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About the American Association of Colleges of Nursing
The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for academic nursing representing more than 850 schools of nursing nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. 



The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and AACN Initiate White Coat Ceremony

Published May 09, 2014

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and AACN to Initiate a
White Coat Ceremony in Nursing to Champion Compassionate Care

APGF Trustees Elaine and Mike Adler Commit $500,000 
to the Gold-AACN Nursing Initiative

WASHINGTON, DC, May 9, 2014 — In support of a collaborative partnership announced last fall, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF) and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) are delighted to announce that a lead gift of $500,000 for this ground-breaking program is being generously provided by APGF Trustee Elaine Adler and her husband Mike, Co-Founders of the Adler Aphasia Center.
"This wonderful gift from Elaine and Mike Adler allows the AACN-APGF partnership to immediately begin bringing signature Gold Foundation programs, such as the White Coat Ceremony, to the nursing profession," said Dr. Richard I. Levin, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. "We are so grateful for their vision and commitment to promoting compassionate care across the healthcare team."
With the help of this lead gift, APGF and AACN are pleased to announce plans to pilot the first-ever Gold Foundation Nursing White Coat Ceremony at 100 nursing schools nationwide to emphasize the commitment of incoming nursing students to provide compassionate care.
First initiated in 1993 at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation White Coat Ceremony (WCC) is held at the beginning of the academic year to welcome and initiate each new class of medical students and emphasize humanistic, patient-centered care. The WCC recognizes the physician’s responsibility to put the interests of patients first and affirms that this obligation starts on the first day of medical school and continues throughout the physician’s career. Twenty one years later, almost all (96%) of the schools of medicine in the United States accredited by the Association of American Medical Colleges hold a White Coat Ceremony, as well as osteopathic schools of medicine and schools abroad in Antigua, Australia, Canada, The Dominican Republic, Grenada, Haiti, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Qatar, and South Korea. To capitalize on the success of this widely hailed program and its positive impact on compassionate patient care, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and AACN are supporting expanding the White Coat Ceremony to nursing.  
“Inviting nursing into this initiative sends a clear message that all health professionals have an essential role to play in providing compassionate care,” said AACN President Eileen T. Breslin. “AACN applauds our colleagues with the Gold Foundation and the Adlers for supporting this visionary effort that promotes excellence in healthcare delivery and interprofessional engagement.”
For the pilot program, AACN will identify 100 schools interested in hosting a White Coat Ceremony for new nursing students in Fall 2014. Participating schools will receive financial support to host a ceremony, which would feature the recitation of an oath, receipt of a commemorative pin, an address by an eminent role model, and a reception for students and invited guests. The specially designed pin will serve as a visual reminder of the students’ oath and commitment to providing compassionate and high-quality care. These events could include a welcome by the dean, the president of an affiliated hospital, or other respected leader who represents the value system of the school and the profession the students are about to enter.
Nursing schools interested in participating in the pilot program are encouraged to complete the online application. All applications must be received by May 30, 2014. The criteria that will be considered when selecting schools for this program include the application submission date, geographic diversity, and representation among AACN’s four institutional types (Small Schools; Academic Health Centers (AHCs); Private School without an AHC; and Public School without an AHC). Schools selected to participate will receive $3,000 in funding to defray expenses related to hosting the ceremony as well as a supply of commemorative pins.  For more information about this program, please contact AACN project coordinator Shelley Porte at
Following the pilot program, The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and AACN are planning 2015 to be the inaugural year for the nationwide rollout of the White Coat Ceremony to a larger number of nursing institutions.



The Arnold P. Gold Foundation (APGF): As a growing, international not-for-profit organization we have a critical mission: to optimize the experience and outcomes of health care for both patients and practitioners by promoting care that is as humane as it is technologically sophisticated. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation works with physicians in training and in practice, as well as other members of the healthcare team, to instill a culture of respect, dignity and compassion for patients and professionals. When skilled practitioners build caring, trusting and collaborative relationships with patients, study after study reveals more appropriate medical decisions, better patient adherence with treatment plans, and less costly healthcare outcomes. Learn more at