The White Coat Ceremony, a signature program of the The Arnold P. Gold Foundation, was created in 1993 to welcome incoming medical students and establish a psychological contract between the students and their medical schools symbolizing the responsibility of the doctor to put the interests of patients first. The Ceremony has become an annual rite of passage at 96% of Association of American Medical Colleges-accredited U.S. medical schools and 17 countries abroad.
The inspiration behind my painting, The Cloaking was drawn from my own white coat ceremony experience at Georgetown University School of Medicine. I recall feeling mixed emotions of pride, humility, and a hint of anxiety. I attempted to recapture that moment by depicting a medical student putting on their white coat for the first time. In the painting, the student is cloaked by a dean and standing next to a physician. The student gazes into the audience with a serious expression contemplating his first real steps into the profession. The dean and faculty member also display modest smiles because this is a joyous yet solemn occasion.
When designing my paintings, my choice of palette and subjects are intentional as I am trying to convey a message to the viewer. For this piece I chose robust colors and confident figures to reflect positivity, strength and diversity in the medical field. It is my belief that this mirrors the public’s perception of healthcare providers; for them, they are the last guardians of human vitality. This should be a key consideration as we begin to grapple with the way in which medical services are administered in this country.
Suliman EL-Amin is a third year student and self-taught artist attending Georgetown University School of Medicine. His works in oil, acrylic and mixed media chronicle the American experience in the urban Northeast. Suliman’s portraits, murals and sketches utilize bold colors and confident figures to express a message of positivity and strength. His works can be found in private collections throughout Atlanta, Washington and Philadelphia.