10 Years of Advancing Professionalism

In 2002, the ABIM Foundation, American College of Physicians Foundation and the European Federation of Internal Medicine jointly authored Medical Professionalism in the New Millennium: A Physician Charter. Published simultaneously in Annals of Internal Medicine, The Lancet and the European Journal of Internal Medicine, Harold C. Sox, MD, then editor of Annals of Internal Medicine, wrote, "I hope that we will look back upon its (the Charter's) publication as a watershed event in medicine."

A decade later, the impact of the Physician Charter in advancing medical professionalism and addressing these challenges is far-reaching:

  • More than 130 organizations across the world have endorsed the Physician Charter
  • It has been translated into 12 languages
  • Nearly 100,000 copies have been distributed
  • The number of journal articles published on medical professionalism has increased threefold to nearly 300 a year

The Charter has as its fundamental principles the primacy of patient welfare, patient autonomy and social justice. The Charter also articulates professional commitments of physicians and health care professionals, including improving access to high quality health care, advocating for a just and cost-effective distribution of finite resources, and maintaining trust by managing conflicts of interest.