Morsani College of Medicine Alumni Society

Medical student inspired to pay it forward through White Coat Campaign 

13.11.20 12:18 PM By advance

Claire Bethel (center) and her sisters at the MD White Coat Ceremony in 2018


It’s rare that current medical students are also donors to the annual White Coat Campaign, which sponsors the incoming class’s first White Coats and establishes their class scholarship fund. The culture of philanthropy is certainly alive with our students—they have the heart and desire to be sponsors, but they often shoulder enormous amounts of debt, making giving back out of reach until after training.  


Claire Bethel, MS3, said she was so inspired by the gift of her first white coat, she asked her parents to help her be a sponsor this year. 


“Two years ago my donor was so kind, sponsoring my coat, inviting me to dinner, making me feel immediately welcomed in Tampa. Mentorship can be hard to find, and I wanted to give an first-year student the same great experience I’ve had.” 


Claire said she also wanted to make the transition easier for another student this year with all of the additional challenges of COVID.  


“Having my family at the White Coat Ceremony was so special. My whole life I knew I wanted to help people and getting my coat was the concrete moment of achieving that. This class won’t have family at the ceremony, so I wanted to make sure it’s still just as special.” 


Claire grew up with philanthropy and service instilled as critical values. Her family helped found a nursing home where they volunteer, and they do an annual run for their local Children’s Hospital (where Claire and her two sisters received care in the NICU as triplets). 


“Giving back is so important. I know I’ll be able to give back to my patients and community when I’m a physician, and I’ll give back through my resources too as much as I can.” 


To join Claire, and invest in future alumni as a White Coat sponsor, contact Wyndham Randall wyndham@usf.edu.