Inducts students, residents, and faculty into Gold Humanism Honor Society

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The ability to recognize and attend to the personal needs of a patient is as essential in medicine as providing the most technologically advanced procedures and care. Relieving the suffering of a fellow human being – physical, social, emotional, or spiritual – not just eradicating the disease or treating the injury, marks a compassionate physician.
The West Virginia University School of Medicine promotes humanism and professionalism throughout the continuum of physician education from the first day in medical school until retirement from medical practice. The faculty takes great pride in training respectful and compassionate physicians in conjunction with their rigorous training and honors those individuals that demonstrate the attributes of integrity, excellence, compassion, altruism, respect, empathy, and service by induction into the Gold Humanism Honor Society.

On Saturday, 12 medical students, four resident medical students, and two faculty members were inducted into GHHS, an organization that recognizes individuals for practicing patient-centered medical care by modeling these attributes.

“We are still a relatively new organization in the School of Medicine, so it is important that we recognize the accomplishments of our colleagues,” Norman Ferrari, M.D., vice dean for education and academic affairs and chair of the WVU Department of Medical Education, said. “These individuals were nominated by their peers by answering a series of questions including, ‘Who would you want as your own personal physician?’ and ‘Who would you want to care for a loved one like your own mother?’ We felt blessed to host nearly 100 family members to witness the induction of these candidates.”

Especially significant this year was the induction of a mother-daughter duo: Kathleen Bors, M.D., assistant dean of student services and assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine on WVU’s Charleston campus and her daughter, Sarah Witsberger, Class of 2015.

“To be chosen by my classmates is what really means the most to me in terms of being inducted into GHHS. I’m surrounded every day by hard-working compassionate classmates, so to be one of the 12 students chosen this year feels very special to me,” Witsberger said.

“It is also really special that my mom is one of the two new faculty members inducted into GHHS. She was an amazing role model growing up, and she still is now. Every day, I try to follow after my mom’s example, both inside and outside the hospital. I know we both feel honored to have been chosen for GHHS, and it’s great that we have something like this to share.”

Humanism in medicine describes relationships between physicians and their patients that are respectful and compassionate. It is reflected in attitudes and behaviors that are sensitive to the values, autonomy, cultural and ethnic backgrounds of others.

This message is carried into communities across West Virginia through the outreach programs and projects sponsored by the School of Medicine. West Virginia is the only state where all counties are included in Appalachia and the School’s training in cultural diversity includes a unique module on the socioeconomic and social mores of this population.

The WVU chapter of GHHS also works closely with the Health Sciences Center Faculty Development office to engage faculty in all health sciences disciplines such as Nursing, Dentistry, Pharmacy, and Public Health in role modeling and educating health professionals in the area of humanism.

The Gold Humanism Honor Society at the WVU School of Medicine was founded in 2008 by six faculty members with more than 140 years of collective service to the School and to the people of West Virginia. The WVU Chapter was made possible with a grant from The Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

Photo caption: Inductees into the WVU School of Medicine’s Gold Humanism Honor Society include Class of 2015 students Benjamin Biddix, Adriana Bonasso, Samantha Cappetto, Brendan Cline, Claire Dolan, Robert Hull, Jamie Maloney, Daniel McFarland, Jessica Neidhardt, Elizabeth Northfield, Kyle Stinehart, and Sarah Witzberger. Resident medical students include: Andra Fee-Mulhearn, D.O., John Hagedorn, M.D., Travis Matics, D.O. and Michael Montague, M.D. Faculty members include Kathleen Bors, M.D., and Michael Craig, M.D.
For more information: Amy Johns, Director of Public Affairs, 304-293-7087
ts: 06-11-14