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Feb 14: Medical students deliver a message of compassion

On Feb. 14, 2011, students from the UC Irvine School of Medicine will join with medical students around the country to demonstrate the power and importance of compassion and empathy in healthcare.

Their message of compassion is emblazoned on pens the students will distribute to physicians, staff and visitors at UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange. The effort is inspired by Dr. Randall Friese and the University Medical Center surgeons who triaged and treated Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting rampage in January.

it is easy to forget the compassionate side of medicine,” said medical student Steven Chan. “We want to remind caregivers to emulate the actions of Dr. Friese, who considered his most important act that morning to be holding Rep. Giffords’ hand, speaking to her and reassuring her that she was in the hospital and would be cared for.”

Humanism Honor Society has chapters at more than 90 U.S. medical schools and was established by the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to support and promote the values of humanism and professionalism in medicine.

and Rachelle Callenback Lo, co-presidents of UC Irvine’s chapter, are joined in the effort by Students for Integrative Medicine founder Doug Cheung, student Priel Schmalbach and honor society advisor Dr. Laura Mosqueda.

Irvine’s responsibility goes beyond teaching students the clinical side of medicine,” says Mosqueda, director of UC Irvine’s program in geriatrics, interim chair of family medicine and Ronald Reagan Endowed Chair in Geriatrics. “We are committed to preparing them for a medical career that builds the proper doctor-patient relationship on a foundation of compassion and respect.”

The Arnold P. Gold Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of healthcare, enhancing the doctor-patient relationship by combining the high tech skills of cutting edge medical science with the high touch skills of communication, empathy and compassion. 

Among the foundation’s two dozen diverse program initiatives are the ubiquitous White Coat Ceremonies in 94 percent of U.S. medical schools, touching more than 18,000 students each year; the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine awards, which recognize graduating medical students and outstanding role model faculty members; an annual humanism in medicine essay contest; the Gold Humanism Honor Society; grants for service projects, and support for curricular change in medical education.