Two classes. One family.

Siblings Eric and Dora Habib made history as they walked across a brightly lit stage at Alumni Hall on August 25 as part of the annual White Coat Ceremony.

And it wasn’t the new venue that made it one for the books. A future physician and dentist, Eric, Medicine Class of 2019, and Dora, Dentistry Class of 2019, represent the strong link between the two health care professions.

Their timing couldn’t have been better, as Schulich Medicine & Dentistry celebrated its first combined White Coat Ceremony since the tradition was established in 1996.

Eric, 25, and Dora, 27, received their white coats together on stage. Dora even had a chance to play the older sister, fixing Eric’s collar with a big grin before posing for photos.

“It means a lot to our family,” she explained. “It’s a huge blessing to be able to walk across the stage together.”

The concept of family was also significant for their 248 new classmates in medicine and dentistry. Not only were the students surrounded by proud loved ones, they were also meeting soon-to-be lifelong colleagues and friends for the first time – an entirely new type of family.

Putting on the white coat is a powerful moment for all involved. It marks a bond with the students’ chosen vocation and the beginning of a new professional identity.

The 2015 Ceremony included 38 students from the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry – Windsor Program, 56 Schulich Dentistry students and 20 students from the Internationally Trained Dentists (ITD) program.
Dr. Michael J. Strong, dean, addressed the fresh and eager faces of the School’s newest members. But he had a surprise up his sleeve, forgoing the formal podium speech and stepping off stage to be in their midst.

His message was optimistic and thought provoking, as he articulated the significance of a career in modern health care and the meaning of the white coat. “When you put on your white coat, I want you to understand that this is not symbolic. This is your first gig as a physician or dentist,” he said.

The connection between medicine and dentistry was also an important theme.

"While it is unique to have a combined school of both medicine and dentistry, it is intuitive,” said Dr. Strong before the Ceremony. “So many of our modern day illnesses find their origins in oral diseases and so much of our practice of medicine needs to consider the individual as a whole, that bringing together both medical and dental students for this truly memorable event is just a natural first step in their careers.”

Please enjoy a selection of photos from 2015 White Coat Ceremony. Can’t see the slideshow below? Click here to view online.

First-year Schulich Medicine students also participated in Community Day on August 26, their first day of medical school. The experience gave them an opportunity to learn from health care providers in rural and regional communities across Southwestern Ontario.

Community partners supporting the event included Woodstock General Hospital and Woodstock and Area Community Health Centre, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital and Central Community Health Centre in St. Thomas, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance, Chatham Kent Community Health Centre and Thamesview Family Health Team. In Sarnia, community partners include Bluewater Health and Rapids Family Health Team and in Petrolia, Central Lambton Family Health Team and Bluewater Health.

Take a look at some photo highlights from the day. Can’t see the slideshow below? Click here to view online.