Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2023 White Coat Ceremony Goes Virtual

They were selected from a class of nearly 350 applicants.

Now, each student is one of 51.

Today, the Physician Assistant Studies Class of 2023 participated in their White Coat Ceremony — only this time, it was virtual. But CHS officials made sure it did not lose any of its meaning. Since 1993, the White Coat Ceremony has been a rite of passage, as it represents the value of humanism in healthcare. The ceremony provides a powerful emphasis on compassion, in combination with scientific excellence. During that first ceremony nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Arnold Gold, who was a professor of clinical neurology and clinical pediatrics at Columbia, said this:

“A physician’s responsibility is not only to take care of patients, but also to care for patients.”

These students are now one step closer to their ultimate goals.

“You showed grit, you persevered,” said Dr. Scott Lephart, Dean of the College of Health Sciences. “Today is an important day. You start your journey as a practitioner, a PA, a noble and in-demand profession in the Commonwealth and the nation. With this honor and hard work comes responsibility to yourself and your patients. You will provide hope and restore human dignity.”

Not only is the career in-demand, but it is also now ranked as the No. 1 job in America by U.S. News & World Report. The factors that went into the study include median salary, employment rate, future job prospects, stress level and work-life balance.

As the students took their oaths, some shared the moment with their families, physicians or mentors. And the keynote speaker, Allan Riggs, graduated from the program in 1977.

“The journey that you are starting today is a memorial of what has been done in the past,” said Interim Department Chair David Fahringer. “The class of 1974 started this program to blaze a path through the forest, and as each class has come down this pathway, the path has improved — not to be harder or easier — but rather, to become a path of success.

“Take up the mantle of the white coat,” he continued. “Go touch lives and make a difference. The sky’s the limit and we need you to be the best healthcare providers.”

Want to watch the ceremony? Visit this link.