More than 500 viewers watched the 2020 White Coat Ceremony on livestream Friday afternoon. The ceremony brought together the Master of Physician Assistant Class of 2022 and the Doctor of Pharmacy Class of 2024 to receive their short white coats. The special occasion marks the students’ entry and transition into their professional education journey.
This year’s ceremony was the first of its kind due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Only a handful of faculty and staff were present and friends and family members participated via the live broadcast. Even though the physical presence of loved ones was missing, the positive spirit of the auspicious event still permeated through Hobson Performance Center.
At the start of the ceremony, Dr. Scott Asbill, associate dean of Academic Affairs, said, “This is the beginning of your transformation into healthcare professionals. The white coat as a symbol of the medical profession has been traced back to the late 1800s/early 1900s. Please remember this… tradition and history reminds us that the white coat is a symbol of a medical profession, but the white coat in itself does not make you a professional. I would propose that the very core of professionalism is a sense of Christian calling and that this calling is a willingness to sacrifice of yourself for your patients.”
Chair and Director of the PA program, Betty Lynne W. Johnson (’79, ’86), offered the invocation and CPHS Alumni Board President, Crystal N. Dowless (’09 PharmD), brought greetings on behalf of the CPHS alumni before Dean Michael L. Adams (’96 PharmD) delivered the professional address to the 54 PA students and 74 pharmacy students.
He shared his thoughts and observations on professionalism, including six key elements: caring, compassion, commitment, confidentially, honesty and integrity. He encouraged the students to take advantage of the multiple socialization opportunities they will have during their education process where they will be introduced to the characteristics, values and norms within their profession and to note the model ideal characteristics of professionals in white coats. “Take note of what works and even of what doesn’t. Find those role models who you want to emulate and study their approach.”
“The coat today is only the first step in a long process of formation and development.”
Following Adams’ remarks, the students crossed the stage to be coated by their respective program head and to then sign the CPHS honor code. The gesture expresses their commitment to exhibiting honor and integrity in the use of his or her special skills for the betterment of humankind and to act at all times in a manner which will instill public confidence in the profession.
The benediction was offered by Dr. D. Byron May, chair of Pharmacy Practice, who used an edited version of prayer that was given by Dr. Jack Chen at the 2015 White Coat Ceremony at Loma Linda University.
Remarks of Dr. Asbill will ring true as the students go forth, “Students, now the really hard work is going to begin. Trust me when I say this. You are going to be challenged more so than you ever have been in your life. Academically, personally, professionally. You must adapt. You must make sacrifices. You must work harder than you ever have. That’s what professionals do. You see it through to the end of your journey.”