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Professional virtue of civility: responding to commentaries
  1. Laurence B McCullough1,
  2. John Coverdale2,
  3. Frank A Chervenak1
  1. 1 Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, Hempstead, and Lenox Hill Hospital, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Center for Ethics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr John Coverdale, Medical Ethics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas, 77030, USA; jhc{at}

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In our ‘The Professional Virtue of Civility and the Responsibilities of Medical Educators and Academic Leaders’,1 we provided an historically based conceptual account of the professional virtue of civility and the role of leaders of academic health centres in creating and sustaining an organisational culture of professionalism that promotes civility among healthcare professionals and between medical educators and learners.

Going beyond

We emphasised that any adequate understanding of the virtues, including professional virtues, has cognitive, affective, behavioural and social components. Some of the commentators expand on these components in important ways. Xuhao et al emphasises the importance of role models, especially in the hierarchical context of medical education.2 The hierarchy of faculty in the senior position and junior doctors and other learners below them has characterised medical education for centuries. Xuhao et al rightly call for academic leaders to shape this hierarchy in a morally responsible way, by becoming ‘exemplary role models’.2 Berry, a clinician manager, in critiquing our account, calls for an increased appreciation for the psychological and environmental factors that might explain why uncivil behaviour occurs.3 …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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