International Day of Solidarity

February 8, 2011 by School of Medicine Webmaster   |   Leave a Comment

The University of Virginia School of Medicine Participates in International Day of Solidarity for Compassionate Patient Care

The School of Medicine’s Chapter of the Gold Humanism Honor Society Initiates Project in Support of Doctor who Cared for Victims of Arizona Shooting

On Monday February 14, the University of Virginia School of Medicine will join with dozens of medical schools around the country undertaking projects to demonstrate the power and importance of compassion and empathy in healthcare. The activity selected by UVa’s chapter of GHHS is a viewing of the film “Rolling” by Gretchen Berland, followed by a panel discussion. The film will be screened at noon in the Medical Education Building auditorium- room 3110.

According to the film’s website, “When Dr. Gretchen Berland gave video cameras to three Los Angeles residents in wheelchairs and asked them to film their daily lives, she wasn’t sure what they would capture. In the end – after nearly two years and 212 hours of tape – Galen Buckwalter, Ernie Wallengren and Vicki Elman did far more than accomplish Berland’s goal of providing care givers, policy makers and health care professionals insight into life on wheels for 1.6 million Americans. The resulting one-hour documentary provides frank and dignified self-portraits of three wildly divergent people using wit and humor to fight their way in a world that is often cruelly unaccommodating. ‘Even though the film started out as a way of understanding the experience of being in a wheelchair, in the end, it’s really about life,’ says Berland. ‘It’s not about feeling sorry for someone with a disability.’”

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This National Day of Solidarity was initiated by the Gold Humanism Honor Society (GHHS) of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.  The Day of Solidarity was created in support of the work of Dr. Randall Friese, triage physician at the University of Arizona Medical Center.  Dr. Friese was the trauma surgeon in charge of triage as the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting arrived at emergency room.

In response to what Dr. Friese said in an interview concerning Rep. Gabrielle Gifford’s arrival, Nancy Koff, PhD, senior associate dean for evaluation at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, remarked, “…I think it was powerful that he considered most important his action of holding her hand, speaking to her and reassuring her that she was in the hospital and would be cared for…”

Ninety-two-schools strong, the Gold Humanism Honor Society is a force for humanism in medicine and patient-centered care.  The Society recognizes exemplars of empathy, compassion, altruism, integrity, and service in clinical work. We support chapter member projects and educate for humanistic leadership.  The Gold Humanism Honor Society is an initiative of the Arnold P. Gold Foundation.

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% 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.

Christine M. Peterson, MD
Faculty Advisor, GHHS Chapter
University of Virginia School of Medicine

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