ICOM’s Class of 2024 Celebrates Resilience at White Coat Ceremony

When the students of the Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (ICOM) Class of 2024 began their studies in the fall of 2020, they couldn’t have imagined the changes in their education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their resilience throughout the last two years was celebrated during their White Coat Ceremony on Friday, July 8, at Boise’s Morrison Center. 

Student Doctor Taylor Mellinger is coated by Dr. Gary Brandecker, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine at ICOM.

Now at the halfway point of their medical training, ICOM’s Class of 2024 ceremonially received their white coats, signifying the transition to hands-on learning in the clinical setting, where students will interact directly with patients. This is the first year the White Coat Ceremony took place at the end of second year rather than the first semester of medical school.

ICOM’s Class of 2024 recites the Osteopathic Oath during their White Coat Ceremony on July 8, 2022.

“The White Coat Ceremony is held by nearly all medical schools in the country as a means to welcome student doctors into the profession and to begin their professional identity formation,” said Dr. Thomas J. Mohr, Dean and Chief Academic Officer. “We discuss the significance of the white coat with the respect and responsibility that goes along with it. As we place the white coat on our student doctors they understand that they are being ‘cloaked’ in the mantle of the profession and as they toil along their journey, the entire community is there to support them. We could not hold the ceremony for this class due to COVID, but we are so excited to celebrate with them as they complete their in-class training and move on to the hospitals and clinics.”

The celebration recognized each of the 158 members of ICOM’s Class of 2024, as they pulled on their white coats to the cheers of loved ones in the audience. The student doctors will wear these coats during their clinical rotations for their final two years of medical school. 

“Starting medical school at the peak of COVID came with a very unique set of challenges for the Class of 2024, and required an immense amount of resilience, tenacity, and mental stamina to be successful,” said Student Doctor Madison Summers, President of the Class of 2024. “Our classmates traveled to Idaho from all over the country, faced isolation from loved ones, pushed through a rigorous curriculum of online lectures, remained focused during school closures and disrupted finals schedules, and still persisted nonetheless. This White Coat Ceremony is a celebration of the hardships and triumphs that we have collectively faced over the last two years, and signifies an important moment in our medical education, where we shift from learning from textbooks to actively engaging with patients everyday.”

Student Doctor Christopher Thompson is coated by his father, Dr. Kennen Thompson, a family medicine physician.

ICOM Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Dr. Kevin Wilson, led the Class of 2024 in reciting the Osteopathic Oath, which is again sworn during the traditional doctoral hooding ceremony at commencement. 

Nick Turkal, MD, Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Health Education & Access (CHEA) and member of the ICOM Board of Trustees, delivered the keynote address. 

The future physicians of ICOM’s Class of 2024 will now move to their assigned site to begin their clinical rotations, marking their final two years of medical school.

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