BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo School of
Medicine and Biomedical Sciences is one of just ten institutions
nationwide chosen by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to create a
pilot chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society for medical
residents and fellows.
With the tagline, "Keeping the Care in Healthcare," the Gold
Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) promotes humanism in medicine at
medical schools throughout the U.S. Established in 2005, UB's
Richard Sarkin/Emeritus Faculty chapter recognizes UB medical
students and faculty members every year who have dedicated
themselves to practicing medicine humanistically, that is, with
effective communication, empathy and compassion for their
"We have such wonderful, humanistic physicians in Buffalo," says
Daniel Sheehan, MD, clinical associate professor of pediatrics and
pediatric pulmonologist at Women and Childrens Hospital of Buffalo.
"This new resident/fellow chapter is a way of bringing these
physicians together to support and infuse humanism across all
levels of medical training and into all training hospitals in
Sheehan notes that of all the different levels in a physician's
career, residency and fellowship, which typically last three to
seven years, are among the most stressful.
"During residency and fellowship, humanism is not always
formally on the table," says Sheehan. "It's an incredibly intense
period of training during which these trainees may have 80-hour
work weeks, mostly in patient care. It's often the first time that
they feel the full responsibility and stress of practicing medicine
with great potential for burnout.
"Our mission will be to infuse, foster and support humanism at
all levels of medical training, preventing the attrition of
humanism that can occur in residency and fellowship," Sheehan
Each year, the new chapter will select and induct 30
residents/fellows from the almost 800 who are training at UB. The
new inductees will be selected for their commitment to providing
excellent care with kindness and compassion and for their
dedication to serving patients and their families.
The nomination process will begin before year's end. The first
round of UB resident/fellow GHHS inductees will be announced next
One goal will be to develop a network of compassionate care
providers -- residents, fellows and faculty members -- who can
support residents and fellows as they go through their training.
GHHS-inducted residents and fellows will be able to apply for small
grants for projects to foster humanism in their training programs
A UB Graduate Medical Education web site on humanism in medical
education also is under development and will provide a database of
UB speakers on humanism and links to local and national humanism
grant opportunities and other humanism sites on the Web. Workshops
for residents and fellows on humanism topics, such as wellness and
mindfulness in medicine also are in development.
"We're hoping these efforts will help residents serve as role
models who can support their peers and medical students and help
keep care and compassion in the culture as they go through their
training," says Sheehan. "That's the heart of medicine."
Sheehan and Colleen Nugent, MD, UB pediatric gastroenterology
fellow, will serve as the chapter's co-advisors. They will be
supported by UB faculty and emeritus faculty, including Leonard A.
Katz, MD, professor emeritus, Gregory Cherr, MD, associate
professor of surgery; Diana G. Wilkins, MD, assistant director of
residency education in the Department of Family Medicine; Susan
Orrange, M.Ed, graduate medical education director of education and
resident services and Roseanne C. Berger, MD, senior associate dean
of graduate medical education. David Milling, MD, senior associate
dean for student and academic affairs and Sergio Hernandez, MD,
assistant professor of clinical psychiatry, co-advisors of the UB
Gold Humanism Honor Society Student Chapter, also will be