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June 22, 2016 - Class of 2018 Students Cloaked with White Coats
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white coat 2016.jpgThe University of South Alabama College of Medicine held its annual White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2018 on Sunday. During the ceremony, rising third-year medical students were cloaked with white coats, the traditional dress of physicians for more than 100 years.

The day was particularly special for rising third-year medical students who also celebrating Father's Day this past Sunday. Among them were Winston Crute and Thomas Lunsford.

Crute’s five-month-old son, Charlie, was christened hours before the White Coat Ceremony began. “It was definitely an exciting and packed day,” Crute said

The White Coat Ceremony, according to Crute, is a representation of his hard work thus far. The white coat serves as a reminder of the importance and responsibility he takes by dedicating himself to the care of patients. “It shows I am getting closer to a goal that I have had for a long time,” he said. “Now that I have a son, it is good to know that I will be able to make a living and support him by doing something I love.”

As his third year of medical school approaches, Crute understands the challenges that come with balancing school and family obligations. He credits his wife, Taylor, for making their lives as smooth as possible. “My wife tells me very clearly what she needs from me as a dad; she is a wonderful mother and team player,” Crute said. “Medical school keeps me busy, and making the most of my off-time is very important to me.”

Sunday was an exciting day for rising third-year medical student Thomas Lunsford, who also was celebrating his first Father’s Day. Six months ago, Lunsford and his wife, Mignon, welcomed their son Gray.

Like Crute, Lunsford said it is often challenging to balance his academic life with his personal life. He credits his family for his determination and perseverance. “Gray and Mignon keep me focused,” Lunsford said. “They are the reason I am in medical school and the reason I get up and work hard every day. I know I have to show up for them.”

Lunsford refers to the White Coat Ceremony as “one of the most important days in medical school” and says he is excited to apply what he has learned during the past two years. “So far, learning has been abstract,” he said. “Now, I get to practice firsthand what I learned.”

During the ceremony, the students in unison took the Medical Student Oath, a promise to uphold the human aspects of medicine, such as sensitivity, compassion and respect for patients.

Select rising seniors from the class of 2017 as well as residents and faculty were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society at the ceremony. Inductees are selected for practicing patient-centered medical care with integrity, compassion and altruism. Election to this organization is by vote of medical students.

Each year, the USA Medical Alumni Association sponsors this event.

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