Rutgers School of Health Professions Doctor of Physical Therapy Students Receive White Coats at School’s First In-Person Event Since the Pandemic Began

Rutgers School of Health Professions Doctor of Physical Therapy program (DPT) held pinning ceremonies in June, the school’s first in-person events since the start of the pandemic.

The annual ceremony celebrated students of the Class of 2022 on Monday, June 21 in Newark and the Class of 2023 in Blackwood on Tuesday, June 29 as they begin a full year of supervised clinical practice and end their didactic learning.

The next step for the students will be to participate in supervised clinical practice in physical therapy facilities all over the United States.

Dr. Nancy Kirsch, professor and program director of the DPT program, and fellow faculty members were proud and happy that their students had the opportunity to celebrate in person.

“The faculty and students were absolutely thrilled to be able to celebrate this important landmark in their educational journey in person. These students have been resilient, resourceful, and passionate about their PT education. This in-person event was a tribute to their dedication individually and as a class, marking the next step in their professional development,” said Dr. Kirsch.

Newark Ceremony

The Newark ceremony was held in the Bergen Building. The pandemic had forced postponement of the pinning for this class for a year.

In person for students and faculty, the ceremonies were viewed by hundreds of well-wishers via Zoom, who saw each student receive their white coats and pins in honor of reaching this milestone. The white coat has the program name on the right and the student’s name on the left, while the pin has the program name and Rutgers Shield.

Dr. Kelly Moore, a 2021 graduate of the DPT program, was one of this year’s keynote speakers. She shared her clinical experiences, reassuring the class that they are ready to enter clinicals and should embrace every opportunity to improve even when it might be very challenging.

“Every clinical setting will surprise you, and you will surprise yourself with all that you know and all that you will learn. When you take these difficult situations and mold them into your own experiences with positive outlooks, you can continue making new opportunities to grow, learn, and challenge yourself, and that’s what clinicals are all about,” said Dr. Moore.

Blackwood Ceremony

 The Class of 2023 also celebrated this milestone with 28 students receiving their coats and pins on the program’s campus in Blackwood.

Dr. Farris Fakhoury, a 2012 graduate, presented the keynote speech.

“Finally, we are back on the beautiful campus in Blackwood to celebrate the Class of 2023. The ceremony typically has much symbolism but this year the donning of the white coat, particularly at this time, means starting fresh and going forward into the clinical environment with hopes for better times for our world,” said Dr. Richard Ferraro, assistant professor who chaired the 10th annual white coat ceremony.

The Blackwood Class of 2022 was able to hold its pinning ceremony before the pandemic.