More than 430 first-year HSC students received their white coats

Students at the White Coat Ceremony

In a packed auditorium of enthusiastic onlookers, 432 students at The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth took a pivotal step toward their careers in health care.

HSC’s annual White Coat Ceremony, held this year on Friday, Aug. 19, represented a rite of passage for the university’s patient-facing students. In addition to receiving a personalized embroidered white coat, each first-year student from HSC’s Physician Assistant Program, Physical Therapy Program, College of Pharmacy and Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine took an oath to uphold their profession’s respective ethics and standards, as family and friends cheered them across the Will Rogers Memorial Auditorium stage.

The white coat represents a student’s transition into the health care field. With a grant from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation of New York, HSC began the celebration of a White Coat Ceremony in August 1996. The White Coat Ceremony symbolizes a psychological contract for professionalism and empathy. The event emphasizes the importance of the foundational mission of the institution: education, research, patient care and service.

Dr. Charles Taylor, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, opened the proceedings by welcoming the students and articulating the importance of the white coat.

Dr. Charles Taylor
Dr. Charles Taylor

“The White Coat Ceremony is a special event signifying the beginning of your journey to becoming health professionals,” he said. “The white coat symbolizes a standard of professionalism and caring. It symbolizes trust that occurs between a health care provider and a patient.

“At the Health Science Center, you will become a valued member of health care professionals driven to improve the human condition through our passion for innovation and teamwork,” he continued. “Our value promise to you is transformation — through an innovative, interprofessional education immersed in a caring, community-focused environment, you will emerge as competent, emotionally intelligent, team-ready, communication-savvy leaders.”

Dr. Karen Duncan
Dr. Karen Duncan

During the ceremony, the Mary E. Luibel Distinguished Service Award was given to JPS Health Networks’ CEO, Dr. Karen Duncan. The award is given annually to people in the health care profession who show an exceptional personal commitment and long-standing dedication to the advancement of the medical profession. The award was named after the wife of TCOM co-founder and chairman, Dr. George J. Luibel.

A current student from each of HSC’s schools represented at the ceremony gave a speech encouraging the first-year students and offering advice. Tiara Gipson, a Doctor of Pharmacy candidate slated to graduate next year, became emotional as she recalled how supportive her College of Pharmacy colleagues were as she dealt with myriad challenges.

Tiara Gipson
Tiara Gipson

“A month into the fall semester, my dad passed away,” she said. “It was sudden, unexpected and rocked me to the core. I had lost my biggest fan. I didn’t feel like I had the strength to continue day to day, let alone make it to graduation.

“Not only did my family and friends outside of school step up to support me, but my pharmacy family was there as well,” she continued. “I have so much gratitude for this program and encourage all of you to find your people. You will need them.”

Dr. Melissa Lewis, president of the faculty senate, was the grand marshal of the ceremony. UNT alumna Erica Simmons sang a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Nearly 30 faculty members acted as on-stage “coaters.”

 

Recent News

Screenshot 2024 06 20 At 3.45.01 pm
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

From sacrifice to success: a journey through physical therapy school

Ancelmo Mojarro came to Fort Worth to study. The Tyler native knew he wanted to be a physical therapist early on his undergraduate days. He embarked on his path to physical therapy a decade ago, inspired by a friend's suggestion amidst his quest to find his calling in the medical field. “I starte...
Garciarosanski
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

HSC pro bono physical therapy program offers hope

For 70-year-old Beverly Rozanski, the journey to improved health has been long and challenging. Raised in Michigan, Rozanski spent her childhood and early adult years struggling with physical challenges that made even the simplest tasks seem insurmountable. However, her discovery of a pro bono p...
Mills John
  • Our People
|Jun 20, 2024

Team of HSC experts develops national position statement for NCCHC on care for aging patients in correctional facilities

Addressing an overlooked and sometimes neglected patient population, a group of experts from The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth partnered with the National Commission on Correctional Health Care to write a “Care for Aging Patients in the Correctional Setting” posit...
Jennifer Fix 2 Purple
  • Education
|Jun 18, 2024

Pharmacy technician shortage driving force behind new, online prep course

A self-paced, online Pharmacy Technician Preparation Course is now being offered through The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worth as a way to help combat the shortage of pharmacy technicians at hospitals, health systems and retail pharmacies. Recognized by the Pharmacy Tech...