A rite of passage. The symbol of a profession.

Washington University School of Medicine
welcomes the entering class of 2017.

Incoming medical students hold signs stating what their white coat means to them.

MD White Coat Ceremony

Friday, September 8, 2017

Incoming medical students hold signs stating what their white coat means to them.


Who is the incoming class of MD students?

First-year MD students include cooks and composers, dancers and doodlers, athletes, adventurers and
aficionados of hot sauce. See the class’s self-reported talents »

124 students
61 women | 63 men

from 7 countries and
31 U.S. states

114 majored in science,
math or engineering

26 enrolled in the
MD/PhD program




Student Oath

Written by the entering class of 2017.

I commit myself from this day forward
to the medical profession.

I pledge that:

I will make my patient my foremost consideration as I strive to promote health and quality of life through education, prevention, and care;

I will value the trust my patients place in me and endeavor to build that trust through  compassion, honesty, and excellence;

I will recognize, seek to understand, and respect each patient’s individuality and autonomy;

I will educate and empower my patients and their families to make choices that honor their values and beliefs;

I will listen to my patients so that I may learn how to best serve them.

I pledge that:

I will embrace my humanity and care for myself in order to best care for others;

I will recognize my limitations, act within my capabilities, and seek assistance from my colleagues;

I will navigate medicine’s complexity with my best judgment, hold myself accountable for my actions, and seek forgiveness;

I pledge that:

I will dedicate myself to a lifetime of learning, teaching, and advancing the art and science  of medicine;

I will serve my profession with integrity and empathy;

I will respect the unique contributions of all members of the healthcare team;

I will mentor and teach others, as others mentor and teach me;

I pledge that:

I will champion equitable, sustainable, and quality health care for all people;

I will be cognizant of my biases and privileges and work to mitigate their effects on my patient care;

I will challenge injustices, recognize my duty in a larger society, and advocate for change.

I am humbled by this opportunity and appreciate those who have supported me on my journey.

May I hold fast to the ideals and passion
with which I take this pledge.

This oath I make freely and upon my honor.





Confronting health disparities

To make the connections between social inequities and health, first-year medical students plunge into issues and communities that give context to their patients’ lives.

Read more about Plunge »





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“When was the last time you had to think very seriously about why you want to be in the medical field?" . "Just last Wednesday, two classes into Histology [laughs]. They don't ease you into it. But on a serious note, there have been countless points along the way where I've had to really think about why I pursue Medicine. For me, it's more than just wanting to help people. Disease affects everyone regardless of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. In some ways, it equalizes people, and medicine presents a unique opportunity to alleviate a fundamental cause of human suffering at a particularly vulnerable time. Just wanting to "help people" is a great start, but there are many other ways you can do that, like firefighting or volunteering. There has to be more to it, and you really have to think seriously about that." #HumansofWashUMed

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"It's important to take things one step at a time. During undergrad, it's tempting to feel like you constantly have to be doing medicine-related activities and taking science classes because there's definitely a pressure to compare yourself to other premedical students. But I think you have to know yourself. If you enjoy something that's outside the traditional scope, then do it! I used to feel guilty about taking philosophy, comparative lit, and anthropology classes, but I think that those were things that interested me as well, and they ended up giving me a new perspective on my ideas about the medical field. ⠀ ⠀ I try to maintain that balance in medical school. Being a doctor is about more than medicine. We shouldn't just look at a patient's biology and their chemistry. Their lifestyle, their background, and their socioeconomic status are also important. If someone is addicted to drugs, I want to look at the personal factors behind that issue.⠀ ⠀ I think who we are today is a result of the places we've lived and the experiences we've had. I was born in another country. I've lived in rural Missouri and in Memphis, Tennessee. Residing in these different places has allowed me to interact with a variety of people, and I'm constantly learning different things about and from people from different backgrounds. My interest in social sciences is a result of that."⠀ ⠀ #HumansofWashUMed #WashUMed

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Photos from the ceremony


What is a White Coat Ceremony?  Learn about the tradition »