Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter

Troy Brennan, Christopher Davidson, Jordan Cohen, Harry Kimball, Neil Smelser, Daniel Sereni, Eugene Sutorius, Gunilla Brenning, Walter McDonald
5 February 2012

The charter is the product of several years of work by leaders in the ABIM Foundation, the ACP–ASIM Foundation, and the European Federation of Internal Medicine. The charter consists of a brief introduction and rationale, three principles, and 10 commitments. The introduction contains the following premise: Changes in the health care delivery systems in countries through- out the industrialized world threaten the values of professional- ism. The document conveys this message with chilling brevity. The authors apparently feel no need to defend this premise, per- haps because they believe that it is a universally held truth. The authors go further, stating that the conditions of medical practice are tempting physicians to abandon their commitment to the primacy of patient welfare. These are very strong words. Whether they are strictly true for the profession as a whole is almost beside the point. Each physician must decide if the circumstances of practice are threatening his or her adherence to the values that the medical profession has held dear for many millennia.