The VTCSOM White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2027 will occur on Oct. 20. The ceremony purposefully involves not only M1 students but also peers, teachers, staff, family, friends, and administrators. This ceremony demonstrates VTCSOM’s commitment to personal and professional growth and success as scientist physicians, system citizens, and lifelong master adaptive learners. The white coat is a recognizable symbol of both healing compassion and scientific knowledge which anchor our individual professional identity.

The Gold Foundation, established in 1988 to support humanism in healthcare, held the first formal White Coat Ceremony in 1993 at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Currently, almost all U.S. medical schools and an increasing number of international medical schools, support white coat ceremonies as a rite of passage. This places an important emphasis on displaying compassion and understanding the expectation and responsibility of a medical professional at the very earliest moment in a medical student’s education. 

The use of the white coat dates to the late 1890’s and early 1900’s. Interestingly, prior to this time physicians wore black coats to portray formality – similar to wearing a tuxedo or the garments of religious leaders.  The black coat represented solemnity, as medical advice was often a precursor to death.  (It also hid a multitude of germs.) The white coat’s emergence as a reflection of purity, steadfastness, and hope mirrors the growth of science and medicine into fields of identifying mechanisms of disease and resulting increases in therapeutic options.

Donning the white coat promotes the transition of an individual into a caregiver, active listener, and lifelong learner. It reflects a purity of focus – a cleansing of the mind of daily tasks to solely focus on the one patient in our care. We must listen to the story being told, continue to peel back the layers, always asking ‘tell me more.’

As we excitedly await our white coat ceremony for the Class of 2027 and celebrate this important transition for our students, let’s pause to reflect on our individual paths and express gratitude for each interaction we experience with patients, learners, and colleagues.

Rebecca R. Pauly, MD, FACP
Vice Dean

Upcoming Events

  • Oct. 4 – Henrietta Lacks Day. Stay tuned for a special unveiling of the maquette of Roanoke's Henrietta Lacks statue. 

  • Oct. 13-15 - Roanoke's GO Fest
  • Oct. 14 - VTCSOM Homecoming Tailgate
  • Oct. 17 - DIBS Watch Party: Catarina Rivera, MSEd, MPH. Keynote on Workplace Wellbeing: Strategies for Disabled, Nondisabled, Employees and Leaders.
  • Oct. 20 - VTCSOM's Family Day
  • Oct. 20 – White Coat Ceremony 
  • Oct. 23 – Roanoke STEAM Day
  • Oct. 30 - TEACH Education Day (more information in Take Note section below)
  • Jan. 8-May 6, 2024 – Spring Art Show “From These Hills”

News Around Campus

Social Media


John EplingKim Dulaney, and Michelle Rockwell, all Family and Community Medicine faculty; Sarah Parker, chair of Health Systems and Implementation Science; Mary Frazier, Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health graduate student, and Jeff Stein with the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC published “A ‘sludge audit’ for health system colorectal cancer screening services” in the American Journal of Managed Care.

Evan Sandefur and Brian Hansen, both members of the Class of 2025, along with Cesar Bravo, VTCSOM associate professor, published "The clinical outcomes of radiocapitellar reconstruction with radiocapitellar arthroplasty: A systematic review and meta-analysis" in The Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Arthroplasty.

Rocco DiSanto, Class of 2022, was lead author on “Comparing efficiency of patent production between U.S. institutions using a hybrid NIH-USPTO database,” which appeared in Nature Biotechnology. The research was conducted with Robert Gourdie of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and two other colleagues from across the country. 



Sharon Barrett
Sharon Barrett.

Welcome to Sharon Barrett who has joined us as assistant dean for finance and administration.

