Earlier this month, Trinity School of Medicine held its White Coat Ceremony for the January 2022 starting class. Along with the new matriculants, parents, friends, and other well-wishers gathered to celebrate the day at Kingstown Baptist Church in St. Vincent. Presiding over the event was Trinity Dean Dr. Frances Purcell with guest speakers including Her Excellency Dame Susan Dougan, Governor-General of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinity alum Dr. Sarah Seyffert.
Governor-General Susan Dougan expressed her congratulations to the students embarking on their medical education journey and emphasized the importance of well-trained doctors, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her Excellency noted “If there ever was a time when the significance of your profession has been made obvious to all, it is now.” She continued, saying the recent globally-turbulent times may have been the catalyst in the future physicians’ drive to “become more responsive, more compassionate, more caring, and more committed to the Hippocratic oath” and “society will be the beneficiary as a result of that change.
“Your white coat is symbolic, because it represents your lifelong commitment to this noble profession.”
The keynote speaker, Trinity alum Dr. Sarah Seyffert, then addressed the crowd of students and reflected on being in the same position not long ago at her own White Coat Ceremony. Dr. Seyffert, a native of Chicago, Illinois, began her medical education at Trinity School of Medicine in 2013. As is the case with a surprising amount of students, upon her arrival, she met and fell in love with a fellow Trinity student who is now her fiancé. In her studies, she graduated at the top of her class with magnum cum laude in 2018. She and her fiancé both matched at the University of Indiana, where she completed her internal medicine residency. She now acts as Chief Resident and GME Hospitalist for the Internal Medicine Program. On July 1 of this year, Dr. Seyffert will begin her IU Pulmonary Critical Care fellowship and continue in her fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Seyffert inspired the incoming class by reminding them of the opportunities for the adventure ahead. “This island has so much more to offer you all than just a medical education. Not only are you going to learn pathology, anatomy, microbiology here, but you are going learn about yourself and who you are as a person.” She continued by emphasizing how her own time as a Trinity student has shaped her future and led to her success. “It has helped me become a better physician, but more importantly, it has helped me become a better person. The people here of St. Vincent have taught me patience, kindness, respect, and they’ve taught me to embrace cultures other than my own. And now, I remember these lessons I’ve learned here in St. Vincent every day as I treat patients from all walks of life in my daily practice.”
Dr. Frances Purcell ended the ceremony by congratulating the students on their newest (and most meaningful) item of clothing. “The fact that you’re wearing this white coat means that you’re beginning a wonderful adventure,” she said. “While it’s only one simple item of clothing, it represents a time capsule of moments, ideas, and people who are all here to share it with you.”