Covenant Health recently hosted a “White Coat Ceremony” at the Knoxville Convention Center for 53 medical students from Lincoln Memorial University – DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. The ceremony is a traditional way of welcoming the next generation of physicians and marks the beginning of the LMU students’ clinical rotations at Covenant Health hospitals.
The white coats represent a bridge between medical school and the new experience of rigorous work in a clinical atmosphere. The students’ coats are embroidered with their names and a Covenant Health logo.
The new class of medical students is the largest group to date in Covenant Health’s clinical training partnership with LMU-DCOM. Under the direct supervision of physicians, the medical students will interview and examine patients, review clinical information, make hospital rounds, participate in interdisciplinary team meetings, practice appropriate documentation and perform procedures.
The four core rotation sites for the program are Covenant Health Cumberland (located in Crossville), Covenant Health Fort Sanders Regional (located in downtown Knoxville), Covenant Health Methodist (located in Oak Ridge) and Covenant Health Morristown-Hamblen (located in Morristown).
In addition to the white coat presentation, the luncheon event included remarks from several Covenant Health and LMU-DCOM leaders. They spoke to the students about the transformative experience of being a medical student at this time in history.
Covenant Health has partnered with LMU-DCOM to offer clinical rotations and hands-on experience for medical students since 2016.
Mandy Grubb Halford, MD, senior vice president, chief medical officer and chief medical informatics officer for Covenant Health, talked about the initial establishment of the partnership and her leadership role at Covenant Health Cumberland at the time. “It’s a full circle moment for me,” she said, “because I had the privilege of being a student educator at that hospital for the students’ clinical rotations. To see how this program has grown and to be a part of your journey today is an honor.”
Students also heard from Christopher Loyke, DO, dean and chief administrative officer of LMU-DCOM. “There is no better partner for this program than Covenant Health. I am pleased you will be a part of this longstanding, steadfast relationship,” he told them. “Embrace every task as a learning experience, as there is value in every moment.”
Brian DeBusk, PhD, first vice-chair of the Board of Trustees of LMU-DCOM, addressed the changes in the health care industry and how the need for physicians will be even greater in the next 10 years. He said, “Students like you keep pushing the art and science of healthcare forward. It’s up to all of us to continue ‘upping our game.’ Take advantage of the time spent at Covenant Health and the access to the expertise, technology and resources.”
Mike Belbeck, executive vice president of operations at Covenant Health, spoke about creating a culture of excellence. He said, “At Covenant Health we pledge to put the patient first, we pledge excellence in everything we do, and we pledge to be the first and best choice in healthcare. And now, you are all part of that environment, and can help carry that responsibility in your year ahead.”
The students were presented with their white coats during the ceremony, and they will graduate from the clinical program in 2025.
Covenant Health provided material for this article