School of Medicine to Hold White Coat Ceremony in Macon


MACON – More than 60 first-year students in Mercer University's School of Medicine will receive their white coats and be welcomed into the medical profession this Saturday in Macon.

The Macon campus white coat ceremony will take place on Aug. 29, 1 p.m., in Willingham Auditorium. 

“Although these students have years of study ahead, this white coat ceremony will instill in them the importance of professionalism and empathy in medicine as they enter the medical community,” said William F. Bina, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, dean of the School of Medicine. “It represents the public acknowledgement by the students of the responsibilities of the profession and their willingness to assume such obligations in the presence of family, friends and faculty.”

Allison Scheetz, M.D., associate professor of internal medicine, will be the keynote speaker. Patrick Roche, M.D., associate dean for student affairs, and Timothy Stapleton, M.D., a 1987 graduate of the School of Medicine, physician at OrthoGeorgia and team doctor for Mercer Athletics, will cloak the 62 participants.

“OrthoGeorgia and I are proud to be a part of this important ceremony, which marks the beginning of a medical student's journey,” said Dr. Stapleton.

In addition to support received from OrthoGeorgia, for the first time, SunTrust is also a supporter of both Saturday's ceremony in Macon and next month's ceremony in Savannah.

“The SunTrust Foundation has a long and proud history of supporting schools and educational programs that positively impact the lives of students and benefit our communities and ultimately the economic viability of our state,” said Jim Manley, president of SunTrust Bank, Macon/Columbus/Albany Region. “Our partnership with Mercer University's School of Medicine continues that long tradition, and we are pleased to grant this award to this deserving and dedicated group of future healthcare professionals.”

The white coat ceremony was designed by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation as a way to welcome new medical students and set clear expectations regarding their primary role as physicians by professing an oath.

Today, the ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care as well as scientific proficiency. The first white coat ceremony took place in 1993 at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. Since then, more than half of the nation's medical schools have had some form of white coat ceremony.

About the Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)

Mercer University's School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School's primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Navicent Health in Macon;Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah;and The Medical Center and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master's degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. and Psy.D. in clinical medical psychology.