Twenty-eight medical students at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine were inducted into this year’s Arnold P. Gold Foundation Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) for their compassionate patient care and contributions as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine.
Founded in 2002, the Gold Humanism Honor Society has over 180 chapters in medical schools and residency programs across the country. To date, GHHS has inducted around 45,000 medical students, doctors, and leaders into the society.
Latha Chandran, M.D., M.P.H., executive dean and founding chair of the Department of Medical Education, led the opening remarks, introducing this year’s GHHS Miami Chapter inductees and praising them for their work and service in the past year.
“You are among the best students who role-model professionalism, caring, and humanistic qualities — attributes that are so essential to the healing profession and to remaining fulfilled in this demanding yet noble field,” Dr. Chandran said.
Ryan Severdija, medical student and president of the Class of 2022 GHHS Miami Chapter, described the community project performed by this year’s graduating class, and how it honors the Haitian American community in Miami.
“Historically, this group has often been disenfranchised and forgotten,” Severdija said. “The past two years presented new challenges to Haitians in Miami, with them facing economic struggles, political instability back home, and an unprecedented pandemic from which many lives in this community were lost.”
After meeting with Haitian community leaders including Larry Pierre, M.D., M.P.H., who gave the keynote address, and medical anthropologist and community health specialist Didi Bertrand Farmer, the class gained deeper insights into the challenges facing Haitians in Miami. Difficulties include low COVID-19 vaccination rates, poor access to accurate information about COVID in Haitian Creole, and the propagation of vaccine misinformation on social media platforms.
“We created a six-part video series in Haitian Creole depicting a fictional yet relatable physician-patient interaction, done in collaboration with our members,” Severdija said. “We addressed common concerns in the community, such as the vaccine with relation to fertility, short- and long-term side effects, pre-existing conditions, and vaccine research and production. The project aims to help present accurate and timely information in a fashion that honors the Haitian community, to which we owe so much.”
Meaning and Intention of Humanism
Upon the conclusion of Dr. Pierre’s address on the role of humanism in the fight for social justice, the inductees lined up to receive their pins and certificates, and to express what humanism means to them.
“Humanism means sharing your truth, nurturing your wellness, and fostering the ability to love and be loved in return,” said new inductee Sam Hinkes. “Through healing others, we heal ourselves.”
"Humanism is seeing all patients as your loved ones and treating them with the utmost compassion on what might be one of their worst days,” Shivani Pandya said. “It is going the extra mile, every time, for every patient, and empathizing with humans in the most dehumanizing conditions."
The ceremony concluded with new members reciting the Gold Humanism Pledge. In her closing remarks, Dr. Chandran expressed gratitude for the opportunity to celebrate the new inductees together and in person.
“We thank the families and friends present for your dedication and support of our medical students so that they can achieve excellence in medicine and serve their communities with compassion, empathy, and humility,” she said.
A full gallery of the GHHS induction ceremony can be found here.