Physician Assistant Program Holds Inaugural White Coat Ceremony

On May 10th, Tufts University School of Medicine’s Physician Assistant Program held its inaugural White Coat Ceremony in Behrakis Auditorium. The event served to formally welcome the 30 students who comprise the Class of 2015, the first cohort of PA students at the medical school. The students were proudly presented with their first white coat, a rite of passage that signifies their membership as colleagues in the health-care field. In attendance were Tufts faculty, administration and staff, as well as the families and friends of the students. The ceremony opened with remarks from PA Program Director Richard Murphy, followed by a keynote address from Tufts University President Anthony Monaco and TUSM Dean Harris Berman. After receiving their coats, the students were led by Program Medical Director Jeanine Carlson in a recitation of the Hippocratic Oath, swearing to fulfill the role of a medical professional responsibly and ethically.

Murphy reminded the students, “The white coat does not and should not shield clinicians from being human…it should not keep them from appreciating the emotions, concerns, and pain of their patients. It should not protect them from feeling. This is what the White Coat Ceremony is all about. This is why we are here today.”

White coat ceremonies are a recent occurrence, originating at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1993. Initially held for medical students, they have since expanded to other health professions, including physician assistants and pharmacists. The ceremony was developed by Dr. Arnold P. Gold, who sought to bring a humanistic focus to medicine. 

The mission of TUSM’s PA Program is to train future physician assistants to become integral members of the health care team. This training occurs in a dynamic learning environment with rigorous fundamentals and an innovative curriculum delivery. The program places a particular emphasis on primary care and other fields that address regional and national workforce shortages.

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