SOD White Coat Ceremony-Class of 2018
Presenting the School of Dentistry’s Class of 2018. Standing middle front, (left to right): Sandra Harris, D.D.S. ’84, F.A.C.D., associate dean and chair, Office of Academic and Student Affairs; Cherae Farmer-Dixon, D.D.S. ’90, M.S.P.H. ’94, dean of the School of Dentistry and Gerald Davis, D.D.S. ’11, director of student support, Office of Academic and Student Affairs.

School of DENTISTRY White Coat CEREMONY for the Class of 2018: Two Students and Their Stories

Audrey Fields receives her white coatFirst-year dental student, Audrey Fields, is from Tuscaloosa, Alabama and received her degree in physical science and pre-dentistry from Auburn University at Montgomery in 2013.

When asked why she chose Meharry for her dental education, Fields replied that she believes in everything Meharry stands for. “To be honest, Meharry is a great school,” she said. “I fell in love with its background history, its mission, how the students are involved in the community and how it has enriched the lives of its graduates and the community in which they work.” Fields said she had a friend who was accepted to Meharry but decided to go to another dental school. “My friend graduated from the other dental school,” she laughs. “But, she always tells me how she wished she had gone to Meharry.”

Fields loves the white coat tradition and feels it gives her the inspiration and motivation to pursue her career in dentistry and embrace whatever the future holds. In addition she states, “The white coat symbolizes my achievement in getting this far and motivates me to go even farther.”

After graduation in 2018, Fields wants to continue her oral health care training in the field of orthodontics or endodontics.

In 2018, Quint Lester will become the fourth dentist in his family to graduate from the School of Dentistry. That is only part of the reason he chose Meharry to train as an oral health care provider. “I have three cousins who graduated from Meharry,” said Lester. “Although they were instrumental in my decision, I had to be happy and I knew I would be happy and productive at Meharry. The college’s mission of serving the underserved was also a major component for Lester. “I love [the mission],” said Lester. “The people that need the most care are the ones often overlooked and turned away. At Meharry, with the focus on the underserved, we are able to help all people as it was intended.”

Quint Lester receives his white coat

Lester, comes to Meharry from Atlanta graduating from Georgia State University where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in biology in 2014.

He said he knows there are mixed emotions from individuals about first-year students getting their white coats so early in the game especially since they are not into clinics yet. “I realize some think it may be too premature to get our white coats so soon since we are just starting out,” said Lester. “But, to me, it’s a big deal. We may not be going to clinic this year, but we will get there.”  

Lester continues by saying the white coat denotes patient respect even when you are just walking about campus or the hospital. “If patients, or anyone in need, see you in a white coat, they recognize that you represent someone who can help them," he said. "It shows them we are here and we are available to help.” Lester said everybody should treat getting their white coats as a big deal. He believes it is a huge stepping stone for everyone. “Even though we’ve started classes, now that we have the white coat, it’s even more real,” said Lester.

There were 60 first-year dental students who received white coats.