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‘White coat’ ceremonies mark rite of passage for Suwanee medical students

A student at the Georgia Campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee dons a white coat during the college's white coat ceremonies Sunday. (Special Photo: Jenna Walker)

A student at the Georgia Campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee dons a white coat during the college's white coat ceremonies Sunday. (Special Photo: Jenna Walker)

DULUTH — A white coat is commonly associated with professionals in the medical field, including doctors and pharmacists.

On Sunday, 135 first-year doctor of osteopathy students and 101 pharmacy students from the Georgia Campus of Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine donned their white coats for the first time in symbolic “White Coat” ceremonies held at the Sonesta Gwinnett Place in Duluth.

“The ceremony is a significant rite of passage and a tradition at most medical and pharmacy schools,” said Barbara Myers, marketing and public relations manager for the college. “It is designed to establish a psychological contract for first year medical and pharmacy students that stresses the importance of compassionate care for the patient and professionalism as well as scientific proficiency.”

The first year doctor of osteopathy students hail from 19 different states, while the pharmacy students are from 15 states.