Winning Essays From Previous Years

2016

Writing Prompt: “Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day is the rest we take between two deep breaths.” – Etty Hillesum
Talk about a time when you or a team member had to step back and practice self-care while helping a patient.

First Place: Your Soul is Not Concrete
Michelle Izmaylov, 3rd year student at Vanderbilt University

Second Place: The Power of Walking
Marie Boller, 3rd year student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Third Place: Hand in Hand
Neha Verma, 1st year student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Honorable Mentions:

  • Emily Berger, 3rd Year, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Narine Wandrey, 2nd Year, University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio
  • Hilary Cornell, 3rd Year, Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
  • Stefanie Gillson, 3rd Year, University of Minnesota Medical School
  • Nicole Pristera, 4th Year, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Clancy Mullan, 2nd Year, Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine
  • Weston LaGrandeur, 2nd Year, University of Arizona College of Medicine-Tucson
  • Maili Lim, 1st Year, University of North Carolina School of Medicine
  • Melanie Levy, 3rd Year, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
  • Kevin McGurk, 3rd Year, Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

2015

Our 2015 contest winner, Dr. Joanna Sharpless, reads her essay at the Golden Thread Gala in New York City.

Writing Prompt: “A critical part of providing excellent patient care is getting to know your patient. Tell us a story about a time when learning a non-medical piece of information about a patient led to an improved healthcare outcome and/or patient experience. Use relevant examples from your experience.”

First Place: Being the Narrator
Joanna Sharpless (GHHS 2013), 4th year student at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

Second Place: The Doctor Will See You Now
Katrina Lynch, 3rd year student at Stony Brook University School of Medicine

 Third Place: Gauze and Guns
Samantha Gridley, 2nd year student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kevin Xu, 1st year student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Fatima Fahs, 3rd year student at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
  • Rachel Manzo, 4th year student at University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson
  • Philip Cawkwell, 3rd year student at NYU School of Medicine
  • Mina Mousa, 3rd year student at University of Alabama School of Medicine
  • Robert DeGrazia, Jr., 3rd year student at The Commonwealth Medical College
  • Bradley End, 4th year student at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Elisa Walsh, 3rd year student at Harvard Medical School
  • Oriana Hunter, 3rd year student at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Sheila McThenia, 3rd year student at University of Florida College of Medicine

2014

Writing Prompt: “Using a real life experience, describe how technology played a role, either negatively or positively, in the delivery of humanistic patient care.”

First Place: There’s An App For That
Kendall Bradley, 3rd year student at Duke University School of Medicine

Second Place: iThink iCare
Ishan Asokan, 2nd year student at Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Third Place: An Extension Of…
Jason Liu, 2nd year student at Drexel University College of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Meredith Harris, 3rd year student at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Daria Schatoff, 3rd year student at Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education
  • Sriniwasan Mani, 1st year student at Georgetown University
  • David Fischer, 3rd year student at Harvard Medical School
  • Scott Toney, 3rd year student at Virginia Commonwealth University SOM
  • Benjamin Rogers, 4th year student at University of Louisville
  • Joy Liu, 3rd year student at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • Larissa Mattei, 3rd year student at Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Gregory Sawisky, 2nd year student at University of Alberta
  • Katherine Schultz, 3rd year student at University of New Mexico School of Medicine

2013

Writing prompt: Write an essay or story on one of the following themes:

  • Who is the “good doctor”?
  • What do you think are the barriers to humanism in medicine today?

First Place: Antiretrovirals and small things by Versha Patel, 1st Year Student at Georgetown University School of Medicine

Second Place: Caregiving as Good Doctoring by David B. Duong, 3rd Year Student at Harvard Medical School

Third Place: The Good Doctor by Zarlakhta Wayand , 1st Year Student at University of Miami Miller School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Clare Stevens, 4th year – Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
  • Shekinah Elmore, 3rd year – Harvard Medical School
  • Loc Duong, 1st year – University of Washington School of Medicine
  • Mounica Vallurupalli, HHMI Fellowship – Harvard Medical School
  • Harry Flaster, 4th year – Stanford Medical School
  • Grant M. Smith, 4th year – Harvard Medical School
  • Nicky Mehtani, 2nd year – Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Alexander Andrews, 3rd year – University of Michigan Medical School
  • David Ramski, 3rd year – Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Nadezhda Lomakina, 3rd year – University of Connecticut School of Medicine

2012

Writing prompt:  “You are now a steward of medicine and it is your job to safeguard the profession.” – Arnold P. Gold
What does it mean to you (and your patients) to be a steward of medicine?

