Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Gets Students Excited About Science

If you follow us you’ll know that advancements in technology that impact medicine get us excited, and we are huge proponents of encouraging kids to get involved in science, technology, engineering and math.  That’s why we donated our lab coats for this event in South Jordan, Utah, where middle and high school students were shown how exciting STEM is.

A few months ago Keila Valdz Mower, a Girl Scout leader in Utah, wrote a compelling email to Medelita requesting a donation of lab coats to support a STEM Education program. Medelita enthusiastically said YES! We are very excited to take a journey with the troop in support of their mission to educate young ladies about the career possibilities in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math fields (STEM). We will be posting pictures of their adventures as they meet with different STEM professionals.

Kiela and assistant leader Kathy Steen Spahr shared the following experience about their first STEM trip.

“I wanted to share a sweet/positive story today. As part of our STEM Education program, our girls meet with Dermatologist Dr Kimberly Peppit and Registered Dietitian Jaime Saunders from The University of Utah Health Center in Daybreak. The girls learned all about skin care, nutrition and the role of STEM Education in their lives. What made this experience perfect, was the fact that the girls were wearing Lab Coats with their names embroiled in and ID badges… Medelita made it possible for girls to have a visual idea of what their future may look like.”

Here is the video:

Additional information on the Girl Scouts of America STEM program: http://www.girlscoutsgcnwi.org/stem

If your organization is planning an event to encourage kids to get involved in STEM, please let us know so that we can help get the word out.

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Research is Clear: Having More Than One Lab Coat Matters

Picture 1888

At Medelita, we have always recommended that you purchase more than one lab coat at a time.

I’ll admit that it’s easy for us to make such recommendations; we are in business to sell you as many lab coats as we can,  and I won’t pretend otherwise.  However, if you should decide to purchase a Medelita lab coat, here are some interesting facts to consider:

Is it a suit jacket or is it a lab coat?

sFirst, let me congratulate you.  You have spent (or will spend) four years in college, four more in med school, three to eight more years in residency, and maybe a few more years in a fellowship.  A quarter of the world’s population was born while you were doing all of this. You’ve gotten this far only to be perplexed by trivial decisions about how many lab coats to purchase.

I’ll try to make it easy for you:  Imagine if you were in any other profession where you were required to wear a suit to work.  Would you wear the same jacket every day? Most of our customers have to wear a lab coat every single day at work during very long shifts.  Our lab coats are not meant to be ‘the only single lab coat you’ll ever need’ for the same reasons you wouldn’t expect to own one suit for the rest of your professional life.

Holy lab coats!

Unfortunately, this misconception is sometimes difficult to dispel prior to purchase.  We completely understand why. It absolutely makes sense that some customers are willing to pay more for the ultimate in durable fabric and performance technology, and we’re working very hard to integrate new fabrics and finishing toward this end.

Every year we introduce fabric that is lighter, repels more fluid, and lasts longer – but there are limitations to what 100% cotton can do.  If you throw on the same cotton t-shirt every day for a few months, you might expect to see a few holes emerge in the fabric.  Likewise, our cotton lab coats are subject to the same vulnerabilities.  So while we figure out a better solution, you can delay the fray by rotating in as many coats as possible.

Be part of the solution, not the problem.

A recent article published by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) outlined that while the link between healthcare-associated infections and attire hasn’t been formally tested, common sense suggests that wearing clean clothes will undoubtedly reduce the possibility for transmission. The report offers several guidelines for attire, including a recommendation that professionals engaged in direct patient care “should possess more than 2 or more white coats and have access to a convenient and economical means to launder white coats.”  Their rationale is painfully simple:

“These practical considerations may help achieve the desired professional appearance yet allow for HCP to maintain a higher frequency of laundering of white coats.”

Their research also clearly recognizes the benefit of wearing a lab coat:

“Overall, patients express preferences for certain types of attire, with most surveys indicating a preference for formal attire, including a preference for a white coat.”

One comment on the subject spelled it out more clearly:

“If you dress like a slob, you work like a slob. Doctors, like all health care professionals should wear white coats. It imports knowledge and authority. Also, they earned the honor.”

We couldn’t agree more.

In summary

  • One lab coat is not  enough.
  • You will wear out a Medelita lab coat in the same amount of time it takes to wear out any other nice clothes you own.
  • You took an oath to uphold the highest standard of patient health and safety, and it’s clear that a clean rotation of professional attire plays an essential role.

