Showing the Future of Medicine From McMaster University


The path from student to a doctor is not one to be underestimated. The feat is fraught with challenge and personal discovery, only adding to the importance of marking the beginning of each student’s journey.

But, how do you create meaning and mark this moment virtually?

The DeGroote School of Medicine sought to do just that – change the way virtual events are run by communicating the gravitas of the situation through visual storytelling. That’s where Ellum stepped in to help convey the importance of the whitecoat ceremony for two cohorts of future doctors entering their studies at McMaster University.


Working closely with administrators and students from the DeGroote School of Medicine, Ellum planned, produced, and delivered a series of compelling films depicting the excitement surrounding the ceremony.

The first in the series focused on the changing landscape of medical education during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. Ellum and McMaster sought to honour the tradition of the White Coat Ceremony by connecting students in a shared experience – unwrapping the hand-delivered white coat they would receive on the day of the ceremony which symbolizes the start of their journey. Students were eager to participate in the production of a film that would become a visual staple kicking off the 2020 White Coat Ceremony, with student engagement and participation being a highlight of the film.

In 2021, Ellum continued this virtual tradition as McMaster University embraced a hybrid approach to teaching and learning. This second film evokes a sense of hope for the future by picking up where the first film left off, encouraging students on their path towards a new normal in the pandemic. By incorporating voices, feelings, and feedback from the experiences of the 2020 cohort, Ellum was able to build upon their previous work, honing in on the emotional message of the film and delivering a product that inspired the next generation of leaders in medicine.

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