Hampton University

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PT Program Celebrates Inaugural White Coat Ceremony


Shacarrah Crosby leads recital of the
PT Pledge with her classmates.

The Hampton University Department of Physical Therapy had its first White Coat Ceremony this summer. The ceremony marks a students’ entrance into the clinical phase of their formal education and their completion of general, academic coursework.

The event is more typically associated with medical, dental, and pharmaceutical programs, said HU PT Chair Dr. Bernadette Williams, but with the advent of the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, the ceremony is becoming more recognized among DPT programs. HU’s DPT program is approaching its eleventh year in existence.

“Shacorrah Crosby, class treasurer, is the student who initially informed me that her class was interested in doing the ceremony,” Williams said.

“I am honored to have been a part of what we hope becomes a long standing tradition,” Crosby said. “The White Coat is a universal symbol in the medical community. Embroidered onto our coats are the university name and a symbol representing physical therapy. From this day forward, I will represent the profession as a whole and the school that trained me.”

At the students’ July ceremony (there were a total of 18 participants) there was a keynote address by HU physical therapy graduate Leah Frazier ’06. Frazier is a physical therapist within the Riverside Health System in Hampton. Also, students recited the physical therapy pledge, which admonished them to “respect the rights and dignity of all individuals and provide compassionate care, and address the health needs of society and strive to effect changes that benefit patients, clients, and the community.” The students who participated are slated to finish the program and graduate from HU in 2012.


Students recite the PT pledge together.

In 2008, HU physical therapy department graduates earned a 100 percent board passing rate on the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) for the second year in a row. The NPTE exam is required for licensure or certification in all 50 states. HU was the first school to have a DPT program in Virginia, and is one of only eight Historically Black Colleges and University (HBCUs) with a physical therapy program.

Williams is excited about the effort students are putting forth. “I can only imagine that the caliber of students our department attracts will continue to increase,” Williams said. “I’m proud of these students for spearheading a tradition that offers legacy, legitimacy and professionalism to our department.

- Leha Byrd