We’d love to hear about your experience: how many lab coats to you have? Do you rotate between a few, or more?

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Lab Coat Fabrics – It’s All About The Weave

Radically improving lab coats starts with dramatically improving the fabric.  Medelita lab coat fabric is a proprietary diamond dobby weave which results in a beautiful subtle texture.  Dobby weaves are limited to simple, small geometrics which are repeated frequently. Our founder and designer, Lara Francisco created a classic fabric that is soft to the touch, comfortable to wear, durable and drapes more like a suit and less like a smock.  This radical new approach to lab coat fabric is one component that creates a more professional lab coat.

This was a tedious process which took considerable time. Countless samples were woven, and then sewn into sample garments, all in an effort to create the very best lab coat fabric.  After multiple trials using different diamond scales, different yarn deniers, and different quality cotton stuffs Lara finalized our fabric weave many years ago.

The original fabric launch in 2008 was essentially a beta version, and since that early fabric, Lara has made considerable tweaks and refinements in an effort to improve on the core attributes of our fabric: softness, comfort, durability and style. Look for new fabrics from Medelita in the future which will continue to challenge the existing lab coat paradigm.

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Lab Coats for a Cause: Healing the Children

Healing the ChildrenOur Founder, Lara Manchik, PA-C, has a history of medical missionary work and has instilled the value of contribution and charity into who we are as a company.

Recently, we discovered that a customer, Jane Petro, MD, was involved in a non-profit volunteer organization, Healing the Children. Dr. Petro works with Healing the Children Northeast, headquartered in Connecticut. Dedicated to giving care to children in need, Healing the Children provides donated medical, surgical and dental services for children in the United States and abroad. Since 1985, medical professional volunteers have treated more than 33,000 children worldwide.

Healing the Children envisions a world where every child has access to medical care. It’s a vision that we are all too happy to share, and Medelita was proud to donate several men’s and women’s lab coats to their cause. Our lab coats will be traveling with the next missionary team to Santa Marta, Columbia at the end of October, where the Facial Plastics & Cleft team of surgeons, doctors, nurses, speech therapists and administrators led by Dr. Manoj T. Abraham will be assisting children and teenagers born with cleft lip palates and other facial deformities. During the week long mission, the team will provide life altering surgery and care to more than 50 children free of charge.

If you know of any non-denominational charity or organization in need, please email us at contact.us@medelita.com. We’re always happy to donate lab coats or scrubs for a worthy cause.

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iPad Pockets in Medelita Lab Coats

You spoke, and we listened. As the use of iPads in the medical industry has increased, so have the requests we receive from customers for iPad accessible pockets in our lab coats. In addition to making the paperwork easier, iPads allow doctors to easily bridge the gap between physician and patient understanding – having access to information in a visual format assists physicians with the often challenging task of communicating surgery, anatomy, and advanced medical information with patients.

Currently, we do offer select styles and sizes that fit an iPad 2, as detailed below.

However, we’re dedicated to remaining on the cutting edge of the convergence of technology in medicine, and, above all else, committed to meeting the needs of our customers. After several months of designing and testing (and redesigning!), I’m excited to tell you that Medelita will be adding iPad accessible pockets to all sizes of some of our most popular lab coat styles by the end of this year.

I can’t stress more that YOU are the reason we’ve put so much work into redesigning our pockets, without compromising the styles and tailored look that Medelita is known for. We want you to look professional and classy, but we also want our lab coats to meet your needs for functionality. We welcome your feedback, and any questions or comments can be sent to suggestions@medelita.com. Your opinions will greatly influence our future direction as a company.

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Founder Favorites: Lab Coat Embroidery Colors for Women

How many items of clothing bear your name? Unless you’re really vain or your mother is still labeling everything from your shoes to your underwear, my guess would be very few of your garments proudly state your identity. But – your lab coat should be one of them.

At Medelita, we’re passionate about perfection, from fabric and fit to finishing details. Our Founder is especially passionate about embroidery, however, and this very well might be the most opinionated interview I’ve ever done with her.  “I feel like embroidery is the icing on the cake. I talk about it a lot – we work so darn hard to make the garments absolutely perfect – the fabric, fit, durability, stitch detail, packaging, etc.  But truth be told – the very first thing a customer sees when they receive their order is the embroidery.  And I feel really strongly about certain embroidery colors looking better than others, and I’m not afraid to make that known,” says Lara Manchik, PA-C.

