A group of medical students from the United States are hoping to bring in change by tackling racial disparities in the healthcare sector amid the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. According to ABC News, the students at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have teamed up to put their spin in the Hippocratic oath. Under their new oath, the medical students hope to destroy biases, combat disinformation and address systemic racism.
The oath states that the students start their medical journey amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and national civil rights movement reinvigorated by the killings of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. Further, the oath goes on to address other concerns of the American health care system in serving vulnerable communities, including people of colour, who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
While speaking to the media outlet, Sean Sweat, a student from Hopkins, said that what’s already a very exciting journey, being able to play a role in writing the class oath just made the experience all the more special. She added that the oath addresses what’s going on right now and the racial injustices that have been brought to the forefront. She said that overall, the oath really addresses what it means to be a physician and how it so much more complicated.
The oath is the first of its kind and it came about by committee members working alongside advisors and student affair leaders. The committee has also decided to present information to the entire class of about 150 students where they each have an opportunity to offer feedback. The move comes as medical schools across the nation still fall behind in diversity as Black, Hispanic and American Indian students remain underrepresented in medical schools, despite increasing initiatives.
The oath by the medical students has now gained nationwide attention, including recognition from the American Medical Association. The move has also sparked a new tradition in the university where new students will be invited to put their own spin to the oath during orientation week each year.