Announcing the winners of the 2019 Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is pleased to announce the six winners of the 2019 Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest. First place is awarded to April Butler of the University of Louisville School of Medicine and Kathleen Schultz of the University of Massachusetts Medical School Graduate School of Nursing.

Second place is awarded to Neha Verma of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Jessica Corcoran of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. And third place goes to Henry Bair of Stanford University School of Medicine and Chelsea Huffhines of the University of Kansas School of Nursing.

This year’s winning essays tackle such compelling themes as how to connect in innovative ways with hospitalized patients to bring them moments of brightness, as well as contemplating life lessons that emerge from witnessing patients live out their final days.

“Each of the essays reflect difficult moments as well as the resiliency and beauty that can be captured by and for clinicians and patients. Above all, they speak volumes about the future nurses and physicians we will encounter,” said Elizabeth Cleek, PsyD, Chief Operating Officer of the Gold Foundation.

First-, second-, and third-place essays for both nursing and medical students are chosen by an expert panel that includes healthcare professionals, writers/journalists, and educators. The judges selected the winners out of more than 300 entries.

The winning essays will be published in two esteemed journals, Academic Medicine, in the October, November, and December issues, and Journal of Professional Nursing, in the September/October, November/December, and January/February issues. Academic Medicine is published by the Association of American Medical Colleges and Journal of Professional Nursing is published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Both organizations are key supporters of the annual essay contest and partners of the Gold Foundation. This marks just the second year that the contest has included nursing students.

The Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest prompts medical and nursing students to engage in a reflective writing exercise that illustrates an experience in which they or a team member worked to ensure humanistic care.

This year, students were prompted to share stories inspired by the quote:

“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” Maya Angelou

The essay contest is named for Hope Babette Tang-Goodwin, MD, an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, whose devotion and generosity to the care of the children and infants with HIV infection in New York City was an inspiration to her colleagues and her students. Her approach to medicine combined a boundless enthusiasm for her work, intellectual rigor and deep compassion for her patients.

The Gold Foundation congratulates all of this year’s winners and honorable mentions:


2019 Medical Student Winners

April Butler, University of Louisville School of Medicine

First Place

“The Healing Yellow Raincoat”

April Butler is a rising fourth-year student at the University of Louisville School of Medicine and plans to apply to Internal Medicine/Pediatrics programs for residency this fall. She has a special interest in rural health and fundraising and raising awareness for ALS.



Neha Verma, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine

Second Place

“A Second Home”

Neha Verma attended UNC for both medical school and undergrad, during which she studied Public Health and Creative Writing. She will be starting her residency in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins in July. Outside of medicine, she enjoys long-distance running, reading, and hiking with her dog.




Henry Bair, Stanford University School of Medicine

Third Place

“The Hallmark Store”

Henry Bair is a rising third-year student at Stanford University School of Medicine. Having graduated from Rice University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Medieval Studies, he is interested in cross-cultural communication in medicine, as well as the intersections of medical care and literature. In addition, he is passionate about medical education, especially regarding end-of-life care and improving the patient-physician relationship. He spends his spare time writing, reading, and playing the cello.


2019 Nursing Student Winners

Kathleen Schultz, University of Massachusetts Medical School Graduate School of Nursing

First Place

Kathy is a rising third-year Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner student at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Graduate School of Nursing, pursing her Doctorate of Nursing Practice. She started her nursing career in 2000 and has worked in cardiac surgery in Boston for the past 18 years with a specialty in extracorporeal life support (ECLS). She enjoys watching and playing hockey with her husband, two sons, and dog.



Jessica Corcoran, University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing

Second Place

“Knowing Noah” 

Jessica Corcoran is a graduate nursing student at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing. After graduating with her BSN, she obtained a job in the Regional Newborn Intensive Care Unit (RNICU) at UAB Hospital as a registered nurse. Her clinical experience as a nursing student caring for sick babies and their families solidified her desire to pursue a career as a neonatal nurse. Working in the RNICU is an extremely rewarding job, as it allows her to be a part of some of the happiest, scariest, and saddest days of people’s lives. She is a Robert Wood Johnson Future of Nursing Scholar and the President of the Nursing Graduate Student Association at UAB.

Chelsea Huffhines, University of Kansas School of Nursing

Third Place

“The Bubble Bath”

Chelsea Huffhines is from Lubbock, Texas, and is in her second year of the MSN for Public Health Nursing program at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She received a BS from Texas A&M University and a BSN from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. Upon graduation from KUMC, she plans to work as a patient educator and advocate for vulnerable, underserved populations.


2019 Honorable Mentions

  • Rebekah Boyd, rising second year, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, “Birthday”
  • Pallavi Basu, 2019 graduate, University of California San Diego School of Medicine, “Portrait of a Woman”
  • Jaqueline Chipkin, rising third year, University of Massachusetts Medical School
  • Maxine Dube, rising second year, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, “Why Is My Mother Out of Bed?”
  • Kristina Hila, 2019 graduate, University of Michigan School of Nursing, “Fear of Being Human”
  • Anand Jayanti, 2019 graduate, Texas A&M Health Science Center, “Riley Finding Home”
  • Whitney Kellett, rising fourth year, University of South Carolina School of Medicine, “I Need You to See Me”
  • Lenexa Morais, rising second year, University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, “The Little Artist”
  • James Nguyen, rising fourth year, Penn State College of Medicine, “Knock, Knock”
  • Sable Zuza, rising fourth year, Oakland University School of Nursing, “Kindness and Transformation”