A noble journey began on January 31 for 526 St. George’s University medical students, who donned their white coats and took their Oaths of Professional Commitment at the spring 2014 White Coat Ceremonies, held at Patrick F. Adams Hall in Grenada. They join 29 fellow students from the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars who began their semester with a White Coat Ceremony in the UK last month. A magical moment for most and a memorable one for all, the White Coat Ceremony symbolized their transition into the medical profession and commitment to uphold ethics and professionalism.
Dr. Ciaran Healy, a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at Guy’s & St. Thomas’ Hospital, delivered the keynote address to the prospective doctors. Supporting his address with anecdotes from his own career, Dr. Healy shared a valuable lesson he had learnt from one of his mentors at medical school, practicing ‘the 3 As’: availability, affability and ability, which he encouraged the students to also follow.
“As doctors, you will function as part of multidisciplinary medical teams,” he said. “It is important to ensure that you understand your particular role in the process without losing sight of your patients’ essential humanity and your responsibility to them.”
The evening’s Master of Ceremonies had used SGU as a springboard nearly a decade prior. Dr. Ashwin Mehta, MD SGU ’05, has gone on to serve as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine and Founding Medical Director of the Integrative Medicine Program at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Miami, Miller School of Medicine.
“The area of congruence between what you really love doing, what you are good at, what the world needs and what the world will pay you to do is bliss,” Dr. Mehta said. “If you can figure these out, you will achieve your professional and career bliss.”
At the ceremony, Chancellor Charles R. Modica introduced several special guests; students from war-ravaged South Sudan, who will be joining the premedical program at SGU, and a government delegation from a province of the world’s newest independent nation. Honorable Tong Deng Anei, Minister of Health, Northern Bahr El Ghazal State, Aweil, Republic of South Sudan, delivered a brief address at the ceremony.
“We are very proud and honored to have our students here,” he said. “There are different ways to bring peace. Education is one of them. These students have come from different communities but now they are together.”
The School of Medicine White Coat Ceremonies punctuated the first full day of activities of the Spring 2014 Family Weekend, during which parents and loved ones spent the day exploring Grenada and getting a feel of life at SGU. The 526 students are part of an even larger class who have joined the St. George’s University family in the School of Medicine this semester. Twenty-nine SGU medical students started their educational journey as part of the Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program in the United Kingdom and will join their peers in Grenada for the completion of their basic sciences education after one year.