was inspired to become a physician by watching her mother interact with patients and community members.
  • Ashlee Seldomridge, an alumnus of the School of Medicine’s Exercise Physiology program, completed a fellowship at the National Cancer Institute before joining the M.D. program.

CONTACT: Cassie Thomas, WVU School of Medicine
304.293.3412; [email protected]

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