Personal physician to the Dalai Lama speaks on compassion in medicine at UofL White Coat Ceremony

Barry Kerzin, M.D., addresses School of Medicine class of 2020
Personal physician to the Dalai Lama speaks on compassion in medicine at UofL White Coat Ceremony

Barry Kerzin, M.D.

Barry Kerzin, M.D., personal physician to the Dalai Lama and founder of the Altruism in Medicine Institute, addressed the 156 members of the incoming class of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and guests at the school’s White Coat Ceremony on Sunday, July 24. Kerzin, an American trained physician and Buddhist monk, spoke to the students about cultivating and preserving the desire to help others.

“Compassion is the chief reason we all go into medicine,” Kerzin said prior to the event. “Research suggests at the third year of medical school, compassion in medical students decreases significantly. I'll address how to sustain our compassion through our training and out in the world practicing medicine.”

The ceremony welcomeed the class of 2020 to the UofL School of Medicine. The students each received a white coat, a gift from the Greater Louisville Medical Society, and a stethoscope, provided by an alumnus of the school through Stethoscopes for Students. The white coat symbolizes cleanliness, as well as the sense of compassion that inspires students to become physicians. At the ceremony, the students recited the Declaration of Geneva, promising to serve humanity and honor the traditions of the medical profession.

Kerzin, a California native, is a board-certified family medicine physician and an honorary professor at the University of Hong Kong School of Medicine. He is a former assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle. After traveling to India in the 1980s to help train Tibetan doctors in modern research methods, he studied Buddhism and meditation and ultimately was ordained as a Buddhist monk. Kerzin now provides medical care to the poor in India and serves as a personal physician to the Dalai Lama in addition to traveling around the world to teach about meditation and compassion. He founded the Altruism in Medicine Institute with the goal to bring more compassion into health care.

UofL School of Medicine White Coat Ceremony

Sunday, July 24, 3-5 p.m.
Louisville Downtown Marriott
280 W. Jefferson St., Louisville, Ky., 40202



Originally published July 20, 2016. Updated August 5, 2016.