In the world of medical apparel, choice is rare and we’re a company founded on being an exception. When purchasing a Medelita lab coat, you have a plethora of choices to make – from the best style for you to the right size. Embroidery is the last choice, and yet just as important as the first. Many women simply pick the standard colors that they’re used to seeing on a unisex lab coat – Black, True Navy, or Hunter Green. There’s nothing wrong with those colors at all, but if you have a choice and you’re open to suggestions, Lara has some often-overlooked favorites for women’s lab coat embroidery.

Blossom, Carolina Blue, and Willow

Blossom“Blossom is a subdued pink. I think it looks unbelievable.”

Carolina Blue“Carolina Blue is a lighter toned blue that looks nothing short of amazing.”

Willow“Willow is a medium muted green. It looks exceptional.”

These lighter colors are often overlooked as being different or out-of-the-box, but we’ve chosen all of our standard embroidery colors with the utmost care and consideration. In terms of visibility with embroidery, you have to consider how the thread color reacts on a white garment. All of the stitching on Medelita lab coats is as bright a white as the fabric itself, and when you apply darkly colored thread (such as black or navy) to a white garment, you’re making a tremendous change and forcing a very strong visual focus. A lighter color of embroidery stands out equally as well, but is more pleasing to the eye and complimentary to the feminine details of the women’s lab coats.

Plum, Cocoa, and Bronze

While lighter colored embroidery offers a level of feminine sophistication consistent with the high quality styling of our women’s lab coats, it’s not always an available option. “Sometimes colleagues are required to wear darker colors, or they specialize in geriatrics and their patients need a starker contrast to see better. For darker colors on a women’s coat, I prefer either Plum, Cocoa, or Bronze,” says Lara.

Since embroidery is the first thing you notice when you open your Medelita package, it better be stunning. Of course you notice the fit and significantly better quality, but your eye gets pulled first in the direction of the only color in a sea of flawless white. It’s also the first thing your patients notice. Name & title embroidery can offer a level of comfort and explanation in a rather stressful environment. Who are you? What is your title? What are your qualifications to care for your patients?

Name and title embroidery is a sophisticated and beautifully sewn statement of your personal achievement, level of education, and professional aptitude – which is why our Founder feels so strongly about choosing the right color. Next time you’re ordering, consider choosing one of these ‘Founder Favorites’ for your perfect finishing touch. Call us Monday-Friday 8 AM – 5 PM PST at (877) 987-7979 if we could help to guide you any further concerning embroidery.

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Honoring a Pioneer: Pierre Fauchard

“Sugar is detrimental to both gums and teeth. We should limit it in our daily foods.” It seems like common sense now, but in 1728, it was a revolutionary statement. The man credited with first recognizing that sugar was anything but sweet on teeth was Pierre Fauchard, known as “the father of modern dentistry.”

Born in 1678 in France, Pierre Fauchard joined the French Royal Navy at the incredibly young age of 15 and became a combat medic under the tutelage of Alexander Poteleret, a surgeon major who specialized in diseases of the teeth and mouth. The definition of an overachiever, Pierre Fauchard singlehandedly changed the face of dentistry. Like a dental MacGyver, he adapted tools from watch makers, jewelers, and barbers to make remarkable improvisations on dental instruments to combat the limitations of the primitive surgical instruments during the late 17th and early 18th century. He even discovered that teeth position could be corrected and introduced the first braces – initially made from gold and fastened with waxed linen or silk threads.

Pierre Fauchard was considered a highly skilled surgeon by many of his colleagues at Angers University Hospital, where he worked after he left the Navy. At a time when dentists were called “Dentateurs” and generally only extracted teeth rather than treated them, Fauchard not only removed teeth but filled cavities, removed tartar from around the teeth and benign tumors of the gum, and even created ‘false teeth’, carved from blocks of ivory or bone. Pierre Fauchard often described himself as a “Chirurgien Dentiste” (Surgical dentist) – a term that would later become the title of his now-famous book.  At the age of 45, Pierre Fauchard completed the manuscript for “Le Chirurgien Dentiste”. The book, published in two volumes in 1728, is said to be the first complete scientific description of dentistry.

