To whom it may concern

The Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School has just circulated an advisory to faculty (partial screenshot below). We covered the school’s new white-coat ceremony in “Beyond the Hippocratic oath.” Reporting on the absurd oath foisted on incoming students at the ceremony has apparently raised public interest. If you are among those who help defray expenses at the University of Minnesota and would like to express your views, you are to be directed to the dean’s office.

Faculty are advised: “When receiving public feedback on the Medical School or University, know that many of these issues are managed centrally.” Faculty should not take responses personally: “Callers may be emotional, angry, or profane. You are not the source of their anger, and the goal is to forward them to the email or central phone number.” A helpful set of deflections is offered for those unaccustomed to unwanted social interactions:

Statements to signal the end of the conversation:

“Thank you for sharing your perspective. I encourage you to reach out to [email protected] or leave a message at 612-624-4662.”

“I appreciate you taking the time to call. While I need to answer another call/go to a meeting, I encourage you to reach out to [email protected] or or leave a message at 612-624-4662.”

There is no need to defend yourself against accusations and insults.

Say, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” And if needed, remind them you need to go “I unfortunately do need to go to my next meeting, and as I have shared – the best way is to call or email the Medical School”. Be firm if needed.

“I appreciate you taking the time to call. While I need to answer another call/go to a meeting…”

Maybe they can cover this with incoming students at next year’s white-coat ceremony. It might come in handy when dealing with management.

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