Benjamin Zeisloft, Campus Reform, November 16, 2020
Students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine started a tradition of writing a class oath, to be recited alongside the traditional Hippocratic Oath.
In the days before its Aug. 16 white coat ceremony, the class of 2024 presented its new oath to Pitt Medicine administrators. The oath included references to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic, “systemic racism,” and LGBTQ+ identity.
Specifically, the oath says that students will be allies to “those of low socioeconomic status, the BIPOC community, the LGBTQIA+ community, womxn/women, differently-abled individuals and other underserved groups in order to dismantle the systemic racism and prejudice that medical professionals and society have perpetuated.”
The full text of the oath says the following:
As the entering class of 2020, we start our medical journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and a national civil rights movement reinvigorated by the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. We honor the 700,000+ lives lost to COVID-19, despite the sacrifices of health care workers.
We recognize the fundamental failings of our health care and political systems in serving vulnerable communities. This oath is the first step in our enduring commitment to repairing the injustices against those historically ignored and abused in medicine: Black patients, Indigenous patients, Patients of Color and all marginalized populations who have received substandard care as a result of their identity and limited resources.
Acknowledging the privilege and responsibility that come with being a physician, I take this oath as a call to action to fulfill my duty to patients, to the medical profession and to society.
Thereby, I pledge as a physician and lifelong student of medicine:
I will support and collaborate with my colleagues across disciplines and professions, while respecting the patient’s vital role on the health care team.
I will honor my physical, mental and emotional health so as to not lessen the quality of care I provide.
I will carry on the legacy of my predecessors by mentoring the next generation of diverse physicians.
I will recognize the pivotal role of ethical research in the advancement of medicine and commit myself to endless scholarship with the ultimate goal of improving patient care.
I will care for my patients’ holistic well-being, not solely their pathology. With empathy, compassion and humility, I will prioritize understanding each patient’s narrative, background and experiences while protecting privacy and autonomy.
I will champion diversity in both medicine and society, and promote an inclusive environment by respecting the perspectives of others and relentlessly seeking to identify and eliminate my personal biases.
I will be an ally to those of low socioeconomic status, the BIPOC community, the LGBTQIA+ community, womxn/women, differently-abled individuals and other underserved groups in order to dismantle the systemic racism and prejudice that medical professionals and society have perpetuated.