Person's hand scrolling through news article on tablet Image


LECOM Bradenton Students Receive White Coats at Annual Ceremonies

BRADENTON – LECOM Bradenton held three ceremonies at The Harvest Center in Lakewood Ranch, where 436 first-year students marked the beginning of their journey from preclinical education to clinical education by accepting their white coats.

LECOM Bradenton First Year College of Medicine Student standing during white coat ceremony in Bradenton, Florida.

LECOM Bradenton first-year College of Medicine students during their white coat ceremony.

The day’s ceremonies began with the School of Dental Medicine, which had 101 students receiving white coats. After a welcoming message from Director of Student Affairs Ronald Shively, Silvia M. Ferretti, D.O., provost, vice president and dean of academic affairs, delivered a message on the significance of their white coats and the upcoming journey that accompanies them.

“The symbolic white coat is a celebration that signifies the zenith of this glorious experience for all of you, who have so adeptly primed yourselves academically and mentally, for the challenges that await you,” said Dr. Ferretti.  This occasion signifies your readiness to embrace your calling. The event reaches more profoundly to the purpose of a life dedicated to health care. For although this celebration reflects a pinnacle moment at LECOM to a year companioned by a commitment to hard work, sacrifice and perseverance, it also signifies a new beginning to invest yourselves into the total immersion of heart, mind and spirit in the pursuit of exceptionalism in one of the noblest of all professions.”

Following the School of Dental Medicine ceremony, 143 School of Pharmacy students received their white coats after hearing a message from Class of 2011 alumna Victoria Reinhartz, Pham.D.

Dr. Reinhartz remembered fondly receiving her white coat, and encouraged the pharmacy students to embrace its significance.

“I remember sitting in your seat, excitedly tapping my foot in anticipation of my own white coat,” said Dr. Reinhartz. “I felt accomplished and proud, and maybe also a little nervous. But most of all, looking back now, I see that nine years ago I was to some extent naive at the full significance of this white coat.  This coat is not just a uniform, not just a badge of accomplishment, but a symbol of altruism, of devoting yourself towards the well-being and health of others. This coat means integrity. This coat endows you with the responsibility of maintaining professionalism in all that you do.”

Dr. Reinhartz encouraged the students – along with providing other valuable advice – to “be brave.”

After completing just her second week of pharmacy school, Dr. Reinhartz was involved in serious vehicle accident that left her with a crushed pelvis and months of rehab and recovery. Still, she remained undeterred and went on to earn her pharmacy degree.

“It took a near-death experience for me to be brave,” said Dr. Reinhartz. “I encourage you to let this moment, right now, be your turning point. Let this day be the day you decide to capitalize on the professional growth opportunities ahead of you.”

Close up view of students clapping in LECOM Erie's white coat ceremony.

LECOM Bradenton first-year School of Dental Medicine students look on during their white coat ceremony.

The day’s ceremonies concluded with the College of Medicine, where 192 students received their white coats.

The class heard a message from Class of 2004 alumnus Ryan Jawitz, D.O., who was a member inaugural class at LECOM Bradenton.

Dr. Jawitz pushed his audience to cherish their time doing clinical work and use it as an opportunity to improve the work they will be doing for the rest of their professional careers.

“This may be when you figure out or confirm what type of specialty you want to practice or where you want to live,” said Dr. Jawitz. While traveling to different cities and visiting with friends is fun, don’t lose your work ethic. Keep up with your reading, but more importantly, don’t forget to get your hands and feet wet. Don’t just watch, roll up your sleeves and participate. Those white coats can be dry cleaned. There is no better way to learn than practicing your craft.”

At all three ceremonies, students pledged to uphold the standards of their chosen professions and administer compassionate, quality care to their patients. LECOM reaffirmed its commitment to providing the highest level of education and clinical training to help students achieve their goals.