On Monday, August 28, 2017, nineteen students from the AODP 2019, ASIP 2019, and MS/OD China 2019 programs participated in the third annual summer White Coat Ceremony. Traditionally, NECO students receive their white coats and clinical privileging letters at the beginning of their second year. The White coat signifies a transition to the next stage of patient care with increased responsibility. For the accelerated and international programs, this takes place at the end of the summer term.
Interim Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Sandra Mohr, Alumni Association President Dr. Jonathan Jimmerson, and Associate Dean of Students Barbara McGinley presided over the event. The ceremony was also attended by Dr. Frank Thorn, Director of Accelerated OD Programs, Dr. Bina Patel, Director of Advanced Standing International Program, Professor Steve Koevary, OD, and Associate Professor Fuensanta Vera-Diaz, OD.
The ceremony signifies the beginning of more advanced clinical work for the international and accelerated optometric students. Speakers highlighted this increasing responsibility and offered advice throughout the ceremony. The students’ varied backgrounds and experiences in research and patient care were highlighted as they received their White Coat from Dr. Jimmerson and clinical privileging letter from Dr. Koevary and Dr. Vera-Diaz.
The Advanced Standing International Program (ASIP) at NECO is designed for international optometrists who are pursuing a US doctor of optometry degree. Applicants to the ASIP must have graduated and received a bachelor’s degree in optometry from an accredited recognized international optometric school. ASIP students follow an intense two year curriculum, which includes one year of clinical externship rotations. Course work centers on basic sciences, disease, and advanced optometry skills and concepts.
The Accelerated Optometric Degree Program (AODP) is an accelerated program for qualified applicants with either an earned doctorate in one of the biological, behavioral, or physical sciences, or a doctoral-level health profession degree. AODP students follow an intense twenty-seven month curriculum, which includes one year of clinical externship rotations. Course work centers on optometry concepts and skills, and ocular disease.
The MS/OD China program is a unique joint degree program with Wenzhou Medical University. Students who complete the program earn two degrees: the master of science and doctor of optometry degrees. The MS/OD China curriculum combines the AODP curriculum and the Master of Science degree with joint clinical externships that include six months in Boston-based rotations and six months at Wenzhou Medical University.