Doctor of Physical Therapy Program to celebrate first white coat ceremony

August 18, 2011 | Events, UToday
By Feliza Casano

The University of Toledo will hold its first white coat ceremony for the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program Friday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. in Health Sciences and Human Services Building Room 1711.

The white coat ceremony, established in 1993 at Columbia University, marks the matriculation of students into a health-care profession. While it began in medical colleges across the country, it since has spread to include other health professions, including dentistry, pharmacy and physical therapy.

The ceremony stresses the importance of balance between excelling in science and treating patients with compassion and professionalism. According to Dr. Michelle Masterson, UT associate professor and chair of rehabilitation sciences and director of the Physical Therapy Program, the addition of a white coat ceremony signifies this balance in the profession of physical therapy.

“The Physical Therapy Program graduated its first doctoral class in 2009,” Masterson said. “This past year, we discussed the importance of celebrating not only graduation but matriculation, since it is a professional program that teaches not only the skills and knowledge needed to perform in the workplace but also the attitudes and behaviors of professionalism.”

The ceremony will welcome a cohort of 28 physical therapy doctoral students in the class of 2014; this will be the sixth class of the UT Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and the first to matriculate with a white coat ceremony. Families of the participating students have been invited to attend.

The keynote speaker at the ceremony will be Tim Berta, one of the survivors of the 2007 Bluffton University’s baseball team bus accident. Berta completed in-patient and out-patient rehabilitation, including physical therapy at the UT Medical Center following the accident, and is a graduate student at Lourdes College in Sylvania.

“After the accident, Tim went through very intensive physical therapy, so he’ll be talking to the students about the impact the profession has had on his life,” Masterson said. “I hope his story will show the students how physical therapy can change patients’ lives and give them inspiration as they begin their journey in the program.”

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