Although we rely on physicians, calling on them at birth and death and every medical event in between, rarely do we consider the personal challenges faced by doctors-to-be. In 2005 author Jacqueline Marino and photojournalist Tim Harrison had the unprecedented opportunity to chronicle the experience of three students as they learned to become doctors at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. In White Coats, Marino and Harrison bring listeners into the classrooms, anatomy labs, and hospitals where the students take their first pulses, dissect their first cadavers, and deliver their first babies.
Marleny Franco, who moved from the Dominican Republic to Boston's Dominican projects when she was nine, must first overcome social and cultural barriers and those she constructs herself. Michael Norton, a devout Mormon, juggles the pressures of medical school along with family responsibilities and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Millie Gentry, a fashion model, tries to balance the demands of medical school with finding time to go out with friends and volunteer at the local free clinic.
These are personal stories, yet they reflect significant issues in medical education. Franco, Norton, and Gentry try to master an ever-increasing load of medical science, confront problems of professionalism, and learn the importance of empathy. Each must make personal sacrifices, including taking on crushing debt, pursuing round-the-clock work, and neglecting family, friends, and health.
White Coats focuses on the human side of the transformation from student to doctor and will appeal to anyone interested in health care, medical education, and the hopes, struggles, and joys of aspiring doctors.