First-year students took the Oath of a Pharmacist as part of the annual University of Hawaii at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony, held Oct. 17 in Hale Kiho‘iho‘i.
Attendance was limited to P1 students and a small number of faculty and staff, but family and friends were able to watch the livestreamed ceremony online. A recording can be viewed on the DKICP YouTube channel at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3J3qn4xTOk.
Students were addressed by Dean Carolyn Ma, who shared her own personal story of growing up on Oahu and the emphasis her parents put on education in achieving personal goals.
She stressed to students the importance of commitment to their new profession, how they will be challenged, but how eventually their commitment will become their bedrock and a platform for helping to maintain the health and wellbeing of others.
This year’s keynote speaker was Rear Admiral (ret) Pamela Schweitzer, PharmD., who served as the U.S. Assistant Surgeon General and 10th Chief Pharmacist Officer of the U.S. Public Health Service from 2014-2018.
“Pharmacists are now playing such a critical role during the pandemic by providing COVID testing and vaccine administration, and by ensuring uninterrupted delivery of routine pharmacy services,” she said. “The COVID-19 pandemic has been a game-changer for our profession, and you’re coming into it as this transformation comes to a peak.”
Schweitzer also encouraged students to help their family members in maneuvering through the healthcare system.
“Everyone needs a healthcare advocate and you will become experts at this. COVID-19 has brought to the forefront the importance of having strong healthcare infrastructures in our communities. Many of you will be part of improving that infrastructure for years to come.”
A drive-by celebration was held on A‘ohoku Street following the ceremony.
The Class of 2025 continues a DKICP tradition of being diverse. Along with many students from Hawaii, the new cohort includes a sizeable group from the mainland, as well as from American Samoa, Puerto Rico and South Korea.