On Saturday, September 3rd, sixty-five new Trinity School of Medicine students received their white coats at a ceremony held at Faith Temple Church at New Montrose, St. Vincent. According to Dr. Frances Jack-Edwards, associate dean of admissions and student affairs, placing those white coats represented Trinity’s confidence in its students’ ability to make a worthwhile contribution to the practice of medicine.
Below: Trinity Faculty on stage waiting for the new students. L-R: Dr. Frances Jack-Edwards, MD; Dr. Jamil Ibrahim, MD; Binu Shrestha, MBBS, MD; Dr. Mignonette Relatado-Sotto, MD; and Conrad Nedd, MD
Dean Linda Adkison presided over the ceremony, joining the governor general of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, His Excellency Sir Frederick Ballantyne; President of Trinity, Mr. Steven Wilson; Mr. Monty Maule of the Trinity Board; minister of education, the Honorable St Clair Prince; minister of health and the environment, the Honorable Luke Browne.
Faculty, friends, and family also gathered to celebrate the occasion. President Steven Wilson offered encouragement to the students, reminding them that, “We are very proud to have you. The reason you’re here is because you didn’t take 'no' for an answer. The door was shut and we opened it for you and we’re very proud that you chose Trinity. We know that we can provide you with the education that you need to achieve your goals."
Speaking on behalf of St. Vincent's prime minister, the Honorable Ralph Gonsalves, minister of education Hon. St Clair Prince called the event "a significant one in the life of the institution and the white coat recipients." He added that, "Trinity has been established in the social and medical landscape of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and gives added impetus to the country’s education ideals." Continuing, "We have put a premium on education. In the last fifteen years, we have intensified and broadened our quest for education and today we are deep in the process of a noble education revolution, and that is why we feel so proud that this week Trinity School of Medicine is honoring us by having its white coat ceremony here.” He formally welcomed the new students to the shores of SVG then wished them a great experience in the country. “We are delighted that you have chosen our home to begin as medical students in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We further hope that your stay here will be both fruitful and rewarding and that it would add positive experiences to your journey through life.”
Bryan Coffey, a pre-med student from Kansas, commented on the story of white coat ceremonies in medicine, “You sit here and actually listen to the history of the white coat and how it inspires you to enhance your humanity, it’s awe-inspiring. Just to think that you’re donning this coat and it represents the responsibility and the moral obligation you have to uphold and principles to help people, I’m thinking about the future years and the future patients." Medical student, John Duke from Colorado spoke frankly, noting that, “There was an initial intimidation of showing up on the island and being terrified and excited all at the same time. Listening to what past students presented as their experiences, I have been definitely put at ease,” he said, “I expect to be challenged [in class] and I’m excited about the fact that the class sizes are much smaller, that tutors are readily available, and one-on-one tutoring actually occurs.” Similarly, med student, Alexander Best from Illinois added, “This is the first step in my dream. I’m looking forward to starting. I hope to be a student that is not just here for their own education. I want to be able to contribute to the [local] community as well.”
At the end of the day’s event, Dean Adkison spoke on Trinity’s role in its students' lives. “One of our jobs at Trinity is to keep students engaged and focused. We want to to keep them as passionate as they are today, so that they can achieve their full potential.”
Front: Morgan Jackson, Meagan Dineen, and Oregon McDiarmid, Middle: Rachael Cotton and John Rickards. Back: Ernesto Roberts. (Not pictured: Kavir Gaymes, Shanka Edwards, and Gabrielle Robertson).
Not to go unmentioned, the Trinity School of Medicine Welcome Comittee (pictured above) outdid themselves once again. These volunteers guide new students around the island, provide a unique student-centric perspective on housing, classes, getting around (from the Trinity shuttles to the public transportation and taxi services), which restaurants to visit, even the tucked away study spots. Comments ranging from "a ray of sunshine" to "utterly indespensible" poured in, with gratitude from new students and their families alike.
As of posting this, the new students have had their first week of classes and worked their way into the challenging life of a medical student, already establishing friendships that will last them throughout their careers as physicians.