Published on October 12, 2021 by Sara Roman  
2021 PA Whitecoat

Samford University’s School of Health Professions hosted its annual Physician Assistant Studies White Coat Ceremony on Sept. 17 in Reid Chapel. Thirty-six Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies students were honored during the event.

“With every patient that walks in the door you will have the opportunity to rush them out or to serve them with everything God has given you,” said Alan Jung, dean of Samford University’s School of Health Professions. “I believe you were meant to do great things with the gifts God has given you and that you can change the world one person at a time.”

Jung utilized the story of Albert McMakin, an ordinary man who made an extraordinary impact. McMakin was a farmer who had recently come to faith in Christ. When he heard evangelist Mordecai Ham would be coming to town, he persuaded a reluctant young man to attend by offering to let him drive his truck. That young man was Billy Graham. Graham went back to hear Ham speak again and again. He eventually gave his life to Christ.

“You never know the impact that you can have if you listen to God’s still small voice. If you use the tools that He’s given you and you take the time to invest in just one person,” said Jung.

During the ceremony, students were presented with their white coats and asked to recite the Physician Assistant Professional Oath. White coats were presented by Paul Harrelson, physician assistant studies department chair.

Physician Assistant SpeakerDr. Leland Allen served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. Allen is an infectious disease specialist in Birmingham, AL. He is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area and has even served as an instructor for the physician assistant studies students.

In his remarks, Allen shared the history and significance of the white coat and the white coat ceremony. He also recognized the dangers that often accompany the coat and gave the students advice to overcome them.

“Symbolically, when we take up the role of a health care provider, this white coat gives us just as much power to hurt as it does to heal. You are about to put on that white coat and become part of a community that provides life altering, life sustaining care,” said Allen.

Allen expressed that regardless of their chosen specialty area, the students would experience difficult days. “Each of you has your own unique set of skills. You will serve in multiple ways, perhaps no two in the same area, but when you recognize that you are called, no matter how dirty or tattered your coat becomes, your white coat will still shine.”

Watch the 2021 White Coat Ceremony

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.