The A.M. Dogliotti School of Medicine, College of Health Sciences, University of Liberia (UL), has initiated 36 first-year medical students.
The white coat ceremony for the first-year students, with the class name “Medicas Manus” (Healing Hands), was held Saturday, January 7, 2023, in the auditorium of the medical school in Congo Town.
Families and friends of the initiated students, UL authorities and officials in the medical field graced the ceremony.
Delivering the keynote address at the ceremony, John F. Kennedy Medical Center’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Siah Watta Camanor, implored the students to serve more as they learn more, and they will earn more.
“I will encourage our teachers: please, let us adopt a service learning style where our students are encouraged to apply what they learn and serve the community, to solve problems in their community so that they can be caring and responsible citizens,” said Dr. Camanor.
She encouraged the initiated students to make their patients comfortable because they have many concerns, they are anxious, and they are looking for solutions.
“Be kind, introduce yourself… patients have the right to know who is touching them, who is treating them,” she said.
The JFK Chief Medical Officer stated that medical practitioners are there to support patients and their families, especially when they sometime have a difficult diagnosis.
“The last finger, and not the least, is to hold the hand of your patient. Remember to hold their hand sometimes when you have to break bad news,” said Dr. Camanor.
“Hold their hand when they are going through pain; hold their hand when they are… to answer the call… that we will all have to answer one day,” she continued.
She noted that when the Master of the universe calls patients home, and there’s nothing more that can be done medically, “you need to be able to hold their hands.”
Fatee Ziegler, Executive Assistant, College of Health Sciences, told the newly inducted class that it is a privilege to be in medical school now without paying any money.
She implored the class not to take the opportunity for granted, saying in other countries medical students pay a lot of money for their education.
“So they have the problem of funding themselves, and they have the problem of studying. You only have the privilege to just come to school and study. Don’t [ever] take that privilege for granted,” said Ziegler.
She said it is her wish that the 36 students will reach the senior class and do the medical “oath and honor”.
Dr. Lawrence Sherman, Dean of A.M. Dogliotti School of Medicine, told the initiates that since they have decided to attend medical school it is their responsibility to leave from there as medical doctors.
“We are here to encourage you, [and] give you all the support you need. Don’t let everything that has been said here [put fear] in you,” he said.
Regardless of all the problems that the initiates may have outside, Dr. Sherman said their one task in this life now is to succeed as medical doctors.
The President of the Liberia Medical Students Association (LMSA), Patricia Gray, admonished the newly initiated students that with self-discipline anything is possible.
She urged them to create innovative ways in their studies and go beyond just reading their materials.
She also urged the students to be focused, read smartly and know what they want to achieve at a time.
Student Gray thanked the administration of the medical school for the availability of a bus to commute students and instructors between Fendall and the medical school for their clinical studies. She however encouraged the administration to give support for electricity to enable students to study and perform at their best.
On behalf of the initiated students, Benjamin Bedell, Jr., President of the Medicas Manus class, thanked the administration and the instructors for preparing the class for its journey in the medical profession.