We chose to honor Pierre Fauchard with our own innovative and professional Medelita Men’s Fauchard dental lab coat. Designed to resemble a men’s suit jacket with a traditional collar and blazer pocket, the 40″ length Fauchard dental lab coat is the most professional and tailored dental lab coat on the market.  The Fauchard dental lab coat is designed specifically to accommodate the exact range of motion and ergonomics required of dental practitioners, and features cuffed sleeves and snap closure to the neck for OSHA compliance.

Comfort with movement in dental specific positions was the paramount consideration in this lab coat design, and an ergonomic design of the sleeves and upper back allows for full range of motion. Double back vent. Easy snap front closure. Underarm grommets for ventilation. Extra Smartphone pocket. The Fauchard dental lab coat also boasts breathable, 100% cotton pre-shrunk performance fabric that repels fluid, soil, and stains – including blood and impression material, while helping to maintain the bright white coat color that signifies prestige and professionalism. Learn more about the Fauchard dental lab coat.

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Sanita Clogs: Completing the Look

We are proud to offer our customers and colleagues the very best in quality and craftsmanship, not just in our own garments but in every product we sell. We originally chose to offer clogs because we wanted to provide a way to complete the professional look – wearing Medelita scrubs or a lab coat with any old shoes felt like it left a piece of the puzzle missing.

We chose Sanita® specifically because they’re best in class with an impressive and inspiring history.  Denmark has for generations been a clog nation, whose cultural unity is a way of life. In 1907, a visionary and the founder of Sanita®, Christian Meldgaard Andersen, created the first pair of hand carved wooden clogs.  And after 100 years, every clog is still handcrafted in Europe  - with the same tradition of craftsmanship and caring.

In addition to their impressive century of history in business, the premium leathers, innovative designs, style, quality, durability, and comfort of Sanita® professional clogs emulate our philosophies at Medelita.  They represent the perfect blend of tradition and innovation that we ourselves strive to embody – offering a modern look infused with color and texture while remaining professional and traditional.

Sanita® clogs have been awarded the “Seal of Acceptance” by the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) for their supreme quality and comfort. So for those healthcare practitioners on their feet in upwards of 2,000 hours every year, Sanita® professional clogs are a logical addition to your medical wardrobe.

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Impression Material vs. Medelita Lab Coats

The number one question we hear at dental conferences is, “Does impression material stain your lab coats?”  I’m proud to say that the answer is no.

Impression material is often used to obtain an impression of a patient’s teeth and the surrounding oral tissues. A dental impression is created by placing the liquid impression material into the mouth, usually with a tray. As the material hardens, it creates a detailed reproduction. There are a wide variety of impression materials available each with their own properties, advantages and disadvantages, yet all of them are notorious for staining fabric.

Medelita lab coats, however, are breathable 100% cotton treated with DuPont™ Advanced Dual Action Teflon® fabric protector, which repels and releases fluid, soil, and stains – including impression material. This ensures that your Medelita lab coat will remain clean and white with very little effort required.

At the recent 2011 CDA Conference, Dr. Lam, DDS, asked us if he could put our claims to the test. In his words, “I came here and was very interested in the Medelita fabrics and the lab coats, but what does concern me is a lot of times, in our office, is that we get unwanted stains from impression material.”

We were happy to oblige his request, and the results are in the video below. Click on the video link to watch the ‘battle’ of impression material versus Medelita lab coats . . . and see for yourself who emerges victorious.



Impression Material vs. Medelita Lab Coats

Keep an eye out for our next upcoming ‘potential stain’ battle: Blood vs. Medelita Lab Coats

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Why White?

Did you know that lab coats were originally beige? Prior to the adoption of lab coats in the medical profession, beige lab coats were generally worn by scientists. In the late 19th century, doctors adapted the tradition to symbolize a scientific approach to medicine. However, they changed the color from beige to white.

Historically, clerics and caretakers in hospitals wore black robes and physicians dressed in black, which was considered formal and representative of the serious nature of medicine.  The solemn sense of mourning conveyed by the dark clothing was unfortunately appropriate for the majority of patients in a time when being sick enough to require a hospitalization often meant an inevitable death. With advances in medicine in the 20th century, however, hospitals were no longer regarded as houses for dying, but as institutions of healing.

The white lab coat, therefore, symbolized not only healing and life, but a new hope in medicine. The word candor is derived from the Latin candidus which means white, and this representation of truth was a visual reminder of the physician’s commitment to do no harm, instilling trust and respect in patients.

