Moving from Simulations to Patients

Touro College of Dental Medicine’s Class of 2026 Dons White Coats

June 25, 2024

The 115 members of Touro College of Dental Medicine’s Class of 2026 took the momentous step of moving into the clinic when they donned their white coat as part of the school’s White Coat Ceremony on May 31 at Purchase College’s Center for the Performing Arts. The ceremony marks their move from the classroom and simulation lab to the clinic, where they will continue their training, treating patients under faculty supervision.

“Today marks an incredible milestone in your development as well as the loved ones who have been there to support you every step of the way,” said TCDM Dean Dr. Ronnie Myers during the ceremony. “This one giant leap of going from library and the simulation lab to clinical oral health care trials will be remembered throughout your dental career.”

Families and friends were on hand for the celebration and heard from speakers including Guy Minoli, DDS, a delegate of the New York State Dental Association, class president Veean Chen, and Bert Goldfinger DDS, TCDM’s director of pre-clinical education, who delivered the ceremonial address.

“Today is the first day of your professional life,” counseled Dr. Minoli. “In a few minutes when you put on your white coat, you will immediately be looked at as a professional. People will expect more from you, not only when you are wearing your white coat, but in every aspect of your life.”

Noting the challenges and rigor of dental school and what the class has achieved in arriving at this point in their training, Chen cheered on her classmates, “Today we celebrate the initial milestones in this lifelong journey of dentistry. In the short span of two years, we took 41 courses, endured 106 exams, and gained precious learning and camaraderie. Dearest classmates, you never cease to impress.”

Dr. Goldfinger elaborated on the students’ new role. “Today marks the transition from the study to the practice of clinical dentistry. This marks the privilege and the honor of caring for patients. Wearing your white coat, you will begin practicing in our state-of-the-art clinic… While you will have fewer classes, quizzes and exams, your true examiner will be your patients who will put themselves in your hands.”

“It feels really empowering,” reflected Amy Jiang about donning her white coat.

“All our hard work is being recognized,” said Elizabeth Kalantarov.

The event also featured the presentation of the Pre-Clinical Faculty of the Year Award which was given to Emily Marchick, DDS, and the Luis Rubins DDS Memorial Scholarship, awarded to third-year student Courtney Gilmartin for her excellence in pre-clinical prosthodontics.

Alessandro Tesulin said he was delighted to be able to finally wear his white coat, but he acknowledged the challenges ahead. “This is part of the journey, but we’re not done.”

Dan Avshalomov said donning his white coat was an especially powerful moment for him, but also bittersweet. His father died two weeks before the ceremony and it was his father’s dream for him to finish dental school. Avshalomov opted to keep the beard he grew according to the Jewish customs of mourning, even though he thought he could have cut it for the celebration. “When I look at pictures, I’ll see my beard and remember that my father is with me in a way.”