Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare

The Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare was created jointly by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation and The Vilcek Foundation in 2019 to recognize a foreign-born individual who has had an extraordinary impact on humanism in healthcare through their professional achievements in the United States. This award marks the first humanism-in-healthcare-focused honor for the Vilcek Foundation and the first immigrant-designated humanism honor for the Gold Foundation.

The Vilcek Foundation and The Arnold P. Gold Foundation are pleased to announce that the 2021 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare is jointly awarded to Dr. Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn and Dr. Denisse Rojas Marquez for their leadership in advocating for diverse and inclusive healthcare with a supportive path to the profession accessible to immigrants

Read the full announcement.

About The Vilcek Foundation

The Vilcek Foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. The mission of the foundation, to honor the contributions of immigrants to the United States and to foster appreciation of the arts and sciences, was inspired by the couple’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their appreciation for the opportunities they received as newcomers to this country.

“One does not have to look far to find evidence of immigrant contributions to American society, and medicine is no exception,” said Dr. Jan Vilcek, CEO and Chairman of the Vilcek Foundation. “With the Vilcek-Gold Award, we are proud to honor immigrants in healthcare who serve the American public with both their hearts and their minds.”

Jan Vilcek, MD, PhD
Chairman and CEO, The Vilcek Foundation

About the award

The award includes an unrestricted cash prize of $10,000, a unique commemorative award, and an invitation to present at the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Learn Serve Lead annual meeting.

Award criteria

Nominees must be foreign-born, based in the United States, and have made contributions to humanism in healthcare, medicine or public health advocacy in the United States.

  • Nominee must have been born outside of the United States to non-American parents;
  • Nominee must work professionally in healthcare, medicine or public health;
  • Nominee must have demonstrated a commitment to humanism—human-centered values—in their professional work;
  • Nominee must be based in the United States and plan to pursue his/her/their career in the United States;
  • Nominee must have one of the following immigration standings: be a naturalized citizen or permanent resident (green card holder) of the United States; be a holder of an H-1B or O-1 visa; be a holder of an E-4 visa with a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD), be an asylee; be an asylum seeker with a valid Employment Authorization Document (EAD); or have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

2020 Vilcek-Gold Award recipient

Dr. Vivek Murthy, 2020 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare honoree

Dr. Vivek Murthy is the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. He is an immigrant born in the United Kingdom to parents of Indian descent, who emigrated to the United States by way of Nova Scotia. He received the 2020 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare for his multi-faceted approach to addressing the opioid crisis in the United States, and for his continued advocacy and support of human- and community-centered care.

“Dr. Vivek Murthy famously said, ‘The world is locked in a struggle between love and fear. Choose love. Always,’” said Dr. Richard I. Levin, Gold Foundation President and CEO. “Such is a rallying cry now for doctors and nurses and all those on the front lines in the COVID-19 crisis, as they show us what love looks like over and over. Dr. Murthy understands deeply the importance of humanism, the importance of love, in guiding our actions and our world.”

Read the news release and this special piece: Dr. Vivek Murthy: The power of human connection.

2019 Vilcek-Gold recipient


MSU's Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha [photo courtesy of MSU Division of Public Health, College of Human Medicine, March 2017]

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician and founder and director of the Michigan State University and Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, is an immigrant born in the United Kingdom to parents of Iraqi descent. She drew nationwide attention to the widespread lead-poisoning of children in Flint, Michigan, through the public water supply as a whistleblower.

Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s public health activism arose from a deep wellspring of humanism – an ideal that puts human interests, values and dignity at the core of healthcare. The Vilcek and Gold foundations sought to honor the impact of humanism and compassion in medicine while spotlighting immigrant leaders in American healthcare when they joined forces to create the award.

She received the inaugural 2019 Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare not only for this monumental work, but also for her continued activities as the director of the Michigan State University Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, serving as a champion for underprivileged kids worldwide.

Read more in the news release and in this special piece: A choiceless choice: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha on standing up and speaking out.

About the AAMC lecture & award program

The Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare is presented at Learn Serve Lead: The AAMC Annual Meeting. The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) has been a champion for immigrant physicians and their contributions to academic medicine.

In 2019, Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha shared her story as part of the Voices in Medicine and Society lecture series during Learn Serve Lead. To learn more about Dr. Hanna-Attisha’s lecture, click here.

In 2020, Dr. Vivek Murthy was presented the Vilcek-Gold Award at the AAMC Learn Serve Lead and then engaged in a wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha. Watch here:

Recent jury members

A national panel of jurors who are distinguished members of the medical and healthcare community selects the recipient of the Vilcek-Gold Award for Humanism in Healthcare.

To view the jury members from previous years, click here.