Since 1999 The Gold Foundation has held an annual Essay Contest that asks medical students to engage in a reflective writing exercise around a topical theme or quote related to humanism in medicine. To date we have received well over 3,000 essays. First, second, and third place essays are chosen by a panel of physicians and accomplished writers. Winners receive a monetary award and their essays are published in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).
This year, students were asked to 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?“
This year’s winners are:
First Place: Versha Patel, 1st Year Student – Georgetown University School of Medicine
“Without hesitation, Dr. Diallo explained again how the drugs worked, why they were so important, and how to take them. And then he made a suggestion, ‘It is critical that you follow this regimen properly, so I want you to come in every day until you get it. I will help you.'” Read more from her essay, “Antiretrovirals and Small Things“
Second Place: David B. Duong, 3rd Year Student – Harvard Medical School
“In this intimate role as a caregiver, I am reminded of a phrase in Vietnamese that people offer each other at grave moments, when life seems beyond our control, when long fought battles are lost, or when death takes its final grip: “chia buồn” or “share in the sorrow.” Read more from his essay, “Caregiving as Good Doctoring“
Third Place: Zarlakhta Wayand, 1st Year Student – University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
“A clean shaven face! He will be caned for sure, I thought. How could this man ignore the Taliban? The villagers called him kharijee (outsider). I came to know him as the good doctor from America doing volunteer work with landmine victims.” Read more from her essay, “The Good Doctor“
To see a list of Honorable Mentions as well as previous winning essays, click here.