Duluth’s Infinite Energy Theater, filled with family members and friends of about 230 first year pharmacy and medical students, was the site of two White Coat Ceremonies last week that symbolize the transition of the students to the clinical aspects of their education at Georgia Campus – Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (GA-PCOM)
Brandon Cunningham, PharmD, a resident at the PCOM School of Pharmacy, addressed the Class of 2020, noting that the white coat is a representation of them, the School of Pharmacy and the pharmacy field. “You are being watched. The community looks up to you. Remember to uphold the profession as high as you can,” he said.
Pharmacy class representative Arrington Mason-Callaway likened the transition to a mortar and pestle, enduring symbols of the pharmacy profession that are used for crushing or grinding things into a powder or paste. “I surmise that each of you has been molded in the spirit of the mortar,” he said. “You are a vessel that must be filled with knowledge, skills, intellect, work ethic, passion and love. In the spirit of the pestle, we must move with tenacity and courage to make use of these skills…Accept the honor and responsibility of the white coat with a sense of urgency,” he said.
Immediate Past President of the Georgia Osteopathic Medical Association, Dianna Glessner, DO, addressed the medical students noting that “with the white coat comes tremendous responsibility.” She said, “Complete strangers allow us to delve into their intimate and even secret details about their lives…this privilege has inherent obligations—you will need to be life-long students so that you remain excellent in the sciences that brought you here today.” She reminded the students that as physicians, they “will see many people at their worst—when they are hurting, sick, frightened, lonely, desperate.” She said, “It is a privilege to be a physician. Never forget that.”
Osteopathic Medicine class chair Ronak Patel empathized with his classmates, saying “Medical school can be extremely overwhelming to say the least, but moments like this remind us why we’re here in the first place.”
Erik Zarandy, DO, a 2012 graduate of the college, addressed the students summing up the meaning of the white coat. “For me, my white coat is a constant reminder of the strength I possess as a physician and as a person, but it’s not the reason for my strength. My significance does not come from wearing this coat, but from the compassion I show towards my patients. It is a reminder of the promise I made to each and every patient I’ll ever have—the promise to heal and cure.”
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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