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A Matter of Ethics

Wirth Ethics Ceremony

An important concern of all healthcare programs today is the ethical and professional behavior of its students. The integrity of the profession affords certain privileges and rights to practitioners which can be taken away if dental professionals do not maintain proper stewardship over those in their care. With that in mind, the LSUHSC School of Dentistry (LSUSD) is committed to instilling the importance of ethical behavior in students throughout their dental education. In addition to stressing ethical matters in the classroom, the school holds two ceremonies for first- and second-year students in the fall of each year.

First-year students in dentistry, dental hygiene and dental laboratory technology participate in the F. Harold Wirth Ceremony. Students from each program work together to compose a professional honor code that is unique each year; this year they pledged commitment to personal responsibility, teamwork and service.

Bruce LeBlanc, DDS '77, chair of the F. Harold Wirth Committee, presented the keynote address. After Dr. LeBlanc, the following speakers addressed the students: Robert Barsley, DDS, JD, International College of Dentists; Jerry Clark, CDT, advisory director of the Louisiana Dental Laboratory Association; Suzanne Farrar, RDH, MSHCM, legislative chair and past-president of the Louisiana Dental Hygienists Association; and Reid Owens, senior dental class representative to the American Student Dental Association. Dr. Toby Cheramie, director of admissions, and Dr. Peter Guidry, Harold Wirth committee member, presented pins to each student; the pinning was followed by recital of the professional ethics pledge by the three classes.

Martin Duplantier, DDS class of 2017, with Dr. Bruce LeBlanc at the Wirth Ceremony signing

F. Harold Wirth, DDS, taught at the dental school from 1974-1987. His philosophy of life and dentistry centered on balancing areas of work, play, love and worship. Shortly after his death in 1987, a group of former students created the F. Harold Wirth Committee to raise funds with which to continue Dr. Wirth's legacy.

White Coat Ceremony

During the annual White Coat Ceremony, the 65 second-year dental students pledge to exhibit personal and professional integrity as they transition from classroom student to clinician. As written in the LSUSD professional oath, the white coat symbolizes their "commitment to patients, to society and to other health professionals."

Dr. Kristi Soileau, White Coat Ceremony keynote speaker, with Whitney Walker, DDS class of 2016

This year Kristi Soileau, DDS '85, Periodontics '88, president of the LSUSD Alumni Association, presented the keynote address, "The White Coat: Earning It with Every Patient." Students then received their coats from Drs. John Gallo, Toby Cheramie, Kitrina Cordell, Nicholas Miniotis and Peter Oliver. Whitney Walker, class president, led her classmates in recitation of the professional oath.

Special thanks to sponsors of these events: American Student Dental Association, Campus Federal Credit Union, F. Harold Wirth Memorial Fund, Louisiana Section of the American College of Dentists, Louisiana Section of International College of Dentists, LSUSD Student Government Association, Pierre Fauchard Academy, and Theta Kappa Chapter of Omicron Kappa Upsilon National Dental Honor Society.

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Last Update 12/2013