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2024 XU-Ochsner PA Program White Coat Ceremony

Release Date: February 9, 2024

On Saturday, January 13, 2024, Xavier University of Louisiana Physician Assistant Program in partnership with Ochsner Health, held its 4th annual White Coat Ceremony for the Class of 2025.

The event took place at Xavier University Ballroom on the campus of Xavier University of Louisiana. The ceremony marks the transition from the didactic year to the clinical year and the start of the clinical rotations.

Dr. Leonardo Seoane, Executive VP, Chief Academic Officer, was the keynote speaker. Dr. Seoane stated, "When you earn your patient's trust you have the awe of experiencing what I have experienced, which is the awe of patient's trusting you with their care and the awe of the patient clinician relationship."

Founding Program Director, Varsha Castro-Gusman PA-C stated "As you dawn your White Coat, remember that you have an enormous responsibility that comes with wearing the White Coat. Each of you will be given the opportunity to enhance the delivery of high-quality healthcare in diverse and underserved healthcare environments improving the communities that we all live in and making an impact on your patient’s lives."

Selected from over 319 applicants, the Class of 2025 is a diverse group from 9 states across the U.S. The PA clinical students receiving their white coats are in rotations at Ochsner Health at various facility locations and medical specialty disciplines.

At the ceremony, we were able to award a total of 6 scholarships to deserving students based on need and merit. This year was so special because we were honored to be partnered with Humana Corporation who presented our students with 5 scholarships. Kim Williams, Director of Health, Equity, and Populations and Nikki Bell, Manager and Provider Relations Humana Horizons Louisiana Medicaid presented the Human Corporation Diversity Excellence Scholarships." said Varsha Castro Gusman, PA-C, Founding Program Director.

The Humana Corporation Diversity Excellence scholarship was awarded to Tatyana Downer, Anthony Fernando, Leah Nguyen, Francesca Toce, and Ariana Hutcherson Perry. The White and Gold Excellence scholarship was awarded to Majesty Mason.

After receiving their white coats, the 37 students took the PA Professional Oath, as recited by Jill D. Fitzpatrick, PA-C, Director of Clinical Education for the program. Dr. Abdul Khan, VPMA OMC Kenner, serves as the Medical Director for the PA Program.