Honor society induction at DMU recognizes leadership, compassion

(Des Moines, IA) – Medical school isn’t just about learning anatomy, biology, pharmacology and more. It’s also about learning how to care for patients as fellow human beings. It’s learning interpersonal skills, compassion, ethics and leadership. Des Moines University has an entire department dedicated to teaching such skills. To emphasize just how much priority is placed on these attributes, the University is now a proud chapter of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Gold Honor Humanism Society.

The Gold Honor Humanism Society began in the late 1990s and is designed to honor senior medical students, residents, physician-teachers and others for “demonstrated excellence in clinical care, leadership, compassion and dedication to service,” according to the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

“Having a Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) chapter here at DMU provides yet another indication of the importance our college places on professionalism and a humanistic approach to medicine,” explained Gary Hoff, D.O., faculty advisor for GHHS and chair of the medical humanities and bioethics department. “Students selected in this inaugural group represent the kind of clinical performance, community and academic service and professionalism we want our students to embody.”

The first 30 DMU student members were honored at a July 12 induction ceremony. The inductees for the class of 2009 were nominated by their peers and by faculty. Induction actually takes place before each term; students selected are between years three and four of their education. So this class, entering their fourth year, has one year of clinical clerkships under their belts; this is important because students’ interactions with patients, colleagues and mentors during their third year is one of the ways they are identified as potential members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

“Recognition of the astonishing depth and breadth of these young people’s commitments to medicine and the community is one of the best ways to assure that the selfless efforts of these new colleagues will be emulated and continued,” Dr. Hoff said.

Only 72 of the more than 170 medical schools in this country have been approved by the sponsoring Arnold P. Gold Foundation to be GHHS chapters. DMU was approved in December as the second osteopathic school to be part of the Society. Part of the responsibility that comes with being a GHHS inductee is a charge to develop community- and service-related projects. The GHHS national office gives grants for innovative projects.

“Being part of GHHS is an excellent way to demonstrate the importance DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine attaches to humanism and professionalism. Students selected will doubtless become examples for future students and to the community at large of that commitment,” said Dr. Hoff.

For info about GHHS, visit https://humanism-in-medicine.org.

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