UAB School of Health Professions Current News

UAB Physician Assistant students hold first white coat ceremony

2012 SPA White Coat RennerSecond year SPA student Kayla Renner presents a white coat to her husband Nolan, a first year SPA student.It was a memorable moment for Nolan Renner, a first year University of Alabama at Birmingham Physician Assistant student. His wife, Kayla, a second year SPA student, presented him with his white coat on Oct. 5, 2012. It also happened to be the very first SPA White Coat Ceremony for the UAB program held at the Historic Woodrow Hall in Birmingham, followed by the Second Annual PA Fall Ball.

Each of the 57 members of the Class of 2014 was presented with their traditional short white coat by a member of the Class of 2013 in the presence of family, friends, faculty and staff. The white coat is one of health care’s most important symbols, signifying that a practitioner’s responsibility is not only to treat patients, but to also care for that patient’s well-being.

SPA Class 2014The first year students are beginning their training in a clinical setting in January 2013. They will obtain medical histories from patients and perform physical examinations throughout the spring semester. The students recited the Pledge of Professionalism to affirm their loyalty to the profession of medicine, dedicate their life to the service of humanity and practice by putting patient consideration first.

The idea for the ceremony was sparked by Kristopher Maday, M.S., PA-C, CNSC, assistant professor in the program.

“The white coat ceremony is a ritual of initiation, not culmination,” said Maday. “I wanted to have something that made the students the focal point. This was their time to shine and be recognized for their achievement in making it to this point in their academic careers. The majority of the first 18 months of their education is spent in the classroom; this ceremony signifies a rite of passage into the clinical arena. It is the program’s way of welcoming our students into the brotherhood of medicine.”

The SPA Class of 2013 President John Hardisty suggested combining the White Coat Ceremony with the PA Fall Ball. The class helped put on both events. The PA Fall Ball, which was started a year ago, was the brainchild of SPA Class of 2012 President Lauren Gibson.

See photos from the ceremony on our Facebook page.