“The Future is Bright”

PA-Winthrop Class of 2019 Dons White Coat and Celebrates

February 04, 2019
Thirty members of the class of 2019 Touro’s School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Winthrop Extension Center (WEC)  donned their white coat in a ceremony on January 11. Above, PA Sachin Kirtane stands next to Matthew Tommasino, PA-C MS, associate program director of the PA-Winthrop program.

The thirty members of the class of 2019 Touro’s School of Health Sciences Physician Assistant Winthrop Extension Center (WEC) took a huge leap in their medical journey when they donned their white coat in a ceremony held at Touro College Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center on January 11. The ceremony marked their graduation from their program. After class members sit for the boards, they will move on to work as physician assistants in hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices across the US.

Keynote speaker Dr. Victor Politi, a surgeon and health care executive, spoke about the changing nature of the profession.

“It’s a very exciting time to be in healthcare,” he told the audience. “We are experiencing a paradigm shift from sick care to well-care. We’re looking to keep people healthy by changing their habits and preventing their hospitalizations. PA’s are a vital part of that. They are personable. They spend time with their patients. They’re not only working in doctor’s offices they’re in every area of hospitals: cardiology, operating rooms, OBGYN areas. This a great time to be a PA, the future is bright and it’s only getting brighter.”

Peter Judge, a professor at the program, was named Outstanding Preceptor of the Year. “It’s an honor,” he said. “I’m lucky to work with such a talented group of students. They’re young and enthusiastic and want to do well.”

During the reception that followed, the members of the class spoke about how they came to the profession.

Sachin Kirtane, who led his fellow students in reciting the White Coat Oath, originally went to college on a baseball scholarship. Once his career was sidelined with an injury, he considered following his parents’ footsteps and becoming a doctor. He decided to become a PA instead. "I realized that as a doctor, I would have other responsibilities, like paperwork and dealing with insurance. As a PA I could focus solely on helping people.”

Hannah Mathews celebrated with her family at the ceremony. She plans to specialize in emergency critical care. "I thrive under pressure," she said. 

“It’s a great accomplishment,” her father, Abey, added.

Ryan Garrow decided to become a PA after serving for eight years in the US army as a helicopter pilot. "I worked with a lot of PA's and realized it was something I was interested in," he said. The most transferrable aspect of his army service to the world of PAs? "Working as part of team." Garrow also praised Touro’s commitment to working with veterans.  (If PA school wasn't challenging enough on its own, Garrow and his wife welcomed their son Benjy to the world seven months ago.)

Aaron and Rochel Glatzer described themselves as a Touro PA family. The two met while working as medical scribes in Upstate New York (and were set up by two physician assistants who worked in their offices). Aaron celebrated his graduation at the PA Winthrop white coat ceremony, while Rochel celebrated the completion of her first semester of PA school at Touro's PA-Bayshore program. Aaron plans to specialize in primary care.

Dr. Joseph Tommasino, chair of SHS’s PA programs, exhorted the new graduates. “Never do average,” he said. “Always be exceptionable. Now go out and put on your white coat and provide exceptional healthcare.”