Diversity and Inclusion

October is:
National Disability Employment Awareness Month
LGBTQ+ History Month
Global Diversity Awareness Month
Black History Month (United Kingdom, Ireland, The Netherlands)
Polish American Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month is observed from September 15 to October 15

Observances in October:
4: Henrietta Lacks Day (Virginia)
4:  St. Francis Day, feast day for St. Francis of Assisi
6-7 (sundown to sundown):  Shemini Atzeret/The Eighth (Day) of Assembly
7-8 (sundown to sundown):  Simchat Torah
9:  National Indigenous Peoples Day
10:  Canadian Thanksgiving
10:  World Mental Health Day
11:  National Coming Out Day (United States)
15-24: Navratri
15-16 (sundown to sundown):  Birth of Báb
16-17 (sundown to sundown):  The birth of Bahá’u’lláh
18:  International Pronouns Day 
20:  Sikh Holy Day, celebrating Sri Guru Granth Sahib
24:  Dasara, Dussehra, or Vijayadashami 
31:  All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween)
31:  Reformation Day
31–Nov. 1 (sundown to sundown):  Samhain

Community Corner

Four individuals stand behind the VTCSOM table at the Henry Street Festival.
Photo courtesy of Courtney Powell.

VTCSOM was out and about in September: NL Bishop and Stephanie Picado helped hand out information about our DEI Pathway Programs at the Henry Street Festival. Photo courtesy of Courtney Powell.

Looking ahead – Community Engagement will host a two-night Mini Medical School “Evolving Technology and AI in Health Care: What does it mean for you?” Watch for announcements with dates and registration information.

Alumni Notes

Two students smile a the VTCSOM tailgate in 2021.
VTCSOM annual tailgate at main campus

In celebration of Virginia Tech’s Homecoming, the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is hosting a tent at the Homecoming Tailgate before the Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest football game. Join us for food, beverages, games, and VTCSOM swag!

All VTCSOM alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends are invited to attend our homecoming tailgate. Please register to attend.

Please note: this does not include football game tickets. Visit to purchase game tickets.

Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023
Time: TBD (four hours prior to kickoff)
Holtzman Alumni Center Lawn
901 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 240061

Spotlight on Giving

The Threads that Connect Us. This year’s Virginia Tech socks campaign is coming up Oct. 23 – Nov. 17! You can step up to support the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine by giving a minimum of $10 to this university-wide fundraising campaign, and get a sweet pair of Hokie socks that were designed by undergraduate fashion merchandising and design students. Be on the lookout for campaign emails and social media posts and help us put our best foot forward in support of our students!

Humanism Notes

Grab some tissues and take a look at this touching video. Whether we’re saying goodbye to a human or an animal, we all know the stinging pain of grief. The wise, compassionate care this veterinarian provides offers a perspective on caring for the dying as well as the loved ones left behind.

The Animal Doctor

Take Note

It's that time of year again, when our medical students are getting ready for the fall 2023 session of MedDOCs. This is an after-school enrichment program for high school students from underrepresented and underserved backgrounds who are interested in science and medicine. If you know of a student who may be interested, have them fill out an application by Oct. 15. For more information, contact Roger Luong (

TEACH Education Day 2023 will be held Oct. 30. The day consists of the Richard C. Vari, PhD Endowed Lecture from noon to 1 p.m. in M106 and a poster session, recognitions and awards reception.

The lecture “The Changing Roles of Teachers and Students of the Future” will be presented by Ronald M. Harden, OBE, MD, FRCP (Glas), FRCS (Ed), FRCPC, professor of medical education (emeritus), University of Dundee, UK and editor-in-chief of Medical Teacher.

In-person attendance is strongly encouraged. Register for the lecture.

The posters and reception will be held later in the day from 5 to 6:15 p.m. in the atrium, café, and M106. 

Register to attend the reception in person

More information on the TEACH Day events.

The Aspire! Awards recognize students, faculty, and staff who exemplify Student Affairs' Aspirations for Student Learning. Five students, one representing each Aspiration, and one faculty/staff member will be honored at each celebration in the months of October, December, February, March, and April. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2023-2024 Aspire! Awards. 

•     Nominate students who embody any of the Aspirations for Student Learning.

•     Nominate faculty/staff who embody any of the Aspirations.

The Last Note

Collage of photos from the fall art show.
Scenes from the Fall 2023 Art Show opening reception. Photos by Ryan Anderson for Virginia Tech.

A wonderful time was had by all at the opening reception for Our World Village: The Global Impact of a Personal Connection. The art show will be displayed in the halls of the medical school until Dec. 15. Contact Courtney Powell ( if you or someone you know would like to schedule a tour.

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