Ohio Wesleyan Alumnus, Johns Hopkins Medical Student David Gatz ’10 Co-Founds ‘The Patient Promise’

Organization Urges Healthcare Workers to Model Healthy Lives

David Gatz ’10. (Photo courtesy of OWU’s Office of Marketing and Communication)

“We want to make patients healthier by making clinicians healthier,” Ohio Wesleyan alumnus and Johns Hopkins medical student David Gatz told The Atlantic in a recent interview.

To do just that, Gatz and fellow Johns Hopkins University medical student Shiv Gaglani created “The Patient Promise,” described as a “unique commitment between healthcare professionals and patients that aims to instill a deep sense of partnership into their relationship and, in the process, change the culture of healthcare.”

Hundreds of care providers already have signed the promise, which pledges that they will:

  • Engage in regular physical activity.
  • Eat a balanced and nutritious diet.
  • Refrain from using harmful substances.
  • Diminish personal stressors and look after their own mental well-being.
  • Encourage patients to adopt these same healthy lifestyle behaviors.
  • Work alongside their patients as partners in the healthcare journey.
  • Identify and guard themselves from potential prejudices against patients based on unhealthy behaviors, recognizing the often complex origins of these habits.
  • Respect and seek to understand the beliefs and traditions of patients that affect health.
  • Promote healthy lifestyle behaviors within their communities.

Gatz sought to make a difference during his time at Ohio Wesleyan, too. He was a triple major in biochemistry, pre-professional medicine, and pre-professional zoology, and was selected as a Rhodes Scholar semifinalist in 2009. He also was a three-time selection to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® College Division Men’s At-Large swim teams.

In 2009, he and fellow OWU student Usman Javaid ’10 of Pakistan created “The Channeling Peace Initiative” and trained to swim across the English Channel to demonstrate the power of international cooperation and friendship, and to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), a global medical humanitarian organization.

After Javaid was denied a visa to participate in the swim, Gatz joined another team and successfully crossed the Channel, demonstrating his commitment to successfully complete any challenge.

Read more about Gatz’s efforts to make waves and improve lives with “The Patient Promise” in The Atlantic.


Ohio Wesleyan University is one of the nation’s premier small, private universities, with more than 90 undergraduate majors, sequences, and courses of study, and 23 NCAA Division III varsity sports. Located in Delaware, Ohio, just minutes north of Ohio’s capital and largest city, Columbus, the university combines a globally focused curriculum with off-campus learning and leadership opportunities that translate classroom theory into real-world practice. OWU’s close-knit community of 1,850 students represents 47 states and 57 countries. Ohio Wesleyan was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with distinction, is featured in the book “Colleges That Change Lives,” and is included on the “best colleges” lists of U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review. Learn more at www.owu.edu.

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