Miranda Goodson has come full circle – in more ways than one – with the celebration of the traditional Wayne State University School of Medicine’s White Coat Ceremony.
Born in Detroit and raised in San Diego, Goodson, 23, was among the 306 new physicians-in-training officially welcomed into the School of Medicine at the Detroit Opera House on July 28.
Not only has she returned to Detroit for her medical education, she follows the trail blazed by her mother, Folayan Goodson, M.D., a 1995 graduate of the School of Medicine who practiced family medicine in San Diego. She also joins her cousin, Jazmine Skala Wade, a fourth-year student in the Class of 2024 who plans to become an anesthesiologist.
The WSU School of Medicine seemed a natural choice for her medical education after completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Michigan, Goodson said.
“I wanted to be close to family, but Wayne offers a high quality education, perhaps the best in the nation,” she said. “We get to work with the community at a school with a stellar reputation, and a 100 percent match rate. What more could you ask of a medical school?”
Her father, Calvin, watching as the three women were photographed, said it was his dream to see the three in the white coats of physicians.
Thousands of family members and friends attended the ceremony to celebrate with and cheer on the new medical students. The ceremony is a tradition started by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and Gold Humanism Honor Society in 1993 to remind incoming medical students to practice humanistic patient-centered medical care. First-year medical students receive their short, white lab jackets, which they wear during their four years of training, leading to the traditional longer lab coats worn by physicians after graduation.
The students and their families heard from a number of speakers, including Dean Wael Sakr, M.D.; Margit Chadwell, M.D., associate dean of Student Affairs and Career Development; Rebecca Klisz-Hulbert, M.D., president of the Medical Alumni Association; Mary Morreale, M.D., faculty advisor of the Gold Humanism Honor Society; and keynote speaker LaTonya Riddle-Jones, M.D., winner of the 2023 Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award.
“You are embarking upon a formidable lifetime challenge, not just in terms of knowledge and skills, but in terms of relationships,” Dean Sakr told the new physicians-in-training. “You will be seeing and providing care for people during their most vulnerable times. They will come to place the ultimate trust in you when they seek your assistance with their health, the care of their family members, with their very lives. That trust is sacred and you must always treat it so.”
Dr. Chadwell provided detail on the white coat’s components and their symbolism, beginning with the small left-hand pocket placed strategically over the heart.
The students began their medical school journey three weeks earlier, with orientation and the start of Gross Anatomy classes, and have already taken their first examination.
Dr. Riddle-Jones spoke of the privilege that the white coat conveys to physicians, and noted the privileges are earned, and can be lost. She likened the coat to the cape of superheroes, and noted that with it comes great responsibilities.
“Always practice medicine with cultural humility and cultural competency,” she advised.
Each coat given to students was sponsored by an individual donor. The Alumni Association started the sponsorship program to ease the financial burden on incoming students. After being coated, each student received commemorative pins from Dean Sakr.
The ceremony concluded with Vice Dean of Medical Education Richard Baker, M.D., leading the class in the recitation of the Declaration of Commitment.