Empathy, altruism and integrity are qualities that are shared and celebrated by members of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS). GHHS was founded in 2002 by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to recognize medical students who consistently demonstrate extraordinary humanism. Chapters have been created all over the country. The David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA established its chapter in 2015.
"We ask each of our third-year students to nominate peers through a seven-question survey," says Joyce Fried, assistant dean and co-director of the Office of Continuing Medical Education at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. "They are asked to select classmates based on specific criteria such as 'the classmates you would want as the doctor for yourself or a loved one' and 'the classmates who have shown exceptional interest in service to their communities.'"
A selection committee, composed of faculty, residents and staff who are GHHS members, reviews the resumes and clerkship evaluations of the 40 to 50 students with the most nominations, selecting approximately 20 students for membership. This year, 23 students were selected, all of whom were inducted in a special ceremony June 17.
"It was absolutely lovely," says Fried, who organizes the selection process and is one of three chapter advisers.
What does the Gold Humanism Honor Society do?
In July, the new Gold Humanism Honor Society inductees began holding monthly chapter meetings to plan the upcoming year's projects and activities.
"One of the things that is required is that the inducted class do a group project for the year in addition to other activities," says Fried.
Last year's inaugural members worked on a number of different projects aimed at advocating for compassionate patient care, including:
"It was fun to watch the group develop as the inaugural chapter," says Fried. "We had no history and they had an opportunity to create things fresh. They really bonded and accomplished all these things."
The students selected for the Gold Humanism Honor Society all have innate caring and humanistic qualities, but Fried says these qualities become even more pronounced when they become members of the chapter. "GHHS reinforces what a wonderful trait it is to have empathy, caring and humanism. Members blossom in front of our eyes and it is just wonderful to see."
By Emily Williams