Come fall on the MEDEX Northwest calendar, students transition from their didactic year into their clinical year. It’s the time when they are stepping away from the MEDEX classroom and its dense didactic curriculum into the hospitals, clinics and healthcare facilities all around them for their four-month primary care preceptorship and a series of one-month rotations or clerkships in specialty practices.

MEDEX Tacoma Class 10

Marking the center of this period of transition is a ritual known as the White Coat Ceremony, a gathering at which students are presented with their signature white coats by members of their faculty, often supported by family and friends. 

MEDEX Spokane Class 26

“White coats are a symbol of clinical medicine, of practice,” MEDEX Spokane faculty member Theo Orchard explains. “The students have learned a lot over the past year. But now, the rubber is meeting the road. They’re going to put on those white coats and begin to see patients. We really want to emphasize what that transition means through the symbolism of the white coat, representing the weight of responsibility. They need to understand not only what putting on the white coat means to them, but also what it means to their patients, the impact it has on patients when they see a provider in that white coat come walking through the door.”

MEDEX Seattle Class 56

“You wear the white coat, the white coat doesn’t wear you,” Seattle faculty member Daytheon Sturges reminds his students. “The white coat brings privilege and responsibility. It denotes that you are a professional and grants you authority you have a special knowledge that most people aren’t privy to. The white coat tells people that you are someone who can be trusted to keep their best interests in mind. You can never betray that trust. But white coat or not, we want to meet our patients where they are. We are all striving toward health equity in medicine.  So don’t let the white coat transform you. You want to be the one who transforms medicine.”

Mitra Malek (Kona Class 3)

Gabriel Time (Kona Class 3) 

Darcy Mulligan (Kona Class 3)

MEDEX Kona Class 3