Last week, the 52nd class of Utah Physician Assistant Program (UPAP) students gathered in Salt Lake and St. George with fellow students, their families, UPAP faculty and staff to celebrate their White Coat Ceremony. The event, usually held early in the year, was held in summer as a result of COVID restrictions.
The White Coat Ceremony is an important milestone in a clinician's career, marking the moment when training shifts from theoretical to practical and they join other healthcare workers providing care in clinical settings. UPAP students are given their coats by their Student Clinical Associate, UPAP faculty who have supported them during their trainings. The students are then led in the Physician Assistant Oath, which describes the responsibilities and values of the physician assistant profession.
Program director Jared Spackman, MPAS, PA-C emceed the event, welcoming the group and presenting the awards. The keynote speaker was Menerva Yole-Lobe, MPAS, PA-C, who shared memories of her first clinic experiences and encouraged the PA students to maintain their passion for care and willingness to learn as they worked with patients. Division Chief Leigh Elrod, MPAS, PA-C greeted the group, and Amanda Moloney-Jones, MPAS, PA-C, welcomed the PA students to their clinical year. Shaun Curran, MPAS, PA-C, led the students in the oath.
Instructors were given awards as part of the event for their excellent service to the program and performance in the classroom. The student-elected awards for instructors presented during the program are as follows:
- PA Teacher of the Year: Holly Smock, PA-C
- MD/DO Teacher of the Year: Griffin Jardine, MD
- Allied Health Teacher of the Year: David Morton, PhD
- Core Faculty Teacher of the Year: Andrew Draper, PharmD, MSA, NCTTP
Several PA student Castle scholarships were also announced during the ceremony. The Castle scholarship is named for Hilman Castle, first chair of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine and an important contributor to the establishment of the original physician assistant program in Utah. Castle Scholars announced in the ceremony are listed below.
- Saint George: Claire Alvarenga and Cami Felt
- Salt Lake: Temitope Adeyemi, Kirstin Bradley, and Laura Zdziarski-Horodyski