Qatar University’s (QU) College of Pharmacy (CPH) Professional Year 1 students marked a key milestone in their education and training through the 14th Annual White Coat Ceremony on Thursday.
A total of 35 students recited the “Oath of a Pharmacist” and received their white coats in a virtual ceremony that blended pre-recorded videos with live presentations.
The students promised to uphold the values of integrity, ethical behaviour and practice of the pharmacy profession.
The ceremony was conducted virtually with a livestream available on YouTube.
The event started with an opening speech from QU-CPH assistant dean for student affairs Dr Alla El-Awaisi, followed by welcoming remarks from Aamal Company chairman HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani, Canadian ambassador to Qatar Stefanie McCollum, QU president Dr Hassan Rashid al-Derham, QU vice-president for medical and health sciences Dr Egon Toft, and QU-CPH dean Dr Mohamed Diab.
Diab also presented on the college’s achievements over the previous academic year.
HE Sheikh Faisal spoke at the event, welcoming the CPH Year 1 students and applauding students who earned distinctions on their achievements.
He also stressed the importance of the profession and how recently all healthcare professionals joined their efforts and were at the frontlines in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, supported by the tremendous efforts of Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) to control the spread of the coronavirus in Qatar under the direction of Qatar’s government.
Al-Derham addressed the students at the event, saying: “It is a great privilege to be able to witness the 14th Annual White Coat Ceremony, which is a significant rite of passage for our students and symbolises what they have accomplished, and what they will accomplish in their bright futures ahead.
“There is no better time to show our respect to students who enter health fields than now – during a pandemic – which has highlighted the need for qualified professionals in healthcare.”
The coronavirus causes the Covid-19 respiratory disease.
"This pandemic has illustrated to us the urgent need to reshape our priorities in the medical fields,” the QU president said. “Our students are in a precarious but exciting position to pave the way for transforming research, collaborations and innovations to meet the needs of an evolving world.”
“Today, we recognise these students as they enter a rigorous but honourable programme in which they will bear the responsibility of helping and caring for others,” al-Derham said. “They join a community of healthcare professionals dedicated to the cause of serving the public and advancing medical knowledge.”
“Finally, QU is committed to provide our society with a high level of graduates that can impact their communities in critical times,” he added.
Toft said: “An important milestone has been reached for the incoming batch of pharmacy students. Graduates at the College of Pharmacy have an international reputation of being advocates and game changers in the profession of pharmacy.”
He advised the students to "stay dedicated and focused to do the best that you can in your studies and you will reach far in the College".
Diab also addressed incoming students, saying: “Our vision is to graduate students who are able to advance healthcare in Qatar and the world through excellence and innovation in pharmacy education, research and service.
“Due to Covid-19, we were not able to prepare an actual event, and yet were very keen on continuing this tradition,” he said. “Thanks a lot to all those who worked and collaborated towards a successful event.”
Dr Peter Jewesson delivered the keynote speech in which he discussed the importance of the White Coat Ceremony, which recognises the transition of young students to healthcare professionals in training, the achievements of the college in recent years, and the importance of pharmacists in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
"My congratulations to the Class of 2024, to their families and to the College for making this journey of discovery and personal growth possible," he added.
El-Awaisi noted: “Wearing white lab coats and reciting the ‘Oath of a Pharmacist’ shows the pharmacy students’ commitment to integrity, honesty, professionalism and service to others.
“I am certain that with their journey with us, they will be outstanding students and pioneer graduates in the field of pharmacy.”
First-year pharmacy student Reenad Khalid Alyafei said: “With the support and assistance of our family and the college, we are here today to document our first exciting step in the College of Pharmacy.
“We recognise the role played by the College of Pharmacy graduates so far, especially in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, reminding us of our human duty and our first goal is human life."
During the ceremony, the annual Ebn Sina Awards for the highest achieving students were announced for each professional undergraduate and postgraduate year: CPH PharmD student Sara Aldali, MSc pharmacy student Sourour Idoudi, Professional Year 4 Menatallah Rayan, Professional Year 3 student Ruba Sulaiman, and Professional Year 2 student Emelith Cerbito.
The ceremony concluded with a video from the Class of 2024 sharing their joy of being admitted to the College of Pharmacy, and what it means to be joining the pharmacy profession.