The Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy hosted its inaugural White Coat Ceremony at the Pappas Quad on USC’s Health Science campus on Aug. 26.
In front of faculty, administrators, family and friends, more than 200 occupational therapy graduate students donned their new white coats, a traditional symbol of professional responsibilities in health care.
In her remarks to the students, USC associate dean and division chair Florence Clark described the white coat as a “symbol for an emergence into professional life, for the sacred contracts you will hold with your clients and for the requirements of ethical practice.”
Clark asked students to “fulfill the ethical obligations placed upon you, live up to your potential as excellent clinicians, and treat with the heart and soul of a healer.”
Because occupational science and occupational therapy is a division of the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC, Dean Avishai Sadan offered the keynote address. He congratulated the students and challenged them to fulfill the expectations that come with being an occupational therapist at the university.
Together, the student body recited the Oath of an Occupational Therapist, a pledge that includes a commitment to “model and foster leadership, and facilitate spiritual, personal and professional growth in myself, my profession and in others.”
Undergraduate Max Swider said, “It is an honor to be in the first class of USC occupational therapists who experienced a White Coat Ceremony.”
Casey Neiman said the ceremony made the students feel “part of a health and wellness mission that’s bigger than ourselves.”
Thanks to its success, the division plans to conduct a White Coat Ceremony at the start of each academic year.