School of Dental Medicine

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Dean's Message: Fall 2014

The White Coat ceremony is unique to health care education. It is a public affirmation of our commitment to continue the tradition of excellence and professionalism in health care. UNLV SDM holds this event at a special time in our students’ careers, just prior to their entering the clinical arena to provide patient care. We challenge them to gain biomedical knowledge, clinical competency and other important qualifications and characteristics necessary to become outstanding dentists in our community and our state.

Role Models

The SDM faculty serves as role models, helping our students understand what it means to be a member of the dental profession. In recognizing students as colleagues now, the faculty reminds student doctors that much is expected of them—responsibilities and dedication to become and remain competent and caring dental professionals, addressing oral health needs of our society.

Shared Responsibility

Each year we gather to bestow “The White Coat” on our new student dentist colleagues. It is a time to share the power and responsibility of the white coat within our profession, and to renew our own commitments. It is a time to reflect on the developments in our profession while maintaining unity in our professional duties. It is a time of celebration, and rededication.

Our 2012 keynote speaker, Dr. Donna Hellwinkel, described this dedication to and responsibility of the white coat. It takes health, respect, humility, kindness and compassion to wear the white coat. It requires practice, learning, assuming the mantle of ethics and professionalism to wear the white coat. It takes strength, non-malfeasance, beneficence, truth, fairness and respect to wear the white coat. We encourage our student colleagues to wear it gladly, proudly and with humility, for the white coat has great power, but also great responsibility.

It is with this power and responsibility that we welcome our new student doctor colleagues to the profession of dentistry.

— Dr. Karen P. West, Dean