Medical Ceremony Toolkit

Congratulations on your upcoming White Coat Ceremony! Each year, the Gold Foundation provides a kit of materials for your school’s ceremony, including a virtual keynote address, example ceremonies, downloadable templates, and more.

Visit Planning a White Coat Ceremony for ideas and guidance on the cloaking procedure, logistics, and other tips to make your event a success.

Medical School Keynote

In this virtual keynote address (to be shared soon), Dr. Nana Afoh-Manin, an emergency doctor, public health practitioner, entrepreneur, and a champion for health equity, shares her insights and advice to new medical students. Dr. Nana has dedicated her career to raising awareness about the social determinants of health in refugee, urban, and disaster settings, leading her to found the nonprofit Shared Harvest and myCovidMD™, an initiative which has received accolades for its effectiveness in drawing the largest percentage of underrepresented minorities and refugees to testing sites seen across the country.

Medical schools planning a White Coat Ceremony can request access to this virtual keynote address through this form. **The link to access the 2022 keynote will be posted in July.**

To access the 2021 keynote, use this form.

The Gold Foundation thanks the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM) for their support and assistance in creating this address.

Expected Elements of the White Coat Ceremony

Recite Oath: The oath is the central component of any White Coat Ceremony and students read or recite it together. Schools select an oath that includes a commitment to humanistic patient care, based on their own tradition. Many are student- or faculty-written, and it is typically the same oath recited at commencement.

Timing during training: It is important to hold this important ritual at the start of medical education, in order to demonstrate the significance of humanism early on in training and professional identity formation.

Focus on humanism: The emphasis on humanistic patient care can be delivered through a keynote address and/or highlighted in remarks from medical school leadership. Schools may also ask students to reflect on compassionate, collaborative, and scientifically excellent care through writing, discussions, or other initiatives.

Pins: The Gold Foundation offers white “Keeping Healthcare Human” lapel pins to be given to each medical student at the ceremony. Thanks to our supporters, we provide these pins without cost to medical schools. School administrators can request pins using our online form at least 30 days in advance of the ceremony date.

Please remember to acknowledge the Arnold P. Gold Foundation for the pins in your ceremony program, and we encourage you to include a brief statement about the background and significance of this ritual in your ceremony program.

Planning Your Ceremony

Visit Planning a White Coat Ceremony for ideas and guidance on the cloaking procedure, logistics, and other tips to make your event a success.

The following webinar offers guidance on hosting a virtual or hybrid White Coat Ceremony:

Hosting a Virtual Medical School White Coat Ceremony Webinar with the AAMC: White Coat Ceremonies during COVID-19: Tools, Resources, and an Open Forum to Explore Virtual Options

View the webinar recording and download the PPT slides on the website of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Additional Ceremony Materials

Program template (Publisher) (InDesign) – add your school’s logo, ceremony speakers, students, and other details, and print at the printing shop of your choice, or save as a PDF to distribute via email or on your website. If you prefer a different file format, please email msloane@gold-foundation.org.

White Coat Ceremony Slides (PPT) – incorporate these slides into your ceremony using this template, which can be edited to reflect your school name, logo, student photos and names. It also includes a link to a video about the legacy of Arnold P. Gold.

Signage, Logo and Font

The 2.5-foot by 8-foot banner can be modified to include your school’s logo and then ordered from VistaPrint or the printing shop of your choice.

2.5-foot x 8-foot “Congratulations on your White Coat Ceremony” banner (InDesign or PDF) – add your school’s logo and print at the printing shop of your choice.

Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony logo (PNG) – for inclusion on your own specially designed program or banner.

Font: Source Sans Pro (free download) – this open source typeface family is often used in our materials.

Media Materials

5 marketing tips (PDF) – ideas to promote your ceremony widely and engage with the Gold Foundation through social media.

Press release template for schools (Word). These templates include a quote from Gold Foundation President/CEO Dr. Levin and can be modified for your school and sent to local media outlets, such as local TV stations and newspapers.

Virtual Ceremony Examples

The Gold Foundation has been impressed and moved by the many different ways schools have implemented virtual White Coat Ceremonies. Here are two wonderful examples from 2020. We would love to see other examples; please send video links to Brianne Alcala, AVP of Communications, at balcala@gold-foundation.org.

Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons opened their virtual 2020 White Coat Ceremony with music and included all students on video at the end waving in their white coats. Dr. Arnold P. Gold was a pediatric neurologist and professor at Columbia, where the first White Coat Ceremony, emphasize the critical importance of humanism in healthcare, was held in 1993.

The NYU Long Island School of Medicine held a moving hybrid ceremony in which students attended in person (socially distanced) and donned their own white coats, while family and friends watched through a live stream.