Original article of January 16, 2012, in French
Translation courtesy of Tonya Buckler
Thirty medical students at the Faculty of Science and Health of the University of Quisqueya (UniQ) received their white coats Sunday, during a ceremony organized at the Vilatte in Petionville,  in partnership with the Haiti Medical Education (HME) Project and the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The celebration was a time for Dr. Jean-William Pape, the “Mentor of Promotion” to remind his “godchildren” of their mission and of the great qualities a doctor wearing a white coat must possess:  those of a humanist, a modest person, full of compassion, a leader, a person ready to serve his or her patients and members of the fraternity.

Galit Sacajiu of Haiti Medical Education Project asked students to arm themselves with courage, to be loyal in the practice of their trade.  Medicine is certainly a scientific discipline, added Jean-William Pape, but it is also a vocation.  Doctors are called on to sacrifice themselves to save lives, as defined by the Hippocratic Oath, which they recited by heart this Sunday.  In addition to the white coats they received, the oath was offered to them framed, like a painting.

As for the person in charge of the University, (Jacky Lumarque was absent from the ceremony), Jacques Edouard Alexis advised the young to “go deeper into the humanist quality, the sensitivity and to speak as well as listen to the patient.” According to the former rector of UniQ, the young doctors must serve their community.  Recalling the day after the earthquake, an urgent care hospital was quickly put in place on the campus of UniQ to care for the wounded of the earthquake, when the building collapsed, killing several students.  “There is pride in saying that UniQ is one of the 10 institutions in the country to show the most dynamic action after the earthquake,” he said.  “It’s your lifework,” he added. “Go forth and serve the community.”

The white coat ceremony is a ritual held in numerous universities across the world.  After Notre-Dame University of Haiti, UniQ is the second university in Haiti to have organized it.  Until the graduation ceremony coming soon in 2012, the young doctors are going to be providing care to patients as a social service.

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