July 17, 2010
Good morning. My name is Nader Nadershahi and I have the privilege of serving as Acting Dean and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for the University of the Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the faculty, staff, and students to the White Coat Ceremony.
The White Coat Ceremony is an important and symbolic step in the journey for these outstanding men and women. For many of them, this week begins that part of their training, which includes the delivery of oral health care to the public. They have worked incredibly hard to reach this point. I know they are anxious and perhaps a little stressed. As a Pacific Dugoni graduate, I can still remember my first patient interaction like it was yesterday. I remember his name, the tooth, and even the concern that we were addressing on that day. These young men and women are assuming a major responsibility.
I know they are up for the challenge because I have seen how hard they have worked in school and during the evenings and weekends to ensure that they are prepared for their patients who will put such deep trust in their hands.
Our great faculty will be supporting them through every step of this learning experience, as I know you will. One week ago, I had a chance to speak with the families of the new students and I thanked them for what they had done for their loved ones. Well, my message today is the same for all of you. These outstanding young men and women would not be here without your continued love, support, and encouragement. Thank you for what you continue to do for them.
Now to the students! The wearing of the white coat is a symbol of who each of you are becoming today as whole professional. It symbolizes the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that you have gained over the years.
It signifies to patients that you will strive to regard them with:
• The utmost respect
• To treat their illnesses to the best of your ability
• To listen carefully (You will hear more about this shortly)
• To preserve the dignity of each individual, and
• The privacy of information shared as a result of the relationship between care giver and the patient
It means, too, that you are expected to conduct yourself in a manner consistent with those in your chosen profession, not simply as a student practicing as you learn.
Wear your coat with pride in the accomplishment that it signifies! But also with humility and respect for what you have yet to learn from those dentists who were here before you as well as from your patients.
The ceremony today is a way for all of us in the profession to welcome you as a member of the healing arts.
We are honored to welcome your parents, families, spouses, and friends to witness your initiation into a respected profession.
(Following the White Coat ceremony and recitation of the Professional Oath)
Doctors, let me be one of the first to offer my personal congratulations to you. The faculty and staff at the dental school and all of your loved ones and supporters are very proud of you.
Wear your white coats with PRIDE.
On this special occasion, I want to reflect on the word PRIDE beyond our traditional definition of the word.
P - Passion - Your passion for helping others and growing your skills has brought you to this point. Let that passion continue to motivate and drive you in the rest of your personal and professional life.
R - Respect - As an oral health care provider, you will receive respect because of your achievements, but remember that Doctor is not you first name, you must continue to respect others for who they are and where they come from so you can better serve them.
I - Integrity - Dentistry, according to a recent Gallup poll, remains in the top 10 most trusted professions. That is because of the integrity shown by those that have come before you. It is now your responsibility to carry the torch of the profession. You hold the future of dentistry in your hands with the integrity and ethics that you live your life by.
D - Dedication - Dedicate yourself to your family, to your community, to your profession, and to your patients. Be the best doctor and human being that you can be.
E - Evolution - This is an exciting time to be a part of the dental profession because there are so many changes in the art and science of the practice. The profession is evolving and you will need to dedicate yourself to lifelong learning so you will continue to evolve along with the profession. Our world is moving quickly and if we stand still, we are falling behind.
I congratulate you and salute you. You are wonderfully talented. The future of our great profession shines brighter than ever because of what you will do in your careers. I wish you all great health, success, and happiness in your lives.