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First-year Students Receive White Coats

141 pharmacy and 196 medical students honored at ceremony
LECOM student-pharmacists recite the Pharmacy Pledge of Professionalism at the White Coat ceremonies for the Class of 2018.

Medical and pharmacy students at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) Bradenton, Fla., campus marked the transition from classroom study to clinical education when they received their white coats on January 24 at the Harvest Center in Lakewood Ranch.

One hundred and forty-one School of Pharmacy students and 196 College of Medicine students received their White Coats in front of family, friends and colleagues.

LECOM President and CEO John M. Ferretti, D.O.; Provost, Senior Vice President and Dean of Academic Affairs Silvia M. Ferretti, D.O.; Associate Dean for LECOM Bradenton Robert George, D.O. and Dean of the LECOM School of Pharmacy Hershey S. Bell, M.D., M.S. Med.Ed., welcomed first-year students into their respective health care professions.

Ashley Ahlquist of Sarasota, Fla., receives her White Coat from the College of Medicine.

President of the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association William Stager, D.O. congratulated the Class of 2018 and noted the importance of becoming involved with the state organization.

Keeping with the ceremony’s tradition, LECOM alumni – Julia King., D.O. (Class of 2009) addressed the medical students, while Mitchelle Rodriguez, Pharm.D. (Class of 2013) addressed the pharmacy students.

“A white coat is meant to represent your induction into the medical profession and to becoming part of the clinical team,” said Dr. King, a physician at Lakewood Ranch Obstetrics and Gynecology. “It symbolizes the vow you will make to provide compassionate patient care and the promise to always keep your patient’s best interests at heart.”

Dr. Rodriguez is an assistant professor in pharmacy practice at the College.

“As a LECOM graduate, I remember sitting in those same seats the day I received my first white coat,” she said. “The white coat you received today is more than a familiar lab coat – your white coat symbolizes competence, communication, trust and compassion.”

The white coat ceremony is a LECOM tradition inspiring these future health care professionals to commit to the highest principles related to the practice of osteopathic medicine and pharmacy.  Their education takes them on a new pathway where they will interact with physicians and pharmacists in clinics, hospitals and pharmacies throughout the country. This is a time when students begin their pursuit of providing quality healthcare for the lifetime of their patients.