Pharmacy and Medical Students Participate in Rite of Passage October 18, 2023
PCOM Georgia White Coat Ceremonies 2023
Friday the 13th was a great October day for 179 PCOM Georgia first year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students as they crossed the stage at the Gas South Convention Center in Duluth to
receive their white coats, which symbolize professionalism, compassion and trust.
As their loved ones watched, Shawn Spencer, PhD, RPh, dean and chief academic officer of the PCOM School of Pharmacy, presided over the 10:30 a.m. ceremony, while Andrea Mann, DO, FAAP, dean and chief academic officer of the PCOM Georgia College of Osteopathic Medicine,
led the 2:30 p.m. rite of passage.
In his remarks, Dr. Spencer said, “As you wear your white coat, hopefully it serves
as a reminder that being conferred a doctor is more than a piece of paper and more
than a career… I hope it serves as a reminder that you are making a difference in
the lives of others, and in yourselves.”
Zachary Powell, PharmD '23, a recent graduate who is currently a PGY1 pharmacy resident, addressed the student pharmacists.
He said, “Although I just started my journey as a pharmacist, I can assure you that
the long nights studying have been well worth the reward to have the opportunity to
be a contributor to the health and safety of others and begin earning the trust of
patients and healthcare professionals.”
Pharmacy Class Chair Jasper Dorsey (PharmD '27) had the honor of speaking to his classmates
about their newfound responsibilities.
“As we don these white coats, we not only embrace a new chapter in our education,
but also accept the profound responsibilities that come with it.
“Our white coats are not mere garments. They represent the trust that patients will
place in us as caregivers, the integrity with which we will conduct ourselves, and
the compassion we will show to those in our care.”
Three hours later, the Hughes ballroom, bedecked with floral arrangements in the college's
colors of blue, burgundy and gold, again filled up with family members and friends
supporting the osteopathic medical students.
Dean Mann addressed her students. She said, “The white coat placed on you today is
a badge of honor, so to speak. It is your today and your future.
“While wearing it, you will experience joy, challenge, hope, sadness, humor, frustration
and determination. Over the next four years, we will watch you transform into outstanding
osteopathic physicians who profoundly and genuinely care for each and every whole
Wearing the white coat he received from PCOM Georgia as a student 16 years ago, Ankur
Patel, DO '07, RPh, the CEO of Southern Pain and Spine with four locations in Georgia,
addressed the class of 2027.
He said, “While wearing this coat, you will be tasked with interviewing patients,
examining patients, speaking with family members, and being an integral member of
the entire medical care team.
“You must always hold this special privilege in highest regard, for patients and their
families will be counting on you to help them make decisions, to be a trusted confidante,
and to be a beacon of light and hope in their darkest hours.”
He then held up the white coats he received while a resident at SSM Health in St.
Louis and as a fellow at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, each longer
than the other signifying his educational journey.
“You're in for a wonderful ride!” he exclaimed.
Kenton Gross (DO '26), a second year DO student at PCOM Georgia, addressed his first
year colleagues, reminding them of the love of their family members and friends.
“My prayer is that on your hardest day, during your most strenuous week, that their
love reminds you that you aren’t alone and you are supported no matter where you go.”
He added, “The coat, in my mind, is a physical manifestation of the love that you
all have. And each thread is a moment shared between you.
“No matter your journey, each coat is made of the same tears, laughs and prayers.
All coming together to become your armor and serve as a reminder during your time
This year's ceremonies were live streamed on YouTube:
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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. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. 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 pcomgeorgiahealth.org.
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