Osteopathic medicine and Pharmacy students donned the traditional garb during ceremonies in front of family and friends.
Two hundred and thirty-three PCOM Georgia students proudly donned their newly minted white coats for the first time on Friday, October 18, 2019, at White Coat Ceremonies held at the Infinite Energy Theater in Duluth.
“Your white coat symbolizes your transition from scholar to healthcare professional,” keynote speaker Andrea Redfern, PharmD ’16, explained to the 94 Doctor of Pharmacy students who attended the 2 p.m. ceremony with family, friends and faculty members in attendance.
“Wearing your white coat is a declaration of patient care. It displays competency, integrity, compassion, responsibility and a commitment to service,” she said.
Redfern, a 2016 PCOM Georgia Doctor of Pharmacy graduate, works as one of the clinical pharmacy operations managers for Ingenio-Rx, the recently launched pharmacy benefits management arm of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
Shawn Spencer, PhD, RPh, dean of the PCOM School of Pharmacy, addressed the class of 2023. “I salute you for making the decision to be here, for accepting the responsibility to teach others, and for setting sail on the life-long path of professionalism, competence and the uncovering and discovering of knowledge.”
The class recited the pledge of professionalism led by John Tovar, PharmD, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, while Class Representative Kathleen Leonardo (PharmD ’23) encouraged her classmates along the journey to becoming a pharmacist. “There is a standard set when wearing the white coat,” she said, “one that hinges on academic competence.”
Earlier in the day, at 11 a.m., 139 student doctors who are pursuing Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degrees, heard from Vice Provost H. William Craver III, DO, who is marking his tenth year as dean of the osteopathic medicine program at PCOM Georgia.
Reaching back into history, he said, “Healers have always been identified with some sort of a special garment - a headdress, a pendant or a special robe. In our modern time, the white coat has become the standard banner representing the healing arts.” He added, “I am proud to know that very soon I may address you as a fellow alumnus.”
Caleb Jerris (DO ’23), Chair of the DO class of 2023, used numbers to describe the importance of his classmates’ mission. He noted that physicians are only one-third of 1 percent of the population who carry the responsibility of caring for others.
“Our white coats should serve as a reminder that 99.7 percent of people need us and trust us. We are promising to do whatever we can – to listen, to understand, and as osteopathic physicians, to touch our patients.”
“When you are tired of the long days, we need you. When you have studied past dinner and have forgotten to eat, we need you. Never give up your hard work. Believe in yourself and the commitment you are making to others,” he said.
Class members repeated their class mission statement after assisting each other in donning their white coats.
Attendees celebrated at a reception held at PCOM Georgia and family members and friends were invited to tour the campus.
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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