HPU Welcomes Second PA Cohort with White Coat Ceremony

HIGH POINT, N.C., June 13, 2016 – The number of students studying to become physician assistants at High Point University has doubled as the program’s second cohort received their white coats at a ceremony on Sunday.

More than 800 applicants competed for 20 spots in this year’s cohort at HPU, which welcomed its first cohort this time last year. Fifty-five percent of clinical sites are within five miles of campus, while 80 percent of clinical sites are within 20 miles.

The White Coat Ceremony serves as the beginning to a monumental journey. Bestowing white coats to the students symbolizes their commitment to become a physician assistant who will balance excellence in science with compassionate patient care.

“Donning the white coat for the first time is a tangible symbol of this extraordinary journey,” says Dr. Linda Sekhon, founding chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies. “It is my hope they will carry this image with them for the rest of their lives.”

“Entrance into any PA program is a great achievement, but HPU is really exceptional because the institution puts students first,” said HPU PA student Megan Berry. “The entire campus is passionate about my success, and I am excited for this program to prepare me to be a thoughtful and proficient healthcare provider.”

In September 2015, HPU broke ground on the $88 million Congdon School of Health Sciences and Fred Wilson School of Pharmacy facility. Physician Assistant Studies is currently in a temporary space and will be the first of three new programs that will be housed in the 224,000-square-foot complex that opens next year. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, prestigious faculty and newly designed curriculum, the schools will create a cornerstone for medical innovation at HPU.

Glassdoor.com, a leading job review website, ranks physician assistants #7 in their list of “25 best jobs in America.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of Physician Assistants is projected to grow 30 percent through 2024, much faster than average.

“I am so excited to embark on this journey and begin the PA program at High Point University,” said HPU PA student Sammy Mitchell. “Being that I attended HPU for my undergraduate degree, being admitted into this program is as if I am ‘coming home.’ Being accepted into this program is a huge honor and when I received my white coat, it all became real. My life dreams and ambitions are coming true and I am so excited to take this next step towards my future. There is nowhere else I would rather complete this journey then at HPU.”

“It wasn’t long into my interview day here at High Point University that I recognized that this program was different; it felt special,” said HPU PA student Niall Moreira. “From day one, the faculty were very inviting and encouraging. They presented a supportive environment that was tailored towards the success of its PA students. Now that I have begun down the path with HPU, I can confirm that Dr. Sekhon and the faculty have surpassed my expectations. I feel honored to be a part of the Class of 2018, and look forward to the journey ahead.”

About the White Coat Ceremony: The white coat, worn by medical professionals, is often seen as a symbol of authority, purity, professionalism, caring, and trust. Since its inception in 1993, the White Coat Ceremony has become a national and international phenomenon among medical schools. The ceremony was designed to welcome new medical students into the medical profession and alert beginning students to the need to balance excellence in science with compassionate patient care. It has since been adopted by hundreds of colleges and universities involved in the education and training of a variety of health and medical professions, including the Physician Assistant.

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