Physician Assistant program adds White Coat Ceremony

Students beginning their clinical rotations in the School of Medicine’s Master of Medical Science-Physician Assistant program next April will be greeted with a White Coat Ceremony thanks to a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

The white coat is a mantle of the medical profession and the White Coat Ceremony takes place with students having the coat placed on their shoulders by individuals who believe in their ability to contribute to the traditions of the medical profession.

The Gold Foundation first initiated the White Coat Ceremony for medical students. Today, 96 percent of the AAMC-accredited medical schools in the United States conduct a White Coat Ceremony. The Foundation partnered with the Physician Assistant Education Association to provide funding to establish White Coat Ceremonies for PA progams last December.

The School of Medicine first initiated its White Coat Ceremony for incoming students entering the B.A./M.D. program. In 2003, the School made the White Coat Ceremony a program for Year 3 students as they transitioned to Hospital Hill and joined their Years 3-6 docent units for the beginning of their clinical rotations. This year’s White Coat Ceremony for B.A./M.D. students will be Aug. 16 at the Swinney Recreation Center on the Volker Campus.

Kathie Ervie, M.P.A.S., P.A.-C., program director, said the White Coat Ceremony for PA students will be modeled after the School’s ceremony for medical students. The ceremony will take place at the beginning of their fifth semester of the seven-semester program to signify the students’ transition from the classroom to the clinical phase of their training. As part of the ceremony, students will recite the PA Professional Oath as a pledge to the health and safety of their patients and to maintain a professional code of ethics.