White also conveys cleanliness, an innocence viewed in terms of being absent of infection – a sense of being safe. Angels are almost always depicted in white, and many patients now view the white coat as a “cloak of compassion” – a symbol of the care they expect to receive from their physicians.

A garment that symbolizes so much should reflect a certain standard of quality, and at Medelita, we have dedicated ourselves to providing white lab coats worthy of being universal symbols of hope, trust, and compassion.

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The White Coat Ceremony: A Transition to Independence

With the Fourth of July approaching, I cannot help but to reflect upon the idea of Independence. As human beings, we enjoy measuring the passage of time with markers of achievement – another year lived, a certain age reached, a commitment made, a goal reached. For many of us, our first symbol of independence is a car. I still clearly remember the big red bow wrapped around a shiny blue Pontiac Fiero on my 16th birthday. It was an impossibly impractical, but oh-so-beautiful car that will forever be remembered as my first taste of independence.

For many medical students, their first symbol of independence as a practitioner is their first full length lab coat. Over 100 medical schools in the USA now celebrate the occasion with a White Coat Ceremony.  A relatively new tradition in some medical, optometry, dental, chiropractic, physical therapy, podiatric, pharmacy, physician assistant, and veterinary schools, the White Coat Ceremony marks the transition from student to member of the healthcare profession – it is the ceremonial “cloaking” of a doctor-to-be as she or he embarks upon their medical career.

The white coat is a universal symbol of the medical profession, and after countless years of study and sacrifice, students beginning their careers deserve to stand proud in their first lab coat. Medelita garments are the perfect choice for a lab coat that will forever be remembered as their first.  Unlike my impractical classic sports car, however, our lab coats are as functional as they are flattering.  Medelita professional lab coats are breathable 100% cotton treated with DuPont™ Advanced Dual Action Teflon® fabric protector to resist fluid, soil, and stains – including blood – keeping the coat clean and white.

We also have a school discount program. Personalized for each participating educational institution, the Medelita School Discount Program offers students in medical fields an opportunity to save up to 40% on lab coats purchased in bulk for White Coat Ceremonies.  Medical students beginning their studies often see their education and role as future physicians as aspiring to be worthy of the long white lab coat . . . At Medelita, we believe that the long white lab coat should be worthy of them.

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Lessons from Seinfeld

I remember laughing, over a decade ago, at an episode of Seinfeld in which George was instrumental in changing the Yankees uniforms from polyester to cotton. The Yankees won their first game in a landslide, and George proclaims, “The uniforms! Did you see how they played? Listen to these comments! Wade Boggs: ‘What a fabric! Finally we can breathe.’ Luis Palonia: ‘Cotton is king.’ Paul O’Neill: ‘I never dreamed anything could be so soft and fluffy.’ ”

Of course, as with most Seinfeld episodes, yada, yada, yada . . . the plan backfired and the Yankees lost the next game because their uniforms shrank in the laundry. However, fabric has come a long way since 1994.

Medelita puts a great deal of thought into our choice of fabrics. Medelita scrubs are made with a high-performance drirelease® with FreshGuard® fabric. What this means is that the fabric itself is moisture-wicking, quick drying, and soft. Drirelease® yarns pull moisture away from the skin and helps to regulate skin temperature, minimizing sweat and discomfort.  FreshGuard® is bacteriostatic; it neutralizes and inhibits the growth of bacterial odors. The patented formula is applied at the yarn level, so the benefits are permanent and last the lifetime of the garment. And the best part – no shrinkage for you!

Medelita lab coats are 100% cotton.  We go through various processes to ensure that you can still enjoy the comfort of a breathable cotton lab coat, while not having to worry about noticeable shrinkage.  Medelita lab coat fabric is compacted and pre-shrunk – exposed to hot water and drying during processing.  Medelita lab coat fabric is also treated with High IQ Easy Care Plus to prevent shrinkage and minimize wrinkling.  These three components help to keep Medelita lab coat shrinkage to a maximum of 3% width and 3% length.  These maximum percentages apply to home laundering in hot water and drying on the highest temperature.  If we used a regular cotton fabric, and did not adhere to these additional steps, the shrinkage would be 12% or greater.

Medical professionals trying Medelita for the first time often do say things reminiscent of “What a fabric! Finally we can breathe.” Unlike the Yankees cotton of years past, however, Medelita garments will never noticeably shrink in the wash, so you can always be comfortable and at the top of your game.

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