Don’t Forget Your Coat

TUSDM students had a chance to reflect and celebrate their entrance into the health professions this fall with the TUSDM White Coat Ceremonies for the D16 and D17 classes.

TUSDM Class of 2016 at their White Coat Ceremony

It was a busy few months for the Office of Student Affairs, which organizes the event; there were two White Coat Ceremonies this year, due to the ceremony’s recent shift from the second to first year of dental school.

The D16 class was the final class to receive their white coats in their second year on September 22. Nearly 1,000 students, faculty, staff, family and friends were in attendance in the Grand Ballroom at the Sheraton Boston Hotel for the event. Students heard addresses from Dean Huw Thomas, Dr. James Hanley, Associate Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of Periodontology, and Tufts Provost David Harris.

“We are looking forward to watching your progress over the next few years,” Harris said, “and for many decades to come.”

Two weeks later, the D17 class celebrated with approximately 1,200 attendees in the America Ballroom at the Westin Copley Place Hotel. The D17 celebration was the largest white coat ceremony in the school’s history. Dean Thomas and Dr. Hanley both spoke, as well as Dr. Charles Rankin, Professor and Interim Chair of the Department of Diagnosis and Health Promotion, and President Anthony Monaco.  President Monaco told the students that the entire university celebrated with them.

“Tufts is extremely proud of the dental school,” President Monaco said. “You and your families and loved ones should be so proud of your accomplishments.”

Dr. Nadeem Karimbux, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, hosted both events. Dr. Karimbux spoke about the significance of the white coat; the donning of a white coat symbolizes the adoption of the ethical and professional tenets of the health care profession. Students used to receive their white coats during their second year, but Dean Thomas had the ceremony moved to allow the first years to understand that they are a part of patient care from their first months at TUSDM.

“The presentation of the coats recognizes your entry into the profession of dentistry and welcomes you as junior colleagues,” Dr. Karimbux said. “The white coat also symbolizes the responsibility you have to your patients.”

During both ceremonies all of the students were invited on stage to receive their white coat. Approximately 15 TUSDM faculty members took turns calling the students to the stage. Dr. Gerard Kugel, Professor and Associate Dean of Research Administration, and Dr. Maria Papageorge, Professor and Chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery “coated” the D16 students, while Dr. Papageorge and Dr. Mark Nehring, Professor and Chair of the Department of Public Health and Community Service coated the D17 students. The newly coated students were individually congratulated by Dean Thomas and Dr. Hanley, and welcomed as new colleagues in the dental profession. When the ceremony ended, the students posed for a class photo, then made their way to their families for a luncheon.

After the D17 White Coat Ceremony, the students and their loved ones had the opportunity to walk over to the school for an Open House. The school’s clinics, simulation laboratories, classrooms and offices were open for participants to peruse, and volunteers were on-hand to answer questions about life at TUSDM.