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Inaugural Doctor of Audiology White Coat Ceremony

Doctor of Audiology, Class of 2018

Feb 23, 2016
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80% Science and 20% Art

Over 120 faculty, staff, family and friends came to witness the momentous occasion of the 23 doctor of audiology students receiving their white coats. The ceremony on September 28, 2015, ushered the inaugural class into the next step of their educational journey. Audiology Program Director Rupa Balachandran, PhD, explained the significance by saying, "White coats are symbolic of the professionalism that is expected of students in all clinical professions. This ceremony reaffirms the community's support of the educational process that prepares future health care professionals for practice. The White Coat placed on each of our future audiologists today is more than a just a lab coat - it is a cloak of competence, caring and community."

Pacific's doctor of audiology program, located at San Francisco Campus, is a new program in the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. It is one of four accelerated programs in the country and the only one in California. Its clinics, Pacific Hearing and Balance Centers in San Francisco and Stockton, along with anticipated collaborations with many Northern California medical and audiology centers, provide students with clinical experience and residencies.

Kim Lody, President of ReSound, served as the event's keynote speaker. She emphasized the level of commitment required to succeed in this emerging field. Lody explained, "It will require that you stretch yourselves and reach for new levels of understanding in physiology, technology, and the psychology of helping others. You'll learn new skills, techniques and new ways of interacting with people. And you'll do that through a fresh, progressive program designed not only with the current health care environment in mind, but more importantly, with a focus on the future of audiology."

She drew a comparison between audiology and art. She believes, "Audiology is 80% science and 20% art." Further, "It requires that you read people so you can identify their true needs [...]. Being an audiologist, just like being an artist, requires genuine curiosity about the world around you and the devotion to capture moments."

In his address Dean Oppenheimer also correlated art and audiology with an anecdote about the sculptor Michelangelo. "The profession of Audiology is founded on precision and detail. You must understand that attention to detail will make a difference. In patient care, we can expect nothing less than greatness."

In his welcome Dean Oppenheimer told the students "You are joining a wonderful family today, the Pacific Audiology family. The lofty status of the School is due to the academic quality of our students, their subsequent success as alumni, and the commitment to excellence of our faculty." Dean Oppenheimer stressed the importance of shifting focus away from one's grades and toward one's patients. He said, "You are studying so that daily you will make positive interventions in your patient's care."

The event held special significance as these 23 individuals are trailblazers, both for the University of the Pacific and for the state of California. Touching on the world of opportunity that is open to these future professionals Lody gave some examples of the abundant opportunities that audiology offers. "Whether it's an app to help manage tinnitus, a feature to geotag settings to a favorite coffee shop environment, or a multitude of biometric data and personalized interaction, there's so much more to be discovered, developed and deployed to help people with hearing loss."

Lody left the students with a challenge to take the time to reflect on the significance of this event and to ask themselves, "How will you utilize the trust that is placed in you by the patients seeking your help and expertise? Will you dedicate yourself to the art of helping others capture those moments that, for them, have been to that point in time, unnoticed, unrecognized and unheard?"

See more photos from the event at

For more information about Pacific's doctor of audiology program visit To schedule a visit to the San Francisco campus please visit

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about the author

Anne Marie H. Bergthold  

Anne Marie H. Bergthold is the Marketing Coordinator for Pacific's Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy.

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