A unique double Physician’s Oath ceremony took place at MSIH last week when the classes of 2024 and 2025 participated in back to back events.
“Last year, we weren’t able to hold a ceremony,” explains Leaura Navi, Chief Administrator of the School. “Pandemic travel restrictions prevented most of the first year students from traveling to Israel, so we had to postpone the event until they could attend in person.”
With both classes of students now in Beersheva, the ceremonies were held in late October with a total of 68 students taking their oath – 32 from the class of 2024, and 36 from 2025.
“When we first arranged the ceremonies, there was a restriction on the number of people we were allowed to have present in one place,” explained Leaura, “so we planned two events. Then the students told us they’d prefer separate ceremonies, so in the end it all worked out well.”
Guest speaker at the 2024 ceremony was MSIH alumna (2011), Dr. Aya Lewkowicz, of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Laniado Medical Center in Netanya. In 2020, Aya completed an OB/GYN fellowship in Advanced Obstetrics at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto before returning to Israel. She has extensive experience in global health – and even joined MSIH’s fourth year students in Nepal during their 2020 Clerkship to share her experience with them.
Dr. Adam Lee Goldstein, an alumnus from the same class addressed students of the 2025 ceremony. Adam is currently Director of Trauma Surgery at Wolfson Medical Center, Holon. He made international headlines when his outstanding article appeared in the New York Times last May,
The ceremonies were watched live on YouTube by nearly 200 family members and friends from all over world.
Immediately after swearing their oath, a representative of the classes presented their Honor Code.
Each MSIH first year class prepares its own Honor Code – which is written by the entire class and reflects how they wish to conduct themselves individually and collectively as future physicians. The Code declares the class’s values, ethics, morals and standards, and is prepared in first year as a guide for how they see themselves perform in their careers ahead. Signed by everyone in the class, students are encouraged to peruse their Honor Code as they progress through their studies. The document is preserved by MSIH and displayed on the school’s walls.
Class of 2025
“At the foundation of moral thinking lie beliefs in statements the truth of which no further reason can be given.”
The above words of philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre suggest that there are values that, without justification, are accepted as good. Certainly, this is true in the world of medicine. Yet, amidst the ebbs and flow of scientific progress the implementation of these values has varied significantly. We take up the delicate endeavor of attempting to embody such ideals within the ever-changing particulars of the hospital. What does humility look like at a bedside? Does the shape of integrity change from medical training to medical practice? What matters most is how values are realized in the day-to-day.
We commit not only to values in the abstract but to their actualization in the rhythms and nuances of our lives as prospective physicians. We commit to:
- Humility. It means more than consulting a difficult case with a colleague. It means more than respecting the patient. Humility encompasses collaboration with the patient, each other, and the communities in which we work.
- Equity. It is more than equal access to medical care. It is more than treating everyone fairly and equally. Equity involves understanding the social, economic, and political backgrounds that patients come from, listening to their perspectives, and amplifying the voices of advocates.
- Compassion. It moves beyond effective communication such as speaking with patients in their preferred language or delivering diagnoses clearly. Compassion is connecting with patients, meeting them where they are at, and striving to see their hopes and concerns.
- Integrity. It goes beyond academic honesty and keeping up with the latest literature. Integrity is leading by example and doing what is right, regardless of its difficulty.
- Cultural Humility. It is more than learning about and appreciating values and beliefs other than our own. Cultural humility entails an ongoing process of self-reflection and continual learning from those around us.
Furthermore, we will reject apathy in upholding these ideals. Before long, we will begin our careers as caretakers and as lifelong leaders in the medical field. We will have hard days and may feel hopeless, but we will persevere.
Medicine as an Art & Science
The iconic White Coat Ceremony focuses not only on physician responsibility, but on patient centered care and the empathetic practice of medicine. There is an important emphasis on compassionate, collaborative, and scientifically excellent care. Remembering that medicine is an art, as well as a science, is key and aligns with the philosophy at MSIH of humanistic medicine.