Physician assistant class of 2022 earn their white coats

August 09, 2022

Physician Assistant class of ’22 celebrated as they slipped on their long white coats

When the physician assistant Class of 2022 slipped on their long white coats for the first time, 27 months of studying, practicing and learning came to fruition.

Professor John McNab served as master of ceremonies for the event. He recalled his 15 years of teaching fondly before reflecting on the graduates’ journey to their degrees.

"PA school is anomalous for everyone, but in May 2020, the Class of 2022 began their studies in an arduous program that would test academic, emotional and mental stamina. Your world and everyone else’s became more anomalous,” he said. “I give the Class of 2022 the utmost respect for completing their education in the midst of a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime pandemic."

Clinical Associate Professor Lisa Barratt shared the profundity of the white coat and what it means in the medical profession. Before the white coat, physicians would wear formal attire in darker colors to represent the solemness of their practice, she explained. But for the past 100 years, the white coat donned by medical personnel symbolizes cleanliness, honor, altruism, compassion, excellence and empathy, she said.

“You shouldn’t become the coat, but let your character reflect in your work, become compassionate and passionate when treating patients. Balance excellence in medical sciences and compassion in patient care. Be true to yourself and the work you do, use compassion and be a servant to the greater good,” said Barratt.

Clinical Associate Professor of Physician Assistant Studies and Associate Chair of Physician Assistant Studies Terry O’Donnell led the class as they recited the Physician Assistant Oath.

Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Outcomes Magdalena Lukaszewicz took the podium to pay tribute to the seven students that participated in the Urban Service Track/Connecticut Area Health Education Center (AHEC) Scholars program. This program offers extracurricular enhanced training opportunities to better attend to underserved communities, she said.

Barratt returned to the podium to share how seven graduates were recently inducted into the Pi Alpha Honor Society, a national organization for physician assistant students and graduates.

Awards were then presented. Recognitions include:

  • Medical writing award - Jacqueline Berolini ‘22

  • Professional involvement award - Amelia Maurer ‘22

  • Professional excellence award - Jenna Madelayne Julie Gobel ‘22

  • Community service award - Kirsten Kenny ‘22

  • Leadership award - Brett R. Barnes ‘22

  • Distinguished alumni award - Sheree Piperidis

  • Director’s award - Victor Eli Vasquez ‘22

Class of ’22 President Barnes presented two awards voted on by his peers. Clinical Associate Professor and Didactic Coordinator Shahana Theriault received an Excellence in Didactic Instruction award, and Affiliated Clinical Medical Faculty Dr. Robert Whitehouse was recognized for the Most Outstanding Didactic Instruction award.

Barnes spoke of the class’ philanthropic work with Loaves and Fishes of New Haven, a community organization offering food and clothing for individuals in need. Loaves’ President James Kramer was on hand to accept the Class of ‘22’s donation of almost $700.

Kramer shared sentiments of gratitude and how the organization went from serving 300 to 1,300 families monthly during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

O’Donnell was then presented with a bouquet of flowers to signify her upcoming retirement after 23 years of teaching.

McNab closed the ceremony with additional thoughtful words of congratulations.

“Despite all the blood, sweat and tears you left in the virtual classroom, you have succeeded in developing into PA colleagues that we, as teachers, want. Class of ’22, savor the moment and marvel at your wonderful accomplishments. Make us all proud, as we know you will,” he said.

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