“Pharmacists Show Up Every Day to Care for Our Patients”

Touro College of Pharmacy Class of 2027 Don White Coats and Embrace New Responsibilities as They Look Forward to Showing Up

February 26, 2024
Pharmacy students in white coats reciting the Pharmacist Oath.
Members of Touro College of Pharmacy's class of 2027 donned their white coats and recited the Oath of the Pharmacist on Jan. 28.

First-year Touro College of Pharmacy (TCOP) student Alexis Gorin wasn’t sure what to expect when she donned her white coat as part of the school’s White Coat Ceremony on January 18. Her reaction surprised her.

“I didn’t even realize how great it felt until people told me I was glowing,” recalled Gorin. “It was a beautiful experience. I felt like I was being welcomed into a community. I felt a great sense of pride in attending Touro after hearing the accolades and the beautiful prayer given by [Touro Executive Vice President] Rabbi Moshe Krupka.”

Gorin was one of the 70 pharmacy students that compose TCOP’s class of 2027. The ceremony was held in The Town Hall, a performance space close to the school’s new home in Touro’s Cross River Campus in Times Square.

TCOP Dean Dr. Henry Cohen delivered a speech devoted to the history of the white coat, while he detailed the new responsibilities the white coat gave to the students. Pharmacy schools typically hold the white coat ceremony within the first year of schooling, marking the student’s transition from students to healthcare practitioners.

“The White Coat Ceremony welcomes those embarking on their careers to the community of medical professionals by giving you this powerful symbol of your responsibilities to your patients and your commitment to science, compassion and honor,” said Dr. Cohen. “Your white coat will be a constant reminder not only of the rich history of our profession, but of the standard against which you must measure your every act of care for the patients who trust you.”

Keynote speaker Dr. Rachel Levihaiem, the vice president of pharmacotherapy services at Infinite Medical managed by MedElite, spoke of what she dubbed the “three P’s of pharmacy.”

“Professionalism, Patient care, and Passion,” explained Dr. Levihaiem, whose employer is a leading clinical service provider operating in roughly 1,000 skilled nursing home and long-term care facilities across 42 states. “They form the foundation that will influence the unfolding chapters in the story of your personal and professional journey.”

During her speech, Dr. Levihaiem illustrated each principle through a story from her own robust career. In describing the emphasis of patient care, Dr. Levihaiem spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic and how pharmacists rose to the challenge.

“Community pharmacists were there for their communities, dispensing life-saving medications and addressing questions or concerns to the best of their ability,” said Dr. Levihaiem. “Within the hospital setting, pharmacists emerged as the primary resource for physicians seeking information on treatment options. This was particularly crucial as we navigated the realm of real-time, evidence-based medicine, where treatment strategies were dynamic and evolving daily. Despite harboring our own fears and anxieties, pharmacists, like all other healthcare providers, consistently show up to our jobs every day to care for our patients.”

“I am genuinely excited for what the future holds for each and every one of you,” she concluded. “I look forward to one day hearing your stories—stories of resilience, innovation, and compassionate care. As you step into the next chapter of your lives, wear your white coat with pride and embody the Three Pillars of Pharmacy; wear your professionalism as a badge of honor, carry your passion like a flame and let your commitment to patient care shine brightly.”

Student Vishwanauth Persaud said donning his white coat gave him pride. “Soon I will be a part of a team navigating the intricate crossroads of healthcare, business and patient care,” he said. “Officially donning my PharmD white coat felt like embracing my mission with a tangible symbol of purpose.”

“It was an amazing experience,” said student Christina Numamoto. “It made me feel like I am making progress towards making my dreams a reality.”