Page 6 - Volume 69 Number 2
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President’s Message
By Andrew R. Barnosky, DO, MPH, FACEP
Preserving Humanism in Medicine
Over the last decade, the importance of humanism in medicine has received increasing attention among physicians, medical students, and the public at large. In part, this is due to growing interest in the quality of the doctor-patient relationship in a healthcare environment of growing complexity. Humanism in the practice of medicine is characterized
by compassion and respect between physicians and patients. It reflects attitudes and behaviors that are sensitive to the values and diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds of others. Human- ism is the component of clinical practice that allows us to view the world through another’s eyes, and is a dominant factor in fostering trust between doctors and patients. Most physicians feel that efforts which promote humanism in the prac- tice of medicine are good for patients, families, physicians, allied health care professionals, and public health.
To further enhance humanism in our regional healthcare environment, the University of Michigan Medical School has recently achieved chapter status in the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). The GHHS, established in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, is an international not-for-profit organization committed to the advancement of humanism, compassion, and respect for patients and physicians. The Gold Foundation is the same organization that developed the White Coat Cere- mony, a formal event that welcomes new students into the medical pro- fession, impressing upon them clear expectations regarding their primary role as physicians through the expression of an oath. The Foundation is named after Arnold Gold, MD, a renowned pediatric neurologist at
Columbia University’s College of Physi- cians and Surgeons. He and his wife, Sandra Gold, EdD, along with their colleagues at Columbia, began the Foundation in 1988 with the vision to nurture and preserve the tradition
of the caring physician.
The Foundation developed the GHHS
to recognize medical students, house officers, and attending physicians who model the qualities of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, and empathy in their delivery of patient-centered care. GHHS chapters are based in medical schools and residency training programs in both community hospitals and academic medical centers and are led by Chapter Advisors. Fellows, administrators, advanced practice practitioners, and notable members of the community may also be recognized and inducted into GHHS for promoting humanistic values. GHHS is nationally comprised of more than 25,000 healthcare professionals in training and practice who have been recognized for practicing patient- centered care. There are GHHS Chapters in 87% of allopathic medical schools in the US and Canada, and 39% of osteo- pathic medical schools in the US.
Dr. Sandro Cinti and I were asked to be the inaugural Chapter Advisors for the GHHS Chapter at the University of Michigan Medical School, and this winter inducted our first cohort of 25 third-year medical students. These students will join with Medical School faculty members previously inducted into GHHS chapters elsewhere during their medical student years to form the initial membership of our Chapter. These students, in their final year of medical school, will collaborate with faculty to develop and pursue initiatives
that enhance humanism in the care of patients in the Health System. A new cohort of students will be added annually as each cohort graduates, carrying these activities forward while embarking on new ones as well.
GHHS chapters across the country sponsor projects that serve community needs, advance humanistic practice through educational initiatives in their medical environments, offer supportive and reflective opportunities for peers, and provide other valuable initiatives and experiences. The Arnold P. Gold Foundation funds GHHS educational events, supports research, promotes professional growth, and creates opportunities for GHHS members to network with others who share their values and beliefs. A variety of benefits are associated with the development of a GHHS Chapter, including leadership development opportunities, chapter awards and grants, networking and mentoring connections, professional conferences and workshops, and resources to promote humanistic
care in the community.
Humanism is a significant aspect of delivering quality patient care. While most physicians agree that this is so,
the pressures and demands of contem- porary practice can often dilute our best intentions as the high ideals with which we entered medicine can become compromised over time. GHHS seeks to preserve this passion for medicine while supporting members to achieve high levels of humanism in the delivery of patient care one step at a time. I am professionally and personally pleased to be part of an effort that advocates
the humanistic values that have driven so many of us to become physicians.
Washtenaw County Medical Society BULLETIN

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