DALLAS TOWNSHIP, Pa. – More than 500 students, health care professionals and concerned citizens from more than 20 states and eight foreign countries signed the pledge to “uphold the values of dignity, equality and justice within health care” in the first week it was launched by the Center for Human Dignity in Bioethics, Medicine and Health at Misericordia University.
The “Pledge to Preserve Human Dignity in Health Care” was introduced at a ceremony Jan. 29 on campus, timed to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Those in attendance received a pin they can wear to show their respect for the dignity of all patients and promote a deeper understanding of medical practices and their ethical ramifications.
The pledge has the support of representatives from Harvard Medical School, New York University Langone Medical Center, New York Medical College, The Ohio State University and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Center. In addition, the executive board of the Polish Association for Spiritual Care in Medicine voted to formally approve the pledge. The pledge has been shared and signed in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Israel, Ireland, Poland and United Kingdom, as well as across the United States.
The pledge is co-sponsored by the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust in New Jersey; the Department of Bioethics and the Holocaust of the UNESCO Chair of Bioethics, located in Israel; the Ethics Institute of Northeastern Pennsylvania at Misericordia University; the Medical Health and Humanities program at Misericordia University, and the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center in Indiana, founded by Holocaust survivor Eva Mozes Kor. Mrs. Kor is among the first 200 signers of the pledge and says she is proud to wear a pin to show her support.
A candle lighting ceremony to honor victims of medical science included Rabbi Larry Kaplan, Temple Israel, Wilkes-Barre; Rabbi Roger Lerner, Temple B’nai B’rith, Kingston; Azza Almecky, M.D.; student Ileana Santana, representing the Misericordia Multicultural Club; David Rehm, Ph.D., vice president of Academic Affairs, Misericordia University; and Jessica Randall, Grace Chen, Ph.D., and Megan Hurley, representing the ALLY program that supports the LGBTQIA community on campus.
Guests included keynote speaker Tessa Chelouche, M.D., director of primary care medical practices at Tel Aviv University, Susan M. Miller, M.D., a professor of clinical medicine at the Houston Methodist Research Institute and a board member of the Maimonides Institute for Medicine, Ethics and the Holocaust; and Dorothy Chambers, executive director of the CANDLES Center.
“As our pledge spreads worldwide, we see this as the beginning of an international movement by health care professionals and others to reflect upon what took place during the Holocaust, what has continued to take place, and use those lessons to reaffirm a societal commitment to end medical experimentation at the expense of patients,” said Dr. Gallin. Those who wish to support the movement can sign the pledge by going to http://bit.ly/dignitypledge.
Misericordia instituted a Medical and Health Humanities program in 2016 that focuses on the human being, human experience and the need for empathy, as related to medical and health practices. It is designed for students who are interested in the humanities fields, as well as health care and medicine. For more information on the bachelor’s degree program, log on to www.misericordia.edu/medicalhumanities
Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1924, Misericordia University is Luzerne County’s first four-year college and offers 56 academic programs on the graduate and undergraduate levels in full- and part-time formats. Misericordia University ranks in the top tier of the Best Regional Universities – North category of U.S. News and World Report’s 2018 edition of Best Colleges. The Princeton Review recognizes MU as a 2018 Best Northeastern College and MONEY Magazine includes Misericordia in its 2017-18 “Best Colleges” list.