Latest Marshallese docs take oath

In a ceremony last Friday, Drs. Jean Phillip and Jerel Anitok took the Hippocratic oath and received their licenses to practice medicine in the RMI. A large group of family, friends and colleagues joined the program. Photo: Eve Burns.


Married to humanity in the middle of a pandemic on a very hot afternoon on a tennis court: It will be unforgettable for the two individuals who received their white coat and took the Hippocratic Oath last Friday.

The internship residency program that Drs. Jean Phillip and Jerel Anitok completed is overseen by Shuang Ho Hospital in Taipei.

The ceremony opened with a prayer delivered by Pastor Biwij John.
Witnessing the event were fellow doctors, nurses, family members and guests.
Health Minister Joe Bejang thanked and recognized Taiwan Ambassador Jeffrey Hsiao and his team at the Taiwan Embassy. He also thanked all MOHHS staff, especially their families for their support for the last three weeks in the mission to reduce the spread of Covid. He congratulated the new doctors for completing their internship.

“Today we are here to witness the fruitful result of our medical education cooperation,” said Ambassador Hsiao. He extended his congratulations to Drs. Jean and Jerel. “Yesterday at the airport we had sent another six Taiwan MOFA scholarship and ICDF scholarship students to Taiwan,” he said.

“We are deeply honored and pleased to see that the virtuous cycles that we have created together has continued to inspire the new generations, cultivate more young talents and new hope in the Marshall Islands,” he said. He gave recognition to Minister Bejang and his staff for their effort, “I have witnessed the joint effort of Secretary Jack, my colleague David Lin, and Taiwan Health Center stationing nurse Josh, sent by Shuang Ho Hospital, which I proudly dub as the golden triangle of our medical cooperation.”

“Together this team has proved its value through many fights especially in this wave of Covid-19 community infection. We have been able to mobilize quickly in the dispatch of Dr. Kuo.” He said in a couple of hours of arriving in Majuro, Dr Kuo was already working in Majuro hospital’s emergency room in mid-August.

Superintendent of Shuang Ho Hospital Yih-Gium Cherng congratulated Drs. Jean and Jerel for successful competition of their internship training in the Marshall Islands through a recorded video. “I hope you had a great time and got everything you need to learn for future career as a doctor,” he said. “I often tell my students that internship graduation is not the end, it’s the beginning of the medical study journey. Your best teachers are the patients you meet everyday by working in the hospital. As intern doctors you should always be prepared, reading medical books and journals and not just for work but a life-long journey, the profession of a doctor is a heavy burden and we’ll feel depressed and tired at some point in your life but never let difficulty and obstacles overcome you. The action and hard work you take will be the fruit of your effort.”

Doctors Ivy Lapidez and Rodney Catilo performed the white coat ceremony and issued training completion certificates. Doctor Bong Villaroya presented the two n ew doctors’ physician licenses.

Secretary of Health Jack Niedenthal shared with the audience that the Hippocratic Oath started 400 years before Jesus was born. “It’s a 2,500 year old oath, it’s a tradition that’s been passed through generation to generation,” he said. “I remember somebody told me this oath sounded a lot like a marriage ceremony and I said no, no it’s more important than a marriage ceremony, when you get married you get married to one person. (With this oath) you’re marrying humanity. It’s a much much bigger challenge and a much much bigger responsibility than just getting married.”

“I was so afraid because there was so many ways we could have failed the people of the Marshall Islands if we had not done a good job,” Jack continued, speaking about the ministry’s response to the Covid outbreak. “What I can say after this response and I know we’re not done with it yet, but we are recognized by the CDC and many other places in the world as having the best response to Covid-19 over the past two and half years, the best response in the entire world and now we can say that, it’s a fact.”

Jack told the audience that the interns were bombed by questions and were always prepared. “It’s a very difficult thing to go through,” he said. He said that these two individuals were exceptional.

Jack read the Hippocratic Oath in English and Drs. Jean and Jerel repeated it in Marshallese. The two newly minted doctors thanked their families, all their mentors, and all those involved in their internship training for the support and help.

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