First Place: Yellow Hospital Socks by Carmelle Tsai, 3rd Year Student at Baylor College of Medicine

Second Place: Words You Use to Map a Body by Elizabeth Allan, 2nd Year Student at University of Maryland School of Medicine

Third Place: Fair Trade Chocolate by Putzer Hung, 1st Year Student at Washington University School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Rachel Hammer, 3rd Year – Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
  • Coney Bae, 3rd Year – Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Dhruv Khullar, 3rd Year – Yale School of Medicine
  • Bobak Parang, 3rd Year – Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Jana Bregman, 1st Year – Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • Adrian Ambrose, 2nd Year – John A. Burns School of Medicine
  • Sarah Bly, 2nd Year – Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Rachel Cameron, 1st Year – University of Rochester School of Medicine
  • Riaz Gillani, 1st Year – Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Peggy Bui, 2nd Year – University of California, Irvine School of Medicine

2011

Writing prompt:
“Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.”  – Parker Palmer

Write about your experience of how a role-model taught or influenced the way you practice/intend to practice medicine.

First Place: Palliation by Nathan Dahl, 2nd year student at University of Nevada School of Medicine

Second Place: La Leche de la Madre by Natasha Naik, 1st year student at Stanford Medical School

Third Place: The Heart in my White Coat by Natasha Demehri, 3rd year student at Florida State University College of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Kirsten Austad, 3rd year at Harvard Medical School
  • Tasnim M. Beg, 4th year at Tulane University School of Medicine
  • Diana Brill, 3rd year at University of Virginia School of Medicine
  • Joseph Cruz, 3rd  year at UMDNJ School of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Rachel Hammer, 2nd year at Mayo Medical School
  • Gil Hoftman, 3rd  year at University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine
  • Angela Hyde, 3rd  year at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Faculty of Medicine
  • Mary Jane Lim-Fat, 3rd  year at University of Ottawa
  • Freda Ready, 1st year at Columbia University
  • Alexander Sheppe, 1st year at University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

2010

Writing prompt: Describe a barrier a physician might face to practicing humanistic patient care. How might this be overcome and what can be learned in the process? (Use personal experiences or observations where possible)

First Place: Bricks of Indifference by William J. Crisler, 3rd year student at Creighton University School of Medicine

Second Place: The White Coat by Randy Tang, 3rd year student at UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Camden

Third Place: An essay by Eliza Miller, 2nd year student at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons

Honorable Mentions:

  • Christopher Bayne, 3rd year student at Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • David Carrier, 4th year student at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
  • Elizabeth Holcombe, 4th year student at University of Mississippi School of Medicine
  • Jacob Imber, 3rd year student at University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Poonam Kaushal, 3rd year student at New York Medical College
  • Michael Kralovec, 3rd year student at University of Illinois College of Medicine – Chicago
  • Samuel Love, 2nd year student at University of Mississippi School of Medicine
  • Joanna Kristine Pearson, 4th year student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Valentina Rodriguez, 4th year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Derek Russell, 3rd year student at University of Texas Medical Branch
  • Michelle Sangalang, 3rd year student at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
  • Kristin Sohn, 2nd year student at University of Nevada School of Medicine

2009

Writing prompt: Reflect on the following quote. “To most physicians, my illness is a routine incident in their rounds, while for me it’s the crisis of my life. I would feel better if I had a doctor who at least perceived this incongruity.”  –Anatole Broyard

First Place: It’s Not OK by Samuel W. Baker, 4th year student at Temple University School of Medicine

Second Place: Doors by Michael Barnett, 3rd year student at Harvard Medical School

Third Place: An essay by Vivek G. Sahani, 2nd year student at UMDNJ – School of Osteopathic Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Murtaza Akhter, 3rd year student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Kim Armenta, 4th year student at Western University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Yian Chen, 1sr year student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Annie Dude, 3rd year student at University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Jennifer Hasvold, 3rd year student at University of Michigan Medical School
  • Elizabeth McMillen, 4th year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Adam Mikolajczyk, 2nd year student at University of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Susie Morris, 3rd year student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Jason Oppenheimer, 3rd year student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
  • Neil Parikh, 4th year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Christopher Shaffer, 3rd year student at Temple University School of Medicine
  • Adam Vukovic, 4th year student at University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

2008

Writing prompt: Write an essay or story on the theme “How Patients Teach Their Doctors about Humanism in Medicine.”

