The Adventist School of Medicine of East-Central Africa (ASOME), on Friday, November 12 held a white coat ceremony for its inaugural cohort of medical students (class of 2027). Launched in 2019, with a base in Kigali, the institution is designed to become a centre of excellence in the region, serving eleven countries, including Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Somalia, Eritrea, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Djibouti. The ceremony that saw a total of 34 students get donned in white coats took place at the school’s campus in Masoro, Kigali, and was attended by various dignitaries from ASOME, the Adventist Church, and the government of Rwanda. Speaking to the students, Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel, the Health Ministries Associate Director at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists urged them about the values of compassion, comfort and truth in their profession. Citing second Corinthians chapter 1 in the Bible where Paul prayed to the God of all compassion and comfort, Charles-Marchel said: “It is the comfort that we receive from God that overflows from us to our patients. We have at our disposal the best that science can offer, but sometimes science can be very cold. As Christians, we have the best that heaven can offer, and God is a God of science, he created it. We are not in opposition to true scientific discovery. And when you wear your white coat, you are saying that you are in the pursuit of truth, to wherever it will lead you, and that you are going to look for it, find it and apply it not just to your life but for the benefit of humankind,” he added. He tipped the students on the significance of the white courts that doctors wear, saying they are a symbol of looking for the truth, being honest and pure. “I hope that the white courts that you will be donned with and will be using for the rest of your career will always remind you of truth, honesty and purity,” he said. “For you and other Christian physicians today, this is very significant, not just because it was done by others in the medical profession, but because there is another donning of white coats that you should be pursuing, “A donning that will not be done by human teachers but by Jesus Christ himself who promises to his faithful servants who answer the call to serve him and serve human kind. At the end he will not just give a crown of glory, but he will also give a white robe of righteousness, he added. Dr. Patrick Ndimubanzi, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Human Resources for Health congratulated the students, noting that their induction represents an important milestone after many years of hard work, commitment and sacrifice from their families. “Today is a transition which means a new beginning: the beginning of a new life of service and dedication. You are going to become medical doctors and this is more than just a job, it is a calling,” he said. He urged them to not only prepare their bodies and minds, but their hearts for the training and learning ahead. You will learn to take care of those who are sick, those who are in pain, those who are dying. You will learn to listen to your patients, to look at them, to examine them, to see them with new eyes of doctors. So give it your all without reservation,” he said. Dr. Eustace Penniecook, the Founding Dean of the Medical School said the institution believes that they are doing more than just training medical doctors. We are developing health leaders for the region, health leaders that will teach the community on how to behave under health, better lifestyle, preaching to them the message of Jesus Christ, as at the same time that they heal them in the different diseases,” he said. According to Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, the Education Director at the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, the core features of education in relation to the church include: achieving balanced holistic development, having the centrality of the Bible in all disciplines including medicine, restoring the image of God in students, developing their ability to think, develop practical skills for life, and to prepare them for service in this life and for the next, “for the whole period of existence” – for now and for eternity.