Dr. Paul Gray washing the feet of the Surgical Residents at Soddo Christian Hospital, Ethiopia (10/13/2011)
“I will respect the hard-won scientific gains of those physicians in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.” Modern Hippocratic Oath and Medical Education
"The term mentor doesn't do justice to what a great one does. ... A mentor does so much more than share his or her wisdom with the mentored. The mentor allows the protege to share in his or her achievement, an extraordinary gift. Moreover, the mentor puts his or her reputation on the line with every good word dropped about the mentored to people in power, every recommendation made. In that sense, mentoring is an act of faith." from “Still Surprised” by Warren Bennis
So he got up from the supper table, set aside his robe, and put on an apron. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the feet of the disciples, drying them with his apron. When he got to Simon Peter, Peter said, "Master, you wash my feet?" John 13:4-6 (The Message)
There is a challenge to how we see education with its inequalities in distribution and its conduct. This is particularly true in how we see the spiritual challenges to healthcare education. There is suspicion that medical education is still a guild or a exclusive union.
What was particularly impressive to me as what I would call a Christian version of a “White Coat” ceremony. The report and the picture comes from Soddo Ethiopia as reported by a missionary wife. I have come to the conclusion that to be a Healing Agent educator is more than the Hippocratic description, more than a mentor and more like the Biblical description of our model of the “servant educator”. It does not preclude respect and mentoring but promotes the model of “servant leadership”.
If this can be true in a mission hospital in Ethiopia, can it be translated to developed countries? Can it work for those who come from other traditions? Can it change the perception of healthcare education by the public in this country? This maybe a lesson where the “poor” help us rediscover the spirit of healthcare education.