First Place: An essay by Emma Layton Swingle, 3rd year student at University of Washington School of Medicine

Second Place: My Most Famous Patient by Amit V. Khera, 3rd year student at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Third Place: An essay by Andrew Lehn, 3rd year student at Medical College of Georgia

Honorable Mentions:

  • Charles Beale, 1st year student at Universidad Central del Caribe
  • Emily Berke, 3rd year student at Creighton University School of Medicine
  • Shawn E. B. Brown, 1st year student at University of Michigan Medical School
  • David Fitter, 4th year student at University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Anna-Binney McCague, 4th year student at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Peter Pressman, 4th year student at Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
  • Valentina Rodriguez, 2nd year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Andrea Wershof Schwartz, 3rd year student at Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Vivek K. Shenoy, 2nd year student at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
  • Benjamin Silverberg, 3rd year student at University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • Susan Szulc, 4th year student at Eastern Virginia Medical School
  • Sean J. Udow, 2nd year student at University of Manitoba Faculty of Medicine
  • Neelam Vashi, 4th year student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

2006

Writing prompt: Reflect on the following quote: “To cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always.” – Hippocrates

First Place:  Thinking Outside the Box by Mitali Banerjee, 3rd year student at Baylor College of Medicine

Second Place (3-way tie):

  • An essay by Benjamin Howard, 2nd year student at University of California, Irvine College of Medicine
  • An essay by Benjamin Lampson, 3rd year student at Duke University School of Medicine
  • An essay by Ari Reichstein, 4th year student at Case School of Medicine

Third Place (2-way tie)

  • An essay by Kelly Doran , 4th year student at University of Michigan Medical School
  • An essay by an anonymous 4th year student at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Allison Meadows, 4th year student, Indiana University School of Medicine
  • Alexis Carmer, 4th year student, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Judy Nee, 4th year student, Brown Medical School
  • Denise Hayes, 4th year student, Georgetown University School of Medicine
  • Yachna Ahuja, 3rd year student, Case School of Medicine
  • Gavin H. Imperato, 1st year student, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine
  • Jamie Rehmann, 2nd year student, Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Elizabeth Melzer, 2nd year student, University of South Florida College of Medicine
  • Sara M. Pope, 4th year student, University of Vermont College of Medicine

2005

Writing prompt: Providing at least one real-life experience, please share how you feel humanism in medicine is impacted by service.

First Place: An essay by Denise Anne Hayes, 3rd year student at Georgetown University School ofMe dicine

Second Place: My Father’s Daughter by Lara Devgan, 4th year student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Third Place: Bottom byDeborah Landis Lewis, 4th year student at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Molly (Mary) Camp, 3rd year student, University of Texas-Houston School of Medicine
  • Meade Barlow, 2nd year student, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Joann Romano-Keeler, 4th year student, University of Vermont College of Medicine
  • Jacob A. Doll, 1st year student, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Christina Minami, 1st year student, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA
  • Albert K. Luo, 2nd year student, Case School of Medicine
  • Denise Chou, 3rd year student, Weill Medical College of Cornell University
  • Anthony C. Rudine, 2nd year student, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine
  • Cristina L. Wood, 3rdyear student, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, School of Medicine
  • Gita Mody, 4th year student, Washington University School of Medicine

2004

Writing Prompt:  Describe a medical experience that taught you about humanism in medicine.

First Place: An essay by Ashley Mull, 4th year student at University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine

Second Place (tie):

  • An essay by Jonathan Emerson Kohler, 4th year student at University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
  • An essay by Jason Mendler, 4th year student at University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry

Third Place:  An essay by Andrew M. Southerland, 4th year student at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University

Honorable Mentions:

  • Jacob M. Appel, 1st year student, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
  • Irene Dehghan-Paz, 2nd year student, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
  • Kevin P. Kaufhold, 3rd year student, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Brian Hyett, 4th year student, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Michael Chacey, 3rd year student, University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Rebecca Taxier, 2nd year student, SUNY Buffalo School of Medicine
  • Sarah Jane Borch, 1st year student, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • Mehul V. Raval, 4th year student, Wake Forest University School of Medicine

2003

Writing Prompt: Tell a story that illustrates humanism in medicine

First Place: To Touch the Dying by Thalia Margalit, 1st year student at UMDNJ – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School

Second Place: Humanity–Lost and Found  byAnela Bonic, 2nd year student at Creighton University School of Medicine

