White Coat CeremonyThe University’s first year students in the optometry, audiology, physician assistant, occupational therapy and speech-language pathology degree programs received their white coats in a ceremony that took place on October 12 at Keneseth Israel synagogue in Elkins Park.

With families and friends on hand, the students donned the symbol of their profession with the help of the dean and/or director of their program. The white coat ceremony is always a special day as the first-years receive tangible proof that they are no longer just students but healthcare professionals in the making. The students’ pride and excitement is surpassed only by that of their families and friends.

After a welcome from Salus president, Dr. Michael H. Mittelman, the audience heard from keynote speaker Mr. Jim Hindman, founder and former CEO of Jiffy Lube International and author of I was blind but now I see. Mr. Hindman spoke of his experiences as someone who was declared legally blind due to age-related macular degeneration in his mid-fifties. For more than 20 years he researched, consulted with specialists and traveled far and wide in his quest to find new treatments. His search resulted in his becoming the first person at The Wilmer Institute at Johns Hopkins to receive an FDA-approved implantable miniature telescope (IMT) in his eye in 2012. The operation proved successful, improving vision in his IMT eye from 20/400 to 20/60.    

Mr. Hindman spoke of his patient experience with a healthcare team that included doctors, nurses and occupational therapists, noting in some cases, he was their first experience with an IMT. Noting how enthused the health professionals were to learn about IMTs, he advised the students to remember that learning is a lifetime process. “You have learned a great deal to get to this day,” he said, “but understand that the knowledge you’ve learned so far is just a foothold of the knowledge you will share with needy patients.”  Mr. Hindman shared some final advice with the students that he was given by one of his college professors: “If you reach for the stars you never come up with a handful of mud.”