Friday, August 5, 2011 - 5:00pm to 6:30pm

One hundred sixteen incoming students at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson will begin their quest to become the physicians of the future at the 17th annual White Coat Ceremony.

The Tucson class includes 55 women and 61 men, ranging in age from 18 to 40.

A reception immediately follows the ceremony on the Centennial Hall plaza. (The ceremony, which is for family and friends of incoming medical students, not the general public, will be broadcast live on the Internet.)

“This ceremony, held in the presence of family, friends, colleagues and teachers, marks the students’ entrance into a family of individuals who will teach, support and work beside them throughout their educational experience,” says Steve Goldschmid, MD, UA College of Medicine dean and vice chair, UA Healthcare Board of Directors. “The white coat symbolizes their responsibility as physicians to put their patients’ interests first. It represents personalized medicine not based on genes but on compassion.”

Bob England, MD, MPH, director of the Maricopa County Department of Public Health and a member of the UA College of Medicine Class of 1983, will deliver the keynote address, “Fake It ‘Till You Make It.” “Dr. Bob” is a southwest desert rat, having grown up in southern California and Arizona. He began his journey at the UA College of Medicine in 1978 and chose an uncommon specialty, public health. He has been a public health doctor for his entire career, holding several positions at state and local levels, including state epidemiologist for Arizona. For the past five years, he has been director of the Maricopa County Dept of Public Health, the third-largest local public health jurisdiction in the United States.

The students – who will attend classes on the College’s Tucson campus – then will recite their class Mission and Vision Statement which they prepared to affirm their values as future physicians. Each student will sign the statement as they come on stage to don white coats for the first time, acknowledging their entrance into the medical profession and the special bond they will have with patients, colleagues and teachers from the first day of medical school, which was Monday, Aug. 1.

Each student's coat will have a “Humanism in Medicine” lapel pin, symbolizing a commitment to providing compassionate and competent patient care, provided by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The UA College of Medicine – Tucson White Coat Ceremony is sponsored in memory of Jeffrey T. Fulginiti by Shirley and Vince Fulginiti, MD, and their family.

The UA College of Medicine – Phoenix held its White Coat Ceremony on July 29.