Bellarmine University's Doctor of Physical Therapy program
formally recognized 73 new students during a virtual David A. Pariser Memorial White Coat Ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The ceremony, which serves as a matriculation for doctoral candidates as they begin their studies, is usually held in June. But after COVID-19 canceled the June 2020 ceremony as well as several subsequent in-person attempts, the Class of 2023 opted for
a virtual “professional awakening” ceremony, said Dr. Tony Brosky, dean of the School of Movement and Rehabilitation Sciences in the College of Health Professions.
Instead of presenting students with their white lab coats during the ceremony, faculty had the students pick up the coats on campus this week and snapped a photo of each of them. The photos were shown during the program.
"The white coat is a symbol of their transformation to becoming a healthcare professional, a reminder of their professional duty to their patients and the community,” said Dr. Beth Ennis, chair of the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program and an associate
professor of Physical Therapy. “We want to make sure that as they move forward in the program, we are instilling the values of clinical service, caring and dedication to patient care as early as possible in this journey. It is also a reminder
that they now represent more than just themselves; they also represent the program, the school, the university and the profession.”
The program included a keynote address by Dr. Efosa L Guobadia, CEO and co-founder of MoveTogether, a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase access to quality rehabilitation around the world.
During the ceremony, students recited a physical therapist’s oath, pledging to respect the dignity of everyone, act with compassion, exercise sound judgment, demonstrate integrity, engage in lifelong learning and participate in efforts to meet the
health care needs of all.
Bellarmine's Doctor of Physical Therapy program prepares students for licensure and practice in the field of physical therapy. Candidates for licensure must hold a post-baccalaureate degree in physical therapy from an accredited institution. Students
are admitted to the professional program after completing a bachelor’s degree, along with all program prerequisites.
The white coat ceremony was renamed in 2013 to honor Dr. David A. Pariser, a beloved Bellarmine professor who died that year.