Third Place: Garlic Every Day, and Other Wisdom by Perry Wilson, 2nd year student at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons

Honorable Mentions:

  • Marc R. Matrana, 2nd year student, Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans
  • Sharon Graham, 3rd year student, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • George Nelson, 2nd year student, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
  • Rebecca Gettelman, 4th year student, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
  • Elissa Meites, 4th year student, Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Douglas P. Olson, 1st year student, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences
  • Matthew T. Standridge, 4th year student, East Tennessee State University James H. Quillen College of Medicine
  • Jonathan D. Patterson, 2nd year student, University of Missouri Columbia School of Medicine
  • Rachel Mercer, 2nd year student, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
  • Shantanu Agawal, 4th year student, Joan & Sanford I Weill Medical College of Cornell University

2002

Writing Prompt: Describe a humanistic role model in your medical career

First Place: An essay by Veronika Gagovic , 2nd year student at Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine

Second Place: An essay byBrent Savoie, 1st year student at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Third Place: An essay by David Edwards, 3rd year student at Duke University School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Andrew Pearson, 3rd year student, Temple University School of Medicine
  • Peter Phan, 2nd year student, Loma Linda University
  • Maria Elena Hamm, 1st year student, University of Maryland School of Medicine
  • Edward Patriquin, 3rd year student, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Amy Slansky, 3rd year student, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Arun Mohan, 2nd year student, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Jennifer Carr, 1st year student, University of Iowa School of Medicine
  • Deborah Caruso, 2nd year student, New Jersey Medical School
  • Luke Hansen, 4th year student, Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine
  • Hilary Suzanne Nash, 4th year student, University of Kansas School of Medicine

2001

Writing Prompt: The clinical experience that taught you the most

First Place: An essay by Meenakshi Bewtra, 3rd year student at University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Second Place: Read his essay byWalter Coppenrath, 2nd year student at UCLA School of Medicine

Third Place: An essay by Joleen Falkenburg, 3rd year student at University of South Dakota School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Nathan Bay, 4th year student, Finch University of Health Sciences, The Chicago Medical School
  • Jennifer Kearsley, 2nd year student, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • David Merrill, 4th year student, Harvard Medical School
  • Tatiana Grzeszkiewicz, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Medicine
  • Dipanjan Banerjee, 4th year student, University of Missouri – Columbia, School of Medicine
  • Rebecca Stetzer, 4th year student, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Maggie Meadows, 2nd year student, USC Keck School of Medicine
  • David Edwards, 3rd year student, Duke University School of Medicine
  • Timothy Lum, 4th year student, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry
  • Anshuman Singh, 3rd year student, University of California San Francisco, School of Medicine

2000

First Place: Ken Spaeth, 3rd year student at University of Connecticut School of Medicine

Second Place: Anita Lee, 2nd year student at Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Third Place: Majid Mohiuddin, 4th year student at Brown University School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • David C. Fore, 4th year student, Marshall University – Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
  • Karl A. Kirby, 4th year student, University of Iowa College of Medicine
  • Jonathan McCauley, 3rd year student, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Elizabeth S. Egan, 4th year student (MD/PhD program), Tufts University School of Medicine
  • Gwen Choi Roesel, 2nd year student, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
  • Greg Rozycki, 3rd year student, Brown University School of Medicine
  • Joan Daya, 3rd year student, New York University School of Medicine
  • Eric Helms, 2nd year student, Jefferson Medical College
  • Daniel A. Handel, 3rd year student, Northwestern University Medical School
  • Chris Fernandez Del Riego, 3rd year student, Tulane University School of Medicine

1999

Writing prompt: Write an essay or story of 1,000 words or less on one of the following themes:

  • Who is the “good doctor”?
  • What do you think are the barriers to humanism in medicine today?

First Place: Karl Kirby, University of Iowa College of Medicine

Second Place: Renee Hsia, Harvard Medical School

Third Place: Erin Parrish, East Carolina University School of Medicine

Honorable Mentions:

  • Mark Foley, Midwestern University, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Justin Moore, University of Kansas School of Medicine
  • Suzanne Cullinane, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Robert Fuller, University of Illinois, Urbana
  • S. Yousuf Zafar, Medical College of Ohio
  • Margi L. Johnson, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Kani Ilangovan, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Anita N. Ramsetty, University of Florida
  • Jason Ryan, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
  • Patricia Chu, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine