Hamilton Health Care System holds White Coat Ceremony for residents

Pictured are the new Hamilton Health Care System resident physicians at the recent White Coat ceremony.


With 18 residents starting their internal medicine residency program on July 1, Hamilton Health Care System has added academic institution to its résumé.

Hamilton recently hosted its inaugural White Coat Ceremony, a rite of passage for resident physicians to emphasize the importance of compassionate patient care at the very start of training.

"We're excited to start our internal medicine residency program," said Deidre Pierce, program director. "We had more than 2,700 applications to go through to make selections. We could not have wished for a better group of physicians to start our residency program."

Eighteen resident physicians came forward during the ceremony to be "cloaked" before family and friends in the iconic white coat that signifies their status as healthcare professionals. Dr. Rodovaldo Rodriguez of Hamilton Physician Group -- General Surgery was the keynote speaker.

Post-graduate year 2 resident physicians for the class of 2022 include Laith Al Dahabreh, Hisham Abu Farsak, Dusty Johnston, Leeja Joseph, Obaid Rehman and Yousef Sweidan.

Post-graduate year 1 resident physicians for the class of 2023 include Katelyn Boykin, Omar Dominguez, Victoria Gilbert, Eily Hayes, Tomislav Jagatic, Purnima Kabir, John Lelli, David Nwasike, Brad Sackfield, Daniella Sankovic, Kiranjit Singh and Kenette St-Gourdin.

The White Coat Ceremony was initiated in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians & Surgeons by Dr. Arnold P. Gold who was a professor and pediatric neurologist. Gold, a passionate advocate for humanistic healthcare, believed that the oath taken by new physicians at the end of medical school came too late.

Through the nonprofit organization that he and his wife, Dr. Sandra Gold, started, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation has expanded the White Coat Ceremony around the globe.

Today, nearly every medical school in the United States, many residency programs, hundreds of nursing schools and many other health profession schools around the world participate in this tradition of humanistic care.

Hamilton's initial institutional accreditation was obtained from the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education in July 2018. The Internal Medicine Program received council accreditation in April 2019.

Hamilton has been partnering with medical schools and has had almost 20 medical students rotating in the system during the past year. Medical school partnerships include Medical College of Georgia/Augusta University, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and various other medical schools.

The focus for Hamilton's resident training is on providing unsurpassed service, with an emphasis on safety and quality outcomes.

Residents will have opportunities to care for patients of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds with an emphasis on caring for those who are medically underserved.

Hamilton's training program features a learning environment that fosters leadership, ingenuity and creative solutions to complex health problems.

Residency program administrators and staff include Pierce; Dr. Nimrat Bains, associate program director; Taylor Wilkey, graduate medical education coordinator; Lisa Rue, internal medicine coordinator; and Sarah Russell, medical education librarian/specialist.

Dr. Bryan Cheever has taken on the role of program director for Hamilton's planned Family Medicine Residency to start in 2021. Dr. Jonathan Thompson will assist Cheever as the associate program director.

According to Pierce, there is a higher job satisfaction among teaching physicians.

"The satisfaction of the teaching physician can have a substantial effect on the learner and on patients," she said. "There is a personal reward through shaping the next generation of physicians."

The Oath (the Yale Oath)

Now, as a new doctor, I solemnly promise that I will to the best of my ability serve humanity caring for the sick, promoting good health, and alleviating pain and suffering. I recognize that the practice of medicine is a privilege, with which comes considerable responsibility, and I will not abuse my position. I will practice medicine with integrity, humility, honesty and compassion working with my fellow doctors and other colleagues to meet the needs of my patients.

I shall never intentionally do or administer anything to the overall harm of my patients. I will not permit considerations of gender, race, religion, political affiliation, sexual orientation, nationality or social standing to influence my duty of care. I will oppose policies in breach of human rights and will not participate in them.

I will strive to change laws that are contrary to my profession's ethics and will work towards a fairer distribution of health resources. I will assist my patients to make informed decisions that coincide with their own values and beliefs and will uphold patient confidentiality. I will recognize the limits of my knowledge and seek to maintain and increase my understanding and skills throughout my professional life.

I will acknowledge and try to remedy my own mistakes and honestly assess and respond to those of others. I will seek to promote the advancement of medical knowledge through teaching and research.

I make this declaration solemnly, freely, and upon my honor.

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