ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) — First-year students from the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) at Elmira began their journeys to becoming doctors with Saturday’s white coat ceremony.

The Clemens Center hosted 128 medical students and about 800 of their family members for LECOM at Elmira’s 4th annual White Coat Ceremony on Aug. 12. These students received their white coats following their third week of medical school.

“It’s really their first entry into the medical profession, where they get their white coat,” said Richard Terry, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. “It instills in them a sense of professionalism, what they’re getting into, and that is what the white coat symbolizes.”

According to the American Medical Association, the short white coats medical students receive at the beginning of medical school are stepping stones to the long white coats they will receive when they complete their degrees. The first white coat ceremony was held in the 1990s.

In addition to receiving white coats, the students took an osteopathic pledge of commitment at the ceremony. The students pledged to:

  • Provide compassionate, quality care to their patients;
  • Partner with their patients to promote health;
  • Display integrity and professionalism throughout their careers;
  • Advance the philosophy, practice, and science of osteopathic medicine;
  • Continue life-long learning;
  • Support their profession with loyalty in action, word and deed; and
  • Live each day as an example of what an osteopathic physician should be.

Osteopathic medicine takes a more holistic and preventative focus than traditional medicine and considers a person’s mind, body, and emotions during treatment. Doctors of osteopathic medicine and medical doctors have the same credentials.

The students who participated in Saturday morning’s white coat ceremony are expected to graduate in 2027.