“Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity” — Pema Chodron
This quote, from an American Buddhist monk and teacher, inspired nearly 200 medical students to respond with a reflective essay for the Gold Foundation’s 2017 Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest. Three stunning essays rose to the top, each capturing the beauty of humanity, within the realm of healthcare, in a distinct way.
Kristen Zozulin, a first-year student at the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, won first place for her essay, “Eric.” The story, set in West Africa, begins: “I never thought I would see Eric again, and I was right.”
Nicole Chicoine, a first-year student at Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine, won second place for her essay, “A Common Humanity We All Share.” She recounts an unforgettable exchange between a doctor and a mother in a rural African hospital: “It is in that hospital, in the halls of the outpatient department that I first solidified what compassion, empathy, and what shared humanity truly looks like.”
Ajibike Lapite, a third-year medical student at the Tulane University School of Medicine, won third place for her essay, “You Can Touch Me Now,” an acutely memorable encounter with a teenage patient.
More than 35 distinguished judges, drawn from both the medical and the writing professions, read and rated the submissions. Each 1,000-word essay was based on a true story or anecdote that illustrates an experience where the writer or a team member worked to ensure that humanism — compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent care — was at the core of medical practice.
The award’s namesake, Hope Babette Tang-Goodwin, MD, was an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics. Her 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.
The winners receive a monetary award, beginning with $1,000 for first place. The first-, second-, and third-place essays will be published in Academic Medicine, the journal of the Association of American Colleges (AAMC), in the October, November, and December issues, respectively.
2017 Honorable Mentions
- Anna Condella, 4th Year, Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons
- Shawna Foley, 4th Year, University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine
- Jason Han, 4th Year, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
- Tuong Phan, 3rd Year, University of Colorado
- Jenay Powell, 3rd Year, UNC School of Medicine
- Allen Ruan, 4th Year, University of Colorado School of Medicine
- Hasanga Samaraweera, 4th Year, University of North Dakota
- Eric Silberman, 3rd Year, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
- Ranjodh Singh, 4th Year, Weill Cornell Medical College
- Nicole Yordán López, 3rd Year, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine
For more about the annual Hope Babette Tang Humanism in Healthcare Essay Contest, and a full list of the 2017 reviewers, click here.