PCOM Georgia Student Doctors Celebrate White Coat CeremonyOctober 15, 2021
PCOM Georgia held its 17th Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) White Coat Ceremony on Friday, October 8, 2021, in which 138 student doctors, members
of the Class of 2025, received their white coats. Faculty members Gary Freed, DO,
Shafik Habal, MD, and Donald Penney, MD, helped the students into their coats on the
stage of the Gas South Convention Center in Duluth.
In a videotaped message, Jay S. Feldstein, DO ‘81, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine president and CEO, welcomed the students
to the ceremony which he described as a rite of passage.
“Donning your white coat signifies your official journey into the osteopathic medicine profession,” he said.
As part of the invocation, Chief Campus Officer Bryan Ginn shared his personal experience as a 16-day hospital inpatient with COVID-19 and what
healthcare providers in white coats meant to him.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much my personal regard for those in the white coat
grew – their professionalism in every way, their ability to effectively address difficult
topics about treatments and possible outcomes, their ability to speak with confidence
when they were certain of the pathways ahead, and to speak with vulnerability and
honesty when there was uncertainty about what to do next.”
Ginn said, “I am privileged and I am blessed to be here today to ask for God’s blessings
on you as you will perhaps serve as the manifestation of humanity to your patients.”
Madison Cohen, chair of the Class of 2025, reminded her peers that the white coat
is a symbol of all the work they’ve done to become medical students.
“You are here because you wanted to make a difference, to commit your life to helping
other people. This white coat is a symbol of the commitment you have made.”
New Dean and Chief Academic Officer of the osteopathic medicine program, Andrea P. Mann, DO, served as the host of her first PCOM Georgia White Coat Ceremony. She shared with
the students that the coat is similar to a uniform, although it is only an article
of clothing. “It’s the doctor inside the coat that really matters,” she said.
Dr. Mann suggested that the students consider five tips to help them be the best physicians
- “Listen, really listen. Your patient will tell you the diagnosis 95 percent of the
- “Be kind and compassionate. To each person their concern matters.”
- “Be humble and authentic. Share your knowledge and expertise, but listen to your patients’
perspectives and potential barriers.”
- “Be present and love what you do. Enjoy the privilege of sharing your patients’ life
- “Keep your cup full. Self-care is not only important; it’s actually essential.”
She noted that the students are accepting a tremendous responsibility when they wear
their white coats. “We believe in you. We are confident in your abilities. We know
that you will do amazing things. We are certain you will practice high quality, evidence-based
medicine and display humanism,” she said.
Ugo Bitussi, DO ’14, a 2014 PCOM Georgia graduate who completed his residency in physical
medicine and rehabilitation at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School
and now practices at the Atlanta Rehabilitation Consultants, addressed the graduates.
He said, “Let your white coat serve as a symbol to remind yourself to look inward
and cultivate yourself to bring your best self forward.”
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About PCOM Georgia
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, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied
history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and
physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science,
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/georgia or call 678-225-7500.
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