UniCamillus White Coat Ceremony: guests from the world of science, politics and entertainment

The ceremony is a symbolic moment where fourth-year medical students put on a white coat representing doctors’ values

UniCamillus has hosted a White Coat Ceremony, a symbolically important event where fourth-year students of the MSc Medicine and Surgery were granted the privilege of wearing the coveted white coat. This marks the transition from theory to practice, from pre-clinical subjects to the opportunity to work on hospital wards.

The ceremony is an important rite of passage in the students’ academic journey, underlining their commitment to the medical profession. The event culminated with Dorlean Meisha Ayrine Yenah —a fifth-year student from the United States — reading the Geneva Declaration, a 1948 code of ethics for physicians that reflects the moral and professional ideals of the medical role represented by the white coat.

The ceremony began with institutional greetings from the Rector, Gianni Profita, and comments from Barbara Tavazzi, Professor of Biochemistry and President of the UniCamillus MSc Medicine and Surgery programme.

The ceremony was attended by several personalities from the world of politics, medicine, education and entertainment. Among them was the newly elected Miss Italy, Francesca Bergesio, a first-year UniCamillus student. She was praised by the audience for her skill and intelligence in taking part in the event. With a touch of youthful charm, she shared her commitment to promoting gender equality and road safety through her role as “Miss”.

Among the institutional guests were Giuseppe Ippolito, Director General for Research and Innovation at the Ministry of Health, and Massimiliano Maselli, Councillor for Social Services, Disability, Third Sector and Personal Services for the Regione Lazio. Maselli declared: “Our bet for the future of health care in Lazio is to focus on social, territorial and domestic support to relieve emergency rooms and plan personalised interventions for each fragile patient”. Rocco Bellantone, President of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità, emphasised: “Diseases must be treated by always considering the person who is fighting them. There is nothing less scientific than medicine — he added hyperbolically — UniCamillus is a humanistic university, for men and women: there are no two perfectly identical individuals”.

Antonio Magi, President of the Rome Board of Physicians, told the new doctors that “the shortage of white coats will be a major problem in the future. I have repeatedly warned the authorities that there will soon be a shortage of more than 40,000 doctors. But after the storm comes good weather, and this can be a great opportunity for the youth”.

Among the professors present at the ceremony were Giacomo Lazzarino, Professor of Biochemistry; Gianfranco Peluso, Full Professor of Applied Technical Sciences in Dietetics; Giuseppe Sciamanna, Professor of Human Anatomy; and Maria Rosaria Capobianchi, Professor of Molecular Biology, who first isolated the SARS-CoV2 virus in Italy in February 2020. She shared her testimony: “We must learn to face a constantly changing reality with humility, as Covid has taught us. The new doctors will have powerful tools thanks to new technologies, but also the responsibility to learn how to use them well”. Ermanno Greco, Extraordinary Professor of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, emphasised an important message, especially for future female doctors, who were in the majority at the ceremony: “Medicine is a long journey, considering the specialisations that can lead women to later motherhood. However, it is important not to forget that motherhood is easier before the age of 35. That’s why I always advise women to undergo screening in good time, and to remember that, thanks to the new technologies available, there is always the possibility of egg freezing”.

“Wearing the white coat is not only a symbol of professional competence, but also of responsibility and compassion”, emphasised Rector Gianni Profita. “This element is even more crucial in our University, which is rooted in the philosophy of Saint Camillus De Lellis, the man who revolutionised the health system by placing the patient at the centre of his work”.

Video story White Coat Ceremony 2023