Person's hand scrolling through news article on tablet Image


First-Year Students Participate in White Coat Ceremonies

Students take important and symbolic step toward becoming health professionals

The Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (LECOM) first-year Doctor of Pharmacy and Doctor of Osteopathic students took an important and symbolic step in their careers as health professionals when they participated in White Coat ceremonies.

Receiving the white coat is an important milestone for the students as they approach the completion of their first semester and prepare to make the transition from pre-clinical education to more clinical, hands-on training.

School of Pharmacy Class of 2017 students receive their white coats. The White Coat ceremonies are an important milestone for first-year students. The coat symbolizes integrity, professionalism, and a commitment to providing the highest quality of patient care.

LECOM prepares medical and pharmacy students to treat patients compassionately and with the highest degree of professionalism. White coats are symbols of integrity, professionalism, and the commitment to providing the highest quality of healthcare. Students also recited the Pledge of Professionalism (for pharmacy) and the Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment (for medicine).

Two LECOM graduates who once participated in White Coat ceremonies as students served as keynote speakers during the Sept. 20 ceremonies.

Nathan Dahl, PharmD, a 2011 LECOM graduate and Hematology/Oncology Clinical Pharmacist at the Mayo Clinic, addressed the 143 members of LECOM’s Doctor of Pharmacy Class of 2017. The students are in a three-year, accelerated program.

Dr. Dahl emphasized the importance of developing a level of trust with patients. He notes that pharmacists are consistently ranked at or near the top of all professions with respect to honesty and ethical standards. “Patients put a great deal of faith in their pharmacists to provide exceptional care,” Dr. Dahl said. “This trust allows us as pharmacists to use our extensive knowledge in medication therapy to help improve patient outcomes, increase adherence, and optimize medication regimens in collaboration with prescribers.”

Samuel Urick, DO, a 2008 graduate of LECOM’s campus in Bradenton, Fla., addressed the 250 members of the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2018. Dr. Urick is in private practice as a board-certified internal medicine physician with St. Clair Medical Services.

More than 100 first-year osteopathic medical students at LECOM’s campus at Seton Hill in Greensburg, Pa., received their white coats during an Oct. 4 ceremony.

His remarks included the symbolic importance of the white coat. “At first, it will be merely an empty white coat, but it truly will become part of their identity as osteopathic physicians,” he said. “When the students recite the Osteopathic Pledge of Commitment, they will begin to understand the importance of preserving the health and the life of their patients and retaining their confidence and respect as both a physician and a friend.”

LECOM’s campus at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pa., hosted a White Coat ceremony for 104 first-year Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine students. Samuel G. Marcotullio, DO, a 2002 LECOM graduate and Hospitalist, Internal Medicine, with Premier Medical Associates of Monroeville, Pa., gave the keynote address. The ceremony was held at the Performing Arts Center at Seton Hill University.

Like Dr. Dahl and Dr. Urick, Dr. Marcotullio noted that he was honored to be chosen for the keynote address. He also recalled his own White Coat ceremony as a student, and how he wondered whether he was ready for the rigors of medical school. Dr. Marcotullio assured the first year students at LECOM at Seton Hill that they will be successful provided they are willing to work hard.

“As you move along, you will be met by many challenges,” he said. “There will be academic challenges, social challenges, and patient care challenges. How you handle these challenges will define you. You will need to be steady in the face of adversity.”