Current Students & Cohort Details
White coat ceremonies, service projects, student adventures & more!
MPAS Student Speeches
Good Afternoon class of 2022,
I am very excited to be a part of this milestone in your career. A little over a year ago I was sitting where you are today eager and nervous to receive my white coat. What I have come to learn, and what I am sure you are in the middle of experiencing right now, is that PA school waits for no one and information comes at you from a fire hydrant rather than a leaky tap. In the new age of social distancing and online learning, I am sure this has led to quite a few of you pacing your rooms wondering just what did I sign up for and can I actually do this?
The white coat you are receiving today will eventually become an everyday piece of attire. It will be one that you earned through hard work, dedication, and a steadfast commitment to providing for others, even at the risk of your own health. The coat is the embodiment of the road less traveled; a road that many consider but very few take. It is reserved only for those few who can set aside their own desires in the pursuit of giving to all in need of care. This is the first step of many along that road that never truly ends, for as long as you wear the coat, you will never truly stop learning.
My advice is to be fully present in the moment. Be patient, be kind, and be humble. Every day is a learning experience. Cherish these moments, learn from them, and reflect on them. I also caution you to always remember that being a healthcare provider is a privilege and not a right. That very phrase I learned very early on from Dr. Clary and it has really resonated with me throughout my time here. I strive to be humble and caring towards all of my patients in order to earn their trust, and through their trust I am able to provide them the care they need. Without this humility, we simply cannot care for others as we have strived to do.
Maya Angelou once said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
When you start doubting yourself and your abilities look at your white coat as a reminder of the commitment you made to provide excellent and compassionate care and always remember that you have earned this white coat and deserve it! You are one of the few who have put it upon themselves to travel this road and each day will have its own challenges, setbacks, and victories.
As you leave this ceremony today wearing your white coats with pride all I ask is that whenever things get tough, and setbacks seem to mount, you look at this coat and remember why you chose this road in the first place and that is to give.
Best of luck, Class of 2022!
Hello family and friends, faculty and graduates. Thank you for choosing to being a part of our special day.
Though the circumstances under which we are receiving our highest honors today are quite unconventional, we can agree that some aspects of this day are a blessing. Some family members that were unable to travel can be a part of our ceremony, thus I have no doubt that people all across the states are able to celebrate with us today.
Thank you to our faculty for making this happen in a way that could still be special to us.
The graduates you see on screen have worked for years to accomplish the goal that we have officially reached today. I’m sure the administration can share the stats GPAs, admission criteria, and previous experience that we had before coming to PA school, which are all nothing short of impressive. They will cover the formalities and congratulations on how hard we have worked to complete the program. However, I want to share a few more personal things.
When I look back on PA school, what I’ll remember most is the hardships we faced together. Cramming silently before exams. Pretending to be each other’s patients for practicals. Understanding the pressure we were under to succeed. No one except us 30 graduates can understand the experiences we’ve had over the last 27 months, and that is a special bond we will forever hold.
I’ll think of struggling through anatomy and the late night and weekend hours we spent in the lab listening to music over the speakers and attempting to finish our dissections. I’ll think of the times of stress relief, like when we went to the lake on the fourth of July during first semester. This was probably the only day we truly relaxed from May to August that year.
I’ll remember the bonfire we had to burn our lab coats and signify we had survived anatomy. I’ll remember all the inside jokes we had about the funny things our professors would say. Sorry guys.
I’ll remember how this strong and amazing group of professionals supported each other. I’ll remember stopping in the hallway to vent or just say “How are you?” and truly meaning it because we were all concerned for each other’s health and wellbeing.
I’ll remember coming together for callback days between rotations. We would all catch up and give each other the scoop on our upcoming experiences. I’ll remember getting together every chance we could to de-stress and spend time together and have a little fun. “Self-care,” right faculty?
I’ll remember the way we supported and loved on each other most. This shows me that we have a capable group of sympathetic, caring, and professional physician assistants that will soon be going out into the world and caring for patients.
Best of luck, class of 2020!
Hanna Stanley, Class President, Class of 2020
“It is very rare to find a human being today. They are always going somewhere, hardly ever being here. That is why I call them ‘human goings’.” –
Ajahn Brahm is responsible for that quote and it has stuck with me since I stumbled across it. I believe it serves as a great reminder to be in the moment, to be “here”. Often times we get lost in the “going”, trying to hastily complete the journey because our sights are set on the destination.
Our class has some good destinations waiting, the Armed Forces, Interventional Radiology, Orthopedics, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Ear Nose and Throat, Allergy, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Dermatology, Oncology, Emergency Medicine, and some brave souls have chosen to continue their education through Fellowships.
