UH Med Now

WHITE COAT CEREMONY: Welcome Class of 2019!!

Date: July 15th, 2015 in Alumni News, Breakthoughs, External News, Faculty, JABSOM News, Student Life    Print or PDF

A cloak is presented to one of the students.

One by one, 68 entering MD students will walk across the stage of the Hawaiʻi Theatre to be “cloaked” with a short white coat symbolizing their new status as MD students at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM).

The White Coat Ceremony is an annual tradition in which our newest MD students and their families gather to celebrate their admission into the study of medicine. This year’s event also comes during a weekend long celebration of the 50th anniversary of legislation authorizing the creation of a University of Hawaiʻi medical school.

The beautiful ceremony includes the “cloaking” rite of passage in which JABSOM MD alumni present incoming students with the waist-length white coat (which identifies them in health care settings as MD students).

The students also recite the Oath of Hippocrates – an exclusive pledge that is spoken at least two times throughout a medical student’s journey: at the beginning of their studies during the White Coat Ceremony, and when they are awarded the time-honored title of Medical Doctor. Reciting the Oath of Hippocrates is a physician’s tradition reaching back to the 5th century B.C.


This year’s White Coat Ceremony will introduce JABSOM’s largest class since Dean Jerris Hedges, MD launched a gradual expansion of the class size in 2010. The 68 MD students admitted this year were selected from 2,230 applicants. The goal is to bring each individual class to 75 members, in recognition of the growing shortage of physicians in the Hawaiʻi workforce. (Seventy-five is believed to be the maximum number of people per class the current Kakaʻako facility can accomodate.) The four-year curriculum at JABSOM includes four MD Classes per year, with a total of 266 medical students.


In celebration of JABSOM’s 50th anniversary, this year’s White Coat Ceremony will uniquely feature alumni “cloakers” from each of JABSOM’s five incredible decades. These “cloakers” are representatives of JABSOM’s Class of 1970, Class of 1980, Class of 1994, Class of 2000, and Class of 2010. “Special cloakers” including parents and mentors will also participate in the “cloaking” event.

The keynote address will be by Dr. Jill Omori, Associate Director of the Office of Medical Education and the founder of the Hawaiʻi HOME (Homeless Outreach and Medical Education) Project, which provides several health care clinics per week to both sheltered and unsheltered families. Dr. Omori was selected by the MD Class of 2015 to deliver the address to the next incoming class, an honor bestowed in recognition of her receiving the 2015 Humanism in Medicine Award.

This event is sponsored by Dr. William Haning, Class of 1975 and Dr. Libby Char, Class of 1991, who generously donated the cost of this year’s White Coat Ceremony in memory of Dr. Gwen Naguwa, Class of 1975, and former Dean of Student Affairs at JABSOM. .

The Incoming Class of 2019 at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) will experience the honorary White Coat Ceremony on Friday July 17, 2015 at The Hawaiʻi Theatre in downtown Honolulu. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the ceremony begins at 6:00 p.m.
5:30 p.m.
Hawaiʻi Theatre
1130 Bethel St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

This is an invitation-exclusive event. For more information you may contact Melia Young at 808-692-1208 or meliay@hawaii.edu.

Our main image shows Daniel Hong receiving his White Coat in 2014.

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