Approximately 130 pharmacy students in the Class of 2019 and 270 medical students in the Class of 2020 marked a major milestone on Sept. 17 the awarding of their white coats at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine’s (LECOM) White Coat Ceremonies.
The occasion, held at Erie’s Warner Theater, completed a rite of passage for the first-year students who marked the transition from pre-clinical to more clinical, hands-on training with the awarding of their white coats.
LECOM’s pharmacy students received their white coats in the day’s first ceremony and were addressed by guest speaker Bojana Stevich-Heemer, Pharm.D., who is an associate professor of pharmacy practice at LECOM and LECOM School of Pharmacy Class of 2006 alumna.
“Being here today is an accomplishment that each of you should be very proud of,” said Dr. Stevich-Heemer. “Receiving your white coat is a very important step in becoming a pharmacy professional. I encourage you to keep building upon your knowledge and this achievement.”
Following Dr. Stevich-Heemer’s keynote speech, Zachary Heeter, Pharm.D., Director of Pharmacy Residency Education and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice; Douglas Smith, Pharm.D., Director of Experiential Education and Professor of Pharmacy Practice; and Randall Heemer, Pharm.D., Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice placed the white coats on each of the students as they walked across the stage.
Following the presentation of the white coats, the students recited the Pledge of Professionalism, promising their commitment to the pharmacy profession.
In the day’s second ceremony, the medical students were addressed by Thomas Doran, D.O., a member of the Class of 2014.
Dr. Doran is currently in his third year of an emergency medicine residency within the Conemaugh Health System in Johnstown, Pa., and delivered a speech on the responsibility and privilege that comes with putting on the white coat for the first time.
“Today, you will have conferred upon you a mantle of responsibility,” said Dr. Doran. “You have been told, correctly, that LECOM considers the white coat an honor and privilege to be bestowed only upon those who will embody the ideals of osteopathic medicine. With the coat about your shoulders, we will look upon you to represent the medical profession with honesty, integrity and fidelity.”
The students were then cloaked by Robert Evans, D.O., Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Osteopathic Principles and Practice; Carmine D’Amico, D.O., Clinical Professor of Internal Medicine and Cardiology; Jan Hendryx, D.O., Clinical Professor of Family Medicine and Osteopathic Principles and Practice; Mark Kauffman, D.O., Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies and Director of the Accelerated Physician Assistant Program; and Regan Shabloski, D.O., Assistant Dean of Clinical Education.
In addition to receiving their white coats, the medical students were also given their stethoscopes, which were presented Pennsylvania Osteopathic Medical Association (POMA) President Anthony DiMarco, D.O.
The students were then led by Silvia M. Ferretti, D.O., Vice President, Provost and Dean of Academic Affairs, in reciting the Pledge of Commitment, promising their commitment to medicine and the osteopathic profession.
Following the ceremonies, the LECOM marketing department took photos on the main lobby steps at the Warner Theater. If you had photos taken, they are now available online at lecom.smugmug.com/WhiteCoat. All purchases made through the LECOM SmugMug galleries will benefit the LECOM Student Scholarship Fund.