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Creighton University celebrates first White Coat Ceremony for Physician Assistant program

PA White CoatMedical students involved in the Creighton University School of Medicine’s new Physician Assistant (PA) program were formally inducted into the program during an inaugural White Coat Ceremony on Friday, Aug. 2, at the Lied Education Center for the Arts.

The inaugural class of 24 recited a student oath surrounded by family, friends and fellow students before receiving white coats from PA faculty. A white coat has long been a symbol of medical clinicians and researchers. Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, president of Creighton University, and Robert Dunlay, MD, dean of the School of Medicine, were among those who shared remarks during the ceremony.

A PA is a nationally-certified and state-licensed medial professional who practices medicine as a member of a health care team with physicians and other health professionals. Graduates of the program, which is only the fifth such program offered at Jesuit institutions in the United States, will receive Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree in just over two years.

“The program will transform students into compassionate physician assistants dedicated to impacting the lives of patients, and empower them to realize their full potential through a commitment to professional growth and service to humanity,” said program director Stephane VanderMeulen, MPAS.

Individuals pursuing opportunities in the PA field are joining a pool of prospective employees in an in-demand career field. According to US News & World Report, the physician assistant profession ranks third on the 2019 list of Best Jobs in America and first on the list of Best Health Care Jobs. The field is expected to grow by nearly 40% through 2026.

In addition to the PA students who received white coats, 166 first-year medical students participated in a separate White Coat Ceremony at the Joslyn Museum’s Witherspoon Concert Hall. Eight of the 166 students are second- and third-generation family members to attend Creighton.


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