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The physician’s white coat means something different for every person.  Last year, StudioAMWA and Doctors Who Create presented a project titled “Superwomen in White Coats:  What does the coat mean to you?”  We garnered a wonderful response and received so many white coats with words of wisdom, love, and acceptance painted onto them.  

For this year’s white coat project, we hope to shed light on a topic that is tragically underrepresented:

Physician Suicide

It is a difficult topic to discuss, and we hope that using the white coat as a canvas can help us better address it.  

Often medical students and physicians are brought up in a culture where we are told to be “perfect” and weakness is not allowed.  Approximately 300-400 physicians commit suicide annually.  And in a study of six medical schools, almost 7% said they had thoughts of ending their lives in the last 2 weeks.  These are statistics we cannot ignore.

The lone standing coat represents the ones we have lost so far and comments and stories written on the coat can pertain to how the white coat (and the realities of medicine) impact our mental health. The words and pictures can also help to bring light to the mental health effects this process has on us. This would be in honor of physicians and students who took their own lives.  We would like to have medical schools put up a white coat and have all students design it with instances where suicide may have effected their life.

Each school who participates will send photos of the drawings and coat in to studioamwa@amwa-doc.org by Jan 15, 2018. We will ask that schools being represented at the National Conference bring their coats on March 22, 2018 to Philadelphia and will be displayed in a public art gallery on Studio AMWA.

Directions:

  1. Use your local AMWA branch to get funding to buy a white coat. Inexpensive white coats can be found for 25.00 dollars at amazon.com [“Dr.James Professional Lab Coat, small].
  2. Place the white coat in a central student location, such as the student lounge, a classroom, or the cafeteria. You can hang it on coat hanger or a clothesline with clothespin, or lay it on a table.
  3. Fill the coat pockets with markers, sharpies, paint pens–whatever you can buy within your AMWA chapter budget.
  4. Share the information about the project with your school and encourage them to draw on it.

Take photos regularly and send them in to studioamwa@amwa-doc.org.

 

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