Emblazoned on the shield of The Johns Hopkins Department of Medicine is the word Aequanimitas. The term means imperturbability and was regarded by Sir William Osler as the premier quality of a good physician. In his essay, Aequanimitas, Dr. Osler further defines this concept as coolness and presence of mind under all circumstances, calmness amid storm, clearness of judgment in moments of grave peril. In full development, it has the nature of a divine gift, a blessing to the possessor, a comfort to all who come in contact with him. At the beginning of their Osler residency, interns are given a copy of this essay --- both to bolster their spirit and to refresh their memories during the trials of the following year.
In 1977, John F. Beary III, Osler assistant resident, after an exchange period at the Radcliffe Infirmary in Oxford, suggested that there should be an Osler housestaff tie. Review of the coat of arms that Osler acquired when he became baronet in 1911 quickly convinced him, ACS David Robertson, and Dr. Victor McKusick that the coat of arms was not an appropriate insignia for a tie. Beary, Robertson and McKusick opted for a white escutcheon (on a blue background), carrying the Osler motto Aequanimitas.
The tie/scarf is given to new interns at the beginning of their Osler residency and is traditionally worn every Friday. This tradition has lived on at academic centers across the country where Osler alumni move beyond the dome. It has even taken hold in popular culture, having been mentioned in the popular sitcom House.