Alex Marti participates in White Coat Ceremony at UI Carver College of Medicine

Alex Marti of Waukon was one of more than 140 first-year University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine students - the Class of 2025 - to participate in the 27th annual Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony earlier this month. Marti is a 2016 graduate of Waukon High School.

The White Coat Ceremony is a celebrated experience as students enter medical school. In the presence of family, guests and faculty members, students are welcomed into the medical community by leaders of the medical center and ceremonially “cloaked” with their white coat. Then, dressed in white, they stand to take the ancient Oath of Hippocrates, traditionally sworn at graduation.

By establishing this meaningful ritual at the beginning of medical school, it is hoped students will become aware of their responsibilities from the first day of training. The ceremony is intended to impress upon them the primacy of the doctor-patient relationship. It encourages them to enter into a psychological contract in which they accept the obligations inherent in the practice of medicine: to be excellent in science, to be compassionate, and to lead lives of “uprightness and honor.” It is designed to clarify for students that a physician’s responsibility is to take care of patients and also to care for patients. The message transmitted is that doctors should “care” as well as “cure.”

In 1994, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation sponsored three White Coat Ceremonies. In 1995, entering students at four additional medical schools including the University of Iowa participated in White Coat Ceremonies sponsored by The Gold Foundation. Currently, a White Coat Ceremony or similar rite of passage takes place at 97% of AAMC-accredited schools of medicine in the United States and Canada. The Foundation’s goal is that medical schools will make the White Coat Ceremony the highlight of their student orientation programs.

Prior to the start of classes, each first-year student at the Carver College of Medicine is assigned to one of four learning communities for their entire four years of medical school. Each learning community is comprised of approximately equal numbers of first-, second-, third- and fourth-year students. The communities are designed to foster more peer-to-peer interactions, provide opportunities for leadership and service, and strengthen students’ relationships with faculty, collegiate staff, and others across campus.

The full 2021 White Coat Ceremony is availabe to view online at the following link: