The Arnold P. Gold Foundation has partnered with The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) to provide physician assistant (PA) programs with initial funding to establish the White Coat Ceremony, one of the foundation’s signature programs. PAEA members are now eligible to apply to The Foundation for grants of up to $5,000 to defray the costs of inaugurating their own ceremony.
Cloaking students with the white coat—the mantle of the medical profession—is a hands-on experience that emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for the patient. The White Coat is personally placed on each student’s shoulders by individuals who believe in the students’ ability to carry on the noble traditions of the medical profession. As part of the ceremony, The Gold Foundation provides students with the gift of a Humanism in Medicine lapel pin for their white coats. The pin serves as a daily reminder of their White Coat Ceremony and their pledge to serve their patients with compassion.
“Working with PAEA to institute White Coat Ceremonies in Physician Assistant education programs is a milestone in our goal to include the entire healthcare team in our mission of ensuring that health care is provided with compassion as well as clinical excellence,” stated Richard I. Levin, MD, President and CEO of The Gold Foundation.
The Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony was initiated for medical students at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1993. Today, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at 96% of AAMC-accredited schools of medicine in the United States, as well as at osteopathic schools of medicine and schools abroad. Over the years, the White Coat Ceremony has also become a familiar milestone event for many PA education programs.
“White Coat Ceremonies provide an auspicious occasion for PA students to reflect upon the serious responsibilities they are undertaking as medical professionals, as well as to celebrate their educational achievements,” said PAEA Executive Director Timi Agar Barwick. “We’re pleased that this partnership will give more PA programs the opportunity to set up these ceremonies.”
The Physician Assistant Education Association (PAEA) is a not-for-profit association representing accredited physician assistant educational programs in the United States. PAEA provides services for faculty at its member programs, as well as to applicants, students, and other stakeholders. Additional information is available at www.PAEAonline.org.