National Movement Springs from Compassionate Care Following Tucson Shootings

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Dozens of medical schools across the country will participate in a day of solidarity on February 14 to honor the spirit of caring shown by Dr. Randall Friese, the trauma surgeon who first treated Congresswoman Giffords. Exciting events are planned, from creating a human chain around the Tucson medical center to a gubernatorial proclamation. The movement was initiated by the Gold Humanism Honor Society, a program of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

It was powerful that Dr. Friese considered those acts of compassion to be the most significant things he did for the congresswoman...holding her hand, speaking to her and reassuring her that she was in the hospital and would be cared for.

As the first trauma surgeon to treat Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot, Dr. Randall Friese struck a chord when he said that his most important actions that terrible day were "holding her hand, speaking to her and reassuring her that she was in the hospital and would be cared for.” To honor that spirit of caring, the Gold Humanism Honor Society of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation created a National Day of Solidarity for Compassionate Patient Care for medical schools to undertake projects demonstrating the importance of empathy and compassion in patient care.

On February 14, dozens of medical schools in the U.S. and in Canada will stand in solidarity with Dr. Friese and the University Medical Center, Tucson, team. Participating schools include Stanford University, Ohio State University, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, George Washington University, University of Florida, University of Virginia, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, University of Texas Medical Branch – Galveston, and University of Alberta (Canada).

In a note to GHHS executive director Jacqueline A. Mintz, Ph.D., Dr. Friese said, “It is a distinct honor to have my actions contribute to the organization of this event. I am pleased that a message of humanism in medicine is being communicated across the state and country. When I described my actions in interviews about that awful day my goal was to help people understand the first few minutes of the congresswoman's evaluation in the ER. Thank you for taking my small action and helping others understand its importance.”

Among the many projects being planned for this day, The University of Arizona College of Medicine has invited students, staff and faculty from all of the Arizona Health Sciences colleges to form a human chain around the medical center. "We want to celebrate the many humanistic acts performed here every day," said Andreas A. Theodorou, M.D., UMC Chief Medical Officer and Gold Humanism Honor Society chapter advisor. "It has been a stressful few weeks, so we are ready to go forward with a positive focus! In addition to the human chain, participants will share their stories of humanism in healthcare."

In an act of solidarity, West Virginia’s Governor Earl Ray Tomblin is making the following proclamation, “Whereas, humanism in health care means valuing health care providers who truly have their patients at heart and put their patients’ needs before their own; and… Whereas, the West Virginia University School of Medicine Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society hopes to stimulate discussion and celebrate humanism in health care by hosting a week-long event… Whereas, Gold Humanism Week recognizes all of the great health care providers in West Virginia and around the nation who dedicate their lives to patients every day… I, Earl Ray Tomblin, Governor of the Great State of West Virginia, do hereby proclaim February 14-18, 2011, as Gold Humanism Week.”

The Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) is an international association of role models for compassionate patient care. Top medical students, residents and faculty members are chosen for demonstrating outstanding empathy, compassion, altruism, integrity and service in working with patients. Begun in 2002, GHHS has ninety-two chapters at medical schools across the United States and Canada and more than 11,000 members. The Society supports chapter projects, holds a biennial national conference, and educates medical students for leadership and advocacy. GHHS is an initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation. For more information about GHHS visit http://bit.ly/GHHSinfo.

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of health and patient care by enhancing the doctor-patient relationship. Its work encourages the development of physicians who combine high tech, cutting edge medical science with the high touch skills of communication, empathy and compassion. Among the Foundation’s diverse programs are the White Coat Ceremonies held in 94% of U.S. medical schools, touching more than 18,000 students each year; the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine awards which recognize graduating medical students and outstanding role model faculty members; an annual humanism in medicine essay contest; the Gold Humanism Honor Society; grants for service projects; and support for curricular change in medical education. Find out more at http://www.humanism-in-medicine.org.

Contact:
Karen Secular
201-567-7999 x17
ksecular(at)gold-foundation(dot)org
http://www.humanism-in-medicine.org
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