These new careers come with hard work, long hours, lots of reading, and of course a healthy dose of caffeine. As we refine our skills in both medical science and the art of patient care. We must remember enjoy the journey on our way to the next destination, to be a human being not a human going.
My head is full of mnemonics from our review course earlier this week. So naturally I wrote one that might assist us in our “human being”.
B – Belly laugh – Maybe not in front of your patients but please don’t forget self-care
R – Read - continue to learn and evolve as practitioners as the world of medicine changes around us.
E – Empathize – I don’t’ know what else to say here. Be a good human
A – Adapt – Be prepared without being rigid.
T – Teach – Share your knowledge, with patients, with colleagues, and with aspiring medical providers
H – Heal – This one should have been predictable. It is why we are all here.
I want to leave you with another quote. One I feel works on multiple levels, but I’m not going to tell you why… Free high fives to anyone who knows the reference.
“You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome.”
To my friends and fellow graduates … congratulations… we did it!
Hello everyone, and welcome to the 3rd annual Emory & Henry PA white coat ceremony.
I would almost guarantee that everyone is extremely proud to be here today.
Parents and family, I can’t imagine the pride you must have toward your amazing sons and daughters, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, husbands, wives, significant others, here today about to don their first white coats. It is such an accomplishment just to be here, and your pride is very well warranted. I am sure they are glad to have you as supporters here today and through the rest of the journey, they are about to embark on.
Faculty, I am sure you are proud of the decisions you have made in accepting these bright young students, and I hope you’re proud of all you’ve done to teach, mentor, and support the class of 2019 and the class of 2020. I must say we are proud of you for putting up with us too.
PA class of 2020, we are just proud we survived our didactic education. We may be shells of humans at this point, but hey we made it! We’ve had a nice little break and are fresh and excited to start our clinical rotations this summer.
PA class of 2019, maybe not so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, but these guys should be so proud that they are just 3 short months from graduating as the first-ever class of PA students from this college! Congrats to the class of 2019, you all are amazing and have led us in a great direction as we hope to do for the class of 2021.
Finally, the PA Class of 2021! I remember sitting where you are today and getting chills as I listened to the faculty and the different speakers talk about what an honor it is just to have been admitted to this program. It really is a big deal, and I hope you’re so proud of yourselves. You all are about to embark on the most rewarding, ridiculous, and difficult journey you may ever go through, and I hope you’re ready.
I don’t have a life-changing story as Ryan did last year, but I just wanted to take some time today to talk about the transitions of life. I fully believe that if you are not learning, growing, and becoming a better version of yourself every single day, then you aren’t doing what you were placed in this world to do. As time goes on, we are making continuous changes to our hearts, our appearances, our educational status, our familial status, our character, and everything that makes us individuals. These changes may not always be outwardly visible, so sometimes it may be difficult to remain motivated and keep moving in the right direction. Today, however, is one of those life-changing days. A day when there is a physical reward, an outward change that others may see, and a start of a whole new version of yourselves. It is a day you’ll remember forever.
Today you get the absolute honor of wearing your first white coat. This coat represents all that you are working toward and likely have been for quite some time.
This coat is professionalism – how you carry yourself, how you treat others – patients and colleagues alike.
This coat is trust – the patients you will see while wearing this coat will disclose things to you that they are afraid of, ashamed of, and would never tell another soul. They will trust you to change and in some cases save their lives.
This coat is integrity – your honesty with patients, your morals to determine right from wrong, even when it is difficult.
This coat is knowledge – you are now held to such a high standard, so you must do your best to learn and grow in your study of medicine every single day.
Today, all this is quite literally placed upon your shoulders. So today will be absolutely a life-changing time that you will remember forever. Today, you become student providers. Today represents the rest of your lives as professionals, medical providers, and lifelong learners. Though the rest of the days from here on out in the program may seem like an uphill battle, I want you all to look back on today, remember the words that were spoken, remember the pride that you felt, and remember even in the toughest times the reason you are here and why you have received this highest honor.
Hanna Stanley, Class President, Class of 2020
When I was brainstorming for today, I found myself searching for things that would be meaningful to our incoming class. It was suggested to me that I simply reflect on my own time in my white coat this past year rather than make efforts to impart any wisdom, aka ‘survival techniques’.
