The 2022 Solidarity Week for Compassionate Patient Care, Feb. 14-18, sparked participation by more than 70 Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) chapters across the world.
“We were delighted by the wonderful and wide-ranging activities that our GHHS members created, from humanistic versions of medical rounds, like Love Rounds and Sound Rounds, to passing out valentines to patients and healthcare team members to raising money for local organizations supporting underserved populations,” said Louisa Tvito, Director of GHHS and Program Initiatives. “Even with the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Solidarity Week once again offered an opportunity for much-needed human connection and reinforcement of the importance of our shared mission of humanistic care for all.”
Solidarity Week was developed in 2011 by GHHS after the Arizona shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford and 18 other people. The great compassion of the responding healthcare team was seen around the nation, and GHHS leaders were inspired to create Solidarity Day for Compassionate Patient Care, which has grown into Solidarity Week. It has become a collaborative effort to both promote patient-centered care and to recognize healthcare professionals who strive to infuse the human connection in their healthcare practices every day.
Here is a sampling of how GHHS chapters celebrated this year:
Love leads the way
Many chapters took inspiration from Valentine’s Day and married the themes of love and creativity. The GHHS Chapter at Howard University School of Medicine adopted the theme “Where is the Love?” which culminated with over 5 dozen student-made cards hand delivered to patients, faculty, residents and staff. Similar professions of love and connection were present in the Love Rounds at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, and Compassionate Care Rounds at University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine.
GHHS members at San Juan Bautista School of Medicine used the Gold Foundation’s Tell Me More tool, which serves as an easy way to help the healthcare team connect with patients on a more human level.
All of these events showcased the elevating, healing power of compassion-filled interactions with patients, healthcare staff, and the wider community.
In the name of fun… with a purpose
Some chapters infused joy and lightness into the week’s celebrations, showing an understanding that there is a place for fun even in difficult times. From Solidarity Week Bingo at the University of Minnesota Medical School to Humanistic Bingo at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine to Haikus of the Day at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, GHHS members came up with creative ways to connect and reinforce their shared mission.
Keeping in that spirit, the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University celebrated with Random Acts of Kindness and Sound Rounds hosted by the band Major Groove, which included GHHS members Bharat Sanders and Liana Mosley.
Caring for the community
For the Ohio State University College of Medicine, Solidarity Week celebrations offered an opportunity to help meet the needs of their community. Their GHHS chapter fundraised for Community Refugee and Immigrant Services Ohio, a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving Central Ohio’s refugee and immigrant populations. Their virtual event raised a total of $1,981 and counting, as donations are still trickling in.
“We, the Gold Humanism Honor Society Chapter at OSU, are committed to service and bettering our communities in and outside of the hospital! As a chapter, we decided on fundraising for Community Refugee and Immigrant Services Ohio because of our GHHS members’ shared passions toward caring for medically underserved populations and the impact that CRIS Ohio has in our local community,” explained Athena Tran, OSU GHHS Solidarity Week Chair. “Central Ohio has the second largest Somali refugee population in the United States, and during this past year a large number of Afghan refugees have been resettled in Columbus. We wanted to bring awareness to this organization as well as promote culturally competent care of this growing population in Columbus.”
Fostering inclusive healthcare
The University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOM) used the moment to invite conversation and to help nurture progress within their institution, and beyond. The University’s Pathways to Leadership series held a special panel discussion in celebration of Black History Month and Solidarity Week, which brought together the College of Medicine’s Black faculty leaders at UICOM to discuss their personal journeys, UICOM’s history, and the progress made in representing Black students, residents, faculty and staff. Special attention was placed on the opportunities and future challenges for UICOM in its efforts of fostering inclusive learning and practice environments. The speakers included Dr. Gloria Elam, MD, MPH, Dr. Olu Ajilore, MD, PhD, and Dr. Heather Prendergast, MD,MS,MPH, FACEP, FAAEM, and Dr. Memoona Hasnain, MS,MHPE, PhD served as moderator.
Continuing on the power of dialogue, the University of Louisville School of Medicine hosted a “Solidarity in Healthcare” panel/Q&A session that highlighted the importance of providing compassionate and culturally competent care to patients, and to spotlight marginalized groups.
The speakers included Rev. Linda Jackson (minority focus day participant), Rev. Leslie Small Stokes (LGBTQ+ focus day participant) and Laquayia Goldring, Disability focus day participant).
For Howard University School of Medicine, home is where the heart is. The campus is located in Washington, D.C., home to a large and diverse Deaf community, and regularly ranked as one of the most deaf-friendly cities in the country. The GHHS chapter devoted its “Learn American Sign Language!” event to focusing on community members experiencing deafness, the basics of ASL, and to bring attention to the fact that treating patients who are deaf or hard of hearing is missing in the school’s curriculum and experience.
“We are so proud of our GHHS chapters’ wonderful and creative efforts to support compassionate patient care,” said Ms. Tvito. “GHHS members and their peers in this work are true leaders of humanism, and we are grateful for their spectacular contributions during the 2022 Solidarity Week.”