Eligibility, Selection Criteria, Process, and How to Apply

Below are details about how to participate in the Tow Awards.

Starting in 2022, we launched an Award Agreement for approved institutions to participate in the Tow Awards, in lieu of an annual grant agreement. The updated interim report form includes new checkboxes for the school’s Tow program administrator to acknowledge annual participation and agree to adhere to the Tow Procedures & Criteria (updated in 2024). 

Webinar and Overview of Program Updates

This 15-minute webinar provides an overview of the Tow Awards, information on the new procedures (as of January 2022), and how to navigate the award process. Please refer to the 2024 Tow Procedures and Criteria for the updated procedures.

Download Tow Webinar Slides

Summary of 2022 Tow Program Updates


Accredited schools of medicine in the US and Canada are eligible to participate in the Tow Humanism in Medicine Award program. If your school is eligible and does not yet participate in this program but would like to, please see “How to Apply” below.

Participating schools select a faculty and student awardee each year. Recipients need to be a graduating senior and a faculty member (MD or DO and/or member with substantial clinical teaching responsibilities).

Review the Tow Procedures & Criteria for a detailed list of nominee characteristics.

Tow awardees become members of the Gold Humanism Honors Society (GHHS).

Selection Criteria and Process

To participate in the Tow Awards, the Gold Foundation requires approved schools to complete the Award Agreement Form in lieu of signing an annual grant agreement. The agreement must be completed and signed by a dean of students or other authorized official on behalf of the School.

Nomination and Selection

The Gold Foundation champions humanism in healthcare, which we define as compassionate, collaborative, and scientifically excellent care. Those honored with the Tow Award are expected to reflect these values in daily practice and to continuously strive to be exemplars of humanism in healthcare.

Award recipients are selected by schools participating in the Tow Humanism in Medicine Award, a program of the Gold Foundation.

The Gold Foundation provides each awardee an award certificate and a check once notified of their selection by the school; each certificate is signed by the school’s dean.

While each school implements a unique nomination and selection process, it must adhere to the Tow Procedures & Criteria and must be equitable; draw from a diverse and inclusive pool of eligible students from the entire graduating class; establish a clear understanding of each nominee’s characteristics; and must incorporate explicit criteria for compassionate, collaborative, scientifically excellent behavior as teachers and role models, following those listed in the Procedures & Criteria.


  • Self-nominations are not permitted.
  • Faculty members must not have been selected for a Tow award in the last 5 years.

Schools submit the Interim Report Form to provide information about the award recipients, including a brief bio that outlines their humanistic qualities and a current headshot. Upon receipt of the complete information, the Foundation will prepare and mail the award packet including checks and certificates. Checks are made out directly to the awardees. To request an exception and have the check made out to your institution and distributed to your awardees on our behalf, please contact Michelle Sloane at msloane@gold-foundation.org.

Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) and the Tow Award

For a school that has a GHHS chapter, it is likely that the student Tow awardee will be a member of GHHS, since the Tow Award recognizes exemplars of humanism in medicine. However, a fair and equitable nomination and selection process should draw from the entire body of graduating medical students, regardless of GHHS membership.

Faculty awardees should be available to support local GHHS chapter activities.

Honoring the Recipient

ATSU-KCOM Class of 2023 Senior Awards Banquet prior to commencement

It is expected that the Tow Award will be presented to each recipient at commencement or the school’s primary awards ceremony or event.

Each award recipient is presented with a certificate and a check for up to $500 from the Gold Foundation, becomes inducted as a lifelong member of the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) and is listed on the Gold Foundation’s website in a searchable list. The faculty recipient is often invited as keynote for the school’s annual white coat ceremony, and often serves on a school’s future Tow Award selection committee.

Publicizing the Award

The best time to introduce the Tow Award program is during orientation when introducing the Gold Foundation and all programs offered in partnership with your school.

When announcing the call for nominations and in all print and electronic materials announcing the award recipients, please remember to recognize the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, and tag us on social media.

How to Apply

More than 100 medical schools participate in this award. If your school does not yet participate in this program and would like to, please contact Louisa Tvito at ltvito@gold-foundation.org.

All new applications must include the following:

  • Institutional Letter of Support
  • Narrative describing the following:
    • Background on school/institution and accreditation status
    • The potential impact of this award
    • How the awardees will be selected
    • How the awards will be publicized on your campus
    • When/how the award will be presented