I’ll start by saying that I’m not really a fan of the white coat itself. I think it gets in the way, it’s not very comfortable, and it just makes me feel stiff. However, what is symbolizes outweighs these initial thoughts. When you don the white coat, you are accepting to be held to a higher standard, responsibility, commitment, and an ability to put yourself second until you take it off at the end of the day. It didn’t take long to realize that I desired these things and that they are a large part of ‘why’ I chose to attend PA school, to be able to use them to help people in all aspects of their lives.
My most memorable time in my white coat thus far occurred in our first semester and solidified for me that we can do so much more than treating a diagnosis on a chart. Some of you have already heard this, but I feel it’s worth sharing again.
The patient was a mother; however, she had brought her son along to her appointment. She was worried about his behavior recently both at home and at school. She described him as “angry all the time”, during the discussion of her visit. Dr. Richards sent a classmate to get me and asked me to come to the room with my hair down. Initially, I thought this was an odd request because in a year of shadowing him [prior to starting the MPAS program] he’s rarely seen me with my hair down and certainly never asked me to take it down. I entered the room much like I look today and immediately realized why he had made this request. The patient’s son was sitting in a chair with his own long hair down and wearing a Led Zeppelin or Guns-N-Roses t-shirt – I can’t remember which, but I was impressed with his taste.
We spent the next 15-20 minutes talking about how it felt at that age to have different interests than your peers (T-Swift, J-Biebs, or Mumble Rap). As the conversation went on you could feel some of the tension lift from the room as he began to share more. This encounter had nothing to do with traditional medicine but was surreal for me. I left that room feeling as if I’d made a difference simply by related to him. I remember thinking, ‘that’s what this is about.’ And, there it was again… my ‘why’.
Emory & Henry offers several things that encouraged my decision to attend. First and foremost, the ability to learn hands-on by seeing patients from the start of our didactic coursework. This time at the Mel Leman Free Clinic was an irreplaceable experience as we began to cultivate both our diagnostic and patient interaction skills. I cannot count how many times we’ve learned something in class which has then been reinforced by seeing patients in the Clinic. Not only is this a great reinforcement tool for our studies, but it also boosts confidence, pushes us to learn more, and gives us memories of first patients. I can recall how we treated my first hypertensive, hypothyroid, or diabetic patient far more easily than the lectures on these disease states.
A second aspect of E&H that drew my attention was the instruction dedicated to behavioral medicine. This knowledge is paramount to employ as practitioners in every patient visit. Lastly, as an alumnus of E&H and a member of the Southwest Virginia community for the last decade, I knew that this program and its students would be warmly welcomed. Not only have its members been encouraging us in our education, but they have participated in many ways. This is a community where patients have chosen to let us learn with them and from them starting on our first day on campus. And, any community with an investment in me as a person is one I want to give back to, one I want to make proud… yet again, my ‘why’.
In closing, I want to share a quote that resonated with me throughout the past year: “Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat (F. Scott Fitzgerald).” This has served as a reminder to me to look towards the end game, to focus on winning the war despite the battles lost. For some of you, this may be the first time you experience academic difficulty. For the next year, sleep will be scarce, hours will be long, and at times it may feel like it’s just too much. It is those moments that I hope you can look at this White Coat and be reminded of your ‘why’.
Ryan Short, Class of 2019 Student President
E&H MPAS Program Cohort Details Comparison
Class of 2019
Class of 2020
Class of 2021
Class of 2022
Class of 2023
|Self-Reported ‘Minority’ Ethnicity**||13.33%||14.70%||10.34%||38.24%||18.18%|
|Overall Total GPA||3.45||3.50||3.42||3.29||3.30|
|Overall Science Total GPA||3.38||3.37||3.34||3.13||3.15|
|Overall Total BCP GPA||3.25||3.28||3.26||3.03||3.02|
|Overall Total BCP Hours||54.62||51.68||62.62||69.66||61.19|
|GRE Quant Percentile||40.96||37.79||33.14||46.53||43|
|GRE Verbal Percentile||53.94||48.58||52.55||39.79||57|
|GRE Written Percentile||52.11||59.38||51.59||58.09||60|
|Total Direct Patient Care Hours||4117.34||2616.47||5367.54||4670.44||3429|
|Total PA-C Shadowing Hours||124.57||113.53||134.57||170.5||84|
|Total Volunteer/Service Hours||227.8||466.77||443.81||405.91||432|
|Number with BA Degrees||5||12||3||6||6|
|Number with BS Degrees||25||22||26||28||27|
|Student Attrition From Program***||1||4||2||2||2|
*At Time of Matriculation
**Indicated percentage of cohort self-reporting minority ethnicity (non-White/Caucasian)
*** Student Attrition occurs for multiple reasons, including, but not limited to, health issues, family/social issues, financial issues and academic issues