With white coats, Brown’s newest medical students carry on a tradition

The Warren Alpert Medical School’s 25th annual white coat ceremony marks the journey into medicine for the Class of 2027.

2023 White Coat Ceremony


Brown’s newest medical students take part in a time-honored tradition.

Taking on the mantle of the white coat means something different to every medical student. For some, it is a reminder of the great responsibility bestowed upon physicians, while others view it as a symbol of their calling to the medical profession. 

In his opening remarks at The Warren Alpert Medical School Ceremony of Commitment to Medicine on September 23, Dean of Medicine and Biological Sciences Dr. Mukesh K. Jain encouraged the MD Class of 2027 to reflect upon their decision to pursue a career in medicine. 

“We choose this as our calling not because it is easy, but because it is hard, and it is important.”

Over 700 families and loved ones came to celebrate the occasion as 145 incoming students were presented with white coats from the Brown Medical Alumni Association (BMAA). BMAA president Steven Shin ’95 MMS’97 MD’99 spoke about what lies ahead for the physicians-in-training.

“For most of you, your education has not included care of patients up to this point,” he said. “But as you move forward, you'll now have the lives of your patients in your hands. The white coat is a symbol to the world of this transition in your life.” 

Blaire Byg, a member of the Class of 2024, shared personal thoughts about the power of humanism in medicine.

“One of the things I love the most about medicine is that, at its best, it lays bare our need for one another,” she said. “Humans are inherently social animals, and you cannot be in this career for more than a day without seeing the myriad ways in which we heal, help, nourish, hurt, neglect, love, and care for one another.”

In her remarks, Meenakshi M. Rana ’00 MD’04 praised the class for having arrived at this milestone moment and shared her hopes for the coming years, adding, “As I stand here today, I feel incredibly blessed, honored, and privileged because—as I look out at all of you, the Class of 2027—the world feels incredibly bright.”

What is the white coat ceremony?

The white coat ceremony is an annual rite of passage for students pursuing a career in medicine and healthcare. Since its inception in the early 1990s, it’s quickly become a tradition at medical schools across the country and the world. At Brown, it’s celebrated as the Ceremony of Commitment to Medicine. During the celebratory event, first-year medical students are presented with their own white coat—provided by the Brown Medical Alumni Association. Surrounded by family, friends, faculty, and alumni, they pledge their commitment to scientific excellence and to taking a compassionate and humanistic approach to medicine.

Related Links