Elon holds white coat ceremony for Physician Assistant Studies program

The program in the Sacred Space of the Numen Lumen Pavilion signified the end of academic studies and the start of clinical education for members of the PA program's inaugural class.

Students in the first class of Elon University’s Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies program received their white coats at a Dec. 13 special ceremony held in the Sacred Space in the Numen Lumen Pavilion. 

More than 175 family and friends attended the event, which included welcome messages from Patti Ragan, associate professor and chair/program director of the Physician Assistant Studies program, and Elizabeth A. Rogers, dean of the School of Health Sciences. Program faculty presented the 37 students with their white coats and led them as they recited the physician assistant professional oath promising to adhere to the core values of honesty, integrity, altruism and empathy of the profession. 

The white coat ceremony signifies the completion of the academic year of study. The students, members of the inaugural class, now move to 15 months of clinical education where they will complete rotations in primary care, inpatient medicine, women’s health, behavioral medicine, pediatrics, general surgery, emergency medicine and two electives.

The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Diane Armao, who is on the faculty of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Medicine and adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Studies.

Armao compared the white coat to an artist’s white canvas. The artist creates a painting from a pallet of colors, she said, and the white coat will be the canvas for student learning as they train to treat patients.