The Gold Foundation to honor three extraordinary leaders with the 2024 National Humanism in Medicine Medal

Annual Gala on June 10th will celebrate three pioneers who have changed the conversation on how healthcare institutions serve their communities locally, nationally, and globally

Gold Foundation Gala LogoThe Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the leading nonprofit dedicated to humanism in healthcare for all, is delighted to announce the 2024 recipients of the National Humanism in Medicine Medal: internationally recognized nurse scientist, sociologist, and transformational leader for global health and women’s health Dr. Afaf Ibrahim Meleis; visionary pediatrician, activist, and author Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha; and innovative healthcare executive and gun violence prevention advocate Michael J. Dowling.

Each honoree has made an incredible impact on humanism in their healthcare institution, and each has illuminated critical factors of health that exist outside of the hospital. Studies have shown that 80% of what determines health are community and social factors, such as clean water, nutritious food, air quality, stress levels, gun violence, and access to education and safe housing.

These three extraordinary leaders have placed the human connection at the center of their life’s work. Each of them has helped make care more humanistic for countless patients, family members, students, and healthcare team members. Together, they represent the 2024 theme of the Gold Gala: “Creating Healthy Communities through Humanism.”

“Health is not just about what happens inside the hospital. Health is also about how hospitals engage with their communities, neighborhoods, and schools,” said Dr. Kathleen Reeves, President and CEO of the Gold Foundation. “These three amazing individuals have seen both the vibrancy and the disparities in their communities. Each honoree has used their talents, time, and opportunities to bring better health to the communities they serve. Humanism in healthcare is all about the person in front of you, the caregiver beside you, and the community around you.”

Dr. Meleis, Dr. Hanna-Attisha, and Mr. Dowling will be presented their medals at the Gold Foundation’s Annual Gala on Monday, June 10, in the beautiful Guastavino’s in New York City.

“Each of these distinguished leaders has made an incredible impact on humanistic care,” said Gold Foundation Board Chairman Richard C. Sheerr. “Each of them is inspiring. They have inspired me, and I hope they will inspire you. We are thrilled to be honoring them, and we hope to see many of you at our celebration in June.”

All supporters of humanism in healthcare — clinicians, patients, family members, students, healthcare executives — are invited to join this special celebration and be a part of the Gold Foundation’s mission.

The Gold Gala will be hosted by the amazing Gold Trustee Dr. Kimberly Manning, a national voice of humanism who is a Professor at Emory School of Medicine and general internist at Grady Hospital in Atlanta.

The 2024 honorees are:

Afaf Ibrahim Meleis, PhD, FAAN, LL, is an internationally renowned nurse scientist and medical sociologist who has made an extraordinary impact on nursing, global health, and women’s health through her groundbreaking research and mentorship.

Much of her life’s work has been dedicated to uncovering the experiences and the voices of vulnerable women who are burdened by societal inequities, multiplicity of roles, differential compensation and rewards, and the gender divide. Her leadership in the International Council on Women’s Health Issues played a central role in inspiring scholarship on women’s health and in bringing together world leaders to form partnerships to improve the lives of women. Born in Egypt, she was named “one of the great immigrants in the United States of America” by the Carnegie Corporation.

Dr. Meleis is a Professor of Nursing and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing and Director of the School’s WHO Collaborating Center for Nursing and Midwifery Leadership from 2002 through 2014. This followed her 34-year tenure as a Professor at the University of California, San Francisco and Los Angeles, where she is a Professor Emeritus.

Dr. Meleis is the author of more than 200 articles, 7 books, and numerous monographs, proceedings and policy papers. She has had enormous international impact, from her visionary research to her mentorship of hundreds of students, faculty, clinicians, and administrators both within the United States and around the globe.

She has consulted in more than 40 countries and currently serves as a Trustee of Aga Khan University in Pakistan and The Buck Institute for Research on Aging in California. She also serves on the National Advisory Committee for the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Faculty Scholars Program in New York City.

Michael J. Dowling is one of healthcare’s most influential voices, taking a stand on societal issues such as gun violence and immigration that many health system executives shy away from. As President and CEO of Northwell Health, he leads a clinical, academic, and research enterprise that cares for more than 2 million people each year.

Mr. Dowling brings a visionary approach and focus on partnership to all of his efforts. He has embedded the hospital system into the community. This ethos informed the creation of the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell, which was established in 2008, as well as the Hofstra Northwell School of Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and one of the nation’s largest medical residency and fellowship programs. Most recently, he has led Northwell Health to partner with New York City Public Schools and Bloomberg Philanthropies to build a new high school in Queens devoted to healthcare education.

Mr. Dowling’s book, Leading Through a Pandemic: The Inside Story of Humanity, Innovation, and Lessons Learned During the COVID-19 Crisis, captures the disaster preparation of New York State’s largest healthcare provider and private employer and shares these lessons for other health systems. The book was included in the Gold Foundation’s 2021 Reading List for Compassionate Clinicians.

Mr. Dowling has held leadership roles across government, corporate, and health system organizations, including Commissioner of the New York State Department of Social Services. He also served as a Professor of Social Policy and Assistant Dean at the Fordham University Graduate School of Social Services.

Both Northwell Health and the Zucker School of Medicine are members of the Gold Partners Council, a group of leading medical schools and health systems that champion humanism in healthcare and support the Gold Foundation’s mission.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha is a pediatrician, scientist, activist, and author who received national recognition for her role in uncovering the Flint water crisis and leading recovery efforts. She was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World and recognized as one of USA Today’s Women of the Century. She is a Gold Humanism Honor Society member.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha is the Associate Dean for Public Health and C. S. Mott Endowed Professor of Public Health at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. She is the Founding Director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative, an innovative partnership of MSU and Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint, Michigan. The initiative aims to decrease the impact of the Flint water crisis and serves as a national resource for best practices.

The story of how she discovered that lead was poisoning the Flint water supply is chronicled in her widely acclaimed book, What the Eyes Don’t See: A Story of Crisis, Resistance, and Hope in an American City.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s most recent creation is Rx Kids, a program that reimagines how society can come together to eliminate infant poverty and improve health equity. Rx Kids, which launched this year, is the first-ever citywide cash prescription program for all pregnant moms and babies.

In 2019, Dr. Hanna-Attisha received the inaugural Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare, a joint honor from the Vilcek Foundation and the Gold Foundation that recognizes a foreign-born healthcare professional who has made extraordinary contributions to humanism in healthcare. Dr. Hanna-Attisha was born in the United Kingdom to parents of Iraqi descent.

The Annual Gala is the Gold Foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year. This event helps fund our programs and events that support the essential connection between patients and clinicians. Please consider asking others to join who support humanism in healthcare as part of their values.

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