NEWS | Philadelphia

Università Cattolica and Jefferson together at the White Coat Ceremony

31 luglio 2023

Università Cattolica and Jefferson together at the White Coat Ceremony

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Yoonjin Nam from South Korea and Tito Gianni from Italy are the two students enrolled in the degree programme in Medicine and Surgery at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of Università Cattolica who participated on July 21st, together with 282 new students, in the famous 'White Coat Ceremony' at the Sidney Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University (TJU), in Philadelphia.

The 'White Coat Ceremony', which culminates in the symbolic handing over of the medical profession's distinctive coat, is the official moment when one is welcomed into the School of Medicine in the United States for the approximately four-year degree programme. It is a highly symbolic moment, culminating in the donning of the coat and the reading of the Hippocratic Oath.

It is a tradition that began in the mid-1990s, and is now consolidated in all US universities. It was also experienced for the first time last October on the Rome campus of Università Cattolica, which is preparing to organise its second edition in view of the start of the next academic year.

"The participation of our students in the White Coat Ceremony at Thomas Jefferson University," commented the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at Università Cattolica, Antonio Gasbarrini, "is further proof of the truly international nature of our University and Faculty's educational offer. Also thanks to these experiences of cultural and human exchange, our students can take part in an education that is not only scientifically grounded and at the forefront in terms of medical research and clinical care, but truly comprehensive and in a global context”.

“Make no mistake, our world needs you more than ever,” said University CEO Dr. Joseph Cacchione. “By putting on that white coat today, you are embarking on a path of dedication, sacrifice and purpose. It’s not just a job or vocation—it’s a calling.”

The white coat represents knowledge, expertise, and, importantly, the “sacred trust patients place in you,” said Dr. Cacchione, who urged students to have a sense of humility.

“It will allow you to listen to patients better, and it will allow you to get feedback from your colleagues,” he says. “Listening is core to medicine”.

Joseph G. Cacchione - CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health

“For me, it was a great pleasure to dress Tito in his white coat and to welcome Yoonjin to our campus together with him - said Professor Ignazio Marino, Executive Vice President for Jefferson International Innovative Strategic Ventures -  They are two brilliant students enrolled in the Triple Degree Programme that Cattolica and Jefferson conceived and launched in 2019. In 2027, they will be certified to practice Medicine in Europe, UK and the USA. It is a great joy to be able to tutor such motivated global medical students”.

Yoonjin Nam and Tito Gianni are enrolled in the Triple Degree Programme, which, in its final form, grants concurrent degrees in Medicine and Surgery from Thomas Jefferson University, the Licentiate Degree in Medicine and Surgery from Università Cattolica and the Master of Science, College of Population Health, from TJU.

"Studying medicine at the Sydney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University for me means embracing new avenues of study, in an education system such as the one in the United States that strongly supports practice and cooperation among students. Moreover, being here in Philadelphia means a greater openness to innovation, and this is what I most look forward to experiencing,” Tito Gianni commented on the sidelines of the ceremony. “It was exciting to be invested as an SKMC student, in other words, the White Coat Ceremony. I could choose to have Professor Ignazio Marino help me put on my white coat, making me feel even more welcome in my new academic study community. On top of that, the Hippocratic Oath made me even more aware that we are at the service of everyone, literally everyone. Having solemnly read it together with all the other students during the ceremony is significant of our chosen career path. By studying medicine, we chose to care for the suffering and listen to them patiently: this humanistic approach does not reduce the effort to clinical excellence, but on the contrary gives it strength and substance. Together with Professor Marino, I also strongly felt the support of my first home, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, through the reassuring presence of Professor Gambassi, president of the Medicine and Surgery degree programme”.

"It was a great honour to be invited to take part in the ceremony as one of the professors of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, proudly wearing my white coat," said Professor Giovanni Gambassi, President of the Degree Programme in Medicine and Surgery at Università Cattolica. "As always, it was a ceremony that was very much felt by the students and their families, very emotional and true, with its load of enthusiasm, fears and hopes.”

"The participation of two of our students," continued Gambassi, "is proof to the fact that the double degree project, so strongly supported by our University, was indeed visionary, but it was also concretely attractive to our most valuable young people. Suffice it to say that the number of students at Cattolica next year will already far exceed initial expectations, for a true training of excellence: during their studies, our students can amalgamate the best of the two different didactic-educational approaches, get to know two different healthcare systems, and deal with a dimension of health and the medical profession on a global basis”.


Federica Mancinelli

Federica Mancinelli

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