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Medical Students Recognized for Humanism at Induction Ceremony

Members of the Class of 2024 Were Inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society

May 08, 2023
GHHS Induction Ceremony Speakers and Award Winners
GHHS Co-President Samuel Honig, Dr. Jennifer Koestler, GHHS Co-President Deepika Dhawan, Dr. Yocheved Lindenbaum, and Zehavya Stadlan

“To the students who will be inducted into the GHHS, let me be the first to say congratulations and share some perspectives on the importance of this achievement,” said Jennifer Koestler, M.D., dean for undergraduate medical education and curricular affairs and long-time faculty advisor of the GHHS Chapter at New York Medical College. “It is your responsibility to take a leadership role to help elevate all aspects of our SOM learning environment with humanism, integrity, compassion, respect and inclusion and, as members of GHHS, to be exemplars of compassionate patient care and to serve as role models, mentors and leaders of humanism and professionalism to all members of our community.”

The Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Awards were presented to Zehavya Stadlan, SOM Class of 2023 and GHHS selection committee chair, and Yocheved Lindenbaum, M.D., assistant professor of pediatrics. In the award presentation, Stadlan was lauded for her “persistent kindness, unwavering compassion and loving demeanor,” as well as her dedication to “not only providing humanistic care to patients, but also being a humanistic friend, colleague and community member.” Dr. Lindenbaum was praised for “her strong bedside manner, willingness to take the time necessary to connect with patients and provide quality patient care and for her patient-centered clinical teaching.”  

As the faculty recipient of the Tow Award, Dr. Lindenbaum delivered the keynote address during the ceremony. “Clinical excellence, scientific excellence, is a must. It’s the bedrock, the foundation of all that we do,” she said. “You must know how to examine, diagnose and treat your patients. That is non-negotiable. And once you have that, you can make choices – small, everyday choices – getting the bedpan, filling up the pitcher with water, playing cards with your patient, arranging a multidisciplinary meeting so all caregivers are on the same page. And when you make enough of these small, everyday choices, on a foundation of clinical excellence – that’s the space where humanism in medicine lives.”

“There is so much pain in the world. Your patients are suffering, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and they are afraid. You have the sacred privilege to be part of their story, the honor to accompany them on their journey, during their most vulnerable time,” continued Dr. Lindenbaum. “Medicine has limits, and even with all the scientific excellence in the world, you may not be able to cure them, or to save their life, or even to help them feel better all that much. But you know what you can do? Have compassion. You can be a source of light in the darkness of their pain.”

Dr. Lindenbaum interspersed her remarks with examples of humanism among her fellow physicians that she had witnessed firsthand during her career. “I’ve talked a bit tonight about bedpans and pads, and that’s because many of these opportunities for compassion, for humanism, are hardly glamorous. You won’t get paid more for doing these things. You won’t get promoted for doing them. You won’t get recognized for them, and sometimes even the patient won’t realize what you are doing for them. But that’s okay – you’re not here for the glory. Or the money. Or even the ‘thank you.’ You are doing what you are doing because you are exemplars of humanism in medicine.”

Sarriyah Hanif, SOM Class of 2023, offered a reflection on the importance of humanism. “In a world that places so much emphasis on test scores, grades and academic merit, it is wonderful to be a part of an organization that understands and honors the importance of social and emotional intelligence. The best part about being a medical student is that we have the beautiful gift of time. This is when we develop the qualities that we want to emulate as physicians so we can provide our patients with equitable and compassionate care.”

“Next time you see someone who is struggling, I want you to apply your humanistic values to help them as best as you can,” said Hanif. “Providing empathy to our patients is no easy task, especially when you’re emotionally drained and want to go home and watch Netflix and sleep. But we have to make an active effort every day, to be kind to our patients and maximize the compassion that we provide in our encounters. The people in this room right now have made it look easy, and I hope that all of you continue to dedicate yourselves to volunteerism, mentorship and service, because you are an impressive group and I can’t wait to see what you will achieve in the years to come.”


Class of 2024 GHHS Inductees
Deelan Ayhan
Maytal Babajanian
Alexandra Brenin
Naveena Chittineedi
Megan Claypool
Christine Colasaco
Briana Comuniello
Thomas Gagliardi
Jiselle Gill
Justin Gimoto
Victor Gordillo
Merit Gorgy
Christopher Hoke
Vivien Ikwuazom
Deepak John
Anita Krishnan
Katherine Lo
Aiden Lui
Margot Lurie
Alessandra Moscatello
Maziyah Ogarro
Sara Rubino
Ashley Sacks
Emily Sayegh
Talia Segal
Sarah Smith
Sarah Solomon
Rachel Thommen
Hugh Thompson
Nicholas Vecchio
Harli Weber
Katie Yang

Students Who Were Inducted into GHHS Standing in Front of Building