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White Coat Ceremony marks transition

White coat ceremony

Feb. 11 was an exciting day for Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry’s Class of 2013.

These dental students were the honorees at the annual White Coat Ceremony and reception, which attracted more than 650 students, family members, friends and faculty.

The ceremony marks the point in the students’ dental education where they take the wealth of information they’ve received in their first two years and put their knowledge into practice as they begin seeing patients in the dental clinic.

The celebrated white coats are purchased by the Baylor College of Dentistry Alumni Association and embroidered with the TAMHSC logo and BCD name. They come with an alumni association lapel pin already in place. The formal ceremony at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas opened with a welcome by Dr. Jack Long, associate dean for student affairs at the college. He introduced Dr. Nancy Dickey, TAMHSC president and vice chancellor for health affairs of the Texas A&M University System.

“As one of the components of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Baylor College of Dentistry plays an important role in fulfilling our mission of providing excellence in all aspects of health care,” Dickey said. “We recognize with great pride that Baylor College of Dentistry has a century-long history of producing top quality graduates who make up a large portion of the dentists now practicing in Texas.”

Dr. Todd Baumann, BCD Alumni Association president, told the students that the white coat is an appropriate symbol of the dentist-patient relationship because it is an image that has long characterized the trust that patients place in their health care professionals. Further, the white coat symbolizes the collegial relationship that exists between dental professionals.

“We want our students to be reminded that their colleagues in the alumni association, on the Baylor College of Dentistry faculty and in the practicing community will be a rich resource throughout their professional careers,” he said. “We welcome you as colleagues into this new phase of your professional education, and we urge you to reflect with pride and with gravity on the significance of wearing the white coat.”

Dr. Dean Hudson, associate dean for clinical affairs, addressed the students and discussed the significance of “The Dentist’s Pledge” they would recite as part of the ceremony. He cited the pledge’s commitment to patient care, ongoing dental education, collegial relationships with fellow dentists and professional organizations, community service, and professional integrity.

“I am proud of all that you have accomplished to bring you to this point in your professional career,” Hudson told them. “I have every confidence that you will continue to succeed and will give us every reason for pride in your endeavors.”

Baumann and Dr. Jon Clemetson, president-elect of the alumni association, presented the white coats as each student was introduced. They were assisted by Moira Allen, director of student affairs, and Dr. Steve Griffin, executive director of clinics, who served as marshal.

After the recitation of “The Dentist’s Pledge,” Hudson closed the ceremony by congratulating the students on entering the clinical phase of their dental education.

“As you embark on the sometimes daunting task of providing patient care, the Baylor College of Dentistry faculty will always be close at hand to advise, assist and encourage you,” he said.