first-year medical students stand on the church steps to recite oath

First-year medical students kicked off the school year by participating in the long-standing tradition of the white coat ceremony — an introduction into the professional, ethical and spiritual dimensions of becoming physicians. On Thursday, August 2, more than 160 incoming students were honored by faculty, family and friends with their professional white coats. 

The coat symbolizes their first entry into medicine with the promise to treat their patients with the highest respect and compassion, said Henry Lamberton, PsyD, associate dean of student affairs at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. Since 2005, the School of Medicine has held a white coat ceremony at the beginning of every school year to celebrate the next generation of healthcare professionals. Prior to implementing a coat ceremony, Loma Linda University hosted a freshmen dedication.

During the ceremony, students stood in unison and recited the Loma Linda University physician oath. The oath is a pivotal moment for medical students as they now possess the knowledge and trust of treating patients, Lamberton said. “We want our students to understand their new responsibilities and ultimately, treat every patient as a child of God,” he said.  

Click through the photo gallery to see more of the ceremony.