HIGH POINT, N.C., June 11, 2019 – High Point University welcomed the fifth cohort of physician assistant students on June 9.
More than 1,300 total applicants competed for 35 spots in this year’s cohort. HPU launched the new master’s degree program in physician assistant studies in June 2015, when it welcomed its first class of 20 students. Now, the Physician Assistant Studies program at HPU has 105 students.
Hunter Fleming was a dual major at HPU receiving bachelor’s degrees in exercise science and Spanish. On Sunday, she continued her HPU journey by receiving her white coat in Congdon Hall’s Callicutt Auditorium.
“I was filled with so much excitement when I put on my white coat,” said Fleming. “I have the opportunity to be entrusted with the value of human life and truly make a difference in my community. I am so grateful to this university for allowing me the chance to begin my journey to becoming a physician assistant.”
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.
“The White Coat Ceremony emphasizes the importance of compassionate care for patients coupled with the need for scientific proficiency,” said Dr. Linda Sekhon, chair and professor of physician assistant studies. “During the ceremony, students received their white coats and declared their acceptance of the obligations inherent to the practice of medicine, their commitment to the profession, and their devotion to leading lives of significance, compassion and integrity.”