White Coat Ceremony 2021 celebrates the DDS Class of 2023

Wearing a white coat is not about entitlement but is a privilege that is earned.

Cheryl Deslaurier - 30 April 2021

The School of Dentistry hosted its 20th Annual White Coat Ceremony in April, virtually, of course, April 30.  Over 90 special guests, family, friends and students joined us to celebrate the DDS class of 2023 don their white coats through a video presentation. Joining us was the University of Alberta President Flanagan and Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, Dean Hemmelgarn, who both provided some inspirational words for the students.  We also had the Chief Executive Officer from the Alberta Dental Association & College, Dr. Randall Croutze and President, Dr. Bruce Yaholnitsky who provided greetings on behalf of the college.

Dr. Steve Patterson, Associate Chair of Academics from the School of Dentistry led the student charge. Part of the words that were imparted to the students focused on ethics and professionalism, which underpin the white coat ceremony. 

“We as members of the dental profession, as educators, as parents and loved ones, have faith in you as the future of our profession. You have earned the right to be here today, to receive this coat. You have worked hard and sacrificed much to get this far. You have already sworn oaths early in your educational program to behave as a professional should and to accept the obligations that come with being a dentist. You must however, guard against thinking that you are somehow entitled to the coat, entitled to your education, and that your initial acceptance into the profession means that you will always be a part of it,” said Dr. Patterson during his charge to the students.  “While we have confidence that you are and will continue to be valued members of this profession, you must take responsibility for ensuring that all this comes about. We will guide you in your education, but it is you who must learn and acquire the necessary skills; patients will come to you for help, and it is you who must be competent to care for them, and it is you who must deal with the ethical dilemmas that face us in practice each day.”

Accepting the charge on behalf of the DDS 2023 class were students Kevin Nguyen and Emily Barlow.  Their charge was delivered via video with acknowledgement that there will be challenges ahead, but that they are ready. The pandemic has brought many things to light with one of them being how important serving the community with their oral health needs is.

“Dentistry is an essential service and we are proud to be part of this profession.”