Aesculapian Awards Banquet
Each spring, the College of Medicine Student Council hosts the Aesculapian Awards Banquet to recognize teaching excellence and peer achievement. The individual classes from both Oklahoma City campus and the Tulsa School of Community Medicine nominate and select for the Aesculapian Award faculty whom they have identified as distinguishing themselves in the art of teaching. The same classes from both campuses also nominate and select peers for the Podalirian Award that recognizes student commitment, leadership, and advocacy on the part of patients and fellow students. The College of Medicine Student Council, on behalf of the medical student body, also selects one faculty member for the Edgar L. Young Lifetime Achievement Award. This honoree is acknowledged for long-term dedication to teaching and mentoring the next generation of physicians.
Anatomical Donor Memorial Lunch
In 2001, the OU College of Medicine instituted the Anatomical Donor Memorial Luncheon, which introduces students to the life story of the donor and to recognize the gift the donors and their families have made to the students' medical education. A dissection team of eight first year students meet with family members of the specific donor. Students receive orientation about what to discuss, how to pose appropriate questions, and are encouraged to learn the donor's life story. Family members are fortified with the information regarding medical school and the importance of students personalizing the learning environment of gross anatomy. Family members comment that this is a healthy environment for discussing the loss of a loved family member. Students are uniformly positive about the experience and express a commitment to learn from the donor.
Anatomical Donor Memorial Service of Remembrance
The Anatomical Donor Memorial Service of Remembrance is a follow-up to the Anatomical Donor Memorial Lunch and serves as closure to the educational and humanism experience. Again, students have the opportunity to express their appreciation for the donor's gift and celebrate the selfless contribution made by both the donors and the donors' families and friends. Many students express that the donors are the best teachers they will ever have in medical school and were always available, uncomplaining, at any hour of the day or night, any day of the week. Medical students' account of their experiences personalize the role the donors had in the students' learning while also reinforcing to the family and friends the knowledge that their loved ones' conscious decision to donate their bodies for medical education truly made a significant and positive impact.
Commencement is the celebratory culmination of four years of medical school. Family and friends, who through their unceasing support and encouragement also participated in the medical students' educational journeys, are invited to share in this poignant observance that officially promotes the graduating class from students to rising physicians. The ceremony is typically held at the Oklahoma city Civic Center in downtown Oklahoma City. There is no limit to the number of family members and friends students may invite to the commencement ceremony. After the recessional, the College of Medicine Alumni Office hosts a reception for the graduates and their families and friends. Before leaving, the graduates are asked to sign "The Medicine Book" that chronicles the signatures of each graduate from the College of Medicine. It also represents the first time that the students add the suffix "MD" to their names.
The third Friday of each March is marked on each graduating student's calendar. It is on this day that medical students officially learn the identity of their specialty and its location through the National Residency Matching Program (NRMP). For many, Match Day is the most important day of their medical school career and what better way to celebrate the occasion than to arrange a fÃªte; a gala celebration that marks the rewards of a commitment galvanized by discipline, dedication, and sacrifice. Each class is empowered to organize and arrange their Match Day Reveal. This "reveal" is often a cleverly packaged gimmick that hides the students' career destination. At an appointed time, students are cued to "open" the package that "reveals" their residency specialty and locality. The general hoopla that follows the reveal as the students share their match information with one another captures the cohesiveness of the graduating class whose bonds originated four years earlier during the orientation scheduled before their first day of medical school.
The Executive Dean of the College of Medicine hosts the Senior Banquet that is held in honor of the graduating class prior to their graduation ceremony. This invitation-only formal dinner that allows an intimate opportunity for the students to connect with one another and reflect on their previous accomplishments and achievements as well as consider the medical endeavors they are about to pursue. It is a time of reminiscence, reflection, and recognition. Students graduating with special distinction (cumulative GPA of 4.0) and distinction are announced for the first time and members of the class initiated into the Alpha Omega Alpha National Medical Honor Society are again recognized. Students who have distinguished themselves throughout their medical school career are also considered for individual awards that comprise a variety of categories including academics, leadership, community service, and physician-patient ideals. Clinical departments also recognize individual students for outstanding performance and achievement within specific disciplines. The graduating class also selects one student from among their ranks for The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award sponsored by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.
Offering respites, relaxation, and escapes from the rigors of didactic and clinical responsibilities, these social programs may be informal gatherings, such as a dinner arranged by a module at a local restaurant, a more structured activity organized by a class, such as a group outing to an Oklahoma City Barons hockey game, or formal affairs that allows the medical students to shed the white coats and scrubs for more prim and proper attire.
White Coat Ceremony
Entering students are welcomed into the study of medicine during the ceremony which takes place at the conclusion of first-year orientation. In front of family, friends, and faculty, the new entering class is "cloaked" by college faculty with the traditional white coat that symbolizes the medical profession. It is a personally delivered gift of faith, confidence, and compassion. Students recite the Oath of Commitment as they prepare to embark upon their medical education. The first White Coat Ceremony occurred at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1997, funded through a grant provided by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation that fosters humanism in medicine.