On January 14, 2022, 183 members of Ross University School of Medicine’s (RUSM) class of 2026, took part in a time-honored medical tradition - their White Coat Ceremony. The white coat ceremony is a special event that welcomes incoming medical students into the study of medicine and emphasizes the importance of compassionate care, scientific aptitude, and ethical behavior, both in medical school and in your chosen profession. This ceremony is an important rite-of-passage that marks the transformation of a new cohort of RUSM students entering as doctors-in-training. Participants are cloaked in their first white coat and recite the Modified Oath of Geneva as a class. Over 100 students were able to participate in person with social distancing, while the remaining class members participated virtually.
RUSM administrators, including Rhonda McIntyre, MBBS, FAAP, FRCP (C), Associate Dean, External Affairs and Bryan Hayse, EdD, Associate Dean, Student Affairs, presided over the ceremony with special remarks about the significance of the ceremony and white coat, and led the students in reciting their oath. They were joined by M. Samir Qamar, MD, the ceremony’s keynote speaker and a 2000 graduate of RUSM. After RUSM, Dr. Qamar was a postdoctoral research associate at Penn State College of Medicine and later completed his residency training at University of Pennsylvania's Penn Medicine - Lancaster General Hospital, a top U.S. family medicine program. He is a member of the MIT Technology Review Global Panel, American Medical Association, American Academy of Family Physicians, and several other organizations. He has studied and practiced in health care systems worldwide and holds several international patents in medical technology.
In his keynote address, Dr. Qamar recalled how his time at RUSM led to meeting his wife and forming lifelong friendships with his classmates. As he closed with words of wisdom for the class of 2026, Dr. Qamar said “Don’t just be a doctor, be an excellent doctor. Lives will literally depend on it, maybe one day your own or your loved ones.”
First semester student Christal Scott said her key takeaway from Dr. Qamar’s keynote address was “you need to put in the work to get out the reward, but while doing so you need to foster relationships and take care of yourself.”
“While putting on the white coat and being recognized, I kept in my mind that the white coat is a symbol of caring, trust, authority, and professionalism, and donning it is our commitment to medicine,” Christal shared. “I'm already a practicing Physician Assistant, so as I continue my journey as a medical student, I hope to learn more deeply the parts and pieces that are lacking from my knowledge base. I'm looking forward to all the new relationships and challenges that come while pursuing my dream of being a Physician. It is these challenges that will ultimately make us better overall Physicians in the end. The medical field is a forever changing and advancing field and we must continue to be learners for the rest of our lives.”