WVSOM to celebrate annual White Coat Ceremony

The West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) will celebrate its 13th annual Convocation and White Coat Ceremony on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the parade field on campus.

The event symbolizes first-year students' welcome into the osteopathic medical profession and their journey to become physicians as they are donned with a white coat from esteemed doctors in the profession.

This year, 220 students will receive the honor. The entering Class of 2015 represents 85 West Virginia residents and 135 out-of-state residents. The class consists of 107 females and 113 males.

During orientation the entering class had a white coat fitting, which many said solidified that they are on their way to becoming doctors.

Waseem Khader, from Huntington, W.Va., said the fitting was a surreal experience.

"I'm really looking forward to the ceremony, and with this white coat I'm looking for a great fit," he said. "It's great seeing myself as a doctor with this white coat on."

Manuel "Manny" Ballas, D.O., will serve as the ceremony's keynote speaker.

Dr. Ballas is a member of WVSOM's Class of 1993. Dr. Ballas said he wants his speech to be inspiring to new students.

"I am humbled and honored," Ballas said of the opportunity to speak at this year's ceremony. "I do think it's something that can shape what the students do at the school and I hope to give them inspiration and realistic expectations as they move forward."

WVSOM President, Michael Adelman, D.O., J.D., said Dr. Ballas was asked to speak at the ceremony because ¬¬of his continued support of the school and because he is a respected physician in the state.

"At WVSOM, our White Coat Ceremony celebrates the beginning of a student's journey toward becoming an osteopathic physician," Adelman said. "Dr. Ballas is an alum of WVSOM. He is an excellent physician, a strong supporter of our school and well respected in our state and throughout the osteopathic profession. As our keynote speaker, I know that Dr. Ballas is a wonderful role model for our students, and will provide them inspiration as they pursue their osteopathic medical careers."

During Dr. Ballas' time at WVSOM, he was student body president, class president, an alumni scholarship recipient and recipient of the Outstanding WVSOM Graduating Senior award.

He is an OB/GYN physician and serves as medical director at Change Inc., Family Medical Center and Women's Health Center located in Weirton. Dr. Ballas received the Preceptor of the Year award in 2010 and is a WVSOM Alumni Board member.

The Convocation and White Coat Ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. and is open to the public. All are invited to attend.

WVSOM will broadcast the Convocation and White Coat Ceremony live via the Internet. Live streaming begins at 9:30 am: