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New coats, new beginnings for incoming PA Program students

Eric Burfeind, Bradley Brockbank and Morgan Bensiger, each wearing white coats with stethoscopes draped around their necks, stand in a row and read from pamphlets.

From left, Eric Burfeind, Bradley Brockbank and Morgan Bensinger recite the physician assistant oath.

Penn State College of Medicine presented the incoming class of physician assistant students during a ceremony at the Hershey Lodge on May 24. Although the white coat ceremony typically symbolizes the entrance of a student into the medical profession, many students have already had encounters with patients.

Taking the Next Step

Tomeka Greene wanted to be more involved with patient care after spending four years as an exercise physiologist with Penn State Health Children’s Hospital Children’s Heart Group. She developed a passion for caring for her community while she worked with patients.

So, Greene decided to apply to the physician assistant program at the College of Medicine.

“My time here at Penn State Health has prepared me for this next step,” Greene said. “I have had the privilege to work with and learn from some of the best pediatric cardiology clinicians in the last four years.”

By the Numbers

Greene was one of 30 students selected from more than 5,000 applicants. Members of the incoming class have each completed an average of 3,600 hours in a variety of health care professions ranging from dieticians and athletic trainers to medical interpreters and emergency medical technicians.

The new class of physician assistant students includes:

  • Five Pennsylvania residents; 25 students from 16 other states
  • Seven students who are first-generation college graduates
  • Six students who identify as underrepresented minorities in medicine

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