Aug. 10, 2016 | The 174 freshmen in the UAMS College of Medicine’s class of 2020 donned white coats Aug. 5 in a ceremony symbolizing the start of their journey toward becoming physicians.

Before a crowd of family, friends and loved ones at the Statehouse Convention Center, the students first recited the medical student oath and signed their names to the oath book before crossing the stage one by one and being helped into their first white coat. For the first time in the 137-year history of the College of Medicine, the freshman class has more females, 90, than males, 84.

UAMS Executive Vice Chancellor and College of Medicine Dean Pope L. Moseley, M.D., told the students, who were chosen from more than 2,600 applicants, that physicians enter the lives of patients at their most vulnerable times.

“This is a privilege and an unbreakable commitment,” Moseley said. “As physicians, we must work very hard and persistently toward health equity. The white coat symbolizes uncompromising ethical and professional behavior as we serve our patients and their families.”

One by one, the students walked on the stage to be adorned with their first white coat.

One by one, the students walked on the stage to be adorned with their first white coat.

The students recited a pledge “to maintain a state of sensitivity and compassion” when dealing with patients; “respect the contributions of my brothers and sisters in medicine, pharmacy, nursing and in the health related professions;” and to “honor the rich tradition embodied in learning the art and the science of medicine.”

Scott Cooper, M.D., of Rogers and president of the Arkansas Medical Society, greeted the students, who were then addressed by keynote speaker Jason Mizell, M.D., associate professor in the College of Medicine’s Department of Surgery.

The UAMS College of Medicine's class of 2020 recites the medical student oath.

The UAMS College of Medicine’s class of 2020 recites the medical student oath.

Mizell told the students that compassion would be of the utmost importance throughout their careers, whether caring for a patient or studying for various classes.

“As you go through these days, weeks and months of reading and studying, that in and of itself is compassion,” said Mizell “As you learn and work, you are setting yourself up for the day you will see patients. You’ll be able to compassionately give them the care they need.”

Mizell said there would be times that compassion would come easy, but there would also be times it would be more difficult.

“When you put on the white coat tonight, wear it accepting the fact this is a very difficult profession, one that is challenging both physically and mentally, but also one of the most rewarding professions that exists today,” Mizell said.