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School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences students receive white coats

by Erica Howell

34 students and their families, friends and professors gathered on Brock Commons at Old Dominion University on Thursday, May 26 for the School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences' fourth annual White Coat Ceremony.

"Once you're in that white coat, what you do can be the difference between life and death," said Harold Riethman, chair of the School of Medical Diagnostic and Translational Sciences. "You've worked really hard to get here."

White coat ceremonies began at the University of Chicago's Pritzker School of Medicine in 1989 and signify the transition from the classroom to working with patients. Students in the ODU's Medical Laboratory Science and Nuclear Medicine Technology programs were "coated" by their program directors then recited the Pledge to the Profession.

The Medical Laboratory Science Program is the oldest health sciences program at ODU. It began with two hospital-based programs, which started in the late 1920s and early 1930s, at DePaul Hospital and Norfolk General Hospital.

"The pass rate for the MLS(ASCP) exam has been consistently above the national benchmark - no pressure," said Dr. Barbara Kraj, program director for the medical laboratory science program. "Our program has consistently had 100% placement rate. Big thank you to all who shape these future professionals, here at school and during clinical rotations!"

The Nuclear Medicine Technology Program began at ODU 35 years ago and has graduated over 300 students.

"As each of you begins your journey into your clinical rotations, I hope that you remember to treat each and every patient as if they were your own family members," said Sara Maynard, program director for the nuclear medicine program. "I hope you each remember to take care of your colleagues and teams as you develop life-long relationships with your classmates and mentors at your clinical sites.

Several scholarships were presented to deserving students. Susan Dewberry, Director of Grants Management for Commonwealth Transfusion Foundation, presented the commonwealth transfusion foundation scholarships to Nicole Parham, Lauren Urey, Cristina Babiuc, Cassidy Price and Kim Hon Nguyen.

Geoffrey Coleman, son of the late Dr. Faye Coleman, presented the inaugural CTF Faye E. Coleman MLS Endowed Scholarship to Daniel Huss. Faye Coleman spent 40 years of her career at ODU and transformed the medical laboratory science program when she was program director by implementing an innovative approach to internships, which led to lab simulations utilized today. She also initiated the degree completion program for working laboratory technicians.

Sara Maynard presented the Dr. Scott Sechrist Scholarship to Chantelle Charles. Dr. Scott Sechrist was the founding program director of the nuclear medicine technology program who retired in 2020. He was present at the event.

The Cathy Dowrick scholarship was presented to Zainab Elmohammed and the Dr. Chadhuri Scholarship was presented to Sarah Wallace-Stansick.

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