January 2023 White Coat Ceremony

The White Coat Ceremony:


Click here to view our full gallery from our January 2023 White Coat Ceremony.


Western Atlantic University School of Medicine’s (WAUSM) January ’23 class was welcomed to medical school by WAUSM and Bahamian leadership at a distinctive White Coat Ceremony at the Grand Lucayan in Freeport on January 14, 2023.

A diverse class that is 38% male and 63% female, WAUSM’s Jan. ‘23 cohort hails from the United States and The Bahamas and includes a first-generation college student who was born and raised in Freeport with dreams of doing her part to bring state-of-the-art medicine to her home country.

In his delivery of the keynote address, Dr. Marcus Bethel, Distinguished Physician Leader and WAUSM Board Member, said, “You are privileged to have the training and now you have the opportunity in the years to come to provide quality service to those who you serve.”

As he welcomed the students to the medical profession, President and Chief Academic Officer of WAUSM Dr. Joseph Flaherty noted, “The essence of patient care begins with caring for the patient, and it is an honor to mentor you toward become a good doctor.”

The White Coat Ceremony is traditionally conferred on new students during their first year of medical school. The event marks the beginning of medical students’ journey toward achieving the long white coat when they graduate and become MDs. According to the AMA Journal of Ethics, the ceremony also symbolizes professionalism, caring, and trust, which students must earn from their patients.

With a worldwide shortage of MDs specifically in the US, Canada, and The Bahamas, WAUSM is the culmination of a dream its leadership team – which is comprised of elite academicians and administrators hailing from prominent US and Caribbean medical institutions – had to create a world class medical school that is well positioned to train outstanding, patient-centered physicians.

In addition to Dr. Flaherty, who previously served as executive dean of the University of Illinois College of Medicine (2004-2011) and dean and chancellor for Ross University School of Medicine (2011-2017) – retiring from both bestowed with the prestigious honor of Emeritus – WAUSM’s leadership also includes Chief Executive Officer Peter Goetz, who with over 30 years of experience is recognized as the sector’s leading expert in enrollment and change management; Executive Dean and Chief Academic Officer Paula Wales, EdD, who is among North America’s foremost experts in both accreditation standards and curriculum development; and Campus Dean and Professor of Foundational Sciences Laura Welke, PhD, an established leader in the fields of anatomy and neurobiology.

Together with their faculty and staff, WAUSM’s leaders are breaking new ground in medical education by delivering a forward-thinking, hands-on curriculum that is both student-centered and outcomes based.

In her address to the students, Dr. Wales remarked on the fact that medical school is challenging, but that they “are surrounded by a strong support system. A faculty, staff, classmates, and loved ones who will help you get through this exciting and challenging time in your life. The future for WAUSM looks very bright indeed!”



Watch the full ceremony and see other WAUSM videos on our YouTube channel!