This Year’s White Coat Ceremony Has Extra Meaning for UK Physician

White coat ceremonies are held at medical schools across the country and are always meaningful for faculty and staff. New medical students begin their commitment to educating and caring for their fellow citizens. For Dr. Donna Grigsby, chief of the Division of General Academic Pediatrics, this year’s ceremony will be especially meaninfgul. Dr. Grigsby’s son, Charlie Grigsby, will be one of the students on stage receiving a white coat.

It’s not uncommon for medical students to have parents in the medical profession. While Charlie says seeing that his mom “really loved her job” eventually influenced his decision to pursue medicine, it wasn’t always the path he thought he’d take. During his undergraduate studies at Centre College, Charlie studied chemistry and computer science. He planned to pursue software development or graduate studies in chemisty. Charlie does hope to link his past studies with the field he’s chosen for himself he said, “Ideally, I’d like to do some software development that is medically focused.” In any new situation people are liable to be nervous, and Charlie is no exception. But, he’s excited to begin the work, meet other students and see how teaching styles vary among professors.

One teaching style that will undergo a change is Dr. Grigsby’s. Now that her son is part of the incoming class, she says she’ll limit her use of him as an example when teaching her students about childhood development. Since Charlie’s childhood, Dr. Grigsby would utilize her experience as a parent to teach students and the parents of her patients. In that past, Dr. Grigsby would even bring Charlie to class as a sort of “live demonstration” for her students. Now that her students will be Charlie’s peers and colleagues, she’ll be updating some of the slides she teaches from.

While Charlie isn’t sure what speciality he’ll choose, he knows he will not be joining his mother in pedicatric medicine. Dr. Grigsby doesn’t mind that decision, she said “I want him to choose whatever makes him happy.” Both of Charlie’s parents will join him on stage to “coat” him. Charlie said, “I feel like it’ll be honoring them more than celebrating me.”

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s white coat ceremony will take place Friday, July 21 at 1:30 p.m. and will be located in the Singletary Center for the Arts.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: uky.edu/uk4ky. #uk4ky #seeblue

MEDIA CONTACT: Olivia McCoy, olivia.mccoy1@uky.edu, (859) 257-1076