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August 15, 1977

Rewards of Shared Opportunity: The Need for Updating the Hippocratic Covenant of Student-Teacher Relationships

JAMA. 1977;238(7):614-617. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280070054024

IT IS anticipated that 13,470 new physicians will have entered the profession of medicine by midyear. From this large group will undoubtedly emerge many future leaders. Perhaps a few will already have been identified by perceptive teachers. Collision with problems demanding solution and intimate association with like minds striving to advance medicine will mold the potential leaders into the achievers, guides, and bellwethers of the next half century. By the fact of their graduation, medical students provide evidence that they fully appreciate the importance of the best known of the Hippocratic aphorisms: "Life is short, the art long, the occasion fleeting, the experiment dangerous, and judgment difficult."1

How shall I spend my life? Will it be in the service of my fellow men and women? As family physician or specialist? In the academic arena, in community service, or primarily in research? Each has its special compensations. Perhaps no profession