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Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2021 Receives White Coats

August 20, 2019

The white coat establishes a psychological contract for students beginning their health care training that stresses professionalism, scientific proficiency and compassionate care for the patient.

The Physician Assistant Studies (PA) class of 2021 took its first steps toward a career as healthcare professionals during PCOM’s 22nd PA White Coat Ceremony. These students will go on to become an integral part of the healthcare team, serving on the front lines of patient care with physicians, nurses, behavioral health practitioners and many others.

“Our healthcare workforce needs help,” said Kenneth Veit, DO ’76, MBA, provost, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean. “We need your help to find ways to increase access to care for all Americans.”

Dr. Veit also congratulated the class for making it into an increasingly competitive program; those accepted into the PA class of 2021—60 in total—surpassed more than 2000 other applicants for the coveted spots.

“Donning our white coat reminds us that we have a responsibility to our patients to make them well and prevent illness, even when it is not easy to do so,” said Laura Levy, DHSC, PA-C, professor and chair, PA studies.

Recent graduate Anna Inserra (MS/PA ’19) urged the new class to learn ways to navigate some of the hardships of the rigorous, 2-year program, as it would be worth it in the end.

“It’s hard to look back on the person I was two years ago, because of how my physician assistant education has shaped me, not just as a practitioner but as a person,” she said.

The PA class of 2021 represented 14 states including Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, California and Colorado. Thirty-five percent of the class identifies as non-white or multi-race. The majority of students come from undergraduate institutions within the Tri-State area (PA, DE, NJ) but also represented are the Rochester Institute of Technology; University of California—Santa Cruz; and Virginia Polytechnic Institute, among others. The most common undergraduate degrees for the class were biological sciences; health science; and kinesiology. The average age of the class is 24.6.

The White Coat Ceremony is a significant rite of passage that establishes a psychological contract for students beginning their health care training that stresses professionalism, scientific proficiency and compassionate care for the patient.

The Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine White Coat Ceremony for the class of 2023 will take place Saturday, October 5.

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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit or call 215-871-6100.

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