Social justice: The heart of medical education

Allen L. Hixon, Seiji Yamada, Paul E. Farmer, Gregory G. Maskarinec


Building on the long-standing institution of the
Hippocratic Oath, the authors suggest that all physicians-
in-training must be taught the principles affirmed
by the 1978 Declaration of Alma-Ata. Physicians
should recognize that health is a fundamental
human right and that gross inequalities in health
care are unacceptable for moral, political, social,
and economic reasons. Incorporating an explicit focus
on social justice in medical education will lead
to the training of physicians who understand that to
advance the goal of “health for all” they must work
toward more equitable distribution of health care
and the elimination of health disparities, both within
the U.S. and internationally. Learning to understand
the social determinants of health, to advocate for
equitable health system change, and to advance social
justice throughout their careers should be the
focus of this training. As this training prepares leaders
to press for system change in the U.S., it also
aligns with the global trend of recognizing human
rights as a core competency of medical education.


social justice, medical education

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Editorial Offices:

Department of Family and Social Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center
Bronx, New York, 10461

Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social (ALAMES)/Latin American Social Medicine Association:
ALAMES, Southern Cone Region, Cassinoni 1440 – 802, CP 11200 Montevideo, Uruguay.
ALAMES, Mexico Region, San Jerónimo 70 – 1, Col. La Otra Banda, CP 01090, México, D.F.