2020-21 GHHS National Initiative

Humanism and Healing: Structural racism and its impact on medicine


The 2020-21 GHHS National Initiative hopes to encourage GHHS members to use their leadership roles to start or extend conversations about racism and its impact on medicine/healthcare in their local communities and beyond, to create space for grieving, processing, and bearing witness around this topic, or to take action in one of many powerful ways that humanism can begin to heal.

Many schools and chapters have already begun efforts around the topic of systemic racism and the 2020-21 GHHS National Initiative, Humanism and Healing: Structural racism and its impact on medicine, can act as a portal to honor and extend what is already being done.

GHHS staff encourages our chapters to remind the world that humanity, through the deepest compassion for one another, through personal narratives, education, and promoting accountability, can begin to slowly foster healing.

For more information about the 2020-21 National Initiative, please contact Stacy- Ann Morris, Program Coordinator, at smorris@gold-foundation.org.

Read the full announcement HERE.

2021 Humanism & Healing Virtual Conference

SAVE THE DATE: May 6-8, 2021

After an incredibly difficult year of seclusion from our GHHS peers, it’s time to come together to share the work our chapters have done for the 2020 National Initiative, Humanism and Healing: Structural racism and its Impact on medicine.

Our Gold community, including GHHS members, medical and nursing students, residents, healthcare providers, and other members of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation network, are invited to a special virtual event. Attendees will have the opportunity to attend featured programs, a combination of live and recorded sessions, a poster session, and networking events.

Learn more HERE.

See what other chapters are doing:

Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (CMSRU): Together with their Librarians, GHHS members at Rowan compiled a Cultural Diversity and Anti-Racism Libguide. The GHHS chapter at Rowan chose to pursue an anti-racism library collection because they believe that education on racism in medicine and society is essential to combating it. They also believe literature, music, or visual art that explores the perspectives and lives of minority groups can help engender the empathy and compassion that is so essential to being a physician.

As part of their work, CMSRU chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society also debuted an anti-racism library collection housed in the CMSRU medical library. With works of nonfiction, fiction, memoirs, essays and poetry, they hope to create a living collection that will grow and add new perspectives on race, racism and especially race in medicine.

View the Cultural Diversity and Anti-Racism Libguide HERE.

View the anti-racism library collection HERE.

View the collection dedication for this work

Here are some ideas for your chapter to get involved:

  • Reflective writing working groups: using articles, film, written pieces of history, etc., to start difficult conversations
  • Creating a video series

Other ideas:

  •  How does your community tell their story of racism (e.g. exploring the murals of Philadelphia to tell a story)
  • Create a dialog with or activity for communities at the direction of community leaders
  • Holding local panel discussions about the challenges of racism in your communities
  • Connect with other chapters to hold virtual panel discussions to share experiences and learn from one another (understanding how geography, history, etc., impacts the progress being made in the fight against racism.)
  • COVID-19: asking the hard questions: Why were underserved populations more impacted by COVID-19? (Delving into the experiences as hospitals)
  • Speaking to students who have experienced challenges directly related to their race (getting into college, getting into medical school, etc.) How can their experiences impact the system as a whole?
  • Encouraging individual chapters to have a difficult conversation about our own self-reflection – what is GHHS doing well and where can we improve?

Tell us how your chapter will implement the national initiative on your campus by filling out this form.

Guide on how to open conversations about difficult topics with optimal effectiveness

Humanism in medicine often requires a period of flexing muscles we may not always have used in the past. Sometimes, just the act of bringing awareness to certain topics affecting both our professional and personal interactions may evoke strong reactions that can impede our ability to receive such insight and/or feedback. The Gold Humanism Honor Society recognizes both the necessity of addressing structural racism within our healthcare communities and work spaces in an open and nonjudgmental environment, and yet also appreciates the sensitive nature of having these discussions due to their potential to create defensiveness, divisiveness, or even greater power imbalances. The reasons for these sorts of difficulties may include any of the following:

  • Differences in upbringings
  • Differences of political opinions
  • Differences of religious or spiritual beliefs
  • Differences in cultural beliefs
  • Varied skill and experience levels
  • Varied comfort levels speaking truthfully in group or intimate settings
  • Varied levels of power among participants
  • Unrelated difficulties that arose elsewhere in one’s daily life prior to the interaction
  • Misunderstandings regarding group motives or intent

Access a guide on how to open conversations about difficult topics with optimal effectiveness.

The Gold Connection: A GHHS Podcast

To begin the conversation, GHHS staff and three members of the GHHS Advisory Council gathered to produce a podcast. This podcast episode opens a dialogue from four different perspective about structural racism, the role of the Gold Humanism Honor Society in this discussion and the role of humanism in the fight against racism.

Go to Episode 1: The Gold Initiative: Racism & Its Impact on Medicine, the debut of the Gold Connection: A GHHS Podcast, listen on Spotify or on Anchor, or click below to listen.

2020-21 National Initiative Participants

Baylor Scott & White Round Rock
The Brody School of Medicine – East Carolina University
Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine
Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine
Eastern Virginia Medical School
East Tennessee State University Quillen College of Medicine
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine – Virginia Campus
Emory University School of Medicine
Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University
Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine
Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Texas A&M College of Medicine
Uniformed Services University
University of Alabama in Birmingham
University of California, Irvine
University of Cincinnati College of Medicine
University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine
University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
University of Utah School of Medicine
University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
West Virginia University School of Medicine