For Your Health
For Your Health

News from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences

Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award reestablished at UND

After a brief hiatus, the UND School of Medicine & Health Sciences is again participating in the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award program, presented by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. This prestigious award is given annually to one fourth-year medical student and one physician faculty member who champion humanism in healthcare, which the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) chapter at UND defines as compassionate, collaborative, and scientifically excellent clinical care.

The Class of 2023 members of the SMHS chapter of the GHHS include: Allison Valerius, Amanda Palme, Ann Marie O’Connell, Caleb Ellingson, Jacob Stern, Justin Schafer, Karan Saravana, Leesha Heitkamp, Mikaela Herberg, Mishell Quiridumbay, Parker Rosenau, Sarah Wherley, and Tisha Corum.

This year’s student and faculty award winners will be announced on Saturday, May 6, at the School’s annual MD Commencement Awards Ceremony. Recipients will receive a scholarship from the Gold Foundation and will be inducted as lifelong members of GHHS. It is GHHS’s aim that this award encourages recognition of the value of humanism in the delivery of care to patients and their families as well as reminds and motivates the UND community to strive to exemplify humanistic qualities. UND’s GHHS will facilitate the bestowment of this award.

“Of all the qualities of a great physician, humanism is by far one of the few that patients value the most,” noted Dr. Jon Allen, faculty advisor for the local GHHS group. “They remember and talk about the physician’s empathy, compassion, high moral and ethical standards, passion for their patients’ wellbeing, honesty, and transparency. Humanism allows the physician to know the patient in a way that promotes the highest quality care. We passionately desire for all our students to become that kind of physician.”

The graduating medical students of the M.D. Class of 2023 has been invited to submit letters of support to nominate faculty or classmates who exemplify humanism and the “IE CARES” acronym qualities of: integrity, excellence, collaboration, compassion, respect, empathy, and service. The GHHS Selection Committee will ask nominees to write reflections on what humanism means to them and then select recipients.

“Humanistic health care – compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care – is at the heart of medicine,” added. Dr. Charlie Christianson, who sits on the GHHS advisory board. “All health care providers have a profound moral obligation to treat their patients, as well as each other, with respect and empathy, acknowledging and valuing individual differences.  And humanistic care is not just a nice bonus: it actually improves health outcomes.  A number of studies show that patient outcomes are related to the doctor’s empathy level.”