FREEPORT, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas — The Government of The Bahamas joined Western Atlantic University School of Medicine (WAUSM) in congratulating 39 of its medical students taking part in a White Coat Ceremony held Saturday, September 10th, 2022 at Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama Island.
Several government dignitaries attended the ceremony, including Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis, who served as keynote speaker. Among others bringing remarks at the ceremony were Health & Wellness Minister, the Hon. Dr. Michael Darville and Minister for Grand Bahama, the Hon. Ginger Moxey.
Dr. Darville admonished the students, who are beginning their journey from pre-clinical to clinical health services, to take their roles seriously and understand that with their chosen career path comes great responsibility.
“By choosing a career in medicine you have chosen to accept the responsibility of caring for others, imparting sound clinic advice and providing guidance, and maintaining confidentiality and respect for those who you care for,” he said.
“This represents the future of medicine and we are all excited about the valuable contributions that you will make as physicians here, in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and wherever you may go throughout the world.”
Dr. Darville said the white coat ceremony plays a part in helping to return the light to Grand Bahama.
“It signifies that, notwithstanding challenges, opportunity, advancement, and hope always prevail. Students, today you represent that bright hope for tomorrow,” he said.
The white coat ceremony, he noted, has become a milestone marker in the lives of student doctors and symbolizes the transition in the mindset from student to that of a physician whose sole aim is to use gifts and talents in medicine to help in the care of people.
Minister Moxey, during her welcome address, said WAUSM plays a welcomed role in not only assisting with the resurgence of the local economy but also the advancement of Grand Bahama’s health and educational infrastructure, which are key mandates of her ministry.
“This occasion is an iconic rite of passage within the medical community. Today, 39 individuals, who represent this university’s third cohort of students, continue their journey in the noble medical profession. You are to be commended,” she said.
“As the Minister of Grand Bahama, I must admit that I am especially delighted that this wonderful group has chosen WAUSM on Grand Bahama Island as the launch point for such a meaningful journey. Whether the driving force behind choosing WAUSM was passion and selflessness, or whether it was the fact that its world-class programmes are offered in a location where you are surrounded by beautiful beaches, a city with amenities, and our rich culture, we are pleased to have you here on Grand Bahama.
“The White Coat Ceremony is a ceremony of symbols. Today symbolizes the start of a new educational era, one which will allow you to advance your knowledge, forge new skills and guide you into the front lines of the health care profession.”
Minister Moxey also congratulated the WAUSM faculty and staff on the impact they have made thus far.
“To those supporting the future physicians, I commend you for your invaluable contribution and partnership. And to those being draped today, I applaud your drive and encourage you to maintain your devotion to service and your commitment to building better communities through the medical field,” she said.
Dr. Paula Wales, Founding Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer at WAUSM, revealed that the September 2022 intern class, of which 54 percent are male and 46 percent are female — range in age from 22 to 40, and 34 of them have undergraduate degrees in biological sciences.
“Members of the class come from three different countries — the United States, Canada, and The Bahamas. In fact, we are very proud to have WAUSM ’s very first Bahamian applicant in this class,” she said.
Dr. Wales said the 2022 students come with a variety of professional experiences and she added that the future of medicine and WAUSM looks very bright.Also in attendance at Saturday’s White Coat Ceremony was former Health Minister Dr. Marcus Bethel, Distinguished Physician Leader and Board Member of the Western Atlantic University School of Medicine.