Northwestern Adopts a New Tradition with White Coat Ceremony

Kate Martin | July 09, 2012

Chiropractic students receive white coat as they begin clinical experience.

If you visit a clinic at Northwestern, you may notice something new: some of the students and providers are wearing white lab coats. Northwestern Health Sciences University recently started a new tradition of recognizing chiropractic students entering the clinical training phase of their education by presenting them with a white coat. On May 4, about 450 people attended the inaugural White Coat Ceremony, a common ritual in many medical and health care fields, created to recognize the significance of students transitioning from the classroom to the clinical experience.

“One of the most exciting things about this is that it was student-led,” said Renee DeVries, DC, dean of the College of Chiropractic at Northwestern. Travis Dunlap and Krystine Meschke, who were then T5 students, brought their idea to Dr. DeVries, who helped them get the needed approvals. “Without the support and extremely diligent and tireless work of Dr. DeVries, the ceremony would not have come to fruition,” noted Dunlap.

“The overall student reaction was awesome,” said Dunlap. “To see the pride in our classmates faces gave Krystine and I a sense of accomplishment and pride in it ourselves. The ceremony would not have gotten off the ground without Krystine. Thanks to her, Northwestern students have a T6 pre-clinical experience to share with friends and family, and something to take pride in for their hard work for years to come.” Dunlap, Meschke and a handful of classmates also crafted the oath of professionalism that was recited at the ceremony.

The College of Chiropractic Alumni Association agreed in June to provide ongoing support by purchasing the white coats. “The alumni association board was enthusiastic in giving unanimous support to this,” said Bonnie Myhers, Northwestern Chiropractic Alumni Association President. “The present board has focused on ‘Uniting the Students and Alumni – connecting the docs.’ Supporting this significant occasion exemplifies the desire and commitment of the board to develop and strengthen the bond with students.”

“We’re really grateful to the alumni association board,” said Dr. DeVries. “There’s something symbolic about our alumni buying our students their first white coat.”

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