Founding Dean and former Chief Academic Officer Paul Evans, DO ’79, delivered the keynote address to 136 osteopathic medical students and their family members and friends during the 13th annual DO White Coat Ceremony held at the Infinite Energy Theater in Duluth on Oct. 20, 2017. “I had the privilege to preside at the first White Coat Ceremony in 2005,” he said, “when Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM) was the first osteopathic college in the deep South.”
At the morning ceremony, Dr. Evans explained that the white coat “has been a symbol of the healthcare professions for many generations” and that “wearing it is a privilege bestowed upon all those who earn a place in the healing arts.”
He said, “As the DO class of 2021 stands before us, we celebrate their brightly shining promise, recognizing the journey they will undergo is long, full of individual and family sacrifices, and a path that will sometimes require great courage and perseverance to reach the goal of becoming a fully-trained physician.”
At the afternoon White Coat Ceremony held for 87 first-year pharmacy students, Dr. Chika Onyegam, a pharmacist who precepts PCOM School of Pharmacy students at the Veterans Administration, addressed the PharmD class of 2021.
She said that “pharmacists are often cited as professionals that Americans trust the most,” noting that patients want pharmacists to be humble, empathetic, kind, knowledgeable, detail-oriented and front-line educators. She called on the students to “pay attention to the patients we encounter” and to become patient advocates.
Class chairs Morgan Fuller (DO ’21) and Lilytte Tagala (PharmD ’21) delivered their respective class addresses, while soloist Obianuju Nwamah (DO ’21) sang “I Believe” to an appreciative audience.
Recalling that she spent her summers working at her father’s practice, DO student doctor Fuller said, “I’ve ended up at the right place at the right time.” She reminded her class that their white coat pockets “will carry our commitment to learning and advocating for our patients.”
Tagala noted that, to her, the white coat will be “a visual reminder we will persevere and not give up ... we are all on this journey together.”
Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine which has a storied history as a premier osteopathic medical school. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 678-225-7500.
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