D.P.T. Class of 2024 Marks the Transition to Clinical Education with White Coat Ceremony
D.P.T. students were in the presence of their families and friends as they donned their white coats for the first time.
It was a milestone occasion as members of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (D.P.T.) Class of 2024 took a symbolic step toward beginning their clinical studies as they donned their white coats for the first time during the White Coat Ceremony on April 12 in the John W. Nevins, M.D. '44 Auditorium. Family and friends of the students witnessed their loved ones affirm their commitment to the field of physical therapy.
The D.P.T. cohort processed into the ceremony with their coats in hand. The event began with an invocation by Rabbi Baruch Fogel, M.A., of Touro University, followed by remarks from Michael J. Majsak, Ed.D., P.T., associate professor and chair of the Department of Physical Therapy. “The ceremony today is not so much the celebration of an endpoint, but an acknowledgment of a commitment that the students are taking to be leaders in serving the needs of others,” Dr. Majsak said.
Edward C. Halperin, M.D., M.A., chancellor and chief executive officer, also addressed the students with a pre-recorded message telling the students that the coat sends a message to others that they can be trusted and that they will follow science in their treatment. “Each of you can decide what thoughts go through your mind when you put on your white coat, but wear it with humility and with pride, do nothing to ever dishonor the message sent by the white coat,” Dr. Halperin said.
The D.P.T. Class of 2024 also heard from alumnus Dominique Torres, P.T., D.P.T. ‘15, CBIS, senior physical therapist at Mount Sinai Hospital, who spoke about finding one’s purpose, or one’s “why” when it comes to physical therapy and embracing a humanist approach to the profession. Dr. Torres had a unique perspective about pursuing a passion, as he came from a finance background when he realized he wanted to change career paths. “I want you to reflect on what the responsibility of wearing this white coat entails; the responsibility to stay noble and humble, the responsibility to not give up on our patients and think globally, and the responsibility to always pay it forward through service,” Dr. Torres said.
The pinnacle of the ceremony followed with the students putting on their white coats with the assistance of faculty before reciting the Pledge for Physical Therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association Education Section 2004, a pledge the D.P.T. Class of 2024 will reaffirm in two years at their commencement.
“Putting on the white coat speaks to the work I have put in to get here,” said Jeffrey Alegun, D.P.T. Class of 2024. “Now it’s important to pay it forward and be someone who is a helper, a caregiver and a clinician.”
Noah O’Dell, D.P.T. Class of 2024, reflected on what the ceremony meant for how he would approach his future. “Receiving the white coat is an important symbol to me. It’s about humility, it is not about me anymore. Donning this white coat is me going from the classroom to real-life experience and putting my knowledge to the test.”