Recognizing and celebrating human kindness and goodness was the primary focus of a recent event hosted by Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Oakland University School of Education and Human Services.

Human kindness, goodness celebrated at Oakland University
Faircloth 2021 Welcome Image

Recognizing and celebrating human kindness and goodness was the primary focus of a recent event hosted by Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine and Oakland University School of Education and Human Services.

The Faircloth Evening of Medical Humanism is dedicated to Patrick Faircloth, Ph.D., an Oakland University alumnus, who created an endowment for OUWB and SEHS to ensure that medical students study communications and interpersonal skills as part of their training to be compassionate physicians. Faircloth was among the more than 100 people who attended the online event.

Twenty-five OUWB medical students and residents were inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS), which recognizes students, residents, and faculty who are exemplars of compassionate patient care and who serve as role models, mentors, and leaders in medicine.

The SEHS Department of Counseling also presented its student awards

“OUWB has had a broad and longstanding commitment to humanism in medicine, which has been supported by collaborations with many Oakland University schools and departments,” said Duane Mezwa, M.D., Stephan Sharf Dean, OUWB.

“The Faircloth Lecture is a notable event because it allows us to celebrate the shared commitment to humanism and service to others, be they patients, clients, students, or colleagues.” 

Attendees also heard a powerful presentation called “Advancing Health Equity: Can King’s Vision Help Us?” from keynote speaker Patrick T. Smith, Ph.D., associate research professor of Theological Ethics and Bioethics, Duke University, and senior fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

A signature event

Faircloth 2021 GraphicJason Wasserman, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foundational Medical Studies and Department of Pediatrics, OUWB, said the Faircloth Evening of Medical Humanism is “one of the signature events of the school each year.” Wasserman is coordinator of the event.

“Humanism is really central to the mission, vision, and values of OUWB,” he said. “More than that, we deeply value our collaborations with the School of Education and Human Services and the Department of Counseling. So I think it's important to acknowledge and celebrate those values and our cross-campus relationships.”

Students are nominated for consideration into GHHS by their peers. Those who get the most nominations are invited to apply by sending a personal statement about the value of humanism and their humanism-related activities. They also must obtain a letter of recommendation from a faculty member.

Applications are reviewed by GHHS members who serve on the selection committee. The Gold Foundation caps the number of inductees at 15 percent of the cohort, which makes it a competitive process. 

‘Tearing up a bit’

“I remember opening the email and tearing up a bit,” said Kwesi Asantey, a third-year medical student at OUWB. “It was really an honor to know that my classmates thought of me as a compassionate medical student and could see me as a future physician that would practice with humanism and care.”

M3 Ryan Rogers said he felt “beyond honored to be considered for and accepted into GHHS.”

“Knowing that the nomination comes from my peers means more to me than anything else,” he said. “It reminds me how lucky I am to be a part of such an incredible cohort of passionate and caring individuals.”

GHHS inductees reflected on how much it means to be inducted.

“I am so very honored to have been inducted into GHHS,” said Grace Peterson, M3. “To me, to be a part of GHHS is one amazing way to exemplify our dedication as healthcare professionals to patients as individuals.”

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“Third year students, particularly, must juggle exceeding academically and professionally, now with the added challenge of being a student during a global pandemic; so being chosen to be a member of the GHHS serves as a reminder to me to keep striving to improve and seek out ways to provide humanistic care for others,” said Helen Huetteman, M3.

Inductees said the OUWB community played a big role in helping set them up for success.

“OUWB prepared me by serving as an environment that encourages all students to push themselves in multiple avenues, not just one thing like research or just academics,” said Omid Vadpey, M3. “OUWB emphasizes thinking about people first, and they reinforced the attitudes to stand up for each other and for special causes.”

Rafey Rehman, M3, said he has “been fortunate enough to be surrounded by, and learn from, such brilliant classmates and faculty at OUWB.”

“And I work extremely hard every single day to improve both my soft skills and scientific reasoning abilities in the hopes of becoming a compassionate physician who is able to practice patient-centered care and evidence-based medicine,” he added.

For more information, contact Andrew Dietderich, marketing writer, OUWB, at adietderich@oakland.edu

To request an interview, visit the OUWB Communications & Marketing webpage.

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