On Tuesday, December 29, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) hosted a virtual white coat ceremony for 270 first-year doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) students and 60 first-year physician assistant studies students. Due to the on-going coronavirus pandemic the event was hosted on PCOM’s Facebook and YouTube pages to ensure the health and safety of all participants.

Each year, the white coat ceremony establishes a contract for beginning medical students that stresses the importance of compassionate care for patients, as well as scientific proficiency. “Today marks your transition to true healthcare providers, remembering that donning the white coat is not the culmination of your medical journey, but instead represents a transition to practicing practical care,” said Gregory McDonald, DO ‘89, dean of the PCOM School of Health Sciences, during the ceremony.

First-year doctor of osteopathic medicine student, Julia Burns (DO ‘24), acknowledged that this year was unlike any other and shared that the pandemic helped to confirm her decision to go into medicine. “To me, this year’s white coat ceremony is an opportunity to take pause, reflect and celebrate all that we, as a class, have done to get to this point and what we will do in the near future. Particularly during this pandemic, this ceremony takes on a different significance. We enter a profession, who is at battle and desperately fighting a disease. The pandemic has also made me feel more tenacious and self-assured that this is exactly where I am supposed to be. Even though we are virtual, this ceremony reminds me of our purpose and the pride I feel to be at PCOM.”

Jay Feldstein, DO ‘81, president and CEO, also addressed students, sharing the importance of wearing the white coat and reminding them of their responsibility to their patients. “When you put the patient first, everything else takes care of itself,” shared Dr. Feldstein.

Kenneth Veit, DO ‘76, hosted the ceremony and led the doctor of osteopathic medicine students in reciting their class vision statement. Laura Levy, DHSC, PA-C, chair, physician assistant studies, also spoke during the ceremony and led PA students in reciting their Pledge of Professionalism.

Family members and friends congratulated students via video messages that were submitted prior to the ceremony and included in the broadcast.

The ceremony can be viewed on PCOM’s Facebook and YouTube pages.