Student Success

‘So honored’

OUWB Class of 2023’s Mallory Evans receives Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award

An image of Mallory Evans speaking at the Faircloth Lecture

Mallory Evans accepts the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award at the OUWB 9th Annual Faircloth Evening of Medical Humanism on March 13, 2023. (Photo by John McTaggart)

Student Success

icon of a calendarApril 27, 2023

icon of a pencilBy Andrew Dietderich

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Just weeks away from becoming a doctor, Mallory Evans has received an award that she says will always stand out in her list of accomplishments — primarily because of who nominated her.

The award is the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. Evans is the second OUWB student to receive the recognition.

What makes it so special, she says, is that her classmates nominated her.

“It’s really something that I never would have anticipated coming my way in medical school because everyone (in the Class of 2023) is so deserving on this award,” says Evans. “Everyone is serving and striving to be their best physician and person for themselves and the people around them.”

“That my classmates would think that I would be deserving of this award is just so humbling and rewarding,” she adds.

“Of all the things that I could have been given in medical school, this is probably the honor that would have been at the top of my list.”

‘The perfect combination’

Evans grew up in Ann Arbor, and earned her undergraduate degree in biology (with a minor in German) from University of Michigan.

Evans says Ann Arbor naturally has a “very philanthropic kind of environment,” and that volunteering and community service were a part of life.

As a volunteer, she loved the opportunities of having a task and being able to see it through.

“As I’ve gotten older, I’ve been able to be choosier about my opportunities, but the love still remains,” she says.

There wasn’t a definitive moment for her, she says, when the decision was made to become a doctor.

Rather, it was a desire to combine a lifelong love of learning with an equally strong feeling about being one who is entrusted by others.

“Going into medicine felt like the perfect combination of being able to challenge myself intellectually, but also have probably the most holistic opportunity to be trusted by people for their physical health and emotional well-being,” says Evans.

Evans calls it an “amazing challenge” and says she believes “there isn’t any other profession that really allows you to have that kind of multifaceted impact on people…it’s exciting.”

An image of the Tow Award winners at the Faircloth event

Nathan Novotny, M.D., assistant professor, Surgery and Pediatrics, and Evans, were this year's recipients of the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation. (Photo by John McTaggart)

‘Students living their lives’

It was an adviser at U of M who steered Evans toward OUWB, and told her it would be a good fit. He had helped students from U of M go to OUWB in the past and recognized that she had similar qualities and interests in common with those students he knew had applied to OUWB.

He told Evans that these students, “care about their academics, care about the rigor of wanting to be the best doctor they can be, but there’s a certain kind of person that thrives in this environment, and I think you might be one of those people.”

Evans remembers the specific moment she realized the same thing.

She was sitting in her car in the parking lot right outside of OUWB’s O’Dowd Hall on Interview Day.

“I remember seeing the medical students at the time getting out of their cars, walking toward each other, and into the school together,” says Evans. “It was the only medical school where I actually saw students living their lives in front of me, without being staged for the interview.”

“I remember loving that,” she adds. “That’s what I wanted my medical school experience to be like. I wanted to be walking with other people, literally and metaphorically, through this process.”

Evans says everything she learned about the school after that — about the curriculum, faculty, and clinical experiences — had her convinced that OUWB offered her the “perfect package.”

Throughout her time at OUWB, Evans says she found it to be true — especially when doing things like walking into OUWB’s Anatomy Lab for the first time.

“I heard it put this way…. ‘It’s really good to see how good - good can be,’” says Evans. “Having these other students around me who were so driven and knew so much, I felt lucky to be around them and learn from them and struggle with them.”

Evans also took advantage of the many opportunities afforded by OUWB to get involved, whether it was distributing meals to those in need, or helping people understand the benefits of COVID-19 vaccines.

“In terms of what OUWB offered, they were awesome at giving us opportunities to serve,” she says.

‘So thankful’

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award presented by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation recognizes graduating medical students and faculty members who are exemplars of humanism in the care of patients. Any M4 from the current class is eligible.

At OUWB, the award is presented at the annual Faircloth Evening of Medical Humanism.

It was first given in 2022. The inaugural recipients were Steven Joseph, M.D., assistant professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, and Maidah Rajah, M.D., ’22, OUWB.

The faculty member who received it this year was Nathan Novotny, M.D., assistant professor, Surgery and Pediatrics.

Evans was the student. Yousef Ibrahim, M4, introduced her, noting her plans to specialize in med-peds and calling her “passionate about narrative medicine, medical education, and environmental justice.”

Recipients are nominated by their peers, and Gold Humanism Honor Society alumni select the winners.

“I really want to take the time to thank my teachers for their support, but mostly for their correction,” she told the audience at the Faircloth event. “That level of care just show that it matters to them that we get things right.”

She also recalled what it meant to her when patients started confiding in her on the first day of her third year of medical school.

“The honor of that just blows me away and continues to humble me daily,” she said. “I’m just so thankful and honored for this opportunity and grateful to be here.”

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