Rite of Passage Chiropractic Pinning Ceremony Goes Virtual

If you’re in the Portland Metro area, please consider scheduling an appointment in the Campus Health Center (503-255-6771) so that you can see the high-caliber clinic interns and UWS graduates!

By: Caitlin Jones, Q9 UWS doctor of chiropractic and sports medicine student


The pinning and white coat ceremony at University of Western States (UWS) is a celebratory event where chiropractic students take their first big step toward becoming chiropractic physicians. It signals the start of working in the Campus Health Center (CHC) with a clinician to help treat patients and pulling all of the knowledge learned the previous two years into practice. Working with a clinician in the CHC helps to solidify a student’s knowledge and shape how they’re going to treat their future patients. 

“The pinning ceremony is a rite of passage and represents the student’s physical entry into the clinic and the continuation of this journey to provide health care,” said Dr. Stanley Ewald, associate dean of clinical internship. “It is time to take an oath to oneself to advance the health of every patient equally and recognize the goodness and value of every single human being.”

The pinning ceremony is more than just the first step into the clinic, it’s a big event where families can celebrate the student’s accomplishments thus far. By this time, students have earned a bachelor’s degree in science and have taken their first national board exam, which is a feat. It’s also a great excuse to get dressed up with your pinned white coat and take pictures with family and friends!

“As a clinician, it is exciting to have fresh new faces in my treating group,” said Dr. Amanda Armington, attending chiropractic physician and associate professor. “They grow so much over the course of the clinical internship and it is in my opinion the best part of the program (but maybe I’m biased). The clinic intern will begin to piece together all the preclinical knowledge and build on that to provide evidence-informed, quality patient care!”

COVID-19 has affected the school in many ways, including transferring the pinning ceremony from a big, in-person event to a virtual one.  While it is unfortunate that students aren’t able to celebrate in person together, it does still allow for family members to participate and celebrate virtually!

Making it this far into the program and entering clinic is a thing to celebrate.

“Make sure you take time and reflect back on all that you learned up to this point and now prepare to recall this information in a succinct and practical matter,” said Dr. Craig Kawaoka, attending physician and associate professor. “Congratulate yourself on a hard-earned and well-deserved achievement. Also, realize this is only the beginning of a lifelong learning experience and practice.”

Current Quarter 8 or Quarter 9, I hope that you celebrate it in your own way! When I received my pin last quarter, I grabbed my closest friends (who are in my COVID bubble) and took pictures and had a potluck dinner to reminisce on the past two years and speculate what clinic was going to look like. It wasn’t the pinning ceremony of years past, but it was still perfect for me. Now, I look forward to the school’s virtual event and pictures of everyone in their coats and pins!