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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.  

The 2019 White Coat Project Topic:

Mindfulness in Medicine

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn, Founding Executive Director for the Center for Mindfulness, describes mindfulness as, “paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally, to the unfolding of experience moment to moment.”  For this year’s White Coat Project, as a follow-up to last year’s discussion of physician suicide and mental health, we would like to know: how has this universal human capacity helped guide you in your personal development and the development of your interpersonal relationships on the path towards becoming a physician?  How has it helped you cultivate awareness in the present moment and improved upon your appreciation for life in a profession that is sometimes riddled with suffering?

Some topics for inspiration:

  • What does mindfulness mean to you?
  • How has mindfulness helped improve your own health and well-being?
  • What tools, such as breathing and awareness-building exercises, do you make use of for emotional balance and well-being?
  • How do you believe physicians can use this artform to recover from disability and disease and facilitate the delivery of more compassionate care so that our patients may do the same?

Directions:

  1. Develop a plan that works best for your school! Some options include: assembling a committee to decorate the white coat based on the ideas of fellow class mates, leaving the white coat in a public space for students to come by and decorate independently, and organizing an event for students to decorate the coat as a group.
  2. Obtain a white coat using funding from your local AMWA branch. Inexpensive white coats can be found for 25.00 dollars at com[“Dr.James Professional Lab Coat, small].
  3. 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 a clothespin or lay it on a table.
  4. Fill the coat pockets with markers, sharpies, paint pens – items covered through your AMWA chapter budget.
  5. Share the information about the White Coat Project with your school and encourage students to share their ideas and draw on it!

Participating schools should send photos of the drawings, participating members, and the white coat frequently to studioamwa@amwa-doc.org.  The deadline for this year will be April 1, 2019. In addition, we ask that schools being represented at the National Conference bring their coats to the Medical Women’s International Association Centennial Congress in New York City as they will be displayed in a public art gallery for Studio AMWA.

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